Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

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Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby mastercaster » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:12 am

I'm on a griff web site and there was a recent thread where people were posting how big their dogs were in terms of height and weight. I was gob smacked to hear how many of these dogs were in the 80-90 pound range and a good four inches or more taller than standard. When Eduard Korthals developed this bird dog back in the late 1800s he did it wanting a medium size hunting dog as the result. Is this still the goal?

Griff (WPG) standard is 20-22" for female, 22-24" for males. Medium size dogs are supposed to be in the range of 40-60 pounds. Large breed dogs are between 60-90 pounds. Why are there so many monster griffs out there? Sure, some are over weight but a whole lot of them are far too tall. Everyone knows there's always going to a runt or an overly large pup in any litter but from what I;'m hearing it's a lot more than just the odd one.

I have to wonder if there are breeders out there who aren't considering the conformation standard, just throwing it aside, and breeding for what they consider more important traits like hunting ability, temperament, health certified, etc.? These are obviously super important but surely those attributes can be found in a standard size griff.

One thing I have observed is that griffs bred in Europe and in Canada conform much more to size whereas litters that are bred in the States are often where the larger griffs come from.

What do you think? Is size no longer important with this breed of dog when it comes to breeding it? Should these larger, non standard dogs be used for breeding purposes,,,,is bigger better? Does this breed need to be re-classified as a large breed dog?
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby Charli » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:09 am

Greed dilutes standards and non-conforming dogs should not be bred or registered...IMO.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby JTracyII » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:51 am

There are not any hard answers in my mind. In the griff world the problem is not that too many people are breeding for hunting ability with no regard for the standard. The problem is that there are far too many people breeding griffs without regard for hunting ability at all (there are some really good ones out there, but you have to look for them). The standard is there to guide us and is the ideal, but if a truly stellar hunting dog is out there but a little over standard I would use him or her, but I would be keeping a smaller one of that litter, if possible, and be careful to breed that dog to a smaller, high quality male in the future. You can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If there was within standard male I could breed too that was equally as good somewhere I would breed to that dog first. Versatile breeders have to do there best and make tough decisions when attempting to produce dogs that are good in so many areas. I would likely never breed to a 90 lb male as they likely would not meet my criteria of being capable of both ice water retrieves and hunting the uplands all day without breaking down. They are too large for the latter. There are limits to height and weight for me, but they may not always fit so nicely inside the standard. I actually prefer a smaller dog. One towards the lower end of the standard. I live in OK where it can get cold and windy, but not as cold as up north. A smaller dog will do well in OK if they have a decent coat and a thin layer of fat while retrieving ducks in winter (This describes my young 45 lb female PP to a T), and generally speaking, they will do better than too large of a dog in the uplands when the temps rise where I live. A large dog overheats quickly when they sport a good wire coat. There is too big in my book, but it is not so black and white in my mind.

Jarbo03's male, Taz, is a great example of what I am talking about. Jarbo03, I hope your OK with me bringing him up? He is a little over standard, but based on the video's he has posted over the years, getting to know his owner and how Taz hunts, his desire on waterfowl and performance on large birds such as Canadian geese, upland performance, stellar hip scores at the top of the breed, temperament, etc. I would absolutely use him if I were into griffs. I have seen him on videos on this forum, and on one he was carrying in a large goose through ice he had to break with his front paws for quite a while to make land (made me nervous for the dog while watching, honestly), but showing the mental stability to keep fighting through the ice to deliver to hand with never dropping the bird. That shows some serious toughness and mental soundness not often found. I am surprised he has not been bred yet and hope for the griff's sake he does as I think he has much to add to the breed genetically. He may not be able to reproduce himself, but we don't know unless he gets used. Yes, he is larger than I prefer, but don't throw out the good stuff over him being a little large. Just take those genetics you find in his progeny and breed to smaller/quality males in the future.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby JONOV » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:10 pm

mastercaster wrote:I'm on a griff web site and there was a recent thread where people were posting how big their dogs were in terms of height and weight. I was gob smacked to hear how many of these dogs were in the 80-90 pound range and a good four inches or more taller than standard. When Eduard Korthals developed this bird dog back in the late 1800s he did it wanting a medium size hunting dog as the result. Is this still the goal?

Griff (WPG) standard is 20-22" for female, 22-24" for males. Medium size dogs are supposed to be in the range of 40-60 pounds. Large breed dogs are between 60-90 pounds. Why are there so many monster griffs out there? Sure, some are over weight but a whole lot of them are far too tall. Everyone knows there's always going to a runt or an overly large pup in any litter but from what I;'m hearing it's a lot more than just the odd one.

