Books from Swan Valley Press

How to Help Gundogs Train Themselves

How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves

How to Have the Best Trained Gundog

How to Have the Best Trained Gun Dog


Griffon: Gun Dog Supreme

Griffon: Gun Dog Supreme

The History and the Story of
How to Improve a Breed

Field & Stream's gun dog editor for 25 years, Bill Tarrant, said, "Joan Bailey's . . . book . . . is all inclusive, definitive, fast-paced, joyfully put together, and has the answers to Griffons each of us has yet to think about asking."

Outdoor Life's hunting dog editor, Larry Mueller, says about Bailey, "Because of her truth and honesty, Griffons and their breeders will benefit from this book for all time . . . This is THE breed book for ALL breeds."

Veteran editor of The Gun Dog Supreme, Joan Bailey, provides the definitive, factual, book about Griffons that tells not only their fascinating history, but also the testing, judging and breeding of versatile hunting dogs.

In 2010 Cornell University began using this book as a reference in their research on canine genetics.

In 2011 Griffon was used as a
reference many times in a new
book, Pointing Dogs, Volume
One: The Continentals

  • Learn
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Sample Chapter
  • The fascinating history of the Griffon, beginning before the 19th century, in Europe and America
  • The historical tie to prominent people in the Northwest, Northeast, Midwest and other key areas of the country
  • The history, development, judging, and breeding of versatile hunting dogs, especially in the U.S
  • The unique breeding program of the Griffon Club, and how people can work together to help a breed

Table of Contents - Griffon: Gun Dog Supreme

  • Foreword
  • Before the 19th Century
  • The Korthals Era (1850-1900)
  • End of the 19th Century and the Korthals Era
  • Early 20th Century (Europe)
  • Early 20th Century (North America)
  • WPGCA Founded 1951
  • The Sixties, A Period of Transition
  • 1969, A Pivotal Year for Griffons
  • Chapter 9. The Early Yeas of NAVHDA (1969-1972) Part I
  • Chapter 10. The Early Years of NAVHDA (1973-1976) Part II
  • Chapter 11. Griffon Club Begins Own Testing Program (1976)
  • Chapter 12. Griffon Breeding Program-1974-1982
  • Chapter 13. First Intermediate Hunting Dog Test Maine & California
  • Chapter 14. Griffon Breeding Program-1980-1983
  • Chapter 5. Restoration of the Griffon Breed in North America-1984
  • Chapter 16. Beginning of the Second Phase of WPGCA Breeding Program, 1984
  • Chapter 17. The Last Half of the '80s
  • Chapter 18. 1988, 100th Anniversary of Original Korthals Griffon Club in Germany
  • Chapter 19. End of the '80s, Beginning of the '90s
  • Chapter 20. Turning the Bend into the '90s.
  • Chapter 21. Heading for Home
  • Chapter 22. Past, Present, Future
  • Chapter 23. Why and How We Test Versatile Hunting Dogs
  • Chapter 24. Judging
  • Chapter 25. Griffon Registry Book (GRB)
  • Chapter 26. Breeding Part I
  • Chapter 27. Breeding Part II
  • Chapter 28. Hip Dysplasia and its Relationship in Breeding Griffons
  • Chapter 29. Reducing Hip Dysplasia; How it Relates to WPGCA Breeding program
  • Chapter 30. The Future
  • Epilogues
  • Appendix [Pages 363-463]
  • Bibliography

Foreword - Griffon: Gun Dog Supreme

By Larry Mueller, Hunting Dog Editor, Outdoor Life Magazine

This is a work of tough love.

I've read a great number of breed books. Most are pure fiction-fairy tales about perfect dogs in perfect breeds. They commonly express great sentimental love, little in-depth understanding, a strong desire to please others in their group, and a political willingness to cover up faults and failures if this promotes their aims or the aims of their tribe.

Joan's book fails these criteria in every respect. While average breed books are about "pure" breeds that supposedly need no improvement; Joan writes about a breed in creation. And her's is the fact of life. No breed is static. It rises or falls with the creativity of its breeders.

The following truism seems so simple, but in the emotionally attached world of dogs it's not: "Problem solving begins by seeing the problems." Quite unlike most breed aficionados, Joan Bailey demonstrates uncommonly clear, tough love vision. Political correctness would have been safer. Considerable risks accompany full truth and disclosure about people and their dogs. But Joan courageously documents with great detail the best and the worst in Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. As she often says about judging dogs in tests, "Do it right because this information is on the records forever."

Because of her truth and honesty, Griffons and their breeders will benefit from this book for all time.

