Griffon Nivernais

Breed Rating

family friendly:
Dog friendly:
Watch/guard dog:
Affection / Dependance:
Exercise needed:
Space needed:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:
Tendency to bark:
Grooming Requirements:

Breed Attributes


Breed group: Hounding    Type: Pure Breed    Talent:


Size: Medium     Weight: 50-55 lbs     Fur length: Long    Ears: Flappy    Fur type: Curly    Fur Color: Black & Brown, Dark Brown / Chocolate, Gray / Salt & Pepper, Light Brown / Golden


Life Expectancy: 10-14 years    Rarity: Common    Availability: Hard to find    Climate: Not good for warm climate.

Breed Details


The Griffon Nivernais (also called Chien de Pays) is an ancient scenthound breed originating in France. The Griffon Nivernais that is seen these days are actually a reconstruction of the ancient dogs of 14th century. The original and much larger Nivernais were kept by French noblemen and were used to hunt wolves and wild boars but they vanished during French revolution. The breed was reconstructed in 1925 using Grand Griffon Vendeen as foundation breed and mixing bloodlines of Otterhound and Foxhound breeds.

The modern Griffon Nivernais stand between 21.5-24.5 inches. The dog comes with moderately long head and flat skull. Of same length as skull, the muzzle tapers slightly towards predominant black nose. Lively, piercing and very expressive eyes can be dark or light in colour. Long, supple and fine ears are attached at eye level and hang down the head, reaching nose when drawn outwards. The slightly rectangular body has a rather narrow but long and solid back. Deep chest descends to level of the elbows. Moderately long tail is set high, well furnished and carried in a saber fashion. A distinct shaggy coat covers the body and comes in grizzled fashion.

This breed is NOT recognized by AKC however it is recognized by FCI and UKC.


This hardy breed comes in grizzled colours which include wolf-gray, blue gray and wild boar gray, with tan on head and legs, and fawn with white and black hairs mixed in, giving a dark look. Young puppies have tan markings which diminish with age.


The distinct shaggy coat is long, bushy and rough. The eye brows are well marked with hair. The muzzle has a slight mustache. The ears are hairy.


A wolf and wild boar hunter par excellence, the Griffon Nivernais is first and foremost a hunting dog. While its rustic and unkempt looks may hide its true personality, the dog is very capable of becoming a great family pet. It is an affectionate and friendly dog that forms a strong bond with its family. It loves to please its owners and in return, likes to be appreciated and praised. The dog is affectionate and gentle with children and being accustomed to living and hunting in packs, gets along well with other dogs. This breed has high prey drive and may not be suitable around other non-canine pets. Though friendly and loving, this dog is also a stubborn and willful breed that needs early age socialization when it is more manageable. It is not a breed for first time owners and would need an experienced master who is able to train this dog for obedience otherwise, it can be a handful. A properly trained and socialized Griffon Nivernais will make an excellent family pet.


The shaggy coat will need weekly brushing to remove dead hair. Bathe only when needed. Ears should be regularly checked.


Training this dog may be a challenge. Though the dog is intelligent, it does have a streak of stubborn behavior and may not respond as well to training as some other dog breeds. Unless the handler displays true packleader skills and win respect from this dog through gentle yet firm training, this breed is difficult to train.


The Griffon Nivernais have high exercise requirements and will best suit a country side living environment where they are free to play and run in large open areas. This dog is not suitable for apartment living. Apart from barking, it does not like to be confined in a small place with its highly energetic nature.

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