it is a comparatively new dog so far as American fanciers and sportsmen are
occasional specimen of the breed was to be seen here as long ago as 1900, and
perhaps before that. Mr. M.R. Schneider of Massapequa, Long Island, was
one of the first to import a pointing griffon. But the real history of
the breed in this country dates back only about ten years, when Mr. Louis A.
Thebaud of Morristown, N.J., went to France on a shooting trip and became greatly
impressed with the character and usefulness of the breed. He imported several
in 1907, and others since then. Dr. E.B. Ilyus of Lancaster, Pa., and
other Americans took up the breed, forming a small but enthusiastic group who
had the wisdom to import only the best, so that our American specimens are
of the breed have increased rapidly during late years, including both fanciers
and sportsmen, so that now we have enough dogs in this country to insure
a perpetuation of the strain regardless of war conditions abroad. Sixteen
griffons were exhibited in the last New York show.
breed has been fortunate in its friends here. They have exhibited
at the larger shows pretty consistently, and so have given it advertising
that it would not otherwise have had. "Furthermore," to quote a recent
note in "Field and Fancy, " the wire-haired pointing griffon has
now commenced to attract attention to his powers in the field, and is being
taken up in ever increasing numbers by field trial folk. It would
not be surprising to find that wire-haired pointing griffons will soon
make a name for themselves at all the field trials, whereas, at the present
time, they must rely on the reputation of the wonderful gun work done by
such dogs as Marquis de Merlimont, who is also a noted bench show winner."
August, 1916 after a successful entry at the Rhode Island Kennel Club's
show, the Griffon Club of America was formed, with Mr. Thebaud as president
and Dr. Ilyus, as secretary treasurer, and an American Standard was adopted.
to 1910," writes Dr. Ilyus, "several individual specimens were brought
to this country, but the credit of introducing these dogs to American sportsmen
belongs to Mr. Thebaud who, through observation and experience in France,
was convinced that they were especially adapted to our game and country. From
the great dogs imported by him have sprung the now well known pointing
griffons in America. In 1914, I imported my first griffon and since
then I have imported a number of the best type of field and bench winning
griffons in Europe. The Griffon Club of America has officially called
the attention of intending purchasers and breeders to the great importance
of informing themselves as to blood lines and type, as there are many dogs
masquerading and being sold as griffons that have no claim to the name."
the top-notch griffons that have already achieved distinction in this country,
on the bench, in the field, and at stud, may be mentioned Mr. Thebaud's
Homére and Marquis de Merlimont, Ch Flambeau Panig, imported for
him by Dr. Ilyus, and Kob de Merlimont and Fileuse de Merlimont, owned
by Mr. Thebaud and handled by Mr. W. N. Gilbert Clark. Mamzelle de
Moulignon and Miche de Moulignon,
both European winners, were imported and are now owned by Dr. Ilyus; the
ancestors of the latter were all European champions. Bolero von Gimbsheim,
imported and owned by Dr. Illyus has been winning consistently at American
shows during the past two years and is a perfect Korthals type. He
is also a versatile field dog and one of the most perfectly trained griffons
in the United States. Two American champions, Crappau and Kob's Fritzie,
are owned by Messrs. Ralph Hornblower and H. Hollon Crowell. These
are but a few of the notable griffons now before the American public. The
winners at the last New York show, open classes only, were as follows: first
dogs, Mr. Thebaud's Marquis de Merlimont; second dogs, Mr. Thebaud's Flambeau
Panig; first bitches, Miss Alice Clark's Kob's Louisette de Greylock; second
bitches, Mr. Crowell's Ch. Kob's Fritzie.
have a weakness for rough-coated dogs for the intelligent, competent looking
faces of the Irish wolfhound and the Airedale and Irish terriers. That
first griffon that I saw in the New York show struck me as having that
kind of face. He is a real dog, not a fancier's fad, and one which
I am convinced cannot fail to make his way in the hearts of American dog
lovers. It is a rugged and prolific breed, a bold, strong dog of
decided character, notable for his faithfulness, his devotion to his master,
his intelligence and great sagacity, his endurance, and his all-round utility.
