What kind of dog is that? / by Phoebe Bean

“What kind of dog is that?” This is a question I am frequently asked when out with my griffon, Ginger. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, also called the Korthals Griffon in the UK, is a pointing dog known as the “4-wheel drive of hunting dogs.” Although less common here in the States, the griffon is becoming better known in the bird hunting community, and for good reason. Below is a photo of Ginger when she was 8 weeks old, pointing a toy rooster in the house. 

Over the past ten years that Ginger has been part of our family, she has been the subject of thousands of photos, conversations, and laughs. Through thick and thin, that dog has been there for it all and I can’t imagine getting through adolescence without her.

Always willing to join in on games of dress-up and play the part. 

Always willing to join in on games of dress-up and play the part. 

In addition to all of the emotional support she has offered me over the years, she has also proven to be an exceptional bird dog; despite shorter hunting seasons due to boarding school and college schedules, she has never forgotten any of her training and her instincts are just as pin-point as they were when she was a youngster. Here’s a photo from a hunt my dad and I took her on this past fall.

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I had hoped to bring her back east with me during my time here in Vermont, but after she tore an ACL I decided it would be best for her to recover from surgery in Sun Valley so that she could be monitored by the veterinarians that know her history. It was the right thing to do, but I miss her terribly. Thankfully, my family and friends have been sending me videos of her doing her favorite things (barking at squirrels, rolling in the snow, and eating), which helps. Still, there is an emptiness that has settled in without her.

Spring 2014 in Point Reyes, CA.

Spring 2014 in Point Reyes, CA.

Last weekend I drove to Lyndonville, VT, to meet with Ginger’s breeder, Mickey Murphy of Green Mountain Griffons; upon arrival, I was greeted by a posse of griffons and I felt some of the emptiness leave. Throughout my entire visit, I had an 8-month old griff named Marley (below) in my lap. I was in heaven.  

For two hours, Mickey and I swapped griffon stories, photos, and insights. He also pulled out his breeding book to show me his original notes on my girl from the day she was born. All in all, it was a really cool experience and I learned a lot about how the whole breeding process works. When it was time to go, I actually thought I was going to start crying! After playing with a bunch of goofy griffs all afternoon, I felt a bit closer to Ginger and I did not want to leave. Luckily, there are only a few weeks left before we’re reunited, and I can’t wait.

About to turn 10, Ginger has earned her spot on the couch.

About to turn 10, Ginger has earned her spot on the couch.