Comparing the rough-coated Cesky Fousek and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon side by side, you would swear you were seeing double. Indeed, these breeds are bound inextricably, each playing a part in the other’s survival through the decades, making them almost impossible to distinguish in many cases. While enthusiasts may argue for one breed’s superiority, nobody can deny both bring a remarkable temperament to the home.
Labs are undoubtedly the most popular gun dog turned family pet, but when you’re looking for a breed that shines in both categories, the Cesky Fousek and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon will be well worth a look. Let’s explore these exceptional working dogs and their unique history to understand why they could be perfect companions.
At a Glance
Cesky Fousek Overview
The talented, adaptable, and hardy Cesky Fousek is a Czech dog that originated in the late 1800s, but their roots potentially date back to the 14th century. Throughout their history, the Cesky Fousak, also called the Bohemian Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, has been a versatile hunting dog. They have an instinct to follow their owner’s lead and hunt intelligently, showing aptitude in pointing and quickly retrieving game in water and on land.
As a family dog, the Cesky Fousek is a loyal and lovable companion for adults, children, and, in many cases, other pets. Their easy-going nature extends to others, as they’re laid back and engaging with strangers. Cesky Fouseks are brainy canines needing attention and enrichment to prevent anxiety, boredom, and destructive behaviors.
The Cesky Fousek is an athletic and hard-working dog. Though relatively easy to train and appropriate for first-time owners, they require significant exercise to release their daily energy. Cesky Fouseks love having jobs. While walks, hikes, and activity in a large backyard will satisfy their needs, these natural-born bird dogs are happiest on the hunt.
Cesky Fouseks are exceptionally easy to train. They bring a high intelligence that doesn’t lend to extreme stubbornness and independence but rather deep hunting intuition and excellent communication skills. Jobs and goals are ideal. If you can’t take them hunting, agility or obedience training can satisfy their need to accomplish an owner-directed task.
As sensitive dogs, Cesky Fouseks need firm but gentle guidance from a teacher they admire and trust. Positive reinforcement and treats for rewards are essential to any training approach while scolding and punishment will set you back. Socialization and bonding time will make it easier, as your dog will be more excited for training.
Health & Care
Cesky Fouseks are a healthy breed despite their limited numbers, having few notable genetic diseases. Hip dysplasia can be common, though reputable breeders should screen for the condition. Their folded ears and medium-length wire hair can allow for infections more readily than some other dogs, making regular ear cleaning and trimming a crucial part of proper grooming.
Grooming the Cesky Fousek is relatively straightforward. They aren’t heavy shedders but need brushing one or two times weekly with a firm bristle brush to remove debris and distribute the natural oils across the body and a dematter as needed to clear mats and loose undercoat. Occasional hand-stripping is necessary to remove the dead hair, keeping the coat healthy and strong.
Finding a Cesky Fousek isn’t easy outside their native Czech Republic. There are only a few purebred Cesky Fouseks in North America, with breeders primarily breeding dogs for temperament and talent over conformation to please hunters. Cesky Fousek North America is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting these rare dogs, working with their Czech counterpart to increase numbers and maintain consistency across the breed.
The Cesky Fousek is a delightful family dog, but finding one for that specific purpose is challenging. Breeders want to promote the Cesky Fousek’s ability as a versatile hunting dog. Although their easy-going temperament, friendliness, and fun-loving attitude make them fantastic fits for families with children and first-time owners, the ideal owner will take them out in the field to exercise their disciplined, tactical approach to hunting.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Overview
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, often dubbed the “gun dog supreme,” originated in the mid–late 1800s. Eduard K. Korthals, a Dutch breeder, created the biddable, intelligent, and multi-talented bird dog from the Otterhound and various setters, pointers, and retrievers. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are highly obedient and display a rare mix of pointing, retrieving, and tracking abilities needed for successful one-dog hunts.
In the home, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons have a delightfully manageable, calm, and easy-going temperament with all family members. They’re playful yet gentle and highly devoted to children. Though they can sometimes be wary of strangers, they are rarely aggressive and will follow their owners’ cues to discern who to trust.
