Breed Type: Hound
Country of Origin: France
Popular Names: Petit, Griffon, Roughie, PBGV
Height: (At the withers) 33 – 38 cm
Weight: 11 – 19 kg
Best suited as: Pet, show, or hunting dog with an active owner or family.
Lifespan:11 – 14 years
This dog’s name describes it perfectly: Petit means “small,” Basset “low to the ground,” Griffon means “rough or wire-coated,” and Vendeen refers to the region in France where the breed originated.
These dogs have short legs and sturdy bodies only slightly longer than they are tall. This gives them a less extreme appearance than a Basset Hound. They have a domed skull, low-set, long pendant ears, and wiry hair. The tail is long and tapered and held like a saber above the back. They look similar to Scottish Terriers with their scruffy mustache, beard, and long eyelashes. They have a double coat: the undercoat is meant to protect the dog from sticks and thorns in the underbrush, and the top coat is rough. Common colourings are white with spots of sable, black, grizzle, orange, or lemon. They may also be tricolour or bicolour. Their dark, oval-shaped eyes are intelligent and very expressive.
The breed can trace its lineage back 400 years to the white and tan hound and the white St. Hubert. There are four versions of the Basset Griffon Vendeen, with the PBGV being the smallest and the Grand Griffon being the largest. The other two, the Grand Basset and the Briquet Griffon are small and medium-sized, respectively.
The Petit was developed to hunt rabbits specifically in the French area of Vendee. The breed standard was not set until the late 1800s. For a time, the Petit and the Grand were bred together until new rules in 1975 when the practice was halted in order to maintain separate breeds.
They are friendly, independent, and extroverted dogs of the hound type. They are always happy, lively, and active. They get along well with children although their exuberance may make them excitable and prone to bite so might not be the best companion for very young children. They are mischievous, slightly obstinate, and love to dig. They are constantly chasing small animals and have deeply-ingrained instincts to sniff out prey. They get along best in a pack.
If left alone, an untrained PBGV can destroy your yard or house in a matter of minutes. This is not done out of spite, of course, but is a result of the dog “hunting” something down. Adequate exercise and training will help decrease destructive behaviours. When it comes to training, these small dogs love to please their owners, but they need an owner who is strong-willed, determined, and experienced with dogs. They do best with hunters or people who understand the breed and their need for work and activity. They’ll do pretty much anything for a dog treat, but are stubborn and dislike being ordered around. They cannot be trusted off-leash, since they will hunt and chase anything that smells appealing.
They are talented escape artists who will dig under fences or squeeze through cracks to get out and search for adventure. They should not be left unsupervised for long periods.
They love to bark, like all hounds, and have a loud bray for their size. They will bark to let you know when something is amiss, when anything moves outside, or just to hear themselves speak. They also love to howl along with their favourite songs.
Care and Grooming
They need to be brushed once or twice a week to keep their hair tidy and to remove any loose hairs. Bathe as needed. Their nails should need clipping once a month unless they wear down naturally outside. They need their ears cleaned every couple of days and checked for injury and signs of infection. Because the ears hang low there is no airflow and this results in a higher-than-usual rate of infection if neglected. They also need their teeth brushed once a week to prevent dental decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Like other scent hounds, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen needs a fair bit of exercise. This keeps them happy, even-tempered, and healthy. They will get by on one long walk a day but do best with at least one to two hours of exercise every day. This can consist of a combination of walking, running, and playing. Activities that keep their minds engaged help reduce boredom. When they’re lonely or bored they tend to develop destructive behaviours as they search out things to do while their owners are away. It’s best to exercise these dogs directly before leaving them alone, since they’ll be tired out and won’t have as much energy to get into mischief.
They are good jogging and cycling companions, and enjoy games of catch, agility training and scent trials.
Overall, the PBGV is a very healthy breed. They live to be 12 to 15 years old. Some health concerns to watch for include persistent papillary membranes, glaucoma, aseptic meningitis, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, ear infections, and patellar luxation. As mentioned, ear infections can be reduced with proper ear care. Choose a dog from a reputable breeder who screens both parents for genetic health issues.
Suitability As A Pet
These dogs are not suitable for couch potato owners. They need a high amount of exercise or to be used as a regular hunting companion to be truly happy and healthy. They do fine with families, as long as very young children are supervised to avoid excited nips.
They can be apartment dwellers, as long as the neighbours are not bothered by the barking. Of course, this requires tons of outdoor play and exercise, and probably crate training for when the owners are not at home.
Ideally, they love living in the country with lots of room to play and roam. They still need to be on-leash in unsecured areas, of course, since they will still take off to hunt.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Organisations in the UK
The Basset Griffon Vendéen Club
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