1917 WPG Article | Breed Standard with Explanation | Herrenhausen Titled Dogs | Griffon OFA Numbers | Pedigree Search

"The head is to be in proportion to the overall dog. The skull is of medium width with equal length from nose to stop and from stop to occiput. The skull is slightly rounded on top, but from the side the muzzle and head are square. The stop and occiput are only slightly pronounced. The required abundant mustache and eyebrows contribute to the friendly expression.  

The eyes are large and well open, more rounded than elliptical. They have an alert, friendly, and intelligent expression. Eye color ranges in all shades of yellow and brown. Haws should not show nor should there be protruding eyes.  

The ears should be of medium size, lying flat and close to the head, set high, at the height of the eye line.  

Nose - Well open nostrils are essential. Nose color is always brown. Any other color is a disqualification.  

Bite - scissors. Overshot or undershot bite is a serious fault."  

    Explanation:  Head – There should be a distinction between sexes.  The male's head should be larger in proportion with his overall size.  The head of a bitch may be somewhat more refined; going along with her smaller size and more refined body type.  The same dimensions of the head however apply.  The head should appear to be square in shape – measuring from the nose to the stop, and then square again over the main head portion.  Producing two squares from the side view.  The view from the top is of a head that is longer than wide in proportion.  The back skull should not be wide or heavy.  Edges of the skull are slightly rounded without sharp angles.  

    Eye – the eye of the Griffon is a very distinguishing characteristic.  Its rounded appearance adds expression to the breed.  Note:  It is very important to not have a completely round eye, because of the difficulty in maintaining close fitting lids.  The closed eyelid gives the eye protection from gathering seeds or from otherwise being scratched or damaged in the field.  The eye color can be any color of brown or yellow.  The eye of the Griffon should not show any signs of entropia or ectropia nor should the haw show.   Ears – the ear of the Griffon is very similar to the ear of the Pointer or Retriever in shape and size.  It is furnished with a softer hair like that found in the beard and mustache.  The ears may have longer hair 3-6 inches in length like that found in abundance over the major portion of the head.  The ears are set fairly high and hang close to the head.  The reason the ear is shaped in this manner is to prevent water from entering the ear canal while retrieving from the water.  A longer, lower ear sometimes acts like a scoop in the water, causing a distraction while the dog is trying to swim.  This can cause the swimming dog to constantly shake his head until it is cleared.  The ear must lay flat to the cheek to prevent injury when hunting in brush and heavy cover in the field.   Note:  It is permissible to trim or strip the head hair, leaving the eyebrow and mustache abundant.  The eye should be easily seen through the brow.  When groomed, the Griffon may have either a natural or parted brow.  Individuals hunting their dogs may find the hair between the eyes collects seeds from the field, and may elect to keep this hair trimmed.  When hunting this breed, it will have a tendency to loose the softer head hair when it comes in contact with brush in the field.  As long as there is the indication of mustache and beard, the dog should not be penalized for incorrect coat.  It should not have a uniformly smooth coarse coat on the head and ear like that found on the German Wirehaired Pointer.   Nose – the color of the Griffon’s nose is always brown.  However, in the lighter shades of brown coat, and in some chestnut coat colors, the pigment will be lighter in shade.  Nose shape should be large and well open.  

    Bite – a good scissors bite is to be expected in the Griffon.  However, due to the limited gene pool in this rare breed, a scissors bite is not always available in an otherwise excellent example of the breed.  The breed standard doe not penalize for a level bite.  However, undershot or overshot bites are seriously faulted.  Remember, as a dog ages, the teeth will sometimes move.  It is not uncommon to see a scissors bite move to a level bite in the older (veteran) dog.  

"Neck, Topline, Body

Neck - rather long, slightly arched, no dewlap.  

Topline - The back is strong and firm, descending in a gentle slope from the slightly higher withers to the base of the tail.  

Body - Chest - The chest must descend to the level of the elbow, with a moderate spring of rib. The chest must neither be too wide nor too narrow, but of medium width to allow freedom of movement.  

The loin is strong and well developed, being of medium length.  

The croup and rump are stoutly made with adequate length to favor speed.  

The tail extends from the back in a continuation of the topline. It may be carried straight or raised slightly.   It is docked by one third to one half length."  