The energetic Wirehaired Pointing Griffon needs at least an hour of daily exercise, split between walks and play. With an active mind and body, they aren’t ideal for apartment life or solitary time. They desire attention and a chance to please their owners.
Bonding activities, like fetch and agility training, are some of the most valuable ways to keep your dog fit. Griffons are naturally fit for swimming and hiking, and of course, hunting will give them the most fulfilling outlet.
Like the Cesky Fousek, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are easy to train, even for first-time owners. They aim to please and are highly determined. Although sessions will have to be short to maintain focus, and you’ll have to exert dominance and consistency, Griffons aren’t testy or temperamental. They quickly figure out what you want and work tirelessly to make it happen, especially if it means earning rewards and attention.
Training a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is straightforward. Basic commands are easy to teach with consistency and positive reinforcement via your dog’s favorite treats or toys. Early socialization will be critical for leash training, easing their temperament around strangers, and limiting their prey drive. They are sensitive and don’t respond well to punishment. Fortunately, with the proper approach from the outset, they’re already more likely to be well-behaved, compliant, and keen to improve.
Health & Care
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are a generally healthy breed without any unique genetic disorders. Hip and elbow dysplasia are common but screenable through quality breeders. Minor issues like skin allergies, ear infections, or eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, ectropion, or entropion, may also occur.
You won’t have to worry about excessive shedding with the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s easy, unkempt look. Weekly brushing to remove loose fur, smooth hair, and distribute oils will keep the coat healthy. Your dog may need occasional hand stripping to release the topcoat and allow new hair to grow. Frequent nail trims and eye and ear checks are crucial alongside semi-weekly teeth brushing. Their ears need occasional trims and cleanings to prevent infections.
Finding America’s 57th most popular AKC-recognized breed isn’t challenging. The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association manages the standard and registry, offering a list of breeders for anyone interested in owning one.
Hunters, active families, and anyone with the space and time to spare to spend with their pets can make an excellent match for a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. They’re safe around children and strangers and will become highly tolerant of other animals with early introductions and ongoing socialization.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and Cesky Fousek crossed paths at several points in the past century due to their similarities. Following WWII, Cesky Fouseks were in danger of extinction. Needing new blood, breeders pulled in thoughtful influence from similar breeds, which many believe included the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
Bearing the link to the Griffon since the 1950s, the Cesky Fousek returned the favor, in a way, in the mid-1980s when the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon had a similar crisis. For decades prior, ongoing inconsistencies in temperament, body features, and hunting skills proved problematic for breeders. The breed needed saving because of limited stock, and an ideological split emerged around how to accomplish it.
Members of the WPGCA, the governing Wirehaired Pointing Griffon club in America, couldn’t find a consensus. Half the members wanted to use existing stock and bolster breeding with Griffons from France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The other felt the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon could only survive and reclaim their stature with the infusion of foreign breeds.
The groups went their different ways to revive the breed, with the latter using none other than Cesky Fouseks for their new breeding venture. In 1991, the WPGCA lost its status as the official parent club, as its members adopted the crossbreeding program.
With most dogs eventually consisting of over 75% Cesky Fousek blood, the group changed its name to the more apt Bohemian Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America and again to its current name, the Cesky Fousek North America. Meanwhile, the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association, consisting of WPGCA members committed to breeding only Griffons, became the AKC’s new parent club.
Which Breed Is Right for You?
Apart from the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon yielding a few inches and several pounds to the Cesky Fousek, one could see both breeds as two sides of the same coin. Despite separate beginnings, they’ve grown closer in recent decades, representing similar personalities and roles.
While either dog can be an excellent family pet, their true calling is in a hunting role. If you want a versatile bird dog to do what you need with minimal prompting, both dogs can be perfect choices. Neither breed will punish their people. But with an owner that can provide the mentally stimulating exercise they need, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and Cesky Fouseks will richly reward them with their dependability and dedication.