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Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Underneath the appearance of tousled cuteness, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has the heart of a dedicated hunter.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Breed Photo

Vital Stats

Dog Breed Group
Hounds
Height
Weight
Life Span
Starts at 14 years

Breed Characteristics

  • Details

    Adaptability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Trainability

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    Health & Grooming

    based on 6 ratings
  • Details

    All-around friendliness

    based on 4 ratings
  • Details

    Exercise needs

    based on 4 ratings
  • See All Characteristic Ratings


Summary

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a small scent hound who has won the hearts of millions. Although the dog breed appears to be designed for winsome cuteness, in actuality, PBGVs are tough hunters who were developed for a specific purpose: to hunt small game in the rough terrain of the Vendeen region of France. The breed is known for a merry and outgoing personality.

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  • Overview

    The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (pronounced peh-TEE bah-SAY grih-FON von-day-ON, and nicknamed the PBGV) has a rough, scruffy outline and distinctive long eyebrows, beard, and moustache. They are generally 13 to 15 inches tall, and their bodies are longer than they are tall. PBGVs were bred to hunt small game, such as rabbits, in rough terrain.

    The PBGV's coat is moderately long, and harsh to the touch. They are a double-coated breed, and the undercoat is thick and soft. Coat color is white with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tri-color, or grizzle markings.

    In addition to their charmingly tousled appearance, PBGVs have a delightful personality. They are active, happy, curious, and highly intelligent. They are affectionate dogs that need attention from people. They are great with children and people of all ages. They also get along well with other dogs and pets in your family when properly socialized.

    While PBGVs can have a mind of their own, they respond well to patient, consistent training methods. Bored or lonely PBGVs will find ways to entertain themselves, so it's important to give yours a variety of toys and things to chew on, as well as keeping him in a safe place where he can't harm himself or your possessions if you must leave him alone.

    As delightful as PBGVs are, you should know that according to the American Kennel Club breed standard (standardized guidelines for the breed), the PBGV has "a good voice freely used." It doesn't take much to translate that into "He likes to bark!" If it's any consolation, PBGVs usually just bark at something rather than barking just to hear their own voices.

    Also, like all hounds, the PBGV is governed by his nose. You should always keep your PBGV on a leash when walking in unfenced areas. All it takes is one enticing smell for him to be off on the hunt!

    They definitely need a fenced yard, but since some PBGVs are escape artists, you'll need to be sure that it is at least four feet tall (so they can't jump over it), and regularly inspect it for holes or areas where he might escape. Electric fences don't deter a PBGV who has seen a rabbit or a squirrel just beyond the boundary. The momentary shock will go unnoticed as he wildly runs after prey. Another disadvantage of an invisible fence is that it doesn't prevent other dogs from coming into your yard and harming your PBGV.

    PBGVs are pack animals at heart, and enjoy only one thing more than the company of another dog or pet — your company, of course!

  • Highlights

    • PBGVs are charming and strong-headed. Consistent, patient training is essential.
    • PBGVs can be stubborn and difficult to housebreak. Crate training is recommended.
    • This breed likes to bark. Don't be surprised by the PBGV that has plenty to say.
    • PBGVs have a lot of energy and stamina. They need exercise every day. They enjoy a good long walk, but don't turn them off leash because you never know when their hunting instincts will kick in.
    • PBGVs are escape artists!
    • The nose rules! Like all hounds, the PBGV is driven by his nose.
    • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
  • History

    The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is one of many small varieties of the French hounds that were developed long ago. The PBGV can be traced back to the 16th century. His name is descriptive with "petit" meaning small, "basset" meaning low to the ground, "griffon" meaning wire-haired, and "vendeen" referring to the part of France where the breed originated. This area of France is on the country's western coast, and is known for being a tough environment with a lot of thick underbrush, rocks and brambles.

    Although the breed had been in existence for centuries, breeders didn't standardize the breed type until the last part of the 1800s. The official breed standard was adopted in 1898. At that time, they were called the Basset Griffon Francais.

