Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, also known as the Petit, the Roughie, the Griffon or the PBGV, dates back to the 16th century. Its name well suits this endearing dog: Petit (meaning "small"), Basset (meaning "low to the ground"), Griffon (meaning "rough or wire-coated"), and Vendeen (referring to the region where the breed originated on the western coast of France). Several PBGVs were given to King Louis XII, and the breed was once called Chiens Blancs du Roi, or the King's White Hounds. This is an active, extroverted and vocal breed that requires regular exercise and is not well-suited to those wanting a sedate pet. Bred to hunt in packs, the PBGV continues to socialize well with other dogs and seems to enjoy their company immensely. PBGVs are known for their low-slung rumpled appearance, bushy eyebrows, beard and mustache. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1989, and was admitted for full registration as a member of the Hound Group in 1991.
The mature Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen of either sex should measure between 13 and 15 inches at the withers. Dogs and bitches outside of this range are disqualified under the American breed standard. Their average weight is between 35 and 45 pounds. Their coat is rough, fairly long and harsh to the touch. It should never be silky, soft or wooly and should appear tousled in its natural state. Acceptable colors are white with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tricolor or grizzle. Weekly grooming is important to maintain the coat of this breed.
The PBGV is one of a number of purely French breeds still used for its original purpose: to hunt game purely by scent. The western coastlands of France are rocky and thick with brush, thorns and brambles. For a dog to hunt effectively in this harsh terrain it must be smart, focused, independent, low-to-the-ground and both mentally and physically fit. It also needs a rough coat for protection from climatic and other environmental conditions. The PBGV descends from the larger, more powerful Griffon Vendeen, which comes in four distinct sizes, each used to hunt a different type of game. The Grand Griffon Vendeen (25 inches or taller at the withers) was used to hunt large game, such as deer and wolf, from horseback. The Briquet Griffon Vendeen (approximately 20 inches at the withers) was used for slightly smaller quarry. The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen was the next smallest in size, followed by the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. The PBGV was developed to trail and drive small prey such as rabbit, hare, fox and fowl, with hunters following on foot.
The first official French standard for the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen was published in 1898. The Club du Griffon Vendeen was founded in 1907, and Paul Dezamy was its first president. In 1909, a revised standard for the Basset Griffon Vendeen recognized two distinct varieties: one standing 13 to 15 inches (the Petit, which often had crooked legs), and the other standing 15 to 17 inches in height (the Grand, which has always had straight legs). The Societe de Venerie published new standards in the 1950s, giving the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen its own official standard as a breed separate from all others. However, cross-breeding of Petit and Grand types continued in France until 1975, when a descendant of Paul Dezamy disallowed such intermingling in a revised breed standard.
The first PBGVs were imported to the United States by Mrs. Elizabeth Streeter of Pennsylvania in 1983. The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America was founded the following year. The PBGV was accepted by the American Kennel Club into its Miscellaneous Class in 1989, and became eligible to compete for AKC championships in 1991, as members of the Hound Group. In 1992, 24 American Kennel Club champion Petits competed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show for the first time. The breed has grown steadily in popularity in North America and world wide.
The average life span of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include aseptic meningitis, ear infections, glaucoma, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and persistent papillary membranes.
The Petit Bassset Griffon Vendeen, or PBGV as enthusiasts call them, are happy little dogs that are often chosen to be family companions. Don't let their size or the "Basset" in their name fool you. These little hound dogs are spark plugs – full of energy and a zest for life that isn't matched by many other hound breeds. PBGVs are curious dogs, always sniffing around the house or yard to see what kind of mischief he can get into.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens are small, but they are active dogs who require vigorous exercise to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. Daily walks and the opportunity to run and stretch their legs are a minimum. Their size makes them appealing to apartment dwellers, but a commitment needs to be made to exercise your PBGV extensively.
Mental stimulation is also important to the PBGV's temperament. When bored or lonely, they will find ways to entertain themselves, which usually involves destructive behavior. It is important to give your PBGV interesting things to do during the day. Advanced training on the agility course can also help keep their minds active while also providing physical exercise.
PBGVs are classic hounds dogs, which can make them a challenge to train. They are willful and stubborn and don't like to be told what to do, but like other hounds will do almost anything for a treat. Training should begin early to establish leadership, and sessions should be kept short to accommodate the PBGVs often short attention span. Consistency is important, as they will walk all over a trainer who bends the rules, even once.
PBGVs can not be trusted off leash in an unfenced yard. These little guys will take off after squirrels or rabbits and will completely ignore your calls to return home. Even the most obedient PBGV has a one-track mind once he's spotted. Once basic obedience has been mastered, PBGV's should graduate on to agility training. This activity can burn off excess energy while allowing the dog to use his mind, which is important to this thinking breed.
PBGV's are naturally curious and are excellent problem solvers. This makes them very talented escape artists who can dig and wiggle their way out of backyard fences in search of new adventure. PBGV's shouldn't be left unsupervised in your backyard for too long.