    Explanation:  The Griffon was bred to be the all terrain dog of the versatile hunting breeds.  His overall body structure should reflect his image.  The way the body of a Griffon is described above allows him to carry more muscle on his body frame.  The moderate spring of rib and medium chest width allow for the full use of heart and lungs in the working hunting dog.  The length of croup and rump are important to provide adequate area for muscle attachment and development.  He may appear short on leg; giving him a  more stout appearance.  Overall, his general function is closer to the retrievers than the pointers in comparison of the range of versatile hunting dogs.  This will allow you to become more in tune with the real function of the correct body type.  Neck – One of the differences between the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is length of neck.  The Griffon must have a long neck to work the field in the manner prescribed for the breed.  By shortening the neck, you are losing breed type.  As the Griffon works in the field, he is typically a lower headed hunting dog.  He uses the mid-range of airflow to scent his birds in the field.  Many other higher headed breeds use the upper winds to catch scent of their birds.  The longer neck of the Griffon also allows the breed to lower his nose comfortably to the ground for tracking, and to adapt to whatever flow of air there might be.  Topline – As the breed standard states, it should descend in a gentle slope from the withers to the base of the tail.  It should not be exaggerated, but only slightly sloping.   

    Body – It is extremely important to NOT make the Griffon a square dog.  The breed standard emphasizes this point.  A little more length in back is probably better than square, as long as back strength is not sacrificed.  When you shorten the back, you also shorten the reach and drive of the Griffon.  This breed is required to work in very hard field conditions which require good drive front and rear.  The dog with correct proportions will be able to work much harder and longer than one which is square, due to his ability to bring his legs and feet well under himself to support his body weight in movement.  The proper convergence and extension of the legs allows him to move gracefully over any terrain.   

    When in movement, the back of the Griffon should remain firm and straight, without movement up and down or rolling side to side.   

    Chest – the chest of the Griffon should come down to the elbow.  The width should be about one hands width.  Not too wide, allowing the elbows to move out, or too narrow –which suppresses the movement of the shoulder.   

    Loin – the loin is the area of back located from the last rib to the hip.  This area not only allows for flex in the dog, but provides strength.  The Griffon should not show much “tuck up” in this area, nor should there be any roach over the loin.   

    Croup & Rump – It is difficult to understand the terms of the standard here unless you understand the function of the Griffon.  The Griffon is meant to have good sized muscles in the rear legs.  In order to have an adequate place for these muscles to attach, the croup must be of a size which is large enough to accommodate them.  This is what is meant by the term “stoutly made.”  A short croup does not allow enough space for adequate muscle attachment, nor does it allow for extension from the rear for proper movement of the Griffon during his work.   

    What is adequate size?  It should be neither narrow nor short.   

    Tail – the tail should extend from the back in a continuation of the topline.  The correct tail carriage is level or slightly raised.  More often you will see the level tail, which is totally correct.   

    The Griffon is one breed of dog that does not reflect his attitude or intensity through the carriage of his tail.  Like many of the older European breeds, a dog on point may carry the tail at any level; slightly raised, level, or slightly dropped.  In the Griffon, the intensity is shown in his action with the tail.  Is the tail wagging (flagging)?  Is the tail rigid, showing his intensity on the bird in front of him?  In which direction it is pointing makes little difference except to the competition minded owner.  A high head and high tail are not part of this breed.  This is one reason it has not caught on in the competition field events in the United States.   

    The proper length of the tail is to be docked by 1/2  or 1/3, leaving at least 1/2  to 2/3 of the tail remaining.  This tail should be one of the longest tails found in the versatile breeds.  This has been misprinted in the Veterinarian guide on tail docking, and interpreted to be just the opposite.  Thus, many Griffons will have very short tails through no fault of their own.

