Wire-Haired pointing griffon Korthals

FCI standard Nº 107

Mrs. Renée Sporre Willes and Mr. Raymond Triquet
Group 7 Pointing Dogs
Section 1.3 Continental Pointing Dogs, « Griffon » type
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 07 December 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 01 August 2023
Last update
Tuesday 05 September 2023
En français, cette race se dit
Griffon d'arrêt à poil dur Korthals
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Franzõsischer rauhhaariger vorstehund Korthals
En español, esta raza se dice
Grifón de muestra de pelo duro
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Korthals Griffon


Essentially a versatile pointing dog. Also used for tracking wounded large game.

Brief historical summary

Already mentioned by Xenophon, used as « oysel dog » widespread in the w hole of Europe under different names. The breed was renewed and i mproved by inbreeding, selection and training without any addi tion of foreign blood by E.K. Korthals during the second half of th e 19th century. Since, the different national clubs have remained f aithful to its precepts.

General appearance

Vigorous dog, rustic of medium size. Longer than tall. The skull is not too broad. The muzzle is long and square. The eyes, dark yellow or brown are surmoun ted but not covered by bushy eyebrows and well developed mousta ches and beard give him a characteristic expression and expr ess firmness and assurance.

Behaviour / temperament

Gentle and proud, excellent hunter, very attached to his master and his territo ry which he guards with vigilance. Very gentle with children.


Cranial region

Big and long, with harsh hair, thick but not too long; moustache, beard and eyebrows well developed.
Not too broad. The upper lines of the skul l and the muzzle are parallel.  
Not too pronounced.

Facial region

Always brown.
Long and square, of the same length as the skull, bridge of the nose slightly convex.
Dark yellow or brown, large, rounded surmoun ted but not covered by the eyebrows, very intelligent expression.
Of medium size, not curled inwards, flat, se t on level line with the eyes, the short hair which covers them is more or less mixed with longer hairs.


Moderately long, without dewlap.


Its length is markedly greater than the height a t the withers (from 1/20th to 1/10th).
Well developed.
Deep, not too wide, ribs slightly sprung.


Carried horizontally or with the tip slightly raised, covered with thick hair but without fringing, generally should be docked by a third or a quarter. If it were not shortened, it would be carried horizontally with its tip slightly raised.



Straight, vigorous, with thick hair. In action, the forelegs are perfectly parallel.
Well set on, rather long, very oblique.


Covered with thick hair.
Upper thigh
Long and well muscled.
Well angulated.


Round, strong, toes tight and arched.

Gait and movement

he hunting gait is the gallop, punctuated by periods of trot. The trot is extended. Catlike movement when walking up game.


Harsh and coarse, reminding of the touch of a wild boar’s bristles. Never curly or woolly. Under the harsh t op coat is a fine dense undercoat.
Preferably steel grey shade with brown (li ver) patches or self-coloured brown (liver) coat. Frequently liver -roan or a close mixture of brown (liver) and white hairs. Equally permissible white and brown and white and orange coats.

Size and weight

Height at withers
About 55 to 60 cm for males and 50 to 55 cm for females.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.




Detailed history

The Korthals Hard-topped Griffon, called the Korthals, for simplicity, results from the improvement of a very old type of dog, particularly in continental Europe, where it was very common.

The objective which led to the creation of this breed, indeed, had been to combine the qualities of the continental dogs; enduring, all terrain, versatile, maneuverable, hunting under the rifle and whose nose was sometimes a bit short; to those of the English stop dogs, of a great delicacy of nose, active, fast, ideal for hunting in plain.

To bring together "handymen", not really great sportsmen, on the one hand, and specialized and brilliant thoroughbreds, not necessarily adapted to the requirements of hunting on the continent, on the other hand, was it there an impossible task? We can say the opposite, since the project of Korthals and the "scribblers" who surrounded it succeeds even beyond what they had expected.

That a breed bears the name of a breeder is not common. Eduar Karel Korthals (1851 - 1896) was not anybody either. His father was a wealthy shipowner from Amsterdam who, it seems, had a definite interest in breeding, to the point that he favored his son's growing passion for hunting and dogs. So, when the time came, EK Korthals had no intention of taking over his father's business, which was very flourishing.

Like Sir Edward Laverack, the famous creator of the English Setter, he was to become one of the greatest canine breeders, as much by his views, very much ahead of those in his time, as by the experience he acquired on hunting grounds and kennels. Moreover, it was an open mind, honest, modest, whose correspondence shows that it was by no means dogmatic but that it sought constructive discussion. His maxim, "Do what you say, and say what you do", defines it well, as well as his approach, quite different from that commonly followed by any dog breeder, "who is not required to publish what 'he does in his back kitchen', according to the famous expression of A. Hublot du Rivault.

The young EK Korthals therefore hunted very early with Griffons, a type of dog spread in the Netherlands but also in many other countries, from Italy to Poland via France, where we knew particularly the Griffons d'Etampes and those of Boulogne. It is indeed a "type" rather than a race, because in the second half of the nineteenth century, these dogs were rather neglected, and formed a fairly heterogeneous population. Thus, some had a long hair, to the point that the confusion with the Barbet was frequent. Korthals nevertheless appreciated them for their ability to hunt in the most unfavorable circumstances (in the marsh). Who can do the most, can the least, also he undertook to improve their nose, their speed, their endurance, while preserving their specificity. It happened in 1873, in the family domain.

