WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON OR GERMAN WIREHAIRED POINTER? True Versatility

vaversatile

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I've been scratching my eyes out trying to decide on one of these two breeds. Most everyone who's hunting with dogs are using them for birds, but I live in Virginia, so big-time bird hunting is low on the list. I've got the basic understanding of these two breeds, but I have questions that I haven't been able to get answered by searching the internet and watching videos.

First and foremost, I have 4 main desires of a dog:
- Be effective pointing cottontails in brush piles and thick cover.
- Point or Tree squirrels
- Retrieve ducks in flooded timber/ marshes.
- Often and reliably be used as a tracking dog for lost pets (tracking off of the scent of an item)

The first and 4th are likely the most important on this list, as I hunt often enough to keep a dog active, but I want to really have the dog trained as good as any search and rescue dog when it comes to that type of nose work.

MY CONCERNS:

I'm hesitant to get a Griffon because I fear it will lack drive to track pets often, lack the drive to constantly train and better its tracking abilities, and end up un-enthusiastically doing anything other than hunting rabbit. I've read that they do not like to train repetitions on anything.

I'm hesitant to get a German Shorthaired Pointer because I fear it will be too high energy, unable to be controlled off leash when doing nose work, and in hunting situations in my part of Virginia (Lots of thick cover, unless you get permission to hunt agricultural fields) he will be hunting much too far to hold a fidgeting cottontail before I can get to him.

Can anyone speak to which dog could fit my needs the best? I'm willing to devote hours a day to get them trained, but I need to know what dog would be the best starting point for that.
 
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I have 2 WPG. They have their individual quirks for sure but are both rather motivated. The older one has always worked in his own time, slow and methodical. Points well, eager to go but I don’t think think he’d run full speed to save his life. I bird hunt both. The older one does not like waterfowl but will do it. The younger one will retrieve anything. The older one helped me find an elk i shot during archery season a few years back. I sent him for some training that included tracking. The younger dog is much higher tempo than the older one ever was. The older one has always hunted upland birds well. Younger hunts everything I do well. Older one is aloof at times & if not in the mood will do it half assed at best. He’s always been that way. I appreciate neither dog likes to get much more than 50-75 yards away. If they get a 30 min walk they’re content laying on my feet the rest of the day. Both great dogs with their own personalities. If you also want it for protection then probably look for a different breed. Older one might protect if he’s in the mood but likely not. Younger one would offer zero help in that regard
 
In my experience it comes down to the breeding more than the breed. Find a line that consistently throws pups with the attributes you like and go with that. There are GSPs that work at 50 yards and others at 500. Breed generalizations are of limited help in predicting performance.
 
I've been scratching my eyes out trying to decide on one of these two breeds. Most everyone who's hunting with dogs are using them for birds, but I live in Virginia, so big-time bird hunting is low on the list. I've got the basic understanding of these two breeds, but I have questions that I haven't been able to get answered by searching the internet and watching videos.

First and foremost, I have 4 main desires of a dog:
- Be effective pointing cottontails in brush piles and thick cover.
- Point or Tree squirrels
- Retrieve ducks in flooded timber/ marshes.
- Often and reliably be used as a tracking dog for lost pets (tracking off of the scent of an item)

The first and 4th are likely the most important on this list, as I hunt often enough to keep a dog active, but I want to really have the dog trained as good as any search and rescue dog when it comes to that type of nose work.
I hope you're the best trainer in the world if you think you'll be able to check all those boxes with one animal, regardless of the breed. There's versatility and then there's futility, scratching my head at the choice for a pointing breed for predominately non-pointing requisite work. I think a beagle and a lab are what you're looking for. Being properly trained in article search/item scent tracking will be a full time job for a dog.
 
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I hope you're the best trainer in the world if you think you'll be able to check all those boxes with one animal, regardless of the breed. There's versatility and then there's futility, scratching my head at the choice for a pointing breed for predominately non-pointing requisite work. I think a beagle and a lab are what you're looking for. Being properly trained in article search/item scent tracking will be a full time job for a dog.
I wouldn't say you'd need to be the best in the world, but I'd say I'm a pretty decent trainer. Also spent some time training a mink. Completely different than training for all of these things, but the way I see it is, I want a pointer for cottontails because I'd much rather point and hold one, than run it when it comes to smaller plots of land. Squirrel hunting with a dog really comes down to just locating it. A dogs not going to bark it out of a hole, so if it marks the tree, that's all I really need. I've had beagles and spent time around many different packs of them. They have great noses, but I've never admired any other trait about them. But a lab... Idk. I hadn't looked much into them, as they don't seem to be the best choice for any of the things I described, aside from retrieving ducks, which is really low on my list. I figure, if it doesn't trail items/ pets well, then I'll stop trying and work solely on hunting and retrieving. No lose situation, but if I can, I want to pick a breed with the best chance of success. But looking at dozens of videos with people overseas using their pointer to do basically all of this, I don't see why it's looked at as impossible over here. Like with Jagdgebrauchshundverband, (the German Versatile Hunting Dog Association) it seems possible. Many people in the states just don't care to do it. Majority of people here just want a bird dog. Even in Virginia people are shying away from using beagles and hounds for rabbit and deer.
 
