Let’s talk about my most favorite breed of dog. A breed you may not have even heard of- which is something I actually think has made the breed stay so solid for so long.
While I am not an expert on the breed, I have had 3 of them and fostered countless others, so I feel I have a fair bit of knowledge to pass along about them. Especially if you consider that 15 years ago, had you asked me if I wanted a bird dog, I would have said “Hell no. Those things are crazy.” But now, having had Stella for 14 years, I can’t even imagine having a different type of dog. And no, they are not crazy.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (otherwise known as Griff, WPG, or in my home, Fuzz Face), is considered a medium-sized dog (although males tend to be quite a bit larger than females) with a high energy level. Their distinctive beards and shaggy coats give them an adorable appearance, at least in my opinion.
You can read all about them here: AKC WPG description
But here is my take on the breed, the nitty gritty if you will, and things to consider if you are thinking of adopting or buying one. (Yup, they’re popular enough to start showing up in shelters and rescues now. Really, really, nice ones, in fact).
This was one of the handsome Griffs we got in needing a home. He found a forever home earlier this winter.
Is this a high energy breed? Yes. They’re sporting dogs. They’re bred to be out in the field hunting birds all day. But that said, I’ve found the WPG to be one of the calmer hunting dogs I have been around. They do need daily exercise, but then are completely content to hang around with you and lounge at home. I’ve hunted with them and they are fantastic. They don’t range far, and can do it all, point, retrieve and flush. They also make fantastic outdoor adventure partners. Stella and I have hiked all over Idaho and other states and the breed are great at getting out and having a good time.
How are Griffs with other animals? So, here is the thing about this breed and how I know they are soon going to be overbred. This is a breed that is friendly with everyone and everything. Much like a Labrador, they think life is great, and are always up for making new friends. However, they’re also incredibly loyal and love to be with their people. If you move from the living room to the bedroom you’d better expect that they will too. Lately, I’m seeing more and more Griffs that are dog reactive. Some people are breeding them for a look, and no longer for that temperament that is what makes this breed so great. So, do your homework on breeders and meet the parents. They should be loveable and know no strangers.
Squirrel, on the right, was a classic WPG. She’d go home with anyone, but then probably find her way back to me when she realized I wasn’t around…
Why do I love this breed so much? Because of their ridiculous look, sure. But also because they are so friendly, smart and healthy. They are great to run and hike with, but also great house dogs. I never have to worry that they will be aggressive when they meet someone. I never have to worry that they’ll get in a dog fight. They’re..easy. But that said, they’re easy for me because I meet their needs. They live inside with me and go everywhere with me. This is not a breed that wants to live outside away from its family. I also exercise them like crazy. I run, skate ski, take them on trail rides, hike. I basically plan my life around getting my dogs out (and myself) for some exercise. So, they get a good outing and then are fine lounging at home the rest of the day. My Dad’s dogs, both WPG rescues, run around the farm with him but have to be in the fenced yard when he’s at work. This is fine for them. Knowing they’ll get to stretch their legs when he’s home is enough. But they’re also no longer adolescents.
Sassy, now 12, still loves to run and hike, but she’s also really good at sleeping. We adopted her when she was a year old, but she is actually Squirrel’s daughter. I adopted Squirrel 6 years after I adopted Sassy and found out they were related.
So, is this the breed for you? I don’t know. I just know it’s the breed for me and has made me fall in love with bearded dogs. Fun Fact: Neither of my current dogs are purebred WPGs. Stella is half German Shorthair Pointer and Siri is a German Wirehair Pointer. So, while I rave about the WPG here, it isn’t always the only option if you’re looking for a fantastic canine companion.
Half GSP Half WPG=Total Perfection