In the matter
of utility, the wire-haired pointing griffon is an all-round sporting dog. His
versatility is remarkable. He may be trained to hunt all kinds of
game, big and small in water, marsh, upland, and forest. He is a
dog as well suited to rough work as the Airedale. His hard outer
coat and dense undercoat form a protection against briers and dampness
and make him a splendid water dog. He can endure extremes of temperature
without loss of vigor. He is gifted with bird sense, endurance in
the field, and a keen scent. He
has an exquisite nose for finding scattered birds. He is a natural
pointer and retriever and is easily trained to obey and to work systematically.
griffon, in short, possesses a good combination of pointer, setter, and
spaniel characteristics. He is perhaps too new with us to compare
him fairly with the pointer and the setter under American conditions, but
it is not too much to say that he cannot be beaten for all-round work,
under all conditions, at all seasons of the year. He lacks something
of the snap, dash, and style of the pointer and setter, but he is remarkably
sure; he seldom makes mistakes. He is at present perhaps too
deliberate and too lacking in spectacular style to measure up to modern
field trial standards, but his friends believe that he can be brought up
to the highest pitch of perfection by proper breeding and training.
American Standard for the breed calls for a medium sized dog, symmetrical
and well built. Head, long and heavy, wire-haired, but hair not too long; there
should be a good mustache and eyebrows. Skull, not too wide. Muzzle,
long and square; nasal bone, convex; stop not too abrupt. Eyes, large,
not hidden by the eyebrows, very intelligent in expression, brown or dark
yellow in color. Nose, always brown and large. Ears, of medium
size and not hound-like, close to the head, set on not too low; the short
hair on the ears is mixed with a few longer ones. Neck, rather long,
without dewlap. Shoulders, rather long, well sloping. Chest,
deep but not too broad. Back, strong, well developed at the loins. Ribs,
slightly arched. Loins, well developed. Forelegs, straight,
muscular, well placed, wire-haired. Hind legs, wire-haired; thighs
long and well developed; stifles well bent, not straight. Feet, round
and strong; toes well closed. Stern, carried straight or just above the
level of the back, wire-haired, without feather; a fourth or a third of
the tail is generally docked.
has been stated, the griffon's coat is one of its most salient characteristics. The
outer coat is wiry, crisp, and harsh, like fine iron wire, never curly
or woolly; the undercoat is dense and soft. The characteristic color
is steel gray, with brown patches often mixed with gray hairs; also
white-gray with brown or yellow patches. Dogs stand from 21 1/2 to
23 1/2 inches at the shoulder, bitches from 20 to 21 1/2 inches. The average
weight is about fifty-six pounds.
puppies when born are snow-white with liver colored blotches, changing
later to the steel gray or roan.
to the comparative rarity of the breed in America, and the expense at which
they have been imported, values are high. Stud dogs are considered
worth from $1,000 to $1,500, and promising puppies of winning parents bring
from $225 to $250 apiece, and even more for exceptionally good ones.
who have so far taken up the breed in this country are extremely enthusiastic,
and to a man they predict a brilliant future for it here when it shall
have had time to make its worth known.
Crowell writes: "I shot over a griffon all last fall and can say
personally that I cannot imagine a bird dog which could give a man any
more downright good hunting than the little griffon I used. I do
not hereby claim that she is the finest bred dog in the country, and do
not wish to enter into any controversy as to her merits as against those
of the pointer or setter; but I do know that she has a good nose,
found her game, pointed it, and retrieved it, with about as little talking
to and as few directions as any dog that I have ever seen."
says: "The chief characteristics in which the griffon excels, and
is superior to our 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.
a retriever he has, in my opinion, no superior, and being very intelligent
and affectionate, he makes an ideal man's companion."
dog has his day, and the day of the Korthals griffon in America is
surely coming. Personally, I doubt very much whether he can ever
displace the pointer and the setter; they are too well established with
us for that -- they occupy a warm place in the hearts of too many appreciative
sportsmen. But he will make his own place in his own way, and unless all portents
fail, and history fails to repeat itself, it will most assuredly be a place
of honor in the hearts of men.
may be some time before you have an opportunity to see one at work in the
field, but the next time that you attend one of the big bench shows, take
a good look at the griffon, gaze into those brown eyes of his, rub your
hand over his rough, hard head, and see if you do not agree with me that
this is a real dog, a dog destined by nature to be a friend of man, whether
that man fares forth with a gun or sits by the open fire with pipe and
book, and likes to have a shaggy form on the hearth rug beside him.