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I have 2 WPG. They have their individual quirks for sure but are both rather motivated. The older one has always worked in his own time, slow and methodical. Points well, eager to go but I don’t think think he’d run full speed to save his life. I bird hunt both. The older one does not like waterfowl but will do it. The younger one will retrieve anything. The older one helped me find an elk i shot during archery season a few years back. I sent him for some training that included tracking. The younger dog is much higher tempo than the older one ever was. The older one has always hunted upland birds well. Younger hunts everything I do well. Older one is aloof at times & if not in the mood will do it half assed at best. He’s always been that way. I appreciate neither dog likes to get much more than 50-75 yards away. If they get a 30 min walk they’re content laying on my feet the rest of the day. Both great dogs with their own personalities. If you also want it for protection then probably look for a different breed. Older one might protect if he’s in the mood but likely not. Younger one would offer zero help in that regard
Not looking for much of a protection dog, but when your WPG is tracking, does he keep his head high and air scent a lot or is he nose to the ground after going through training?
 
For your situation I would reach out to people with search & rescue dogs, and try to find S&R people that are using one of your 2 preferred breeds but also other breeds and ask why they picked what they picked.

I think if you find a breeder that can produce S&R quality dogs, then they will be happy to also work close so easier for rabbits, and then squirrels will be easy and trainable for ducks too quite possibly.

i'm partial to our GSP, actually was really partial to my border collie but wife says need something a bit less neurotic so probably getting gsp #2 tomorrow
 
I've been scratching my eyes out trying to decide on one of these two breeds. Most everyone who's hunting with dogs are using them for birds, but I live in Virginia, so big-time bird hunting is low on the list. I've got the basic understanding of these two breeds, but I have questions that I haven't been able to get answered by searching the internet and watching videos.

First and foremost, I have 4 main desires of a dog:
- Be effective pointing cottontails in brush piles and thick cover.
- Point or Tree squirrels
- Retrieve ducks in flooded timber/ marshes.
- Often and reliably be used as a tracking dog for lost pets (tracking off of the scent of an item)

The first and 4th are likely the most important on this list, as I hunt often enough to keep a dog active, but I want to really have the dog trained as good as any search and rescue dog when it comes to that type of nose work.

MY CONCERNS:

I'm hesitant to get a Griffon because I fear it will lack drive to track pets often, lack the drive to constantly train and better its tracking abilities, and end up un-enthusiastically doing anything other than hunting rabbit. I've read that they do not like to train repetitions on anything.

I'm hesitant to get a German Shorthaired Pointer because I fear it will be too high energy, unable to be controlled off leash when doing nose work, and in hunting situations in my part of Virginia (Lots of thick cover, unless you get permission to hunt agricultural fields) he will be hunting much too far to hold a fidgeting cottontail before I can get to him.

Can anyone speak to which dog could fit my needs the best? I'm willing to devote hours a day to get them trained, but I need to know what dog would be the best starting point for that.
I'm on my 4th Griffon. I think that they are Great dogs! They are tough to train but come with a lot of natural ablity/ instinct. The training is tough because they are a smart stubborn breed. The only big issues that I have had with the breed is ear infections and they are magnets for burrs and seeds in the field. They also make great pets and family dogs. They are still a pointer so expect some neurotic behaviours and be ready to get them lots of exercise. Our last Griff was a small game killer. Most of our hunting out here in Oregon consists of Pheasant, grouse, and Chukars. My first Griff was a female and at that time all I hunted was waterfoul. She was such a good retriever that some times I would go home with more ducks of geese than I shot. She would find cripples or birds that other hunters had lost. Good luck! These dogs have huge personalities.
 
