Griffon Nivernais

Griffon Nivernais Breed description: Character & Co


The Griffon Nivernais is a primitive running dog from the province of the same name in France.

The origin of the Griffon Nivernais

In the 11th century, Louis the Saint brought back great bold tidings from his crusades. The ancestors probably came from the Balkans. By crossbreeding with native breeds, large and agile running dogs were created, which were called "wolf hunters".

Running dogs usually pursue their prey for miles in a pack. The wolf is an extremely intelligent and fast animal. The hunting dogs had to be at least equal to it.

When the wolves were already strongly pushed back in France, the Griffon Nivernais specialized in the hunt of wild boars. Towards the end of the 18th century and with the French Revolution, these dogs first died out completely.

From 1925 the Griffon Nivernais Club tried to reconstruct the breed. The Grand Griffon Vendéen, Otterhounds as well as the English Foxhound served as basis. Today's variant of the Griffon Nivernais is much smaller than the original type.

The breed characteristics of the Griffon Nivernais

Until today the Griffon Nivernais is a hunting dog. It independently pursues wild boars or tracks them at the side of his master.

When fully exercised and after its work is done, this sociable dog can also live in the house. It should not be kept as a pure family dog without serious employment.

The Griffon Nivernais is a regional variety of several French Griffon species. Trademarks are its tousled coat and large drooping ears.

The FCI lists this dog under Standard 17, Group 6, Section 1/1.2: Medium-sized Hounds.

  • primitive hunting dog from France
  • specialized in wild boar hunting
  • should be kept exclusively as a hunting dog
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Alternate Name -
Origin France
Life expectancy 10 - 13 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Scent hounds
AKC group not recognised
KC group not recognised

Character traits and nature of the Griffon Nivernais

Well trained and exercised, they are the most loving and loyal companions. Running dogs can run for hours and persistently over long distances. If they can't follow this urge, they become ill-tempered and may run off on their own.

If you are not a hunter, forester or farmer with hunting ambitions, you should not acquire this dog.

If it is kept as a family dog in addition to its hunting duties, it is obedient, well-behaved and affectionate. Towards strangers, it can be very dismissive at first.

  • very sociable hunting dog
  • obedient and well behaved when exercised
  • has a great need to run


  • independent
  • brave
  • confidently
  • lighthearted
  • fearless


  • Hunting Dog
  • Wild Boar Hunting dog

Breed-typical diseases of the Griffon

The Griffon Nivernais shows a tendency to gastric torsion. It must rest sufficiently after a meal and should never be given too large portions.

Breeding, acquisition and keeping of the Griffon Nivernais

In the German-speaking countries these dogs are very rare. If you would like to have such an animal for the practice of your hunting passion, you inquire best at the German Club for Running Dogs or the French Dog Breeding Association (

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The Griffon Nivernais is a medium sized dog with high legs. The conformation is rectangular. It is well coated all over the body. The coat of medium length is rough and sometimes shaggy. The head is well proportioned, fuzzy haired and carries a frizzy beard. Typical are the long soft ears, which dangle loosely at the side.

The colour of the dog is called "cloudy". The tips of the hair are always darker than the base. Color-wise, the markings are between shades of cream, brown and a sooty gray.

  • long-legged and rectangular dog
  • coat always rough and shaggy
  • bicoloured "cloudy

Size, weight and life expectancy of the Griffon Nivernais

The breed standard only defines the height at the withers of both sexes. Males reach 55 to 62 cm and bitches stay a little below with 53 to 60 cm.

The life expectancy of this dog is about 10 years.

Fur length medium
Fur rough-haired
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail lang
Anatomy rugged
Size ♀ 55 - 62 cm
Weight ♀ 20 - 25 kg
Size ♂ 53 - 60 cm
Weight ♂ 24 - 26 kg
Suitable For


black-silver black grey

Other large dogs

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