Whirehaired Pointing Griffons

Bright yellow-brown eyes look out from beneath bushy eyebrows as the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon surveys the field. A slow and methodical hunter that checks in with his handler regularly, he’s capable of pointing and retrieving equally well on land and in water. With a wiry double coat to protect him, he’s a versatile, medium-size hunter, capable of bringing home feathered and furred game. This is an active, complex dog in need of an owner capable of matching his intelligence and activity level and recognizing his sensitive and soft nature when it comes to training.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

These dogs are active, boisterous and love attention, although they may be a little standoffish with strangers. Some have a watchdog attitude while others are more laidback.

He's a great family dog or companion for people who have the time and motivation to channel his energy and intelligence into dog sports such as agility, flyball, rally and obedience. It's not impossible for him to participate in all of them concurrently. You're also likely to find him doing therapy dog visits or search and rescue. And, of course, he's a great hiking, camping or jogging buddy. The bottom line: He needs at least 20 minutes of active exercise daily.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons take well to training and enjoy learning. Use positive reinforcement techniques for best results, and give them plenty of praise and encouragement.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are great companions for kids who are at least 6 years old, and they get along well with other dogs. Puppies that are raised with cats often accept them as part of the family, but older WPGs who aren't familiar with them may simply view them as another type of prey. Keep them separated if you have any doubts at all.

Like most dogs, WPGs become bored when left to their own devices. They can become noisy or destructive if they don't have other dogs to keep them company and don't receive much attention from their owners. But when they live with a family committed to giving them plenty of training, exercise and attention, they thrive.

Grooming the WPG isn't difficult. The coat sheds little throughout the year. It's water-repellent and dries quickly after a bath or other wetting. Brush it weekly to remove dirt. You'll also need to pluck out dead hairs, called "stripping" or "rolling" the coat. It's easy to learn to roll the coat, and it's not painful for the dog. Other grooming needs include regular nail trims, ear cleaning and tooth brushing.

The WPG's greatest desire is to spend the day doing things with his people and then enjoy relaxing with them in the evening. He is a people-loving dog who needs to live in the house.

Health Issues Common to Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems her dogs have experienced and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are healthy in general, but some conditions can be a concern, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia and genetic eye problems.

6 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppy

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Find a good breeder who will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. Start your search with the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association.

Ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have up-to-date health certifications for hips from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the PennHIP program and eye certifications from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in WPGs aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, WPGs can live 12 to 14 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your WPG to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Pet insurance for WPGs costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.