I have to wonder if there are breeders out there who aren't considering the conformation standard, just throwing it aside, and breeding for what they consider more important traits like hunting ability, temperament, health certified, etc.? These are obviously super important but surely those attributes can be found in a standard size griff.

One thing I have observed is that griffs bred in Europe and in Canada conform much more to size whereas litters that are bred in the States are often where the larger griffs come from.

What do you think? Is size no longer important with this breed of dog when it comes to breeding it? Should these larger, non standard dogs be used for breeding purposes,,,,is bigger better? Does this breed need to be re-classified as a large breed dog?

Let me ask you this: Why should I or you care about someone else's written standard for physical conformation, if it isn't relevant to you or I?

Personally, I take a rather dim view of the conformation standard's importance. For a lot of reasons. What's important to me as a hunter might be irrelevant to you as a hunter. Someone that does a lot of late season duck hunting and mostly takes shorter, flatter pheasant or grouse hunts is going to have a different ideal than someone that mostly chukar hunts.

If size were important to me, I wouldn't buy a dog that comes from big parents. I think that one thing that attracts folks to Griff's is their shorter stature, and if its important, than they shouldn't buy a dog from big parents.

The other reason, is that the show world can lead to some totally useless dogs. Because they "conform" to some standard or another, and ignore other more important traits. I've seen some really nice "looking" dogs that have the right proportions, etc, but you see them run or whatever and it doesn't add up. And one only needs to look at Cocker Spaniels or even Show Ring Labs to see what the awful consequences are.

The other thing, is that some dogs just get big despite having normally sized parents. I know one such 80 lb Griff. She's never been bred though and won't be.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby jarbo03 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:41 pm

Appreciate the kind words abou Taz JTracyll, he's been a joy that's for sure. The fact that he came from parents who both were in the mid 50# range shows you that there are no guarantees in breeding. Taz is in the mid 70s, and it suits me perfect. A week long trip chasing upland and waterfowl non stop will tell you more about a dog than any measurement. Doing so repeatedly year after year have proven this.


Mastercaster, for the most part, every griff site I've been on is a joke. I'm sure the majority if them don't hunt. Will find way more useful info here than on any of them.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby mastercaster » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:51 pm

[/quote]
Let me ask you this: Why should I or you care about someone else's written standard for physical conformation, if it isn't relevant to you or I?

Personally, I take a rather dim view of the conformation standard's importance. For a lot of reasons. What's important to me as a hunter might be irrelevant to you as a hunter. Someone that does a lot of late season duck hunting and mostly takes shorter, flatter pheasant or grouse hunts is going to have a different ideal than someone that mostly chukar hunts.

If size were important to me, I wouldn't buy a dog that comes from big parents. I think that one thing that attracts folks to Griff's is their shorter stature, and if its important, than they shouldn't buy a dog from big parents.

The other reason, is that the show world can lead to some totally useless dogs. Because they "conform" to some standard or another, and ignore other more important traits. I've seen some really nice "looking" dogs that have the right proportions, etc, but you see them run or whatever and it doesn't add up. And one only needs to look at Cocker Spaniels or even Show Ring Labs to see what the awful consequences are.

The other thing, is that some dogs just get big despite having normally sized parents. I know one such 80 lb Griff. She's never been bred though and won't be.[/quote]

I do care to a certain extent. When I did all my research on what my next bird dog would be one of my considerations was the size of the dog. I hunt the entire bird season but I spend just as many months of the year up here in BC fly fishing lakes out of my 9' pram. I wanted my dog to go with me at all times. There's not a lot of room in the front of the pram behind the middle seat once I throw my fishing bag back there but there is enough room for a fifty pound dog.

The things that were most important to me when contacting breeders is that the dogs were bred to hunt, had good temperament, had no genetic health issues, and would be a medium size dog. Everyone I ended up speaking to only sold their pups to hunting families which I felt really good about. I also wanted a pup from a repeat breeding so I could get a real good idea about the size of the dog when it became an adult. My pup came from the third breeding of its parents,,,,all females from all three breedings were between 46-50 pounds. My griff is 20 1/2 months old and is 47 lbs. so I'm happy with her size,,,,,lots of room in my pram, her stamina is excellent, plus her prey drive is through the roof!

I don't mind seeing larger griffs out there. I just hope if they are ever used for breeding that they get bred to a MUCH smaller griff in hopes that the pups will be within standard in terms of size. I don't want this breed of dogs to be re-classified one day as a Large breed dog. Just MHO.

