Griffon Nivernais

46-52 lbs
Chien de Pays, Griffon Vendeen Nivernais, Chien Gris de St. Louis

The Griffon Nivernais is a French breed that is one of the friendlier hunting breeds making him an excellent family companion, especially families with children. He is a very smart dog and an independent thinker. This can get him into trouble and he is somewhat mischievous when he is left to his own devices. He can be extremely willful when he wants his way and therefore does need a strong leader in the home. He also gets along well with other dogs. The Griffon Nivernais is a barker and can become a nuisance if left outside alone for too long.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Scent Hound

Griffon Nivernais Health

Average Size
Male Griffon Nivernais size stats
Height: 22-24 inches Weight: 46-52 lbs
Female Griffon Nivernais size stats
Height: 20-23 inches Weight: 46-52 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually Very Healthy
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
Occasional Diagnoses
  • None
Occasional Tests
  • Ear Examination

Griffon Nivernais Breed History

The Griffon Nivernais is a rough coated scent hound who was used in France by farmers and shepherds to keep wolves and wild boar are bay. He was bred in the highlands of central France and his ancestry dates back to the 1200s. He is one of the oldest hound breeds in France. The Griffon Nivernais was very popular among nobility as well as peasants. The Griffon Nivernais was said to be a favorite with King Louis IX and during his reign the Griffon Nivernais was called the Chien Gris de St. Louis or the Grey Dogs of St. Louis. He became more popular outside of the highlands of central France after the French Revolution. He was originally known as the Griffon Vendeen Nivernais. A popular theory that researchers have suggested is that the Griffon Nivernais is a descendent of the Balkan dogs that were brought back by the Crusaders. It is also suggested that he is directly related to the Bulgarian Barak who looks very similar to the Griffon Nivernais and also has many of the same character traits. Another theory is that the Griffon Nivernais is descended from the Gallic Hound. The Gallic Hound existed during Ancient Roman times and was said to have been brought to France with the Romans. In 1990, the Griffon Nivernais was established to begin the process of restoring the breed back to the popularity he enjoyed during King Louis IX’s reign. The Griffon Nivernais is beginning to gain recognition outside of France and has begun being imported into the United States and Canada. In 1995, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Griffon Nivernais and allows him to compete in all UKC sanctioned events. The Griffon Nivernais has not been recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Griffon Nivernais Breed Appearance

The Griffon Nivernais has a long, shaggy coat that is rough in texture. His coat should never be woolly or curly. He does have bushy eyebrows and a slight moustache, giving him a sorrowful expression. His skin should be close fitting and is thick. He should have black spots on his body and his lips should be dark and well pigmented. He will always look unkempt because of his shaggy coat. The Griffon Nivernais should be gray in color. The gray coloring can vary and the preferred gray color is wolf gray, blue gray and wild boar gray. He can have tan or fawn on his legs or head. He can also be fawn in color as long as he has white and black hairs mixed into his coat, giving the illusion of a darker color. Fawns are most often marked with tan points. He cannot be black, wheaten or orange in color. He should also never have white feet.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Griffon Nivernais eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Griffon Nivernais nose
Coat Color Possibilities
gray Griffon Nivernais coat
blue Griffon Nivernais coat
fawn Griffon Nivernais coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Griffon Nivernais straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Griffon Nivernais Breed Maintenance

The Griffon Nivernais always has an unkempt appearance even after you brush him. However, his coat does require proper, weekly grooming. The harsh texture helps keep dirt from accumulating. He should be brushed with a hard bristle brush and a metal comb. Since his coat has a harsh texture, he does not usually tangle or mat. His eyebrows and moustache should be combed regularly. He does not require many baths since brushing him will naturally clean the coat. He should be bathed 2 to 3 times a year using a mild shampoo, or bathed when he gets into mud or something that smells. Too many baths will cause him to develop skin irritation by taking away the natural oils on the skin. His coat will need to be stripped once a year so new coat can grow in. His nails should be trimmed as needed, usually every 2 to 3 weeks. Check his ears weekly to ensure that they are clean and free of infection.

Brushes for Griffon Nivernais
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Griffon Nivernais requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Griffon Nivernais Temperament

Even though the Griffon Nivernais is a bold hunting dog, he is very happy and friendly with people. He would do best in a home with older children unless he has been raised with the child from puppyhood. He is not overly suspicious of strangers and will even greet them with a friendly demeanor. He is not generally dog aggressive and works well within a pack. He should never show any aggression towards his food dish. The Griffon Nivernais is an independent thinker and can get into trouble when left alone for too long. He will look for things to occupy his time. He can be very willful and needs a leader who will not let him get by with being stubborn. Since he is a scent hound, the Griffon Nivernais is a barker and can easily turn into a nuisance if left outside alone for too long. He does well with cats if he has grown up with them. However, because he has a high prey drive, he should never be left alone with small pets such as ferrets, rabbits or guinea pigs.

Griffon Nivernais Owner Experiences

3 Years
1 People
House & Yard
I got him when my husband dieu. While he is not the most obedient of dogs, he is very good natured.
9 months, 3 weeks ago
12 Years
2 People
A wonderful pet, adopted as an "old" dog at age 10. Despite their reputation for barking, our Griffon Nivernaise has only barked maybe five times in two years! He can be stubborn, and I cannot let him run free, since he was a hunting dog and has no road sense
5 years, 9 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd