“Field” Versus “Show” Dogs – For Griffons, It’s One and the Same!
While some Sporting Dog breeds and breed clubs have struggled with the split of their breed into the “field” versus “show” lines, the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA) and its members have worked hard to keep their breed true to the following two breed club mission statements:
- Object of club shall be to encourage and promote the quality breeding of Purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffons—and to do all possible to bring their natural hunting qualities to perfection.
- To urge members & breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the AKC as the only standard of excellence by which the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon shall be judged.
The AWPGA has embraced the description of the Griffon as a “Versatile Hunting Dog.” Not only a field dog that hunts game, he is also effective in Hunt Tests, Tracking, Obedience, Show, and Agility. In the United States, largely due to the efforts of the AWPGA, many Wirehaired Pointing Griffons have demonstrated their competitive merit by earning Obedience, Agility, Field, Hunt, and Show titles, including NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) Versatile Champion, National Shoot to Retrieve Association Champion, AKC Master Hunter, and AKC Best in Show.
The AWPGA celebrates the achievements of their members’ Griffons in all venues in their quarterly magazine, The Griffonnier. The AWPGA also holds an awards banquet each year in conjunction with their National Specialty. Awards & Recognition are given to club members from around the U.S. and Canada for their achievements in the show ring, the field, and in Obedience and Agility. One such award, The Capitaine Fracasse Challenge Trophy, is awarded to a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon that is an AKC Bench Champion of Record and earning the greatest number of points in AKC, NAVHDA, and/or NSTRA Field Performance Tests or Trials in a given calendar year. This particular award celebrates the dual role of AKC Bench Champion and outstanding Field Performance.
In 2012, the inaugural Korthals Cup event was held in conjunction with the club’s National Specialty. Entry requirements were limited to Griffons that had top field titles such as AKC Master Hunter, CKC Field Dog Excellent, NAVHDA Versatile Champions, and Utility I & II Prized dogs. This competitive event encompassed both field and water work. The event drew in some of the best field-tested dogs in the country, many of them also competing in the Specialty as well. Of the 13 entries, eight of them were AKC and/or CKC Bench Champions and one was an AKC Grand Champion.
The 2012 National Specialty saw the top-winning show dogs all carrying hunting titles, which included AKC Junior, Senior, and Master Hunters along with multiple NAVHDA Prized dogs taking the highest honors of Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex, Select Dog/Bitch, and Awards of Merit. When you combine the Korthals Cup with the results of the National Specialty itself, one can see that the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is truly a breed that keeps its original purpose at the forefront, with dedicated owners willing to compete with their dogs in all venues.
There are many excellent examples of how club members have worked with dedication to promote top-winning dogs in the field, in the ring, and in our breeding programs. Our top-producing sire of AKC Champions in 2008, 2010 & 2011 was AM/CAN CH Duchasseur Bayou CGN FD AGNS UT I. “Bayou” has produced many AKC and CKC Bench Champions, including many top-ranked show dogs. He has also produced more than 56 NAVHDA Natural Ability Prized pups, two Utility Prep Prized dogs, and 12 Utility Prized dogs, including five with Prize I’s.
He has produced seven litters of puppies that have earned a NAVHDA Breeder’s Award for Natural Ability. Bayou, himself, is a CKC multiple Group placing, RBIS winner, 2006 AOM winner at Eukanuba National Championship, and 2005 Winners Dog and 2006 AOM winner at our AWPGA National Specialty. In 2009, he was awarded Best Stud Dog at the National Specialty. In 2011, Bayou was the No. 1 Field Trial Griffon in Canada, No. 7 in the Top Ten Pointing Dogs in Canada, and the AQGAPD Poule Korthals winner.
The 2012, AWPGA Korthals Cup winner and joint winner of the 2012 Capitaine Fracasse Challenge Trophy was VC AM/CAN CH Duchasseur Crownpoint JHR CD NA I UT I. In 2011, “Cru” finished No. 8 in the Top Ten Pointing Dogs in the CKC and placed in several Field Trials in Canada. She has earned multiple placements in Obedience Trials in the U.S. and Canada. Cru also competes in the show ring; always owner-handled, and is a multiple Best of Breed winner. She took a CKC Best Puppy in Sporting Group, and in 2011, Cru earned Best of Opposite Sex at the AWPGA National Specialty.
This past year, all five of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffons earning Westminster invitations had hunting titles; the only Sporting Dog breed to make that claim. Our top five show dogs (Breed points) in the U.S. for 2012 included three Junior Hunters, a Senior Hunter/NAVHDA Utility II Prize dog, and a Master Hunter. The Best of Breed winner for 2013 Westminster Kennel Club and 2012 Eukanuba National Championship was GCH Flatbrook’s Heir About Him MH NA III, who also earned an AWPGA Field Dog Title in 2012 for completion of the AKC Senior and Master Hunter titles in 2011.
Receiving other top honors as Best of Breed at the 2012 National Specialty and Best of Opposite Sex at 2013 Westminster Kennel Club was GCH Stonehenge Willo’ The Wisp JH CA NA II; another multi-field-titled/top-winning show bitch. These Griffons are following a long tradition of field-titled Griffons in the show ring competing at the highest levels. Since 1992, two AKC Master Hunters, three AKC Senior Hunters, and eight AKC Junior Hunters have won Best of Breed honors at the Westminster Kennel Club shows.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons like these, that are able to succeed in multiple venues at the highest levels, are more common than rare. The AWPGA will continue to encourage its members to promote their dogs in all venues. In doing so, we hope that in the future the Griffon will continue to be true to both the original purpose and physical attributes as outlined in our Breed Standard: medium-sized; with a noble, square-shaped head; strong of limb; bred to cover all terrain encountered by the walking hunter; movement showing an easy cat-like gracefulness; excels equally as a pointer in the field or a retriever in the water; coat is hard and coarse, never curly or woolly, with a thick undercoat of fine hair, giving an unkempt appearance. His easy trainability, devotion to family, and friendly temperament endear him to all. The nickname of “supreme gundog” is well-earned.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about our wonderful, versatile dogs and the work we do to celebrate and promote our breed.