Raising Hunting dogs is something we've always dreamed of doing. During my military career, we shared our home with three rescue dogs; "Bear" (Chessie), "Mocha" (Lab) & "CiCi" (Terrier/Schnauzer). As a member of the USAF Security Police/Security Forces career field I spent over 20 years working around our Military Working Dog Handlers & Dogs. A couple of years before I retired I was fortunate to be assigned to the USAF Security Forces Academy and one of our sister units was the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School. During that tour of duty I was able to observe and learn about their breeding and training programs, which only reinforced my desire to work with hunting/working dogs. After I retired from the USAF in 2013, we spent an additional year researching and discussing hunting dogs, breeding, etc... Then one day we were up in the mountains and a friend of ours with some experience in the dog show business thought CiCi might be part Griff. Not knowing much about Griff's or ever having seen one in person, we started researching the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Once we were introduced to the breed, we knew it was the one for us. Eleven months later, we brought Pepper home and our Griff journey began, but that's jumping ahead a bit...
Before taking the plunge, we knew we'd need to find three key pieces of the puzzle (by no means the only things to consider but for us these three stood out):
(1) A breeder(s) that we felt like we could talk to, call with questions and would be willing to help us as we started our journey into the world of Griffs. We've been very fortunate to find three breeders that have been amazing to work with over the last few years. If you are looking for a Griff and would feel more comfortable working with a more established breeder than we are here at Greenhorn Mountain Griffs, I'd highly recommend any of these three, they have been great to us and their dogs are simply outstanding.
- Idaho High Desert Griffons "Pepper"
- Idaho Outback Griffons, ID "Sage"
- Shiok Ridge Kennels, WI "Chili"
(2) A trainer, this would be our first pointing dog and I wanted to find a "World Class Trainer" to learn from and work with. As I called around and talked to various folks across the country, I ended up with three names on my short list. Fortunately, one of the trainers Ben Garcia was here in Colorado, as a handler/trainer he definitely had the experience with "over 600 AKC field trial placements, over 10 AKC National Championship placements, over 30 Field Trial Champions, and 3 National Champions." We set up a meeting and after spending some time with Ben Garcia and taking a look at his Hideaway Kennels I was sold and he has met and/or exceeded every expectation ever since.
(3) Veterinarian support. We needed a Veterinarian team that we felt comfortable with, who had experience with hunting dogs and was willing to help us with whelping and carrying for our dogs. There were lots of good choices along the Front Range of Colorado, eventually we decided to go with Yorkshire Veterinary Hospital and have been very happy with their service, care and expert advice along this journey.
Once we had those logistical pieces in place, we started adding Griffs to our family. At first, we were going to have just one and slowly grow but that number soon expanded and the following summer we picked up Chili and Lincoln. You'll quickly learn that the right number of Griffs in your family is always one more than you currently have. The decision to breed was never a short term decision, we knew going in that if the Griffs we brought home we're not of breeding quality we couldn't be irresponsible and would have to wait until we had the right dogs to breed. Thankfully, three years of research paid off and after two years with these wonderful dogs we were getting ready to have our first litter. In the end, we only ending up with Pepper in our breeding pool from our first three Griffs but those lessons were invaluable and reinforced our commitment to excellence in our breeding program.
A little more about us: We are a family of eight (4 people & 4 dogs). Jen (wife), Olivia (daughter), Court (son), Denny (that's me) and we've already introduced you to the dogs. We are fortunate to split time between a home in Colorado Springs and our mountain property outside of Rye, Colorado (background photo on this page). I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world right now, I'm retired from the USAF after 20 years, my amazing wife has served in the USAF for 25 years and is still going strong, I shuttle our kids around, help coach their sports teams and spend the rest of my time with the Griffs. We roam the Front Range of Colorado looking for great places to hunt, fish, train, hike and kayak. I can tell you we get some funny looks on the lakes with multiple dogs propped up on our Hobie Pro Angler while we're trying to get some fishing in. In the last two years with our Griffs we've had some great memories, introduced our kids to upland game and waterfowl hunting and spent countless hours exploring the mountains of Colorado. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is such a wonderful breed, I hope that our decision to venture into breeding on a small scale will give others the opportunity to share their lives with these wonderful animals.