Some really good responses here,,,,would like to hear a few more to see what other hunters think.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby mastercaster » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:05 pm

jarbo03 wrote:
Mastercaster, for the most part, every griff site I've been on is a joke. I'm sure the majority if them don't hunt. Will find way more useful info here than on any of them.


I hear you! As you say, the majority of them don't hunt,,,,unfortunately. Many of them think their over sized griffs are in great shape and are all muscle. Pretty sure many of them really don't know what a truly fit dog looks like. I've seen quite a few photos of them and it's clear that these dogs don't have much of a waist,,,,if at all.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby flitecontrol » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:34 pm

I had WPGs for almost 30 years. My first dog back in the early 1980's was Cacei de la Cote. IMO, at around 54-57 pounds he was a good size for a hunting dog. Not so small that he couldn't bust or worm through heavy cover or take on any game I hunted, or so large that hunting him here in the South resulted in a dog that got too hot too quickly. At the Griffon tests I attended, I saw some very large dogs (IIRC, the largest was around 80 pounds). While I never hunted over any of them, I always wondered how well they would do in hot temperatures, or very thick cover.

My last few dogs have been DD, only one of which was towards the smaller end of the standard. That dog had the best conformation of any dog I have seen and could hunt hard all day. The others were considerably larger in spite of trying to find pups from smaller parents. It seems like many DD breeders prefer larger parents.

I think the standard is there for a reason; to standardize the breed. If you want a larger WPG, why not go with a DD? They generally have much better coats than Griffons, and overall have more drive than the average WPG. On the down side, none of my DDs have shown the level of cooperation of my WPGs.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby orhunter » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:11 pm

Griff websites aren’t places where a person researches hunting dogs. You’ll find everything except hunting dogs on them.

My issue with oversize dogs is, they wouldn’t be what I consider to be do it all dogs. A dog should be able to go from the duck blind to the Chukar hills, hunt day after day without breaking down. I have doubts the big dogs can pull this off. I wouldn’t have a clue where to draw the line on what is too big so this is open to debate among us all?

Personally, I don’t want anything to do with females over about 52 lbs or males over 60 or the dogs that produce such offspring. Griffs must have the physical structure that says, I can run all day. Living in the west, my personal needs were certainly different from those living in other parts of N. America. If all I did was hunt pheasants and waterfowl, I’d probably be happy with whatever.....long as it was a hunting Griff. Something we don’t find on a Griff website.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby orhunter » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:19 pm

Something else. We shouldn’t have to shop for dogs that are the correct size. In a perfect world, they are all the correct size (whatever that is) because breeders breed for “do it all dogs.”
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby flitecontrol » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:45 am

orhunter wrote:Something else. We shouldn’t have to shop for dogs that are the correct size. In a perfect world, they are all the correct size (whatever that is) because breeders breed for “do it all dogs.”


In a perfect world, you would be right. But AFAIK, there are no restrictions on Griffon breeders, and many think their oversize, narrow chested, soft temperament, uncooperative, adverse to water, fuzzy coated WPG is a fine example of the breed and will want puppies from it. Those who are intrigued by the "scarce/different/funny looking" dogs, who don't know better, will buy their pups and in turn breed some of them.

While it would never be accepted in North America, there are advantages to the European Breed Warden system. For one thing, it eliminates the rose colored glasses most have regarding their dogs. All dogs considered for breeding would have to be tested and meet minimum standards in order to be approved for breeding. However, even that hasn't kept the WPG from declining in Europe or the increase in size of other versatile breeds. There just aren't enough good dogs with the desired physical and mental traits to improve the WPG, either here or in Europe.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby mastercaster » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:07 am

flitecontrol wrote:
orhunter wrote:Something else. We shouldn’t have to shop for dogs that are the correct size. In a perfect world, they are all the correct size (whatever that is) because breeders breed for “do it all dogs.”


In a perfect world, you would be right. But AFAIK, there are no restrictions on Griffon breeders, and many think their oversize, narrow chested, soft temperament, uncooperative, adverse to water, fuzzy coated WPG is a fine example of the breed and will want puppies from it. Those who are intrigued by the "scarce/different/funny looking" dogs, who don't know better, will buy their pups and in turn breed some of them.

While it would never be accepted in North America, there are advantages to the European Breed Warden system. For one thing, it eliminates the rose colored glasses most have regarding their dogs. All dogs considered for breeding would have to be tested and meet minimum standards in order to be approved for breeding. However, even that hasn't kept the WPG from declining in Europe or the increase in size of other versatile breeds. There just aren't enough good dogs with the desired physical and mental traits to improve the WPG, either here or in Europe.


