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Dedicated to the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
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How will you find the best breeder for YOU? - What puppy will suite your family and lifestyle the best?

 
 

 

First things first....

How do I contact Breeders?

What Should I Ask?

How do I Select my Breeder


Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

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Selecting Your Breeder

Finding the breeder that suits you best is a great adventure.   Sometimes the first breeder you contact will be the right one.  Perhaps you will    speak with a number of breeders in order to find the one that is breeding the kind of Griffon that you want to include in your life. 

Every breeder has specific goals, policies and ethics that they follow in their breeding program and breeding philosophy,
knowing what to ask will help you to select the breeder that suits you best.

 

 
 
       
 

 


First things first.....
Will a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon suit my lifestyle?

Not every home is right for a Griffon, so before bringing a Griffon into your life, it is essential to objectively evaluate your lifestyle and your needs and research whether a Griffon is the breed for you.  (See Frequently Asked Questions)

Buying a Griffon pup is much the same as buying a pup of any breed. Make sure you do your homework and find a good breeder. Selection of your breeder is as important as the selection of your breed.

Make a "wish list" with the qualities that you are looking for in your Griffon, and include the activities that you plan to participate in with your puppy.   Be realistic.


Once I have decided that a Griffon is the breed for me,
How do I Contact Breeders?

Contact the Clubs, CKC, AKC, NAVHDA, FCI and Griffon Clubs (See Breed Clubs) and ask them to send you the names of members who are breeding.  Keep in mind that they will not give you names of non-members who may also be good sources for your Griffon.  Look in Hunting Magazines ( i.e. Gundog and NAVHDA) and contact those breeders with listings. While you are speaking to breeders, ask who *they* would recommend purchasing a puppy from. 

 


The internet offers other options, breeder and Club webpages, discussion groups, e-mail lists all can be used to make contact with breeders and owners to both learn more about the breed and to seek out the perfect puppy.  Contact Griffon owners who have similar interests to you and inquire where they purchased their Griffon and ask if they would recommend the breeder of their dog.

You may even consider adopting a Rescue Griffon. These are typically adolescent, young adults and mature Griffons that have been given up by their owners for one reason or another. See Griffon Rescue Page  and e-mail "Homer Mobley" <griffs3@shentel.net>, (USA) for more information.

Do not buy a Griffon puppy from a pet store or a dog broker, these puppies may be the product of a puppy mill or an unscrupulous breeder who cannot sell their puppies with the normal person to person methods.  Additionally, the socialization of pet store puppies is seriously lacking and can affect the dog for its lifetime.

Take your time, do not be in a hurry to buy your puppy.  You will have your Griffon for 12-14 years.  Plan on interviewing  many breeders,  and seeing as many Griffons as you can.  Do not make your choice until you have interviewed a number of breeders.  After you have researched a number of breeders and learned about their breeding philosophies and breeding programs, choose your breeder and get onto their waiting list.


What Should I Ask?

Keep in mind that if a breeder does or does not do some of the things brought up in this list, it does not necessarily mean that they are bad breeders.

Breeders expect to be interviewed, below are some question suggestions, write down some questions of your own and start doing your interviews before you ask to visit Griffons

Are your Griffons Fullblood?

There can be some confusion between the Fullblood Griffon and the
Griffon/Fousek Crosses, since both are represented, promoted and have registration certificates saying they are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.

What is the focus of your breeding program?

Whether the focus is on selection and breeding of Griffons for hunting, for dog shows, for obedience, or for whatever .... find out where the interests and intent of the breeder are.  

Seek a breeder who is doing the kinds of things that you want to do.... not only will they best be able to evaluate the litter and send you the most suitable puppy, but they will be an invaluable source of support and advice for preparing your pup for that particular venue.  If you want to hunt, get your pup from a hunter.... if you want to hunt and show, get your pup from someone who breeds "Dual Dogs" and is successful in the show ring.

Even a breeder that focusses on one aspect should select for the "total dog" with  consideration paid to genetics, temperament, structure, type and natural abilities.

Keep in mind that a casual breeder may not have a breeding program or plan, and instead may breed to their focus without a long-term plan. 

It may also be of interest to find out whether the breeder has a mentor in the breed, and whether they work on their own or in concert with another breeder or group of breeders.

For how many years have you owned a Griffon?

Basically, you want to establish the experience and knowledge of the breeder.  If the breeder has owned Griffons for years and bred a number of litters, chances are that they will have a more well rounded understanding of the breed and better ability to evaluate Griffons and puppies.

If you are dealing with a breeder who has less experience, it is all the more important to research the breed and breed problems, as a new breeder may not know how to address all of your questions and concerns.

How many Griffons have you owned over these years? 

It is an advantage for a breeder to have owned/trained more than a few members of the breed as they will have had more experience with a variety of Griffons, probably of different bloodlines.

How many Griffons do you currently own?

Find out about the kind of dog that the breeder keeps.  What qualities do they look for in each of these dogs?  Does this correspond with the kind of Griffon that  you are looking for?  How does the breeder care for their dogs, are they housedogs, do they live in a crate while the owner is at work, or are they out in a kennel? 