Four years later, deciding (at the age of twenty-six, therefore) that, really, business did not interest him, Korthals went to German friends in the horticultural region of Hesse. There, Baron Albert de Solms Braunfels entrusted him with the management of his kennel at Bibesheim; the most famous of Germany; composed mostly of English dogs, allowing him to continue parallel his own breeding Griffins. One may have the impression, given its future results, that Korthals had a preconceived idea, very precise, on the methods to be implemented to get the Griffins at the highest level. However, it is not so, and, moreover, Korthals did not hide anything of his work of selection.

On the appearance of his race, for example, he had no a priori: among the first specimens he called, there was a Barbet type dog, another woolly hair (type Boulet ) and a short-haired female. As for the miscegenation with English dogs (Pointers), Korthals did not recuse it until he had experienced it. Indeed, such crosses could first save time, but it turned out that they caused the Griffon to lose its "continental" characters. It is also known that seven subjects were retained by Korthals to found his lines. There too, it was not an intentional choice at first, but it turns out that these dogs were the only ones who, by their hunting skills and by their qualities of racer; which Korthals could not judge in the long run, on their descendants, gave him satisfaction. These "patriarchs" are called Banco, Hector, Janus, Satan, Donna, Juno and Mouche.

To achieve, in less than twenty years, to produce dogs able to challenge the British superiority while remaining continental, and this without ever having recourse to the English blood, Korthals proceeded to very close inbreeding couplings (one finds sometimes twenty times the same dog in certain pedigrees), but he saw no danger to the breed, because he considered his lineages as part of a truly international race, as an example, in a way. Moreover, he indulged in a ruthless selection: out of the six hundred dogs who passed through his kennels, he kept only sixty-two subjects, according to the terms of a letter addressed to Emmanuel Boulet, who, selecting a woolly-haired Griffin.

In addition, Korthals subjected his dogs to severe training, which Jean Castaing, in his essential book on the race (Ed de l'Orée), called "functional gymnastics": he made them work with wood, with the marsh and in the lowlands, in all weathers, luring them on all sorts of game, not hesitating to make them pursue the hare (which did not fail to make you talk, but it was, after all, only a required discipline in Germany).

The subjects obtained by this method (inbreeding, selection, training) extremely pragmatic were of such a quality that they amazed the specialists, in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, in France, as much by the amplitude and the speed their quest and the delicacy of their flair only by their versatility. The praiseworthy comments of the field-trials reports are proof of this.

In Germany, however, the sight of Korthals was worth some trouble for his successors. In fact, this enthusiast had not intended to "create" a new breed, regional or national, but to regenerate the old and international Griffon. Thus, in his mind, the "family" of Griffons he had brought to such a degree of perfection was only a model, likely to improve other families of the same race. Korthals put all his energy to defend this point of view: first, in agreement with other breeders, he wrote a standard, dated November 1887 (the text of today is always the same). Then, he developed a book of origins, the Griffon Hund Stammbuch (GSB), whose first volume appeared in 1889. This annual publication was not only a studbook, since, in addition to the origins of dogs, she mentioned their performances, judging in competitions and exhibitions, with photographic documents in support.

And in 1888, to manage all this information, Korthals created the Griffon Club, an international organization that was soon supplemented by other associations, given the growing number of scribblers: in 1895 the Griffon-Club for Germany was born. South and the Belgian Royal Griffon Club; as for the French Club, it was born in 1901, at the instigation of Ch. Prudhommeaux. Together they formed the "Club Cartel".

EK Korthals died prematurely in 1896, at the age of forty-five, but his ideas had made enough followers to survive him. Thus, the famous "tendency of the club" resumed exactly his thought: "The club is based on the principle that the hard-haired sting dog had been scattered for centuries on the surface of the continent, but was represented in very different forms. with variable and non-responding coat; as a result of his state of abandonment; the requirements of a pure and homogeneous breed. Several breeders have chosen, with the help of an appropriate selection, to reconstitute with these dogs the "hard hawk griffin" breed. The club is located from the point of view that the dogs which, under the name of "Korthal Griffins", have acquired a certain notoriety, the "griffons naked" of other origins raised in other countries and the "dogs German haired stitches "all present, in broad outline, the same typical characteristics and can therefore be considered to belong to the same breed, so that their mating; if breeders think they have recourse to it; should not be considered a misalliance, but quite the contrary, the resulting products should be considered as "hard-haired griffins". "

This principle certainly did not raise any objections in Belgium or France. In Germany, on the other hand, even if they were in number, the supporters of the Korthals met with a clear opposition. There were in the first place the partisans of a purely Germanic Griffin, such as Sichelhaar, which a Frankfort breeder, M. Bontant, had obtained by improving the old Beard-Sale of Hesse, and that some intransigents contrived to distinguish Korthals dogs (preferring a pungent hair, harder but much less bushy). There were also the advocates of racial interbreeding; for the hard hair may result from the union of a subject with short hair and another with woolly hair; who supported the Pudel Pointer (created from the Poodle and Pointer) and the Drahthaar (hard-haired version of the already famous German Pointer).

