How to Train a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

The hardworking Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, renowned as the ‘supreme gundog,’ is known for the harsh, low-shedding coat the breed is named for. Outgoing, eager, and quick-witted, Griffs are incomparable in the field and loving at home. Griffs are medium-sized, all-purpose gundogs standing no higher than 24 inches at the shoulder. They’re known for an extremely harsh and bristly coat that gives them a natural, unkempt appearance.
The preferred color is steel gray with brown markings. A lavish mustache and eyebrows frame large, rounded eyes that gleam with a keen intelligence. Griffs are the very picture of an honest, hardworking sporting dog, whose handsome looks are the result of a noble and unaffected ruggedness rather than fussy grooming.


In the 1800s, sportsmen of Continental Europe were obsessed with breeding hunting dogs of great versatility. Among them was Dutchman Eduard Korthals, son of a well-to-do banker. Through judicious crosses of several breeds, Korthals developed a dog that could work as a pointer on dry land and as an excellent water retriever, complete with webbed toes for swimming. Korthals refined his breed while working in Germany and, finally, France. Since Korthals’ time, partisans have argued whether Griffs are properly a Dutch or a French breed.

Quick Facts

Temperament: friendly / devoted / trainable
Height: 20 to 24 inches 
Weight: 35 to 70 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
Sporting Group


There are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the Griffon. While the occurrence of hip dysplasia in the Griffon is relatively low, it is still important that dams and sires obtain either OFA or PennHIP clearances. Some breeders also obtain medical clearances for eye, heart, elbow, and thyroid conditions.

Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation


The minimally shedding Griffon coat has a harsh outer coat with a soft, insulating undercoat. The breed requires weekly brushing or combing, regular nail trimming, and tooth brushing as well as occasional trimming around the feet and ears. Some coats may need to be hand-stripped periodically to encourage growth of new coat. Like all dogs with drop ears, a Griffon can develop ear infections, so regular cleaning and plucking of ear-canal hair is recommended.


Griffons are social animals who require a great deal of attention, consistent training, time, and patience. Griffons do not make good full-time kennel dogs. They are especially active as puppies, and are very intelligent, social, and physically powerful as adults. They require considerable mental and physical challenges on a daily basis, or they can become bored, unhappy, and/or destructive. The ideal Griffon household is one in which the people are active and include the dog in their daily routines. A Griffon whose mental, emotional, and physical needs are met on a daily basis can be an exceptionally pleasant and easy-to-live-with companion.


The modern WPG still possesses the qualities that Korthals envisioned over a century ago. A versatile gundog with a high degree of trainability, the Griffon excels in hunting upland birds, waterfowl, and furred game. He is a deliberate, thorough, and tireless worker with a strong desire to please his master. Early introduction to game birds and exposure to hunting conditions will bring out the best in this hunting companion. Local AKC pointing-breed clubs as well as North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association chapters can help owners maximize the Griffon’s hunting potential with expert training advice for hunting all kinds of game birds. Positive and consistent training is best for the Griffon.


The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.