2 Griffon or 20 Griffons, Does the breeder spend appropriate time with each Griffon and keep them in a healthy and stimulating environment? 

Do you breed other breeds, or have you bred other breeds in the past?

Some very experienced and successful breeders enjoy keeping and breeding   more than one breed.  However, be wary of someone who is actively breeding a number of different breeds. 

Can you please tell me about the pros and cons of this breed?

A knowledgeable breeder will be able to offer detailed information on problems in the breed, as well as the breed's good points.

Can you tell me about the strengths and weaknesses of your Griffons? 

There are no perfect dogs, every bloodline has it's own strengths and weaknesses.   The waters get muddier since what is a strength to one breeder may be considered a weakness by another breeder.  This is why it is so important to interview more than just a few breeders.  You can find out how these traits will affect you.

Would a puppy from your bloodlines suit my needs?

A knowledgeable and ethical breeder will advise you as to whether a Griffon from their bloodlines and breeding program will or will not suit your needs and your lifestyle.

Why did you choose to breed this particular female with this particular male?

The breeder may give you information on the qualities that they hope to bring forward in this litter.  Sometimes the reasons are further reaching, a link in the breeding program or a test for a trait.

Are they keeping a puppy from the  litter?  Is is a first time breeding or have this sire and dam been bred together before?  If the Sire and Dam have been bred before (either together or to other Griffons) ask how the puppies from prior litters turned out.

Inquire whether the breeding is open, or a linebreeding or inbreeding.

The breeder should know the pedigrees, and be familiar with details on the parents, grand parents and great grand partents.

In particular you should ask for details on the traits of  the Sire (Father) and the Dam (Mother) of the expected litter.  As well, inquire about any dog that appears more than once in the 3 generation pedigree for the litter.  Your discussion should include the following qualities:

  • temperament (how are they in the house, field and with strangers)
  • conformation (structure will affect soundness in the field)
  • hunting ability (natural pointing, tracking and retrieving and game drive)
  • genetic strength and vigor (an affected dog should never be bred)
  • cooperativeness and bidability (true strengths of the breed)
  • coat (there are a variety of coat qualities) See Wire-Coat Discussion

As you sow, so shall you reap.  If you are looking for a Griffon for a partucular purpose (ie: hunting) be sure that there are hunting dogs in the pedigree. 

How old are the sire and dam?

If they are younger than two years of age,  inquire why they are being bred.   There simply is not enough known about a young dog to merit using it in a breeding program.  In the first place, the dog is not mature, either physically nor mentally.   He cannot be accurately evaluated in the field, hips cannot be certified with OFA until two. 

However, in some cases dogs of these ages are bred by experienced and responsible breeders, with good reasoning.  Ask why and judge for yourself.   But, mostly, if the dogs are younger than two, you will want to wait until the breeder has a litter with an older bitch of proven quality.

How do you raise and socialize your litters?

This question will speak to the experience of the breeder in raising and properly socializing your puppy.  Ask for details about the methods that will be used to raise your puppy.  It is a bonus if the breeder has a proper evaluation (temperament tests) done by an experienced evaluator with each puppy in the litter. If you are looking for a Griffon for a specific purpose, look for a breeder who will expose and carefully evaluate the puppies for your venue of choice. Find out where the puppies raised.  Learn how much time is spent with the puppies, and if  they socialized individually on a daily basis.

If the breeder has not raised a litter before, ask from whom they are learning how to properly raise and socialize puppies.  Also, inquire what basis they will be evaluating the puppies on, and whether they have a more experienced breeder assisting with evaluations and puppy raising advice.

Find out what age the puppies are placed into their new homes.  Anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks is ideal, providing the puppies are being raised in a stimulating and positive environment.

Ask what the breeder does with puppies that he cannot sell when they are young.

Do you Tattoo or Microchip your puppies?

This is becoming more and more important in our society.  A breeder who places permanent ID on their puppies will be responsible for the long term for that puppy.   Plus, some form of Permanent ID on a puppy can help the puppy to get home to you should he be lost or stolen.

Do you give vaccinations to your puppies or does a Veterinarian give them?

Puppies should go to their new homes with up to date deworming, shots and a Veterinarian's health examination. Some breeders will vaccinate puppies themselves.   Even if the breeder gives vaccinations, you should ask that a Certified Veterinarian do a complete Health Examination before your receive your puppy and that the Veterinarian supply an International Health Certificate. 

With which registry are the puppies registered?

Are they CKC, AKC, FCI, NAVHDA, FDSB, UKC etc.  Some Griffons are registered in both CKC/AKC and NAVHDA and some Griffons (usually back-yard bred ones) are not registered at all. 

If you plan on participating in AKC/CKC field tests, shows or obedience trials you will need to have a dog that is registered/registerable with these clubs.

What Genetic Problems are in the breed and in your bloodline? 

A breeder who has only bred one or two litters may not be fully aware of the  genetics strengths and pitfalls of their bloodlines.  You should expect that a breeder who has bred a number of litters over a number of years will be familiar with the genetic problems present in their bloodline.   Expect the breeder to be open, and honest about genetics.

