Griffon Nivernais – General Description
The Griffon Nivernais is a breed of dog of the scenthound type, originating in France, and is a versatile hunting dog, used on small and large game, in packs or individually. Today’s breed is a reconstruction of an ancient type of dog from the Nivernais region.
Classification and Standards
- FCI Group 6, Section 1.2, #17
- UKC Scenthound Group
Character & Temperament
The breed’s ideal temperament is described in the breed standard as being courageous, and it is also described as obstinate and independent. Temperament of individual dogs may vary.
The Griffon Nivernais was a breed kept by French noblemen which disappeared after the French Revolution. The breed was reconstructed beginning in 1925, by some hunters in Morvan, modeling on the ancient types that came to Europe with the Crusaders and the type called “Canes Segusii” or the Celtic Hound by early dog writers. The original dogs were used to hunt wolves and wild boar in the fourteenth century, and were much larger than the modern-day breed. The reconstruction of the breed was done based on the Grand Griffon Vendéen. Other breeds used were the Otterhound and Foxhounds. The breed was small in number for many years, but is now experiencing a revival.
The breed has a good nose and a good voice, and is a good and very alert hunting dog for hunting in thickets and difficult terrain. Examples of the Griffon Nivernais have been exported to other countries, where they are promoted as a rare breed for those seeking a unique pet.
Size & Appearance
The Griffon Nivernais is a medium sized dog, 21.7-23.6 inches (55 to 60 cm) at the withers. It has a distinctive rough (shaggy) coat, long drop ears, and a long tail carried up and in a slight curve. The body is longer than most French hounds, and is constructed more for endurance than for speed. As a reconstructed breed, the breed standard goes into much more detail with regards to body proportions, structure, and coat than is usual for a working dog.
Color of the coat is grizzled in general appearance, gris clair to gris sanglier, light grey to boar grey. The coat is agouti, with each hair darker at the base than the tip. White hairs are scattered through the coat. Colors are fawn very slightly overlaid with black (poil de lièvre, hare coat), sable overlaid with black (gris loup, wolf grey), and fawn overlaid with blue (gris bleu, grey blue). There may be a small white spot on the chest.
Health & Maintenance
No unusual health problems or claims of extraordinary health have been documented for this breed.
- Breed Standard, English – http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/017A2004_en.doc and Breed Standard, French – http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/017f04_fr.doc
- Clark, Anne Rogers; Andrew H. Brace (1995). The International Encyclopedia of Dogs. Howell Book House. pp. 253. ISBN 0-87605-624-9. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Rogers_Clark
- Alephalpha (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
- W. E. Mason – Dogs of all Nations [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
FCI-Standard N° 17 / 02. 04. 2004 / GB
TRANSLATION : John Miller and Raymond Triquet.
ORIGIN : France.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 24.03.2004.
Scent hound used mainly for shooting of wild boar, generally in a pack but also individually.
F.C.I. CLASSIFICATION :
- Group 6 Scent hounds and related breeds.
- Section 1.2 Medium-sized hounds.
With working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY :
The Griffon Nivernais may have descended from Gallic hounds (Canis Segusius) used by the Gauls, and from the grey Saint Louis dogs. This breed was much appreciated for 200 years, up to Louis XI’s reign, then was abandoned in the royal packs by Francis I who preferred white hounds. Nevertheless, certain Nivernais region noblemen conserved it up to the time of the French Revolution (1789) when the breed seemed to have disappeared. A century later, the Griffon Nivernais, often called “dog of the region”, was recreated from subjects nevertheless conserved in that cradle of origin of the breed. At the end of the XIXe century and the beginning of the XXe, these dogs received new blood from the Griffon Vendeen, the Fox Hound and then from the Otterhound, establishing the hound breed unchanged ever since then. The club was founded in 1925.
GENERAL APPEARANCE :
With a hard and tousled coat (Barbouillaud in French), very well typed, robust, very hardy and shaggy. Dry in limbs and muscles, destined to provide length of work rather than speed; slightly sad in aspect but in no way nervous.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :
Body length (point of shoulder to point of buttocks) is slightly greater than height at shoulder. Skull and muzzle are of the same length.
BEHAVIOR / TEMPERAMENT :
Behavior : Very good nose, piercing, and particularly enjoying difficult terrains and thickets.
Temperament : Excellent at approaching and very good hunter, it’s courageous when holding firm without being reckless. Its courage and initiative allow it to be used successfully in small packs for hunting wild boar. Although it can easily be taught hunting that game, it shows itself occasionally to be obstinate and independent, and its master should know how to make it obey starting at its youngest age.
CRANIAL REGION :
Very dry, light without being small, somewhat long without excess. The lines of the skull and muzzle are parallel.
Skull : Nearly flat, of medium width, sides defined by the only slightly pronounced zygomatic arches. Occipital peak only perceptible when touched.
