There are a lot of different dog breeds with the word Griffon in its name. Most of them are rather rare, but you might already heard about some of them, maybe about the Basset Griffon Vendéen, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon or Brussels Griffon. But what does the word Griffon actually means? What is the origin of the Griffon breeds? Are all the Griffon breeds related together and what do they have in common? In this video i will answer all these questions and i will show you all the different Griffon dog breeds.
Basically the main thing all the Griffon breeds have in common is their wiry or rough coat and hunting ancestry. All the griffon types are characterized by the wiry hair and all of them are, or at least once were used for hunting purpose.
Most Griffons are associated with France, Belgium and Netherlands, but it is not a rule and some Griffons come from other countries as well.
Not all the Griffons are related, but some certainly are. We can separate all the Griffons into three categories – the scenthound Griffon Vendéen dogs, small dogs that evolved from a so called „Smousje“ dog, which are today known as Brussels Griffons and the last category would be various wirehaired pointers.
Lets start with the Griffon Vendéen dogs. It is a group of individual scenthound breeds whose main ancestor is old dog from the French Vendée region known as Greffier whose lineage dates back to the 16th century. One of the first dog developed from the Greffier is the biggest of all Griffon Vendéen dogs – the Grand Griffon vendéen.
The Grand Griffon Vendéen was later used in development of some other smaller Griffons. One of them is the Briquet Griffon Vendéen. There are several others medium sized Griffon Vendéen dogs, Those would include the Griffon Bleu de Gascogne, known for its white mottled with black coat, which gives the dog a slate blue overall appearance.
Than there is the Griffon Nivernais, which is very old breed and that even predates the Grand Griffon Vendéen. But over the time, the breed went extinct and it was reconstructed in the 1920s and 1930s and the reconstruction of the breed was done based on the Grand Griffon Vendéen.
The last medium sized Griffon Vendéen dog breed is the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne, which is a descendant of large hunting breed Grand Fauve de Bretagne, which was crossed with Briquet Griffon Vendéens to create the smaller Griffon Fauve de Bretagne.
There are also small sized Griffon Vendéen dogs, also known as Basset Griffons. The largest of the Basset Griffons is the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen. The smaller one is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. Due to the long names of these two breeds, they are very often named as GBGV and PBGV.
The last dog that could be mentioned in this group is Basset Fauve de Bretagne. Even though they do not have the word Griffon in its name, they are definitely French wiry coated hunters so they could be included in this video as well.
All the Griffon breeds are quite rare and most people do not know these breeds. But i would say that the most popular would be the dogs from the Brussels Griffon category.
The Brussels Griffon is popular companion dog, but in the past, it was used as skilled ratter and vermin hunter. It can be separated into three different breeds, the smooth coated Petit Brabancon, which technically is not a griffon and two wiry coated dogs – the Griffon Belge and Griffon Bruxellois.
The Griffon Bruxellois is red coated and the Griffon Belge black or black and tan coated dog. Other than the color, the two dogs are identical. All the Brussels Griffons evolved from a dog known as „Smousje“ that lived in the area of Brussel and that was similar to todays Dutch Smoushond.
And the last category of Griffon dogs consist of various pointer dog breeds. Those dogs come from all around the Europe. Any wiry coated hunting dog can be branded as a Griffon but the three breeds that comes into my mind and that have the name Griffon directly in its breeds name are Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the Bohemian Wirehaired Pointing Griffon also known as Český Fousek and Spinone Italiano, which is also known as Italian Griffon.
Of course, other breeds can be mentioned as part of the Griffon family too. Those might include wirehaired Vizsla, German Wirehaired pointer or Slovensky Stavač, also known as Slovak Rough-haired pointer.