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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Nicole Cosgrove

June 10, 2021

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a large purebred talented in several activities including retrieving, hunting, tracking and pointing. It was bred to be a hunting dog but it is a rare breed in the US and in the UK. As well as being an excellent gundog it can be a great family dog and companion. The breeds founder Eduard Karel Korthals was Dutch so some claim it is from the Netherlands but it was also developed in France and Germany so there are links there too.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon at A Glance
Name Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Other names Korthals Griffon, Griffon D’arr̻t, Griffon d’arrêt à poil dur Korthals, French Wire-haired Korthals Pointing Griffon, French Wire-haired Pointing Griffon
Nicknames WPG
Origin Netherlands, France and some say Germany
Average size Large
Average weight 50 to 60 pounds
Average height 20 to 24 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Dense, thick, wiry, rough
Hypoallergenic Yes
Color Grey, brown, orange and white
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 66th by the AKC
Intelligence Average
Tolerance to heat Good but best not in very hot or extremes
Tolerance to cold Very good – can handle very cold weather but not extremes
Shedding Low – good for people who do not want to deal with a lot of loose hair on clothing and furniture
Drooling Low – not a breed known for lots of slobber
Obesity Average – some may gain weight if allowed to overeat, just watch the food and the exercise
Grooming/brushing Moderate effort required – comb once or twice a week
Barking Fairly frequent – some training may be needed to control it
Exercise needs Very active – needs plenty of physical and mental activity
Trainability Moderately easy to train as is eager to please but has an independent side
Friendliness Excellent, very social dog
Good first dog Good to very good
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good, needs socialization as can have strong prey drive
Good with strangers Excellent – very approachable with socialization
Good apartment dog Low – it needs a yard and room to move around in
Handles alone time well Low – can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Generally very healthy but a couple of common issues are eye problems and hip dysplasia
Medical expenses $485 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $270 a year for treats and good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $645 a year for license, grooming, miscellaneous items, training and toys
Average annual expenses $1400 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations Several including the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Rescue
Biting Statistics None reported

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s Beginnings

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was bred by a Dutchman, first in Germany then living in France, Eduard Karel Korthals in 1874. He wanted to create a great gundog and while it is not known exactly what dogs he used it is thought in the mix was the Otterhound, a Pointer, Spaniels and Setters. He bred it to be perfect for hunting around water and in thick undergrowth where its coat gave it great protection. It was used mostly to hunt for waterfowl and upland game birds.

Eventually he bred three dogs who became the foundation for all lines of Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, called Lina, Moustache I and Querida. These three are often referred to as Korthals Patriarchs. Korthal bred his dogs to be devoted to its owner, easy to train and have a lot of vigor and resilience. Called Korthals Griffons then, these dogs soon became very popular amongst hunters wanting a dog who would point and retrieve well. In 1888 an international Griffon club was formed with clubs in Belgium (Royal Belgium Griffon Club), France (French Wirehaired Griffon Club) and Bavaria (Souther German Griffon Clue).

New Lease on Life

In 1887 the first Korthals Griffon was registered in the US, where it was listed as a Russian setter mistakenly presuming a Russian background. Finally 29 years later this mistake was corrected in 1916 and it was called a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. It has slowly grown in popularity since then but there was a slight upset in the 1980s when some breeders started to mix the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon with the Cesky Fousek. The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association was started to make sure the breed retained its purity. Today it is ranked 66th most popular registered breed by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon or WPG is a large dog weighing 50 to 60 pounds and stands 20 to 24 inches tall. It has a double coat, the under is thick, soft and weather-resistant and the outer is harsh, wiry, straight and medium length. Common colors are grey, white, brown and orange. The body is longer than it is tall, its front legs are straight, the feet are round and webbed and the tail is natural in some countries and docked in places where it is still allowed.

Its head is long and large with a rounded top though it can look more squared from the profile. It has round and large eyes that can be yellow or brown, distinct eyebrows, mustache and beard and a brown nose with wide nostrils. It has ears that hang down, are medium size and sit flat against the head. It has a long neck with no dewlap.

The Inner Wirehaired Pointing Griffon


The WPG is a very friendly, loyal and happy dog with an independent side to it. It is a great watchdog and will alert you if there is an intruder, and since it can have a certain amount of protective instincts it can act in your defense sometimes. It is a good dog for new owners as it has a good nature and is mostly easy to train. It is a very energetic dog so needs active owners, and it will want to be a big part of family activities.

With socialization and training this is a gentle, devoted and entertaining dog. It tends to have a great sense of humor and is also fairly intelligent. It is very affectionate and loving but sometimes it can be a little nervous with strangers, though in general it is good with them. It is eager to please and very people orientated, it would not be happy being left alone for long periods of time. It is a great family dog or companion but is also still a great gundog.

If not well socialized and trained it can be more nervous and highly strung especially with strange places and people. It also needs lots of attention from you to be happy. If ignored or left alone a ll the time it can act out out, be aggressive and destructive and bark a lot.

Living with a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

What will training look like?

