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Is a Griffon the Right Breed for You?

Idaho Outback Griffons

I sell a lot of Griffons to Labrador Retriever People. I understand why Labs are so popular – they’re the classic hunting dogs. Almost every country kid either had one or knew someone who did. They bring back memories of ducks, first shotguns, and those slobbery kisses. You can find Labs in many backyards, some are well-bred, and some, well, not so much.

But there are folks who dream of something different…

Some people imagine there must be other dog breeds that fit their lifestyle and don’t leave them feeling bored. Griffons are famous for being family-friendly, athletic, and great for hunting. Even though there aren’t tons of them to choose from, our breed is carefully looked after by breeders who check for good hips, health, abilities, and a friendly temperament. They have a lively appearance and easy-to-care-for fur. They’re known for being both funny and thoughtful. So, if you’re going to dream, why not dream big?

Now, you might have already done some research on Wirehaired Pointing Griffons (WHPG), but let me tell you what makes this breed special. People love their unique double coat – a dense undercoat covered by a rough outer layer. This coat seems to handle rough weather pretty well. You can keep their fur in good shape with a brush and maybe a tool called a Mars Coat King for thinning it out sometimes. While their puppies are born all white with brown spots, the grown-ups come in shades of chestnut to steely gray with solid brown patches in a speckled or ticked pattern. As they grow up, their medium-long guard hairs keep getting longer, adding to their unique look.

Griffons should be a bit longer than they are tall, not square-shaped. The ladies should stand about 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder, and the gents should be around 22-24 inches. They should look well-balanced and sturdy for their size.

According to the AKC, they move kind of like cats, all nimble and graceful. They can even jump over the back of a pickup truck without touching the tailgate. They’re real athletes. What’s great about Griffons is that they’ll beat you to the truck if they see you grab a shotgun, but they’ll also beat you to the fireplace if that’s what’s on your mind. Griffons have a reputation for being fun to be around. Cody, our first male, has been a pleasure from the time he was a puppy to now that he’s all grown up. He’s a real gentleman, which can be hard to find in bird dogs. He was a calm and almost serious puppy, which was a nice change from some of the other hyperactive hunting breeds. All puppies have their wild teenage phase, but Griffons respond well to routine and exercise. Remember that, and those teenage years will be easier to handle.

And that brings us to our rambling family which includes small kids, cats, and all sorts of critters running around, not to mention we’re a family that loves hunting. And let me tell you, these dogs are a real package deal. They’re great hunting buddies who fit right into the family or work just fine as a regular old companion dog. But keep in mind that they won’t be happy living in a kennel. They’re pretty athletic, so they need regular exercise and a safe yard or pen to run around in and burn off that energy. We’re big on hunting, but we’ve also found homes for lots of Griffon puppies in families that aren’t into hunting but have plenty of other active adventures. So don’t hesitate to reach out. We love chatting about all things Griffon.

How Do Griffons Get Along with Kids?

Griffons and kids go together like ice cream and cones. They find the same things interesting – birds, bugs, dirt, and all that good stuff. Now, Griffons do have their moments of high energy, but most of the time, they’re just excited about being around the kids. And when I say kids, I mean kids of all sizes and ages. Girls love them just as much as boys do.

What Happens When Things Don’t Go as Planned

The Stories of Shoup and Other Griffons in a Pinch

The Story of Shoup

Let me tell y’all about Shoup and some other special Griffons – Liberty, Buzz, and Henry. You see, Griffons aren’t for everyone, and sometimes life takes unexpected turns. Over my time, I’ve sold a whole heap of Griffon puppies, and I’ve spent plenty of time helping folks understand what it takes to have a happy Griffon and a happy Griffon family. But let me tell ya, there’s no one-size-fits-all family, though some come pretty close, and I wouldn’t mind coming back as their pet Griffon in my next life. What I’m trying to say is, we care about your Griffon and your family, no matter if things are going great or not so great. We’re the first ones you should call when your situation changes, and you need help with your Outback bred Griffon.

Now, let’s get back to Shoup. Shoup was born back in 2012, a sweet, happy Griffon pup. She was picked by a young fella living out in the wilds of Alaska. He loved the outdoors and was lookin’ for a trusty companion. So Shoup went to live with him in Alaska, and at first, everything seemed fine and dandy. But here’s the thing – this young man had a job that kept him away for two weeks at a time, and he’d only be home for a week. Shoup went from being a happy, well-adjusted pup to a crazy, sad, and lonely dog with one mission: escape from her kennel. By that time, that kennel was fortified from top to bottom, but Shoup would bark like there was no tomorrow. Sure, someone would come by to feed and water her, but she was downright miserable.

So, the young man found a neighbor who was willin’ to take Shoup in. But he didn’t quite realize the toll it had taken on her. Shoup turned out to be quite a handful. She couldn’t sit still and be a good dog like she used to. And before you knew it, Shoup ended up in the local dog shelter. Now, I wish he’d given me a call, even if he was too embarrassed. I’m here to help, and all my owners should know that I’m their safety net. I’d help ’em through tough spots.

