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Wirehaired Pointing Griffons: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon dog breed

This rugged, athletic hunting dog has a pleasant disposition, but vigorous daily exercise (jogging, biking, hiking, field work) is high on his list of Things to Do, as are companionship and personal attention.

Too much solitary confinement makes him restless and prone to separation anxiety, which he may express by chewing destructively.

With strangers, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon tends to be politely aloof. To avoid his caution shading into timidity, he should be accustomed to people and noises at an early age.

With other animals, he is usually accepting, though some individuals can be cat chasers.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is independent and easily distracted, but he is not a dominant dog and is quite responsive to obedience training that includes a calm voice and light hand.

He can be a little slow to housebreak and some individuals bark excessively, especially without enough exercise or mental stimulation.

Be aware that Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, like all whiskery dog breeds, are not for the fastidious household, as they are sloppy drinkers, their beard soaking up water and depositing it as a trail of drips across your floor.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized with an agile, athletic build
  • Has a rough wiry coat and whiskery beard
  • Is rugged in body, pleasant in disposition
  • Is dignfied with strangers and congenial with other dogs
  • Responds well to calm training – is not a dominant dog

A Wirehaired Pointing Griffon may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
  • Timidity when not socialized enough
  • A distractable mind of his own – tends to ignore calls and commands when an interesting sight or scent catches his attention
  • "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
  • Finding one – very uncommon breed

A Wirehaired Pointing Griffon may not be right for you.


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In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament  is less predictable than the inheritance of physical  traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

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  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult WPGs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy.

More traits and characteristics of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

If I was considering a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are athletic hunting dogs. They are not apartment dogs and they are not suited to people who just want a casual pet. Potential owners should be willing and able to take this breed running or hiking or biking, or to get involved in hunting activities, or agility classes (obstacle course for dogs).

    Wirehaired Pointing Griffons need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become restless and bored, which is likely to result in barking and destructive chewing.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become timidity.
  3. Mind of their own. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are one of the most responsive of the pointing breeds, quite trainable when given sufficient exercise and companionship. But all pointing breeds have an independent mind of their own and are easily distracted by exciting sights, scents, and sounds. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say and that they must pay attention to you. Follow my free online training programs.
  4. "Shaggy dog syndrome." The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon can be a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his rough coat. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food, which ends up on your pants when he presses his head against your leg. Rough-coated dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers.
  5. Finding one. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is not nearly as popular as other pointing breeds. You might have a long search locating one, and you should expect to go onto a waiting list.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

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