I had been hunting for over twenty-five years and had grown up with dogs all my life. As a farm kid we had many dogs from different breeds and mixes. When I was thirteen I shot my first rooster over a point from our crossbred Wiemaramer and have been hooked on pheasants ever since. I still love the anticipation of a solid point and the rush of the flush and cackle of a big "longtail." Later on, my brothers and I had a German Shorthair cross that was fun to hunt with, and by the early 80s I had a Springer that could "clear" a marsh in 10 minutes. By the 90s I started to do more duck hunting and had a lab/golden retriever mix.
We had read an article in an "Outdoor Life" magazine about this "versatile dog" hunting breed, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. It sounded like something we would like, and since my two brothers were looking for dogs, we traveled to Iowa to watch them test. This is when the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America (WPGCA) started to bring in the Cheskey Fousek to invigorate their griffons. Later on, both of my brothers ended up receiving pups from the club, and had good hunting companions for over 13 years.
I still had my old retriever when Dan Short approached me about getting a griffon. He had bought a purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Stonybrook Billie, a few years earlier and wanted to do a breeding with Tom Knutson's dog Aspen Point's Barrel. Dan was looking for good homes close by that would hunt and test the pups. I had seen Tom's griff "Rambo" years earlier in Iowa and was very impressed with his confirmation, type and prey drive. So in the summer of 1999 I agreed to take a pup and received my first purebred griffon, Stonybrook Ariel "Ally".
Ally had a lot of prey drive and desire and I soon fell in love with all aspects of the versatile breed. I took her out often, grouse and duck hunting, and made my first trip to South Dakota hunting pheasants that fall. In the spring she tested with a top NA score in the WPGCA, and a month later in NAVHDA with a top Prize 1-112. I knew I had something special and looked forward to fall and the next hunting season.
I continued to hunt and train Ally and a year later she tested with a UPT prize 2 170. Dan Short asked to have her hips checked and she came back OFA excellent. So in the spring 2003 we decided to have her bred to Pat McKinley's Shingobee Lake Czar. This was my first litter of pups and we used Dan's kennel name "Stonybrook" for the B litter. A year later we did a repeat breeding and had the Stonybrook D litter. Dan had also done the C litter with Ally's full sib Stonybrook Abby.
In 2005 we started our own kennel name "Stonyridge Kennels." We named it after a large limestone outcropping we call "The Ledge" that can be seen from our home. The ledge overlooks the Horicon marsh which is one of the country's largest wildlife refuges and a major resting area for waterfowl in the Central Flyway. We also wanted to keep the kennel name close enough to Dan's (right after in test score order) to show the tie we had together when we started. We wish to thank Dan and all the many others that have helped us along the way as we try to maintain and improve a great purebred versatile breed. Also a special thanks to Brian White for following up on pups and litters along with all the NAVHDA folks in helping with the evaluation and testing of our dogs.
Ally was bred two more times and whelped the Stonyridge E and F litters. Ally is gone now, but she gave us nearly 15 years of great memories at home and in the field, and through her offspring we have been able to continue producing fine purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.
My brother Randy Posthuma had kept a pup from Ally's B litter that was turning into a fine hunting dog. Bobby tested NA Prize 1-112 and had a solid point with a lot of drive. We bred her to Black River Dallas in '07 and '09 and whelped our Stonyridge G and H litters. I kept a pup from both of those litters and they each tested NA prize 1-112. Gretta and Hanna have been great hunting dogs and their full sib VC Stonyridge Gracey became Cliff Koele's foundation bitch at Coppershot Griffons.
Stonyridge Gem Stone "Gretta" was bred in 2010 to VC Alibi's Tommorow is a Better Day "Tommy" and produced the I litter. This litter tested well and VC Stonyridge Ivan went on and received his "Versatile Champion" title in 2014. Also Stonyridge Ida, from the I litter, was bred in 2014 and with help from Sheldon and Romona Torkelson whelped the Q litter. Gretta also whelped the J, L, N, and P litters. These pups have been doing great and have tested with high scores. From her N litter VC Stonyridge Nika became Grett's second Versatile Champion with 2 of the top 3 scores in 4 years.
Stonyridge High Point "Hanna" has whelped the K, M, O, S, U, and W litters. These have made outstanding pups that have tested very well and also have her friendly, happy demeanor. Congratulations to Jim Borg who tested Stonyridge Shelby from Hanna's litter, who at less than 15 weeks of age, scored a top NA score of Prize 1-112. This is the youngest pup of any NAVHDA breed at that time to score a Prize 1-112. Hanna is always a joy to hunt with and I trust her nose when she is tracking or on point. My brother Randy kept Stonyridge Magnum (Max) from the M litter. Max tested NA 110-prize 1 and his hips are OFA excellent. We have been using Max for stud and look forward to his progeny testing. We have kept Stonyridge Will O' the Wisp from Hanna's W litter. She is a fireball and tested at 4 months with a 108 prize 2!
We also have VC Stonyridge Nika. She is one of Gretta's pups from the "N Litter" and sired by Shingobee Lake Honey Boy. Nika has been very enjoyable to train and her and a litter mate tested with a NA prize 1-112 at 5 1/2 months of age. She scored a UT 191 prize 3 at 2 1/2 years of age and UT 204 prize 1 at 3 1/2.
At 4 1/2 Nika became the highest scoring griffon at the 2017 NAVHDA Invitational and is now a Versatile Champion!
In 2015 Nika was bred to Aspen Glo's Axel and gave us 13 pups for our R litter. She repeated in the spring of "16" and whelped 13 in our T litter, with a line breeding sired by Stonyridge Magnum (Max). In 2017 she had the X litter that we kept a male pup from-Xavier that tested NA 112 prize 1. With another repeat breeding in 2018 Nika had the A litter with 10 pups, where we kept a sharp little female from-Ava . We hope she will follow Nika with great future breeding potential. Nika is truly our ideal of a what this breed is and should be!
From Nika's R litter we kept Stonyridge Remember Shingobee. "Remy" is named after the late George Patrick McKinley's kennel Shingobee Lake. "Pat" was very instrumental in the WPG breed and helped us get started with our first two litters with Czar. Remy's grand sire is Shingobee Lake Honey Boy, a stud that Pat bred, and that we have used 6 times in our breeding program. Remy is coming along very nicely and tested with a NA 112 prize 1. Remy was bred in 2018 to Stonyridge Otis from our O litter. She had 11 big pups that look great and we are looking forward to seeing them test.
We enjoy working and training with this truly versatile breed and still enjoy our yearly pheasant and duck hunting trips to the Dakotas. Also the grouse hunting in northern Wisconsin and duck, goose and pheasant hunts in the farm fields and ponds close by.
With placing pups all across this country we have many new friends and puppy families that we enjoy hearing from, and how our griffs have impacted their lives. We plan to continue breeding our Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, keeping in mind our goals of improving and developing a great breed of versatile hunting dogs, and always looking forward to the next generation for us and others to enjoy.
John and Lori