Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Breed At A Glance

Classification
Hound

Personality
Charming, lively and curious

Life Expectancy
12-14 years

Average Height
13-15 inches

Average Weight
31-40 lbs

Coat Color
White with lemon, orange, black, or grizzle, or tri-color

Coat Length/Texture
Long and rough outer coat, with softer undercoat

Shedding Propensity
Little when properly groomed

Also known as PBGV, Small Vendeen Basset

General Temperament

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a lively and active breed, always looking for the attention. Their happy disposition is infectious and they are always up for a play session. Extroverted and curious, this breed can be amusingly mischievous and loves the company of people, even accepting strangers into the house most of the time. They love to bark and make excellent watch dogs, but are usually much too congenial for guarding.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens generally get along well with children and other dogs. In fact, they do quite well as a member of a pack, and will sometimes howl or “sing” along with a pack mate. The hunting instinct is very strong in the PBGV regardless of whether or not they are used for hunting on a regular basis; therefore, they should not be trusted around smaller house pets such as cats or rabbits.

Although they desire to please their owner, training a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen can be somewhat tricky as they are easily distracted and can be somewhat willful if the trainer is not strong enough with the dog. Consistent and firm training by their human “alpha dog” should start early and be maintained throughout the dog’s life.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen can be happy in an apartment if sufficiently exercised, but they should not be allowed off-leash in an unsecured area as they are prone to follow their nose if they pick up a good scent. PGBV’s are well-known escape artists, diggers and climbers. Therefore, any enclosure in which they are allowed to roam free should be well-secured, and the fence should be tall and buried deep into the ground.

Breed History

Many French hounds were split into small and large versions in order to hunt different game, and such is the case with the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV). This scenthound was developed in the Vendeen area along the western coast of France as a smaller version of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, although both versions could come from the same litter. It wasn’t until 1950 that separate standards were written for each breed, and 25 years later, interbreeding between the Grand and the Petit was prohibited among French breeders.

French sportsmen used the petit version of the Basset Griffon Vendeen to trail and drive small game such as rabbit, hare and birds. The short, rough-coated PBGV is particularly well-suited to working in the rocky terrain and thick, brambled underbrush of it’s native land.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1990.

Body Structure and Composition

The initial characteristic most people notice in this breed, besides it’s structural resemblance to the Basset Hound, are it’s distinctive beard, whiskers, and eyebrows. The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is heavily boned and longer than it is tall, although this is not as pronounced as in some other long-and-low breeds. The head is approximately twice as long as it is wide, and the long ears are low set and pendulous. PBGV’s have a muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull and is truncated at the nose. The topline is level with a slight incline at the hindquarters. This breed has a deep chest that reaches well below the level of the elbow. The tapered tail is carried erect, high in the air like a sword. This breed should always have a “tousled” appearance, as opposed to a meticulously groomed coat.

Medical Information

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is lucky to have relatively few problems with inherited diseases. Skeletal diseases such as Hip Dysplasia (degradation of the thigh bone resulting in lameness) and Patellar Luxation (also known as “slipped stifle” or “trick knee”) have been known to occur in some lines, but are fairly infrequent. Other common dog diseases have also been seen in this breed with relatively low frequency, such as epilepsy, food allergies, skin allergies, Hypothyroidism, and various eye maladies such as glaucoma, persistent pupillary membrane, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (a degenerative disease of the retina that leads to blindness). Certification is available for breeding stock from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, as well as the Canine Eye Registry Foundation, in order to help prevent the spread of many of these diseases.

The PBGV’s ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to help prevent infestation or infection. A weekly brushing will take care of the coat, and bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary. The coat may need to be stripped a few times per year (stripping involves pulling individual dead hairs out by the root, and does not cause pain to the dog).

Anecdotal Information

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen remains a rare breed in the United States, ranking only 120th out of 157 dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club in 2007.

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