The Great Wirehaired Gryfenees is a hybrid dog, a cross between a giant guardian of sheep, the Great Pyrenees, and a versatile hunting dog, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. The Great Pyrenees, known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog in the UK and Europe, is an extremely ancient breed. They have been sharing the landscape of the Pyrenees Mountains with flocks of sheep and their shepherding protectors for around three thousand years, although where they came from before they lived in the mountains they were named for is still a mystery. The most common theory is that these dogs are the descendants of large white canines that existed in Asia Minor ten to eleven thousand years ago. Great Pyrenees dogs can be found in art, literature, and historical documentation of France, generally in a guardian-type position. In the 1600s, this dependable dog became the Royal Dog of France, and many believe that they were instrumental in the development of both the Newfoundland and the Landseer breeds we enjoy today. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a fairly new breed, developed in the late 19th century by Eduard Karel Korthals, the son of a banker and cattle breeder, and an avid sportsman. In 1874, he purchased a grey and white female with exceptional hunting and tracking skills to base his new breed on, and for twenty-two years he selectively bred Wirehaired Pointing Griffons with an eye toward developing the outstanding all around hunting dog that we know today, with the ability to easily switch between tracking, pointing, flushing, and retrieving game. Breeds that are believed to have been involved in the development of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon include the Small Musterlander, European hunting dogs known simply as Griffons, the Braque Francais, and various other setters and spaniels. These dogs were recognized by the American Kennel Club in the same year that they were first imported to the United States, in 1887.