    In 1907, when the Club du Basset Griffon Vendéen was formed, the same breed standard was used for both the Petit and Grand Basset Griffon, with the only difference being size. Often, both types were born in the same litter (the large and the small Griffons). In 1909, the club rewrote the standard to recognize two types of Basset. The Petit was to be 13 to 15 inches tall and the Grand was to be 15 to 17 inches tall.

    In the 1950s, the Societe de Venerie published a book of standards that included an official breed standard just for PBGVs. From that time on, they've been considered a separate breed from the Grands. Many breeders continued to breed Petits with Grands. However, Hubert Dezamy, third President of the French Basset club, rallied support to forbid this. Because of this recent interbreeding, litters today may include pups that have characteristics of both the Grand and Petit Bassets.

    PBGVs made their debut at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York in 1992. The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America was formed at the AKC Centennial Show in Philadelphia in November 1984. By the end of 1985, the club's membership had grown from 11 to 50 members, and a breed standard had been drafted.

    On July 1, 1989, the PBGV became eligible to compete in AKC Miscellaneous class (dogs allowed to compete in the Miscellaneous class are recognized by the AKC, but are not yet eligible to be awarded points towards an AKC championship. It's a sort of a testing ground for the breed, and many breeds remain in the Miscellaneous class for several years). On February 1, 1991, the breed received full recognition by the AKC and was entered into the Hound group at that time.

  • Size

    Males and females stand 13 to 15 inches tall, and weigh 30 to 40 pounds.
  • Personality

    The PBGV is known as the "happy breed." This breed enjoys life and people. He is enthusiastic and good-natured.

    The PBGV is also an active breed. Unlike some other hounds in his group (Basset, for example) that are typically laid back, the PBGV is busy, and requires an active owner to keep him occupied.

    PBGVs can be willful, but they are generally so charming about it that you end up laughing instead of scolding them. If you want him to be well-trained, you'll need to be patient and firm.

    PBGVs are good watchdogs because they love to bark! It's wise to train them to be quiet on command.

    PBGVs are very curious dogs that also happen to be great escape artists. If they can, they will either go over a fence, or under it by digging. A tall fence is recommended, plus regular checks of the fence to make sure the PBGV isn't digging an escape tunnel.

  • Health

    PBGVs are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all PBGVs will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

    If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition. In PBGVs, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).

    • PBGV Pain Syndrome: This is a miserable condition that affects 6- to 18-month-old dogs. Symptoms include bouts of pain, fever, and/or listlessness. The intensity of the pain varies from very mild in some dogs to quite severe in others. Some dogs suffer only a single episode, but most affected dogs have several. One of the more severe forms of this condition affects the cervical area of the neck, giving the problem its common names: the "neck thing" and, more formally, steroid-responsive meningitis. Most dogs outgrow the problem, but some can suffer permanent complications.
    • Epilepsy: This is a puzzling condition that causes dogs to experience seizures for no apparent reason. Some affected dogs experience only one or a few seizures during their lifetime, while others have seizure a regular basis. If necessary, this condition can usually (but not always) be managed successfully with medication.
    • Glaucoma and lens luxation. Glaucoma and lens luxation are eye problems that have been identified in PBGVs only recently. In glaucoma, the pressure inside the eyeball increases and eventually damages the optic nerve, causing blindness. In lens luxation, the lens tilts out if its normal position, causing blindness. Usually, both eyes are affected. These conditions strike dogs around 5 years of age and generally occur together.
    • Allergies: In PBGVs, allergies manifest themselves primarily as chronic inflammation of the ears or as redness of the feet or armpits. In addition to these non-specific allergies, PBGVs can suffer from food allergy, fleabite allergy, hay fever, and vaccine reactions. Most allergies cause only itching, but in some cases, dogs can suffer a great deal of discomfort. Be especially watchful of your dog for a several hours after he has been vaccinated.
    • Inguinal and Umbilical Hernias: Inguinal and umbilical hernias are defects of the abdomen muscles that allow internal organs to protrude and form a bubble under the skin on the belly (umbilical hernia) or in the groin (inguinal hernia). The condition sometimes corrects itself as the puppy grows, but surgery may be required.
    • Patellar Luxation and Hip Dysplasia: Patellar luxation ("trick knee") and hip dysplasia are caused by the abnormal development of the knee and hip joints, respectively. Patellar luxation, also called slipping kneecaps, is more common in PBGVs than hip dysplasia. Either can lead to lameness and arthritis in old age. Your vet will be able to tell if this is a potential problem and may want to do x-rays to evaluate the condition. Treatment often consists of giving the dog nutritional supplements, and may occasionally require surgery.
    • Hypothyroidism: This is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms include obesity, lethargy, poor coat quality, dry, scaly skin, intolerance to cold and, some think, irritability or aggression. Middle-age and older dogs appear to be the most affected, but symptoms can appear at any age. This condition usually can be effectively treated with medication.
    • Persistent Pupillary Pembranes (PPM) and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia: Persistent pupillary membranes and multifocal retinal dysplasia (retinal folds) are congenital eye defects. Fortunately, the dog's vision usually isn't affected, many consider these primarily cosmetic defects.
  • Care