These little hound dogs bark early and often. They will let you know when anything is moving outside, which can be nerve wracking to both you and your neighbors.
General Appearance - The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a French scent hound developed first and foremost to hunt small game over the rough and difficult terrain of the Vendéen region. To function efficiently, he must be equipped with certain characteristics. He is bold and vivacious in character; compact, tough and robust in construction. He has an alert outlook, lively bearing and a good voice freely and purposefully used.
The most distinguishing characteristics of this bold hunter are: his rough, unrefined outlines; his proudly carried head displaying definitive long eyebrows, beard, and moustache; his strong, tapered tail carried like a saber, alert and in readiness. Important to breed type is the compact, casual, rather tousled appearance, with no feature exaggerated and his parts in balance.
Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the PBGV as in any other breed, regardless of whether they are specifically mentioned.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size -- Both sexes should measure between 13 and 15 inches at the withers. Height of adult dogs over 15 inches or under 13 inches at the withers is a disqualification. Proportion -- When viewed in profile, the body is somewhat longer than tall when measured from point of shoulder to buttocks, as compared to the height from withers to ground. Substance - Strong bone with substance in proportion to overall dog.
Head - The head is carried proudly and, in size, must be in balance with the overall dog. It is longer than its width in a ratio of approximately two to one. A coarse or overly large head is to be penalized. Expression alert, friendly and intelligent. Eyes large and dark with good pigmentation, somewhat oval in shape, showing no white. The red of the lower eyelid should not show. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward, but not obscuring the eyes. Ears supple, narrow and fine, covered with long hair, folding inward and ending in an oval shape. The leathers reach almost to the end of the nose. They are set on low, below the line of the eyes. An overly long or high-set ear should be penalized.
Skull domed, oval in shape when viewed from the front. It is well cut away under the eyes and has a well developed occipital protuberance. Stop clearly defined. Muzzle - The length of the muzzle from nose to stop is slightly shorter than the length from the stop to occiput. The underjaw is strong and well developed. Nose black and large, with wide nostrils. A somewhat lighter shading is acceptable in lighter colored dogs. A butterfly nose is a fault. Lips - The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache. Bite - It is preferable that the teeth meet in a scissors bite, but a level bite is acceptable.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck - The neck is long and strong, without throatiness, and flows smoothly into the shoulders. Topline - The back is visibly level from withers to croup. There is a barely perceptible rise over a strong loin. Viewed in profile, the withers and the croup should be equidistant from the ground. Body muscular, somewhat longer than tall. Compact, casual in appearance, with no feature exaggerated and his parts in balance. Chest rather deep, with prominent sternum. Ribs moderately rounded, extending well back. Loin short, strong, and muscular. There is but little tuck-up. Tail of medium length, set on high, it is strong at the base and tapers regularly. It is well furnished with hair, has but a slight curve and is carried proudly like the blade of a saber; normally pointing at about two o'clock. In a curved downward position the tip of the tail bone should reach no further than the hock joint.
Forequarters - Shoulders clean and well laid back. Upper arm approximately equal in length to the shoulder blade. Elbows close to the body. Legs - The length of leg from elbow to ground should be slightly more than the height from withers to ground. Viewed from the front, it is desirable that the forelegs be straight, but a slight crook is acceptable. In either case, the leg appears straight, is strong and well boned, but never coarse nor weedy. Improperly constructed front assemblies, including poor shoulder placement, short upper arms, out at elbows, lack of angulation and fiddle fronts, are all serious faults. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Any tendency to knuckle over is a serious fault. Dewclaws may, or may not, be removed. Feet not too long, between hare and cat foot, with hard, tight pads. The nails are strong and short.
Hindquarters - Strong and muscular with good bend of stifle. A well-defined second thigh. Hips wide, thighs well muscled. Hocks are short and well angulated, perpendicular from hock to ground. Feet are as in front. Except that they must point straight ahead.
Coat - The coat is rough, long without exaggeration and harsh to the touch, with a thick shorter undercoat. It is never silky or woolly. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward but not obscuring the eyes. The ears are covered by long hair. The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache. The tail is well furnished with hair. The overall appearance is casual and tousled.
The natural, casual and tousled appearance of the breed is vitally important. While some neatening is occasionally necessary, he should be shown naturally. Dogs whose coat has been altered by excessive grooming, sculpting, clipping, or by artificial means shall be so severely penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition.
Color - White with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tricolor or grizzle markings, providing easy visibility in the field.
Gait - The movement should be free at all speeds. Front action is straight and reaching well forward. Going away, the hind legs are parallel and have great drive. Convergence of the front and rear legs towards his center of gravity is proportional to the speed of his movement. Gives the appearance of an active hound, capable of a full day's hunting.
Temperament - Confident, happy, extroverted, independent yet willing to please, never timid nor aggressive.
Height, of both sexes at one year of age or older, over 15 inches or under 13 inches at the withers is a disqualification.
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Sources: American Kennel Club