It goes far beyond that, however. At some point in the manuscript, I recognized that I was reading on two levels. It does, or course, tell us the origin and history of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. But if we read carefully and honestly, and forget legend and hype, we find the how-it-was-done origin and up-and-down history of most breeds. The Griffon problems, if we swallow hard and admit it, are the problems of all breeds. So are the solutions. The tests for identifying superior Griffons work for any gun dog breed. And the methods and the plan for holding the genes of superior Griffons into perpetuity works for any dogs. On its second level, this is THE breed book for ALL breeds.


Chapter Eight
1969 - A Pivotal Year for Griffons

Many events took place during 1969 that were to have momentous, positive effects upon our breed. Harold Baskin, with help from members of the Sierra Griffon Club, again organized another field trial that was held in March. This time I was determined to fly to California and attend this trial. Looking back with the advantage of so many years, I have to chuckle. Harold and Sally Baskin had invited me to stay at their home in South San Francisco. I accepted with great appreciation. We had never met, but Harold and I recognized each other at the airport. (In those days he wore a cowboy hat, so he was easy to pick out of the crowd).

The day before the trial I checked into the motel in Fairfield where most participants would be staying. I will never forget the following morning, stepping outside of my room and seeing all those Griffons in one place at the same time. What a thrill. The next thrill was more shock than thrill. Upon my arrival at the site on Grizzly Island I was told that I would be a judge, along with John Rickman of Stockton. I had never judged before, nor had John. On top of that it was a "field trial," and we were to actually judge from horseback.

We just didn't know any better at the time, and we did the best we could do, and as was said earlier, it was a beginning. And, just as important, I got to see about 20 Griffons working in the field and in the water. That was valuable knowledge.

The annual dues in 1969 were $5.00. Puppies listed for sale in the April 1969 GDS: [There follows a list of 10 breedings with name of breeder, state, sire and dam.] Phew, another passel of untested parents and puppies.

In June 1969 a meeting was held in Portland, Maine between Griffon owners from New England and Griffonniers from the Quebec Griffon Club. A report of that meeting appeared in the August 1969 GDS. Here are a couple of excerpts from that report: "The love and dedication to Griffons bridged all cultural gaps, removed language barriers and spanned international borders at the organization meeting of the Northeast Griffon Club. On the evening of June 21, 1969, the Sebago Room of the Sheraton Hotel in Portland, Maine bulged with good fellowship and amiable bragging about bewhiskered Griffons and super dog deeds of hunting prowess."

The group included Jacques Biberon (president Quebec Griffon Club) and Claude Rosquin (v.p.), Cliff Morton from Portland (then vice-president WPGCA), Ed and Joan Bailey, and a few others. In the June GDS we wrote:

If enthusiasm is any indication of potential, the Northeast Griffon Club holds it all. A magnificent thing to behold was the stolid "down-easter" and the excitable "Quebecer" radiating friendship and unity of purpose and all of it for the best interest of the breed, whether it's called Wirehaired Pointing Griffon or Griffon d'Arret a Poil dur or just plain Griffon!

Out of this weekend came a significant learning experience for me. The Quebec Griffonniers had brought several of their dogs with them. It was the first time I had ever seen a Griffon with a hard coat. Yes, I had now been involved with these dogs since 1963, owned and hunted over three of them, and had raised a litter, but I had never seen a hard coat. But, I was not the only one that weekend, who was looking at and feeling hard coats for the first time. Nearly every American Griffonnier there that weekend was having a similar experience. Of course the message that we received was that we MUST start breeding for proper coats. Then later that same month, the Quebec Griffon Club held a field trial near Montreal. Ed Bailey and I attended, and once again, without any notice, I was asked to be a judge. This time, however, it was on foot, not horseback, so that was one step in the right direction. Here's what Ed Bailey wrote for the August 1969 GDS about this trial:

Perched behind an old stump, its roots washed clean by spring floods, I could see a 2-pound walleye lazing with the swirl in the clear Richelieu River. Mr. Courville with 11 month old RICKY sitting expectantly at his leg waited for the duck to be thrown and the shot. Then the minimum hold of 3 seconds and RICKY hit the water. But the duck slipped its shackles, splashed flightlessly across the water and dove-under RICKY. That maneuver will confuse a seasoned dog. The duck paddled to shore, headed into the brush up the hill toward the gallery of spectators. But RICKY is a clever little girl and she used her nose to follow and she captured and retrieved the wayward waddler. (At this point it was probably good that I didn't understand French because I had done the tying of wings and feet of that miserable mallard.) All the ducks were brought in for a better job of shackling and the trial started over again.