"Forequarters - Shoulders are long, with good angulation, and well laid back. The forelegs are straight and vertical from the front and set well under the shoulder from the side. Pasterns are slightly sloping.  Dew claws should be removed. Feet are round, firm, with tightly closed webbed toes. Pads are thick." 
    Explanation:  Again, it is important to emphasize the shoulder being well laid back and the forelegs set well under the body.  There is no place in the Griffon breed for straight front shoulders, because it distracts from the ability of the breed to function correctly.  Equally so, the shoulder should not be too close across the withers.  The withers need to be wide enough to allow them to come together when the head is lowered to the ground during field searching and tracking. There could be more width allowed in the withers area on the Griffon than on some other breeds, because of his style of working with his head down.  As you well know, the shoulder blades tighten when the head is lowered.  If they are already close, there is no place for the shoulders to go – thus restricting the ability of the dog, unless there is give at some other place on the column of support (i.e. throwing out the elbows is one).  This displacement of balance hinders the amount of time the dog can work.   

    The shoulder should be well set back underneath the body of the Griffon, in order to carry the weight of his body when working in the prescribed manner.  This set back should be obvious when the dog is standing naturally.   

    Feet – There has not been much of a problem in the past with the feet of the Griffon.  Most are well rounded in shape and most stand up nicely on the pasterns.

"Hindquarters - The thighs are long and well muscled. Angulation is in balance with the front. The legs are vertical, with the hocks turning neither in nor out. The stifle and hock joints are strong and well angulated. Feet as in front."  
     Explanation:  the thighs of the Griffon are the power source behind its movement.  A strong powerful muscle should be in evidence.  (Refer to the stoutly made croup).  Conditioning in this type of dog emphasizes its correctness. 
The standard states that “the stifle and hock joints are strong and well angulated.”  This should allow for plenty of power to be transferred in its forward movement.  If there is not enough angulation, there will not be the ground reaching front and rear movement necessary for the correct movement of the Griffon.  If too much angulation is shown, the hocks will show weakness in the form of cow hocks or wobbly hocks; neither or which is desirable. 


"The coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. It is a double coat. The outer coat is medium length, straight and wiry, never curly or woolly. The harsh texture provides protection in rough cover. The obligatory undercoat consists of a fine, thick down, which provides insulation as well as water resistance.  The undercoat is more or less abundant, depending upon the season, climate, and hormone cycle of the dog. It is usually lighter in color. The head is furnished with a prominent mustache and eyebrows. These required features are extensions of the undercoat, which gives the Griffon a somewhat untidy appearance. The hair covering the ears is fairly short and soft, mixed with longer harsh hair from the coat. The overall feel is much less wiry than the body. The legs, both front and rear, are covered with denser, shorter, and less coarse hair. The coat on the tail is the same as the body; any type of plume is prohibited. The breed should be exhibited in full body coat, not stripped short in pattern. Trimming and stripping are only allowed around the ears, top of head, cheeks and feet." 

    Explanation:  Coat: this is covered extensively in the breed standard.  What is not mentioned is the length of the coat and that the coat is seasonal just like any other breed.  The Griffon coat should be approximately 2-3 inches in length.  This is longer than the GWP coat and different in texture as well because of the blending of the under coat and the outer coat.  The coat should be short on the legs; avoiding the long furnishings look of the setter.  This shorter leg hair provides both protection for the hunting Griffon, and repels debris which might otherwise be attracted to longer, softer hair on the legs.     

    The Griffon does drop coat with hot weather and increases coat density with cold weather.  During the summer months, little of the under coat will be visible except with the retention of some of the mustache and eyebrows.  As the colder weather increases, the insulation of the softer under coat is again needed and a full coat is seen.  The texture of coat varies considerably.  With the increase of activity in the show ring, the texture must be looked at very critically.  When looking at texture, look at the hair strand rather than how it feels.  Any coat can be made to feel coarse.  The strand size can not be changed.  A coarse hair has a larger strand; a softer hair is finer is size.   

    In breeding the Griffon, there is a need for both the softer and the coarser coats.  In my experience as a breeder, if only the coarse coats are bred, all under coat is lost.  This includes the head furnishings.  If only the soft haired coats are bred, you loose all wire coat and end up with the longer, softer coated woolly Griffon.  This is not a functional coat for the field.  Watch for the long, fine coated Griffons in the show ring.  They will usually be more sculptured with longer furnishings a product of the undercoat.   

