The AVGP ("Armoured Vehicle, General Purpose") was adopted into the inventory of the Canadian military in 1976 to fulfill a 1974 requirement. Three vehicles were evaluated with the eventual winner becoming the Swiss-made MOWAG Piranha I (detailed elsewhere on this site) in 6x6 wheeled configuration. Local production was granted and the first production-quality units were added in 1979. The service took on the vehicle in three distinct forms designated "Grizzly", "Cougar" and "Husky" - all destined to serve in the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) role. Production totaled 496 vehicles of all three variants.
The Cougar, manufactured to the tune of 195 units, carried a crew of three with room for two passengers at the rear. Its armament was 1 x 76mm L23A1 turreted main gun capable of firing several munition types with 1 x 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun in a coaxial fitting. 2 x 4 banks of smoke grenade dischargers were installed for self-screening actions.
The Grizzly, produced in 274 examples, held a crew of two and was armed through 1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) and 1 x 7.62mm MMG. 2 x 4 banks of smoke grenade dischargers were also installed.
The Huskey, produced in 27 examples, had a crew of three with passenger space for six at the rear. Its armament suite was made up of 1 x 7.62mm MMG and 2 x 4 banks of smoke grenade dischargers.
All models weighed in the 10.7 tonne range and were powered by 1 x Detroit Diesel 6V53T two-cycle, turbo-charged diesel engine developing 275 horsepower. The vehicle used a 6x6 fully-suspended wheeled configuration for excellent cross-country capabilities and a built-in amphibious quality allowed them to traverse water sources. Road speeds could reach 100 kilometers per hour. Dimensions included a length of 5.97 meters with a width of 2.5 meters.
The series saw combat service in peace-keeping actions (as part of the United Nations) concerning the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Beyond this, their exposure in such environments was limited. A measure to modernize the fleet fell to naught in the mid-2000s and the fleet was retired from frontline service. After this, stocks went to Africa for peace-keeping service in Sudan (with local African crews operating them).
In 1008-2009, Uruguay moved on purchasing ex-Canadian Army Cougars, Grizzlies and Huskies. The Cougars were reworked locally by FAMAE and appeared with deleted turrets for service as Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs).