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Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is a medium sized purebred from France also known as the Basset Griffon Vendéen (Grand) or GBGV. Up until the 1950s the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen were seen as the same breed but they have since been split. The Grand as its name suggests is larger, longer and taller than the Petit. Interbreeding was allowed for another 25 years but that was ended too in 1975. It is a good family dog and companion that is friendly, curious, active and loves attention. It is nicknamed the happy breed in the UK because of its cheerful and outgoing temperament. It has a life span of 10 to 12 years.
|The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen at a Glance|
|Name||Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen|
|Other names||Basset Griffon Vendéen (Grand)|
|Average weight||40 to 44 pounds|
|Average height||15 to 17 inches|
|Life span||10 to 12 years|
|Coat type||Hard, not too long and flat, never silky or woolly|
|Color||White, with any combination of lemon, orange, sable, grizzle or black markings, Tricolour, Black and tan.|
|Popularity||Not yet a fully registered member of the AKC|
|Tolerance to heat||Average|
|Tolerance to cold||Average|
|Shedding||Low – a little hair will be left around the home|
|Drooling||Average – some when eating or drinking|
|Obesity||Average to above average – measure food and track exercise|
|Grooming/brushing||Low – brush once per week|
|Barking||Frequent – training it to stop on command is a good idea|
|Exercise needs||Somewhat high – active owners are best|
|Trainability||Moderate to difficult – experience helps|
|Friendliness||Good to very good|
|Good first dog||Moderate to good – best with experienced dog owner|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Good with socialization but can have high prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Good with socialization but wary|
|Good apartment dog||Moderate – best with a yard|
|Handles alone time well||Moderate – prefers not to be left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Fairly healthy but some issues can include cancer, eye and ear problems, elbow/hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, allergies|
|Medical expenses||$460 a year for basic health care and dog insurance|
|Food expenses||$145 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$525 a year for basic training, toys, license, grooming and miscellaneous items|
|Average annual expenses||$1130 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$800|
|Rescue organizations||Basset Griffon Vendeen (grand) breed rescue, also check out local shelters and rescues|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen’s Beginnings
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is derived from the Grand Griffon a dog that can be traced to the 1500s in France in a region called Vendee, which is where the name Vendeen comes from. During the Middle Ages hunting with hounds became a very popular thing to do for European nobility and so a large number of hound types were bred depending on region and terrain. Griffons are French wiry coated hunting dogs. The Grand Griffon Vendeen was in turn developed from the Grand Vendeen and some kind of mix using the Griffon Nivernais, the Spinone Italiano, the Bloodhound and the Bracco Italiano. There were Basset Griffon Vendeens around in the early 1700s and they grew in popularity after the French Revolution as you did not need a horse to hunt with them.
At the end of the 1800s a process was started by Comte d’Elva and then carried on by Paul Dezamy to further develop the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen. D’Elva wanted dogs with straight legs but Dezamy realized that to have a dog that was good at getting through brush and catching hare he needed dogs of a smaller stature. The Basset part of the name refers to its low stature. The dogs could hunt other den and burrow animals too like fox, rabbit and badgers. It was usually used in packs and could also bring down larger game together like wild boar. Dezamy wrote the first official standard for it.
Into the 20th century it was popular in France but not well known outside of it, then the two world wars had a devastating impact on many dog breeds especially in France.
New Lease on Life
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen survived and up until the mid 1970s the two types were allowed to be bred together. That was stopped by French Kennel Clubs in 1975. Some kennel clubs around the world do not recognize them as separate breeds and just view them as two varieties if the same breed but these clubs are in the minority. A lot of French hound breeds are known just in their native France but this one has attracted some attention elsewhere especially the UK and the US, thanks to how it performs as a show dog. More families are keeping it as a companion and while some are still used to hunt with, most are now show or companion dogs.
The Dog You See Today
The GBGV is a medium sized dog weighing 40 t 44 pound and standing 15 to 17 inches tall. It has a long back and short legs as all Basset breeds have though in this dog’s case its legs are a little longer and straighter. It is not a heavy dog though it is muscular. It holds its long tail up in a saber position. There is extra skin on its face and around the jowls though the coat hides it. It has a long muzzle and ears that are long and hang down. There are eyebrows and a mustache from longer hair. It has a double coat, the under is dense and the outer is coarse and wiry. Its coat is weather proof, developed so it can work in all weather and near water. During its development the focus was more in its function so color was not important. As a result there are various colors the coat can come in, fawn, black, tan, orange, brown, white, though it is worth noting that in the US its colors tends to be white and black.