In short, many Germans did not want to let the "heirs" of Korthals annex this precious Griffon, whose versatility suited them perfectly. In 1907, Baron de Gingins, then at the head of the Griffon Club, managed well, however, to sign an agreement with the only breeders of Stichelhaar, excluding Pudel Pointer and Drahthaar, but, four years later, the agreement The two dogs parted to form two distinct races. Then came the war of 1914 - 1918. By force of things, the Griffon thus became French hair. The year 1919 saw the creation of the Book of origins of the Griffon (LOG), and, whereas, ten years before, this dog seemed to be promised to a very wide diffusion, the breeding of the Griffon was restricted to France and to Belgium. The Second World War struck the race very hard, because the risk of excessive consanguinity was at its maximum.

However, this powerful dog was not going to miss a new start. In 1951, to pay homage to the work of its creator, the name of Korthals was officially added to that of Griffon d'arrêt à poil dur. Currently, the Griffon Korthals knows in France a period of the most splendid. For example, this dog has distinguished himself at the world championship game shot in Yugoslavia (in 1980), and he became one of the stars among the continental breeds, both in the autumn fields and in the spring. The elite trialer serves as a "locomotive" for the entire race, whose strengths are regularly reinforced over the years.

Among the initiatives of the Active Breed Club to enhance the sporty and utilitarian image of the Griffon, we can highlight the development of introductory fields for the discovery of new talents, and a patent for the relationship with water that makes the breed the swamp specialist. Certainly, the Griffon Korthals, this new dog that has its roots in our old Europe, is preparing an illustrious future.

The Korthals Griffon is brave, in every sense of the word. At home, he is affectionate, kind, sociable, the great friend of the children. And he shows great courage when it comes to weathering the weather or defending the property.

Among the hunters and non-hunters, this dog has an extraordinary capital of sympathy, which he deserves amply. One is attracted by his good bearded and mustachioed, solid and faithful countryman. Its thick eyebrows let an intelligent and gentle look, where a spark sparkles when it comes to hunting or walks. This appearance perfectly reflects his character: frank, deeply attached to his family, knowing quickly distinguish friends and greet them as appropriate, but also able to be impressive and threatening to unwanted; it is a very attractive dog, in short. The only fault we could find is that if we neglect his coat, if we leave it under showers and mud, the hostess will eventually demand that we make him a niche at the outside or kennel. To be presentable, a Korthals needs to be crammed and treated regularly.

For his only qualities of companion, the Griffon can not disappear, but it is his gifts of hunter that are worth to him his good reputation. The buyer will have no difficulty in finding a subject from honorable lines of work; not to mention the elite specimens, of course; which gives him satisfaction.

"No one else can supplant the Griffon in the marsh," wrote J. Castaing. Indeed, the Korthals is primarily a marsh specialist, the privileged auxiliary of the waterfowl and the snipe, who appreciate its incredible resistance to the cold, the icy water, the north wind, even in winter, at the tired. He is a very good swimmer, a "researcher" who finds the bird's point of fall very well. Wild game is becoming more and more rare, and the Griffon is well known for hunting ducks, snipe and woodcock, our last wild birds, is a proof of its great abilities. To convince oneself of it, it is moreover only to see the number of Korthals who are authentic becassiers.

His passion for hunting and his rusticity make the Korthals a remarkable bushman, able to penetrate the bushiest bushes. But that does not prevent that the opinions are unanimous to say that it defends itself very well in plain. In addition, it is an outstanding retriever, easy to put in the report. The "master of Bibesheim" wanted a dog "for all hunters, to do it all, in all climates", too, although the best specialists of field-trials know how to draw the quintessence to bring it to the top, the Korthals It is perfectly suited to the average user, the practical hunt.

First, this born hunter stands up very well, declares himself early. We sometimes meet, we must not hide, sensitive subjects and others a stubborn strand, but we have never seen Korthals which we can not take advantage. A little firmness to discipline the frolicsome side of the youth, a good progressivity in training (for example, do not work the report, under the pretext that the dog lends itself, before having obtained in all circumstances the firmness of the judgment) will make it possible to overcome it. Seriously, he will acquire it later (at the same time as the beard). The main point, for those who want such a companion, is knowing how to choose, on the advice of a breeder who is himself a skilled hunter, a puppy of good origins, suitable to his own personality and his hunting skills.

The Griffon is a gallop, which can move from the steady pace, essential today in fields, the small gallop in practice hunting, or trotting, when the terrain requires it. (Remember that it is always possible to restrict "a generous nature" but the opposite is much more difficult.) His ample pursuit, well crossed, does not let any room, his nose is of great finesse. He is known for the firmness of his stops, taken length. He has an innate sense of hunting, he is passionate about all game. With him, versatility does not mean being average in all disciplines.

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