    The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, like any other wirehaired breed, must have regular coat maintenance.  The correct method of care for this type of coat is the rotation of the coat by hand stripping or plucking.  However, don't expect to see many of the Griffon exhibitors doing this.  A rotated coat or coat in change should not be confused with a dog presented in a stripped pattern – which, as the standard states, is incorrect. When the Griffon coat is stripped in a pattern, most of the silver (outer) coat is removed; showing the brown coat underneath.  The body will have a uniform short length on the body of the brown hair, with light silver feathering on the legs and chest.  It is a total misrepresentation of the breed.  That is why it was mentioned in the breed standard. The breed standard devotes a great deal of space to emphasizing that the dog should be shown in full coat.  Pattern stripping is a mistake usually only made by a handler who is not familiar with the breed.  A final note: the common belief that the Griffon should be shown in field condition prevails and is not incorrect.  If a dog enters the show ring with little or no leg and chest furnishings and light furnishings on his head, he is more likely a field dog.  This is what the breed enthusiasts want in their dual purpose Griffon breed.  Remember; the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is first a FIELD dog, and has only recently been introduced back into the show ring. He should be rewarded, not penalized, for doing what he has been bred to do.


"Preferably steel gray with brown markings, frequently chestnut brown, or roan, white and brown; white and orange also acceptable. A uniformly brown coat, all white coat, or white and orange are less desirable. A black coat disqualifies." 

    Explanation:  The normal colors of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon include varied shades of brown (very dark to medium), chestnut (distinct reddish shade of brown), overlaid by an outer coat of gray which is varied in color from charcoal gray to silver, or sometimes white.  These brown colors are located on the head, in the undercoat, on patches and ticking of the body coat, legs, or tail.  The outer harsher coat can be gray, brown, or a mixture of both.  It lays over the top of the undercoat, making a true double coat.  It is normal for the head hair to bleach, making it several shades lighter than the body coat when it is exposed to the sun.


"Although close working, the Griffon should cover ground in an efficient, tireless manner. He is a medium speed dog with perfect coordination between front and rear legs. At a trot, both front and rear legs tend to converge toward the center line of gravity. He shows good extension both front and rear. Viewed from the side, the topline is firm and parallel to the line of motion. A smooth, powerful ground covering ability can be seen." 

    Explanation:  Because of his combination of conformation requirements, the Griffon moves differently than other sporting dogs.  This may be difficult to see when first watching the breed.  However, once a Griffon is in movement, the grace and ability to cover ground is quite evident.  The power of the gait comes from the heavy muscles in the front and rear, which provide the thrust.  The grace and ground covering ability is illustrated in the movement forward of the feet in a gliding motion.  This is what is meant by the movement as being “cat like.”  It does not mean that the Griffon should move like a cat, but that the combination of the well set shoulder underneath him provides for the dog to glide his feet in a graceful movement forward, much like the grace shown by a cat in motion.  

    The Griffon should show good reach and drive, but should not over elevate the lifting of his legs.  His legs should also converge toward the center as his speed increases.  His topline should show little motion side to side or up and down; but rather remain parallel to the line of motion.  Remember - he must be longer than tall to be able to move in this manner!


"The Griffon has a quick and intelligent mind and is easily trained. He is outgoing, shows a tremendous willingness to please and is trustworthy. He makes an excellent family dog as well as a meticulous hunting companion." 

    Explanation:  His adoration of people and family have led to a tremendous following of supporters.  He is always happy, willing, loving, adaptable, and playful.  He is a dog with an active (not hyper), quick learning mind which learns almost any task with positive reinforcement.  The Griffon has good retention of all things learned.  He has a deep desire to be with people, and does not make a good “kennel dog.”  The Griffon is a reliable and trustworthy hunting companion and family dog.

  • Nose any color other than brown. 
  • Black coat." 
Page (1)

Breed Standard 
  • General Appearance
  • Size, Proportion, and Substance

Page (2)

Breed Standard - Continued 

  • Head
  • Neck, Topline & Body
  • Forequarters & Hindquarters
  • Coat, Color, Gait
  • Temperament
  • Disqualifications

Page (3)

Breed Comparisons 

  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
| Home | Kennel | Griffon Info | Photos | OFA Database | Griffon Database | Links | Contact Us


©2015 Barbara Young - Herrenhausen Sporting Dogs