This breed is moderately easy to train as it is fairly intelligent and eager to please but can have an independent side that makes things more gradual. Be patient with it, be fair and positive but also be firm and consistent. Start its training as soon as you have it and you will see good results. Housebreaking can be a little harder for some WPGs so this may need even more patience. Certainly do not give up on it just because it is more challenging than you might have hoped.

As well as its training you need ensure it starts socialization early on so that it can deal with different people, places, animals, situations, dogs and so on! A dog with great socialization and training is one you can put your faith in to be the best dog it can be and to be a dog you can trust. There is also less chance at having issues with a dog that is too high strung or nervous.

How active is the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon?

The WPG is not a dog suited for apartment living as it needs room indoors and it needs a large yard or even better some land to be able run around safely on. This is a very active dog and it needs owners who are active themselves and can be happy and committed to ensuring their dog is well exercised. It should have at least two long walks a day, some play time too and then time off leash to run, either in land or at a dog park where it can also socialize. Any yard should be properly fenced too and while it is a hardy dog when the weather is cold, take care of it if it is very hot. It is a great hiking, jogging or cycling companion when well trained and it also loves to swim. If it does not get enough activity it will be destructive and have a lot of behavioral issues.

Caring for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Grooming needs

Caring for and maintaining a WPG takes a moderate amount of effort even though this dog is low shedding and therefore may be hypoallergenic if allergies are a concern. Its coat will need regular stripping and trimming and attention will be needed for its facial hair too. It will therefore likely need regular trips to a professional groomer. Comb the coat once or twice a week and save baths for when they are really needed so that you do not dry out its skin and make sure you use dog shampoo only.

Its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week and this will help with bad breath as well as tooth decay and gum disease. Its ears should be checked for signs of infection and then given a weekly wipe clean using a dog ear cleanser, not inserting anything into the ear. You should especially take the time to clean and dry them after it has been swimming and after bath time.

Its nails should be clipped when they get too long, if it does not naturally wear them down with its activity. This can be done by yourself if you know what you are doing. Otherwise have the groomer do it as if you cut too low down the nail it can cause pain and bleeding.

Feeding Time

How much this breed needs to eat will depend on how large it is, its metabolism, rate of activity, age and health. In general 2 to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food fed in at least two meals a day should be sufficient. Keep in mind that because of its beard and mustache this is not a neat eater and when it drinks the water socks into its facial hair and then drips along the floor as it walks away.

How is the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon with children and other animals?

This dog is known to be gentle, playful, affectionate and lively around children and gets on very well with them, especially with socialization or when raised with them. It is best with children who are not very young as they can get knocked over accidentally but with socialization and training can be fine with them, though supervision is a good idea. Make sure the kids are taught how to approach and touch it in a safe and kind way.

With other dogs the WPG is very good with socialization. With other pets the socialization is important as while it is usually accepting of them some can have a higher prey drive than others and may be prone to chasing them, especially cats. If it is raised with a cat it is more accepting but strange cats in the yard should beware!

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The WPG lives about 12 to 14 years and is actually quite a healthy breed. There are a couple of health issues it can be prone to such as hip dysplasia and eye problems.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people in the US and Canada over the last 34 years the WPG is not mentioned directly in any incident. This does not mean it would not snap or attack, as the fact is any breed with any kind of background could snap and become aggressive. To mitigate the chances you should socialize it, train it, exercise it, make sure it is mentally stimulated, that it gets the attention it needs and that it is fed and raised well. It is also important to get a dog that honestly suits how committed you are, experienced you are and active you are.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A WPG puppy is going to cost between $800 to $1200 for a pet quality one from a good breeder. Something from a top breeder of show quality dogs is going to start in the couple of thousands and go up from there. A rescued dog is likely to be an adult rather than a puppy and will cost less, around $50 to $400. Initial medical needs will be taken care of for you too taking some of those costs away, but you will not know anything about its background or lines. Please avoid places like backyard breeders, puppy mills, pet shops and the like. Regardless of what price they are asking funding places like this that do not care for their dogs and have no real breeding knowledge is not a good idea.

Initial medical costs for a puppy when you have one will include things like a physical exam, blood tests, deworming, micro chipping, vaccinations and spaying or neutering. These come to about $300. Other items will be needed like collar and leash, a crate, bowls and such so that will be another $200 or so.

Annual medical costs for simple care like check ups, vaccinations, flea and tick prevention and pet insurance come to about $485. A good quality dry dog food and treats are going to be a yearly cost of around $270. Miscellaneous items, license, training, grooming and toys are going to be another $485 a year. This gives a total yearly starting figure cost of $1400.


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Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are a great hunting dog and companion. They have a lot of energy and will need active owners to ensure they get the exercise they need otherwise they can be difficult to control, be aggressive and misbehave. This breed is happiest when it is with you, jogging with you, swimming with you, doing family activities with you. It can suffer from separation anxiety if you leave it alone for too long and can be destructive.

With the right care and socialization it is a very friendly and happy dog, very loyal and affectionate and can get along with anyone. It has the bonus of potentially being good for people with allergies and being low shedding so less hair to clean up around the home than other breeds. It will need some time at a groomers occasionally though.

Featured Image Credit: PharmShot, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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