The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed is a playful little breed that looks similar to Basset Hounds. Named after their place of origin in France, their long name literally means small, low, wirehaired dog of Vendee. The short name PBGV is often used for referring to these dogs. Highly popular in their home country, these affectionate and friendly dogs make great family dogs, even for households with children and pets.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed originated sometime in the 16th century or before. They were used as scent dogs for tracking and trailing rabbit and other small prey in the undergrowth of the Vendee district in France. The long, shaggy coat of these dogs protected them from the brambles and briars as they chased and flushed out their prey. These dogs were not exactly used for killing the quarry, but to make them available to the hunters who closely followed their movements.
The breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1990, and it has now become a highly valued breed in the United States.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed has a low hung body as its name indicates, with these dogs measuring just over a feet and up to 15 ½ inches at the withers. They may weigh 25 to 40 pounds, there being not much variation in size or weight between the sexes. The body is compact but robust enough to track and hunt small game in difficult terrains as found in the Vendee region. The body is muscular, slightly elongated, but not as long as that of dachshunds. It is well- supported by short but stout limbs. The ears are long and pendulous, and the tail is long and tapering with the typical white tip of hound breeds. When held upright, it helps the hunters track the movement of these hounds in the undergrowth.
The coat of Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog is long, wiry and rough with a shaggy appearance. They have a moustache and beard of long hair too. The coat color is predominantly white with patches of lemon, orange, black and tan occurring in bicolor or tricolor combinations. Grizzle coat is also common.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed is known for its busybody nature and playfulness. These dogs get along very well with other dogs and household pets. Early socialization is still recommended as their hunting instincts may be triggered by smaller pets like cats. They are great playmates for children, but have the habit of playful biting which can be a problem unless curbed early. These dogs have an independent nature and are not always open to training.
Always alert to their surroundings and quite vociferous, they act as great watchdogs too. These dogs are known to give voice to, or sing, along with other dogs or music playing. They are not aggressive towards other dogs, but their boldness and their habit of holding the tail upright have been known to threaten other dogs to react aggressively towards PBGVs.
Grooming and exercise
The long, shaggy coat of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen requires thorough brushing once or twice a week. This helps get rid of dead hair that remain tangled up in the coat.
These scent hounds have high energy levels that should ideally be expended in the field tracking rabbits and hares. When kept as pets, they should have regular exercise and multiple brisk walks to stay healthy and contented. Their idea of fun is freely exploring the surroundings, but they should be kept on leash to prevent them from taking off after a scent. However, they should have free access to a secure yard where they can run around and chase squirrels all day.
Their long coat provides ample protection from cold, but these dogs are not exactly suitable for living outside. They should be brought indoors to spend the nights with their family members.
Common health issues of Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed has a robust constitution and remains free from serious health problems. However, some minor issues like hypothyroidism and epilepsy may occur in some dogs. Because of their elongated body, they are prone to intervertebral disk disease. Patellar luxation also is occasionally seen.
The average life expectancy of these dogs is relatively higher than other Basset hounds, with most dogs living between 11 to 15 years. Old age is the most common cause of death after canine cancers.