Now, Shoup’s story starts lookin’ up. A Griffon rescue organization found some lovely folks who were lookin’ for a dog just like Shoup. They even arranged for her to be flown back to the lower 48 states. With patience, consistency, and a whole lot of work, they turned Shoup into a bird dog among bird dogs. They sorted out her separation issues and bad habits. She turned out to be a top-notch hunter with an incredible prey drive. She’s got energy to spare and runs like the wind. Shoup’s fearless and has a nose for trouble. She’s a bit on the small side, stayin’ between 45 and 47 pounds.

So, Shoup made it after all.


Rolo had a good life with plenty of adventures and a loving family. But, he started getting anxious living in a city cul-de-sac. He didn’t like the neighbor’s dachshund, got worried about people he had to walk by on a leash, and even had a run-in at a dog park. He started fussin’ over things that a Griffon shouldn’t be fussin’ over.

Rolo needed to be out in the country, where he could sniff birds and play with other dogs. He needed a change, and the Oakes family decided that two Griffons weren’t enough for them. They met Rolo, and it was love at first sight. So, here’s Rolo’s new family, and I’m happy to say Rolo made it.


Liberty was bought by a young family with three lovely daughters, all under five years old. The husband had a busy job, which left Mom with the task of taking care of another child – little Liberty, the Griffon pup. There were a few bumps in the road, but they decided to return Liberty to me when she was four months old.

They said she wouldn’t get house-trained and was a wild pup, but the truth was, Liberty was a dream. She was a little angel with a charming mustache. They had done a good job with her, and we worked on just a few minor issues. We found her a forever home with a family that had the time to work with a young pup.

Thankfully, Liberty made it too.


Buzz was a big, happy Griffon pup, full of energy and goofiness. He was bought by a vineyard owner in California who wanted a scruffy, gentle giant lounging on his porch, greeting clients, and looking wise with all that fur around his eyes. He was super excited about it, even flew in on a private jet to pick out Buzz.

But Buzz didn’t quite like the big kennel they had set up for him. He showed his displeasure by howlin’ like a sad ol’ hound. He dug out, climbed out, and ran over to the neighbor’s house where the kids were playing. It just wasn’t the right match. I believe he could’ve been everything the man wanted if he’d put in a little effort to train the young pup. But without fuss, they found Buzz a perfect home.

So, Buzz made it too.


Henry was the prettiest pup I’d ever raised, and he was special because he developed seizures when he was just a pup. He was the only one in my lines I’ve ever known to have such troubles. But his owner was a good-hearted fella who worked closely with a vet to get him physically stable. It took a whole lot of effort, but they worked out the medical issues.

Henry wasn’t just pretty; he was also one of the sweetest Griffons ever. His owner spent a whole lot of time training him and working with him. But after about a year, he called me, looking real upset. He wanted me to find a new home for Henry, or he asked if I’d keep him myself.

I listened as he described his life. He was living in an apartment and felt bad about Henry having to stay in a kennel while he was at work. But he also described how he’d take Henry to the park every day, let him run around, and they’d play on the weekends. He trained and worked with Henry every single day, and Henry wasn’t whining or barking or digging or scratching. He was living.

So, I talked to the man about how he sometimes had to ask his daughters to do unpleasant chores for the good of the family. Tasks had to be completed, and everyone in the family had a part to play.

And that’s how it went. Henry became part of a family, warts and all.

Now, I’m really hoping to hear from Henry’s dad because it’s been a long while. Henry’s getting on in years for sure. I promised him I’d help him any way I could if he ever needed it. And let me tell you, if this customer ever wants another Griffon, he’s getting one on the house.

So, Henry made it, too.

Griffons aren’t for everyone. Heck, I’d say not everyone should even own a dog. The moral of the story is, if life throws you a curveball, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m here to help you through tough times. Griffons are a whole lot of fun, and I’ve placed hundreds of them in families that are happier than a pig in mud. Sometimes, I even help place Griffons that find themselves in the wrong situation, whether they come from my bloodlines or someone else’s. The pool of Griffons is still pretty small, and they don’t show up all that often, thank goodness. But it’s always good to know folks who’d be willing to take in an older Griffon. If you prefer an adult Griffon and are up for the transition, send me an email. I keep a list just for these situations. Sometimes, I’ll place an adult Griffon I’ve bred who deserves her own family and a break from being a mom. I’m always looking for special homes that’d like that kind of opportunity.


So, here’s Doc and Hazel, with Brenda Johnson

Doc was a hunting dog, and he loved his dad. But one day, Doc’s dad had a terrible health problem and passed away, leaving Doc, a hunting dog, without a hunter. Thankfully, the Johnson family stepped in and became Doc’s new family. Brenda said, “Two years ago, I adopted Doc.

He was sad and needed love and patience. He has become a great companion to both myself and his little sister Hazel (Brave x Bud). He has taught me to wait. Wait and see.”

Now, ain’t that a beautiful lesson to learn from a dog?

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