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History of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon


Although notations to Griffon history can be found which date back to 1545, development of the current day Wirehaired Pointing Griffon began in earnest in the Netherlands in 1873 by a young Dutch sportsman and avid hunter by the name of Eduard Karel Korthals (1851-1896). The son of a wealthy banker and cattle breeder in Schooten (near Haarlem, in The Netherlands), Korthals endeavored to create what he considered the ultimate walking hunter’s gun dog. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, or “Korthals’ Griffon” as it was then known, remains so named in many other parts of the world today. The Griff was developed as a hardy, all-terrain close-working hunting dog, working in the polders; the marshy low-lying ground of the Netherlands. Very little, if anything, has changed in the purebred Griffon since Dr. E.B. Ilyus, the first secretary of the G.C.A. wrote in 1917; “The chief characteristics in which the griffon excels, and is superior over setters and pointers, are his ready adaptability to all species of game, all climates, and all varieties of terrain, his exquisite nose, wonderful vitality and endurance, and the pronounced instinct which makes him the easiest of all dogs to train on game. As a retriever he has, in my opinion, no superior, and being very intelligent and affectionate, he makes an ideal man’s companion.”

The Griffon is a very people oriented dog known for its trainability and high degree of cooperation. Although the Griffon has a great love for the field and is an excellent swimmer, it is equally at home in the obedience and show ring. With its keen nose it is also a natural at tracking. The fun loving side of its personality enjoys agility training. The Griff’s outgoing personality makes it a wonderful family pet and great with children. Overall, the Griffon is one of the best-kept secrets in the Sporting Group and is the ultimate VERSATILE hunting companion.

Timeline of Development

1851 Eduard Karel Korthals Born – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1867 “Mouche” (GSB #143) whelped
1870 - 1871 French-German War
1873 Korthals begins serious breeding program
1874 - 1877 Korthals acquires Mouche, Janus, Junon, Banco, Hector, and Satan
1875 “Banco” (GSB #2) whelped
1877 - 1879Korthals moves to Biebesheim am Rhein, Germany
1879 “Donna” acquired in Germany. Longer coat.
1882 Illness destroys 16 young dogs in Korthal’s kennel
1885 “Vesta” leased as a brood bitch. Good producer – rough coat.
1887 Korthals and 16 other breeders sign and publish the breed standard
1887 Zoletta registered with AKC
1888 International Griffon Club formed
1895 Southern German Griffon Club in Bavaria formed
1895 Royal Belgium Griffon Club formed
1901 Club Français du Griffon d’Arrêt a Poil Dur Korthals formed in France
1911 De Nederlandse Griffon Club formed in The Netherlands
1916 The Griffon Club of America formed and breed standard adopted.
1916 16 Griffons exhibited at Westminster KC
1917 New Country Life Magazine article published, peaking interest in the breed.
1939 - 1945 WWII – serious breeding activity stopped due to war – GCA ceases to exist.
1951 New club formed “Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America”
1980s WPGCA splits into two groups; those wanting to crossbreed with Cesky Fousek, and those who don’t.
1991 American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association formed by those choosing not to cross breed.
1991 AKC recognizes AWPGA as official national parent club for Griffons in USA

All images and content Copyright © 2019 the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association, ALL rights reserved.

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