    Because of their small size and love of being with people, PBGVs can be apartment dwellers as long as you make the commitment to daily exercise. They are generally active when inside the house, so it good to have plenty of sturdy toys on hand. While they do well in most climates, they prefer cooler temperatures.

    The breed's nose and hunting instinct is strong, so the PBGV should not be allowed to run off-leash. A secure, fenced yard is best.

  • Feeding

    Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

    Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

    For more on feeding your PBGV, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

  • Coat, Color and Grooming

    The PBGV's coat is rough, medium long, and harsh to the touch, while his undercoat is thick, soft and short. He has long eyebrows that stick out so they don't obscure the eyes, and the ears are covered with long hair. They also have long hair around their mouths, forming a beard and moustache. Their tails have quite a bit of hair, too. Overall, the PBGV has a casual, tousled appearance.

    PBGVs come in a wide range of colors and can be white with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tricolor, or grizzle markings.

    Grooming is a cinch. PBGVs need to be brushed at least once a week to remove loose and dead hair, and control shedding. You should bathe your PBGV only when needed. The toenails need to be trimmed periodically, and ears checked and cleaned as needed. No trimming is necessary.

  • Children and other pets

    The friendly PBGV loves children. He enjoys the noise and activity associated with children. Adults should always supervise interactions between children and pets; this is especially important with the PBGV is ensure that gates or doors are not left open, giving him an opportunity to escape.

    The PBV can be trustworthy with other pets, given proper training and socialization. He especially enjoys the companionship of other dogs. He is a hunter at heart, though, and is likely to chase small animals that run away.

  • Rescue Groups

    PBGVs are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many PBGVs in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a PBGV rescue.

  • All Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability

    Measures how well this breed potentially adapts to different environments

  • Trainability

    Measures the amount and difficulty of training potentially required for this breed

  • Health & Grooming

    Measures how much effort this breed potentially needs to keep a tidy hound and home

  • All-around friendliness

    Measures this breed's potential to get along with other dogs and humans

  • Exercise needs

    Measures this breed's potential to require lots of physical activity

  • Usually

    Adapt well to apartment living

    Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make -- plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

  • Extremely

    Affectionate with family

    Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

  • Moderate

    Amount of shedding

    If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.

  • Extremely

    Dog friendly

    Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

  • Low

    Drooling potential

    Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog that rates low in the drool department.

  • Somewhat

    Easy to groom

    Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

  • Extremely

    Easy to train

    Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

  • High

    Energy level

    High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

  • High

    Exercise needs

    Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

  • Almost always

    Friendly toward strangers

    Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

  • Fair

    General health

    Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.

  • Usually

    Good for novice owners

    Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

  • High

    Intelligence

    Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

  • Moderate

    Intensity

    A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

  • Extremely

    Kid friendly

    Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.

    **All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

  • Medium

    Potential for mouthiness

    Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

  • High

    Potential for playfulness

    Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

  • Moderate

    Potential for weight gain

    Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

  • High

    Prey drive

    Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by -- cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars -- can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

  • High

    Sensitivity level

    Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

  • Medium

    Size

    Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space.

  • High

    Tendency to bark or howl

    Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?

  • Not particularly well

    Tolerates being alone

    Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

  • Quite well

    Tolerates cold weather

    Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

  • Not so well

    Tolerates hot weather

    Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

  • High

    Wanderlust potential

    Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.

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