Do you have genetic tests done on your Griffons?

The problems most commonly seen in Griffons are entropian, ectropian and hip dysplasia.   Some Griffons have thyroid problems. Dogs used for breeding should not be affected by genetic problems, and should at least have an OFA hip certification number or PENN Hip evaluation and preferably have a pre-breeding opthalmolgic examination or CERF number. Thyroid should be checked in some lines. 

The breeder should be willing to provide you with copies of the certification (exam sheet in the case of eyes). DO NOT TAKE THE BREEDERS WORD FOR IT!   And do not believe it when someone says "hip problems are not in my line so I don't check hips".  If there are no problems in the bloodline, it is all the more reason to get OFA certification so other breeders can see the value of the bloodline.  (See Genetics Page)

Do you stand behind your Griffons?

And for how long? 

At the very least..... look for a breeder that offers a genetic guarantee.  Find out if the guarantee is for replacement (when?) or refund (entire amount or 1/2?) and whether you have to euthanise or return your dog in order to enact the guarantee.  Find out if the breeder will pay for entropian surgery (if needed)... fully or only up to a certain amount.   Get the guarantee in writing, and make sure it signed and treated as a legal document with witnesses and dates.  

If you are dealing with an established breeder who will be involved in the breed for a long time into the future you can probably be more confident that there will be some resolution should your guarantee need to be enacted, or if you need help in a few years. If you are you dealing with someone who only plans to breed one or two litters make certain to find out what happens to your guarantee if the breeder ceases to breed.

What kind of after sale service do I get?  Ask the hard questions.

Ask about support and advice, does the breeder have the experience in your area of interest (whether it is hunting or field testing or showing) to help you to condition and train your dog successfully in your particular interest?  If this is your first Griffon, you may want a breeder who is willing to offer advice and help on a frequent basis.

Ask about what kind of an information package is supplied with your puppy.  Some breeders will simply give feeding instructions, others offer an entire book of information on raising your puppy to best advantage.

What happens if I have to give up my Griffon?

Many breeders will have a clause written into their sale contract that states that they will take a Griffon back.  This is important.  You don't want to abandon your Griffon at a shelter should something prevent you from keeping him/her.

Is there anything that you need to know about me?

Select a breeder who asks many questions about you, your family, your schedule, why you want a Griffon and the type of puppy personality you feel would be most suited to your home and hunting needs. Don't be surprised if you are expected to fill out a questionnaire.

Finally, Ask to see their dogs. 

If you are close enough to visit the kennel.... Look for Griffons that are the picture of health, clear eyes, wet noses, good coats,  happy, and well cared for.   Look for Griffons that are active and energetic.  Be sure that the Griffons have good, friendly temperaments and  respond joyfully to visitors.

If you are looking for a dog for a specific purpose, (ie hunting) ask to see the dogs work in a bird field. 


How do I Select My Breeder?

By now you have interviewed a number of breeders, and from each one you have learned more about the Griffon, and about the different bloodlines and breeding philosophies.

Remember that every breeder interprets the written breed standard and has their own interpretation of the appropriate use for the Griffon.  What is right for one breeder may not necessarily be right for another and that is where you have to evaluate carefully the various opinions and breeding programs that you have been presented with.

With my interest, (hunting companions) I think of these variations in selection as a "cup of tea".  One breeder may like a "sweeter" cup of tea, one may want one with more range, or with more coat.   Each of these variations are valid and may be more effective for the particular game or terrain that the breeder is hunting their Griffon over.  You have to decide how you want your "cup of tea" and make your decision accordingly.

Select a breeder that is breeding the kind of Griffon that you want to own.  If you hunt, get your Griffon puppy from a hunter.  If you want to put your Griffon into Conformation Shows, get your Griffon puppy from someone who successfully breeds and shows their Griffons in Conformation Shows.  If you want to do both, get your puppy from a breeder that is specializing in "Dual Griffons".

Hunting or show or obedience.....  The breeder who actively participates in your area of interest will best be able to evaluate the specific traits in the litter and select the best puppy for you.  In addition, they will be best able to help you to develop your puppy for your chosen area(s) of interest.  You will both be well ahead.

Finally, use your instincts.  If you do not feel comfortable dealing with a certain breeder, follow your intuition.  The relationship is going to be a long one, lasting the life of your Griffon, and perhaps beyond.  Your breeder can be a great help in the raising and training of your dog, and you must choose someone that you are comfortable dealing with and someone who you trust to send you the puppy that will suit you best.

And.....  Welcome to the Breed.  
You have chosen a unique and fascinating breed of dog. 

I hope that your Griffon will bring you as much joy as ours have brought into our lives.

 

 

 
       
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Thank you for visiting.

For further information, contact


Griffonpoint Kennel

Katy Steuhm katy@griffonpoint.com
California - USA

Shannon Ford shannon@griffonpoint.com
Alberta/British Columbia, Canada

 
 
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All Rights Reserved. Copyright ¬© Shannon Ford 1997 - You may copy this page for personal use only, providing it is not changed, and that credit rests with the author, Shannon Ford.. ¬©Shannon Ford 1997