Stop : Only slightly marked, appearing however increasingly accentuated when the coat springs up more, but without exaggeration.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Black, quite visible.
Muzzle : Same length as the skull, it’s not overly broad at the end with the sides converging slightly, but not so much as to become pointed. A slight beard on the chin.
Lips : Only slightly developed, just covering the lower jaw, hidden by good moustaches, with good pigmentation.
Jaws/teeth : The jaws of robust aspect, normally developed. A scissors bite, sometimes a level bite, with the incisors set square to the jaws. Complete set of teeth (absence of first premolars (PM1) is not penalized).
Eyes : Dark color preferred. Gaze lively and penetrating. Important eyebrow but which doesn’t cover the eye. The conjunctiva is not visible. The eyelids are well pigmented.
Ears : Averagely attached (at little over an inch wide – ca.3 cm) in line with the upper level of the eye, hanging, supple, rather fine, of medium width, turned slightly inward at the end, half-long, reaching the root of the nose.
Rather light, dry and without dewlap.
Topline : Level, from the withers to the loin.
Withers : Very slightly prominent above the back line and narrowed due to close shoulder blade summits.
Back : Solid and long enough, rather narrow and sustained, with good muscles, even if they are only slightly apparent.
Loin : Solid and very slightly arched.
Croup : Bony, a little slanting, with dry muscles.
Chest : Descending as much as possible to the elbow. Breast only slightly developed in width. Long thorax, becoming wider towards the last ribs.
Ribs : The first are somewhat flat, the last more rounded.
Flank : Full, without excess.
Abdomen : The underline rises slightly towards the rear without being whippety.
Attached somewhat high, not very long. It has more coat in the middle. When still, it is carried slightly under the horizontal. When in movement, it is carried upwards sickle-fashion and can even have the end bent over the back.
Overview : Good poise. Generally, and at rest, the forelegs seen in profile appear a little to the rear of the vertical (under him in front).
Shoulder : Slightly inclined, dry, well set on the chest.
Elbow : Set well to the body.
Forearm : Appears rather plentiful because of the coat but in reality it is drier than thick and quite straight.
Metacarpus (Pastern) : Somewhat short and slightly sloping.
Overview : In profile, slightly under him. Seen from behind, the vertical line starting from the point of the buttock should pass through the point of the hock and equally divide the metatarsus.
Thigh : Rather flat.
Hock : Let down. Seen in profile, the hock angle is slightly closed.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern) : Set a little forward (slightly under him behind).
Of oval shape, slightly lengthened, with toes solid and tight together, reminding one of a hare foot, and with nails and pads of good pigmentation.
GAIT / MOVEMENT :
Supple and easy (neither uneven nor bouncy).
Supple and rather tight, close fitting on all the body, rather thick, pigmented. Black spots on the body, lips well pigmented. Absence of dewlap.
Long, shaggy and bushy, strong enough and rough (in any case neither woolly nor curly). The belly and the inside of the thighs shouldn’t be hairless. The well pronounced eyebrows shouldn’t cover the eye. A slight beard on the chin and the ear covered enough in hair.
Always darkened, i.e., the hair always has the ends darker than the base (black overlay). Fawn coloring can be more or less darkened but never orange. The darkened end can take on a blue aspect. According to the amount of darkening of the extremity of the hair, the coat is darker or lighter.
The presence of white hair scattered in more or less great proportion in the coat is tolerated and gives rise to shades going from light grey, including wild boar grey.
The coat is most often marked with tan in the eyebrows, the cheeks, breast, the ends of the limbs, and under the tail. That characteristic, very visible on the pup, often diminishes with age.
The coat is characterized by the basic color, the spreading of black-overlaid hair, and possible association with sparse white hair. One hence describes for example the “fawn very slightly overlaid with black” (hare coat), the “sand overlaid with black” (wolf grey), and the “fawn overlaid with blue” (blue grey). A white spot is tolerated on the chest.
Height at withers : Male : from 55 to 62 cm.
Female : from 53 to 60 cm.
With a tolerance of 1 cm more or less.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Behavior : Timid subject.
ELIMINATING FAULTS :
- Temperament : Aggressive or overly shy.
- Lack of type : Insufficient breed characteristics, which means the animal on the whole doesn’t resemble other samples of the breed.
- Jaws/teeth : Overshot or undershot.
- Eyes : Wall-eyed or variegated.
- Feet : Dewclaws, except in countries where their removal is outlawed.
- Tail : Kinked.
- Pigmentation : Coat solid black (absence of black-overlaid fawn hair), golden wheat colored or orange, or tricolored with clearly outlined lively colors.
- White feet.
- Important depigmentation (nose, eyelids, lips, round the anus or vulva, scrotum).
- Height : Outside the limits defined by the standard.
- Defects : Noticeable invalidating defect. Anatomical malformation.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
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