I use my Drahts to track game for bow hunters and have received several calls to tracks lost pets.
I love the calls about a lost cat; they ask if the dogs would track it and I think "yep, but it won't be alive after they find it", LOL
 
I use my Drahts to track game for bow hunters and have received several calls to tracks lost pets.
I love the calls about a lost cat; they ask if the dogs would track it and I think "yep, but it won't be alive after they find it", LOL
Ha ha, my parents had a Griff that was really hard on cats. Good thing that they lived in the country.
 
I'm on my 4th Griffon. I think that they are Great dogs! They are tough to train but come with a lot of natural ablity/ instinct. The training is tough because they are a smart stubborn breed. The only big issues that I have had with the breed is ear infections and they are magnets for burrs and seeds in the field. They also make great pets and family dogs. They are still a pointer so expect some neurotic behaviours and be ready to get them lots of exercise. Our last Griff was a small game killer. Most of our hunting out here in Oregon consists of Pheasant, grouse, and Chukars. My first Griff was a female and at that time all I hunted was waterfoul. She was such a good retriever that some times I would go home with more ducks of geese than I shot. She would find cripples or birds that other hunters had lost. Good luck! These dogs have huge personalities.
What parts of training were they stubborn about?
 
I use my Drahts to track game for bow hunters and have received several calls to tracks lost pets.
I love the calls about a lost cat; they ask if the dogs would track it and I think "yep, but it won't be alive after they find it", LOL
I'd love to hear more about this! Was your dog enthusiastic about searching for non-game animals? I shy away from a drahthaar because of what people have been describing as always being on, but I feel that I'd need that to do as much work as I intend on doing. How is it with your family, and was their ever a moment in training where you felt the dog was very stubborn or constantly disobeying?
 
You can train a dog to hunt close with an e-collar. Just train it to come by tone or vibration. After you run its legs off coming back constantly it'll learn to hunt close. The reverse is not true.
 
vaversatile, I currently have 2 Drahts (my first had passed at 14 years of age). I got my first Draht 20 years ago.
I'll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. I've only owned females, never have they been stubborn or constantly disobedient in training. I actually find them eager to please and my last dog was very easy to train. They are smart and learn the "game" quickly and will become bored with training if you do too many of the same drills or always go to the same location to train. All my dogs are house dogs and are fine with family. They have a good on/off switch in the house. They can have a fast on switch for hunting even if you are not. For example in Bruge Belgium we were walking my first Draht on leash doing the tourist thing and as we rounded a corner she grabbed a pigeon off the ground in front of all the tourists. I saw the look of horror on the faces and realized what had happened, I took the pigeon from her, still alive and let him go. We kind of left the immediate area, LOL.
I have blood tracked and recovered 1 pig (in Hawaii) 4 or 5 elk and like 4 deer over the last few years. only 2 were over night tracks most were like 3-4 days old. They dont have issue with following that old of blood; but when the blood ends the tracking becomes a lot harder. I have a Teckel (wirehair dachshund) and she is better at tracking, but they are a stubborn dog, LOL
They do like their fur and I dont really discourage it (except for chasing big game). They have an inbred hatred of cats, and mine have removed several from exsistance. I do know several Drahts owners who have cats that were in the home when the dog was a pup and they get along together fine. I'll never trust mine around a cat. They have pointed and chased black bears, coyotes, and foxes.
Their strong desire to please makes it easy for me to train. I also have used them to pull me on skis and pull me on my bike during the off season. They learned it fast and enjoy it.
I would advise you, if possible, to check out some Drahts at a train day or at one of the JGHV tests and see first hand what a Draht is like. Like you I heard a lot of things none of which were true in my experience. But they are hard core hunters and not for everyone.
 
I'm on my 4th Griffon. I think that they are Great dogs! They are tough to train but come with a lot of natural ablity/ instinct. The training is tough because they are a smart stubborn breed. The only big issues that I have had with the breed is ear infections and they are magnets for burrs and seeds in the field. They also make great pets and family dogs. They are still a pointer so expect some neurotic behaviours and be ready to get them lots of exercise. Our last Griff was a small game killer. Most of our hunting out here in Oregon consists of Pheasant, grouse, and Chukars. My first Griff was a female and at that time all I hunted was waterfoul. She was such a good retriever that some times I would go home with more ducks of geese than I shot. She would find cripples or birds that other hunters had lost. Good luck! These dogs have huge personalities.
My 1st and 2nd lab (I've had 4) were the same way. I could go out on opening day and they would retrieve wounded ducks and geese everyone shot and didn't bother to look for. I almost hesitates to shoot because I knew I was coming home with my limit.
 
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