The Griffon Nivernais: A French Hunting Dog

Introduction: The Griffon Nivernais

The Griffon Nivernais is a French hunting dog, also known as the Nivernais Griffon or the Griffon d’arrêt du Nivernais. This breed is recognized for its excellent hunting skills, particularly in tracking and pointing small game, such as rabbits and birds. The Griffon Nivernais is a versatile dog that can adapt to different hunting terrains, including forests, fields, and mountains. Moreover, this breed is also a loyal and affectionate companion, making it a popular pet for families and hunters alike.

History: Origins and Development

The Griffon Nivernais has a long history that dates back to the 16th century in the Nivernais region of France. It is believed that this breed was developed from the local hunting dogs, including the Saintongeois, the Bleu de Gascogne, and the Griffon Vendéen. The Griffon Nivernais was recognized as a distinct breed in the 19th century, and it became a popular hunting dog among French nobility and aristocracy. However, the breed suffered a decline during the World War II due to the destruction of the hunting grounds and the scarcity of food. Fortunately, a group of dedicated breeders managed to save the Griffon Nivernais from extinction, and the breed is now recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and other kennel clubs worldwide.

Physical Characteristics: Appearance and Size

The Griffon Nivernais is a medium-sized dog that typically weighs between 45 and 60 pounds and stands at 20 to 24 inches at the shoulder. This breed has a strong and muscular build, with a deep chest and a long, straight tail. The Griffon Nivernais has a distinctive appearance, with its rough and shaggy coat that comes in various shades of gray, black, and white. The coat is waterproof and serves as protection against the harsh weather and the thorny bushes in the hunting field. The Griffon Nivernais also has a long and bushy beard, which gives it a charming and playful look.

Temperament: Personality and Behavior

The Griffon Nivernais is a friendly and sociable dog that loves to be around people. This breed is known for its loyalty and devotion to its owner and family, and it will often follow them around the house or the hunting ground. The Griffon Nivernais is also a highly intelligent dog that can learn quickly and respond well to positive reinforcement training. However, this breed can be stubborn and independent at times, so it requires a firm but gentle approach during training. The Griffon Nivernais is also an active and energetic dog that needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Training: Tips and Techniques

Training a Griffon Nivernais requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. This breed responds well to reward-based training methods, such as treats, praise, and playtime. However, the Griffon Nivernais can be stubborn and strong-willed, so it is important to establish yourself as the pack leader early on. Socialization is also crucial for a Griffon Nivernais, as it helps to prevent shyness, fearfulness, and aggression towards other dogs and people.

Hunting: Capabilities and Performance

The Griffon Nivernais is an excellent hunting dog that has a keen sense of smell and a sharp eye for tracking and pointing game. This breed is particularly skilled in hunting small game, such as rabbits, hares, and birds. The Griffon Nivernais can adapt to different hunting terrains, including forests, fields, and mountains. This breed is also a versatile hunter that can work alone or in a pack, depending on the type of game and the hunting style. The Griffon Nivernais is a determined and persistent dog that will not give up until it finds its prey.

Health Issues: Common Concerns

Like all breeds, the Griffon Nivernais is prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, ear infections, and skin allergies. It is important to take your Griffon Nivernais to regular check-ups with the veterinarian to ensure its health and well-being. Proper nutrition, exercise, and grooming can also contribute to a healthier and happier Griffon Nivernais.

Grooming: Maintenance and Care

The Griffon Nivernais has a rough and shaggy coat that requires regular grooming and care. The coat should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangling. The Griffon Nivernais also needs to be bathed occasionally to keep its coat clean and healthy. The ears should be checked and cleaned regularly, as they are prone to infections due to their long and floppy shape. The nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.

Living with Griffon Nivernais: Pros and Cons


  • Loyal and affectionate companion
  • Excellent hunting skills
  • Adaptable to different terrains
  • Friendly and sociable with people and other dogs
  • Intelligent and trainable
  • Playful and energetic


  • Can be stubborn and independent
  • Requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation
  • Prone to certain health issues
  • Needs regular grooming and care

Conclusion: Is Griffon Nivernais Right for You?

The Griffon Nivernais is a wonderful breed for those who love hunting and outdoor activities. This breed is also a loyal and affectionate companion that can adapt well to family life. However, the Griffon Nivernais requires plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming, so it may not be suitable for everyone. If you are considering getting a Griffon Nivernais, make sure that you can provide it with the time, attention, and care that it needs to thrive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *