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Griffon Nivernais
Characteristics, History, and Health

Griffon Nivernais

The Griffon Nivernais is a breed of scent hound that originated in the Nivernais region of France. It is believed to have ancient roots, with origins dating back to the Middle Ages. These dogs were traditionally used for hunting purposes, primarily to track and trail game, such as wild boar, deer, and other large game animals. Over the years, the breed's popularity has waned, but dedicated breed enthusiasts and efforts have helped preserve this unique and robust breed.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Griffon, Nivernais Griffon, Chien de Pays, Griffon Vendeen Nivernais, Chien Gris de St. Louis (Grey Dogs of St. Louis)
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
21.5-24.5 inches
Average Female Height
20.5-23.5 inches
Average Male Weight
50-55 pounds
Average Female Weight
50-55 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Shaggy, Rough
Coat Colors
Wolfgray, Blue Gray, Gray Grizzle
Coat Pattern
Tan Points

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Griffon Nivernais can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration. They are also prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears.

Personality and Behavior

Griffon Nivernais dogs are known for their tenacity, intelligence, and strong hunting instincts. They are courageous and determined in the field, making them excellent tracking and trailing dogs. At home, they are generally affectionate and loyal to their families, though they may exhibit some independence and stubbornness, common traits in hounds. Early socialization and training are crucial to ensure a well-mannered and well-adjusted companion.

Fun Facts

According to the UKC, these dogs have unparalleled skills as wild boar hunters. They were originally known as the Griffon-Vendeen-Nivernais.

The Griffon Nivernais made a notable appearance in the 2009 French-Canadian animated film "La Légende de Sarila" (The Legend of Sarila), where a character named "Nanook" is portrayed as a loyal and brave Griffon Nivernais.

The Griffon Nivernais has a distinctive coat that is rough and coarse. It is medium to long in length and features a dense undercoat, which provides protection from various weather conditions and rough terrains. The coat's texture is essential for the breed's role as a hunting dog, as it helps protect them from thorns and underbrush while working in the field.

The breed was said to be admired by King Louis IX and during his reign the Griffon Nivernais, which gave rise to one of their alternate names: Gris de St. Louis (Grey Dogs of St. Louis).