As I mentioned above my pup came from a breeder who breeds pups for hunting. The pup came with a non-breeding contract that could be rescinded if the pup scored a certain number of points on a hunt test, and if it's eyes, hips, elbows all checked out and considered healthy once the dog became a breedable age. I don't have any desires to breed dogs although I think my pup would have made a good candidate,,,,,I'm just not set up for it. I'd rather leave that job for the pros so I had my pup spayed when she was 18 months old. I think all hunting dogs should come with these non breeding contracts that can be rescinded if the pup/dog meets all the necessary considerations and hope that the breeders are in the game to improve the breed and not for the money.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby ANick » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:11 am

To the OP's query, I'll vote no.

Presumably, a given breed has a breed standard for some reason, and the breed was developed with that reason and purpose in mind.

The US version of a breed is typically physically to an AKC standard. Performance *may* be to something like the NAVHDA registry. Or bypassing that, there may be some association that 'breeds to an FCI standard', which may be various percentages of true. I am *not* saying that you cannot get a good hunting dog that way. Go back to the 70's and there were breeders that had both GSPs and EPs... and their GSPs had phenomenal range and speed and none too shabby noses. Just saying. :)

German bred dogs come up in a system that is structured to get the physical and the performance 'halves' of the breed standard in the Standard. There's some variation in size allowed and the coat has some variation but there is something to guide breeding . I've not seen a better example of a system set up to promote .. standardization. I'm not going to say that makes all the dogs the same, nor that the system is 'perfect'. Overall though, the intent is to carry on a breed as intended and stated in the breed standard. Bred to type, conformation and coat, mandated physical and/or genetic tests performed and breed tests (field) passed.. it makes for a decent baseline. Or Standard.

Does it matter? Well, maybe. If you order up a GSP is it going to be 45 or 65 lbs?

"Breed" noun:
- a stock of animals or plants within a species having a distinctive appearance and typically having been developed by deliberate selection.
- “Race, stock; strain; a line of descendants perpetuating particular hereditary qualities.” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1959)

Just my $.02

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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby Urban_Redneck » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:07 am

All you get from breeding dogs outside of the standard is more dogs outside the standard. My buddy has a 90lb Griff, he's a dog most would be proud to feed, but, not to breed.

My own dog is reportedly 1cm or 2cm over standard, she'll not be bred due to repeated false pregnancies (another trait that shouldn't be passed on).

In my mind, when you buy a purebred dog you become a shareholder in the breed. If your dog is exceptional, you ought to pass those genes along at least once. If your dog is outside the standard, you shouldn't breed.
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Re: Should dogs outside the standard be bred?

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:16 am

I believe breeding Vdogs presents a supreme challenge for the Breeders. Strong NA for Search, Point, Track, Retrieve, excellent mental stability, coat and conformation all in one dog is a TALL order. Add smaller gene pools for numerous of the Vdog breeds and the challenge gets even greater.

The bias I see, and lean towards accepting, is size and coat are lesser priorities to hunting NA and mental stability.

Yea Taz is the real deal, with genetics that are needed in the WPG breed in my observation.

I think the DDs serve as a good example, as they have had a great deal of success improving on their dogs mental stability and coats while maintaining excellent hunting NA, and improving on their dogs coats with many having excellent harsh outer coats and dense undercoats.

GWPs, PPs, WPGs all have too many dogs with crap coats is my observation. People who put up with it either do not hunt much or are not in areas of the country where there are marshes and ag field edges filled with cockleburs.

Size - I think it matters and a person's preferences will vary depending on what and where they hunt. But the heart of a dog for the hunt matters more. When you get the right combination of drive and conformation, however, then you have a standout dog which can hit it hard days in a row. I prefer a lean leggy male dog in the 60-65 lb range which is large enough to handle a volume of Maxima strain late season honkers and yet agile enough to get over the ground smoothly and efficiently while hunting upland birds. Size is one reason I have stuck with the best of the Hunting Strains of GWPs vs going down the DD road. It is hard to predictably get a DD male in the size range I desire and I have not wanted to accept the risk my puppy would turn out to be a 90-100 dog. I am sure with more research I could probably get comfortable with it but the risk is there.

As to WPGs, I think a lack of hunting NA in far too many dogs being bred, and crap for coats are both far more prevalent problems than is size. I see some excellent WPG puppies but they are outnumbered by those I would steer clear of. So if an individual WPG dog with excellent hunting NA, mental stability and decent or better coat, but a little large came along, I think breeding such a dog would be very acceptable in an effort to get the most important things right first and then refine the lesser important criteria. As I stated, breeding Vdogs presents some supreme challenges in my view.
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