The trial then moved from the water to the field. The weather that started out warm 3 hours earlier was now fast approaching 90. A 20 mile an hour wind swept down the hot bird field and gallant dogs worked. Remarkable judges-Joan Bailey, Raymond Platiau, Jacques Tougas, and Claude Rosquin.followed 14 dogs through their tests. They were a sunburned, wind blown foursome measuring each dog's performance with complete objectivity.

In late June club member Mary Busser, and her sister and brother-in-law, all from Ohio, made a trip to France and Germany. By this time I was in contact with a number of Griffonniers in both countries and had been able to supply Mary with many names. Here's part of Mary's report as printed in the October 1969 GDS: As soon as they landed at Orly, outside of Paris, they got their little rental care and:

...entered the race on the freeway and drove to Montlucon.That evening Monsieur Henry Lempereur [kennel name DES ZAZINES] met us at our hotel and took us to his home to meet his lovely wife and see his dogs. M. Lempereur had at his home kennel 8 bitches, 3 males, and two litters of pup. All his adult Griffons look alike! [Mary was seeing uniformity in griffons for the first time!] They all had good pigment [meaning dark liver color]., straight hard coats with hair about 1" to 2" long, and all medium size. Collectively they looked like one breed.

They then went on to Germany and visited several breeders-Josef Mayer, Joseph Ade, and, in Munich Fritz Wurtenburger (I would dance with Herr Wurtenburger in 1988 at the 100th Jubilee) and finally in Cologne, Frau Paula Pohl. Mary's report ended with this observation:

I hope I learned something from this visit. Possibly the most important thing was a realization that we must impose some restrictions on ourselves in our breedings. We must stop this "backyard" breeding. I know what a temptation it is to do this-I did it and I will not do it again. We must be selective in our breeding stock or we will continue to throw out big, shaggy Griffons in American.I now plan to be a very selective breeder.

Later that summer Jerry Knap, a Canadian outdoor writer who had an interest in griffons mentioned that a meeting was to be held in Orono, Ontario, about a two-hour drive from our home near Guelph. We were told that a man from Germany named Bodo Winterhelt, who bred Pudelpointers (whatever they were), would be in charge of the meeting and that the purpose was to form a testing organization for "all purpose" hunting dogs.

We went to that meeting, which was held in Bodo's home. Most of the people present owned Pudelpointers, and a few owned German shorthairs. There were no other Griffon owners present. Generally speaking we were impressed with the concept of such an organization, but doubtful if it could be pulled off.

A few months later another meeting was held, which we were not able to attend, because we were in Germany and France. At this meeting the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) was formed and plans were made to hold a Utility Field Test in October.

During the Summer of 1969, sometime after the field trial near Montreal, we met Laurent Frileux. His mother, Dominique, then secretary of the French Griffon Club, had written to me, telling me that Laurent was moving to Montreal, and that he could bring a puppy for the American Griffon Club with him (Most people in Europe refer to the WPGCA as the "American Griffon Club.").

So we followed up on this, found someone who would take a pup, and Laurent flew into Toronto, where we met him. He had carried this puppy on his lap all the way from Paris. We took the puppy to air cargo, where it was shipped on to Ohio to its new owner.

I'll always remember how Laurent, who loved to cook, opened his suitcase at air cargo and took out his white chef's apron and put it in the shipping crate for the puppy. We brought Laurent home, he spent the night with us and we took him back to the airport in the morning and put him on a plane for Montreal.

In the meantime, towards the end of September Ed and I had a chance to go to France and Germany.

The rest of the chapter tells about our visit to France and Germany, about the Griffonniers we met, and the dogs we saw, with lots of photos and pedigrees, and then ends like this:

First Versatile Hunting Dog Test in North America
October 19, 1969

A short time after our return from Europe we participated in the first field test of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA). The judges were Bodo Winterhelt, Jerry Knap, and Ed Bailey. None of the three were experienced judges, but we had to start somewhere. Bodo had at least participated in trials in Germany.

There were Pudelpointers, German shorthairs, and perhaps one German Wirehair. I remember vividly how excited I was, standing on top of a knoll in the rain, sharing an umbrella with Alyson Knap, realizing that this was the proper way to test our dogs. I could envision the future and the ability we would now have to test all our Griffons. The flutter of expectation beat gently in my heart.

So 1969 comes to a close and for our Griffons many events had taken place, which would have a lasting impact on the breed in the years ahead.