The Inner Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
This breed is a lively happy and curious dog with a lot of personality and a lot of joy for life and all it has to offer! In some cases some owners find it is quite terrier like in its personality rather than hound like. It is a confident dog and will create its own entertainment which means sometimes it gets up to things it should not, and its inquisitiveness means it explores into places it should not. Owners will need a sense of humor! It is active, bold and playful and it can have a stubborn side to it sometimes. Usually it is eager to please and it loves the company of people. In fact it does not like being alone and can suffer from separation anxiety.
With strangers it is friendly and while some can be alert and able to let you know to an intruder, because some are so welcoming to strangers some are not good watchdogs at all. It is definitely not a good guard dog. It is best suited to life in the country where it has space, it is intelligent and can be quite charming. When hunting it is enthusiastic, and has great endurance while baying all the time. That baying can transfer to indoors sometimes too so a command to stop it is good though it may not always listen. That is why close neighbors are not a good idea.
Living with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
What will training look like?
A lot of scent hounds are known to be hard to train and this one is no exception. It will require experienced handling and a lot of patience as it is stubborn and training can be a very slow gradual process. It often will have selective hearing opting to do what it wants rather than what you want it to. Be firm and consistent with it, make it clear you are the leader and be positive in your training methods. Keep it interesting and fun for them and make the sessions short so it is not too boring. You will have to spend more time and energy with this dog than with a lot of others, it is actually a little easier to deal with than other hounds but not compared to other breeds! Make sure you also start early socialization so that it knows how to respond to different people, animals, sounds, situations and so on. Housebreaking is also harder to do with this dog, patience is again needed as will a regular schedule.
How active is the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen?
The GBGV is not a low activity dog like the Basset, it is quite an active, energetic dog with a good amount of stamina. It will need active owners to make sure it has lots of activity and play and mental stimulation. It gets bored easily and quickly and if you do not make sure it has things to do it will make up its own games that are likely to be something you do not want it doing. When these dogs get bored they also get destructive and loud. As these dogs are devoted trackers when they are on a scent they are hard if impossible to call back. Therefore when out walking keep them on a leash. Make sure the yard is well fenced in as it is surprisingly agile and good at escaping. Give it two long walks a day, some play time and safe off leash time on a regular basis where it can run free.
Caring for the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is low to moderate in terms of grooming and maintenance. It It sheds a low amount so there will be little hair in the home and brushing once a week is enough. Some trimming will be needed in certain areas and some owners who do not keep them as show dogs take them to professional groomers on a regular basis. Give it a bath just when needed and use only a dog shampoo so that its natural oils are not affected.
Its ears will need weekly checking and cleaning. Use a damp cloth or cotton ball with dog ear cleanser to wipe the parts you can get to. Do not push anything into the ears as that would hurt it and possibly cause damage. Its nails should be clipped when they get too long but not too far down as that will hurt it and cause bleeding. There are blood vessels and nerves in what is referred to as the quick of the nail. Its dental and gum health are also important so brush at least two to three times a week with a good dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen will eat around 2¼ to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. The amount varies depending on its size, health, metabolism, activity level and age. It should also have access to water at all times that is freshened when possible.
How is the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen with children and other animals?
This dog can be very good with children, it likes to get up to mischief and play with them and is affectionate towards them too. However small children need to be supervised as they tend to pull at ears and such and this dog does not like that at all. Make sure you teach your children how to properly touch and play with dogs. It is not as good with non-canine pets like rabbits or rodents as it sees them as prey. Make sure it is well socialized and it can get along with cats if raised with them. It is a pack dog so can get along well with other dogs and likes to have one as a companion in the home. Take care to introduce them carefully still though.
What Might Go Wrong?
The GBGV has a life span of 10 to 12 years and is fairly healthy but there are a few issues to be aware of. Cancer is the leading cause of death in these dogs. Other issues include heart problems, eye and ear problems, joint dysplasia, patellar luxation, allergies, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, skin problems. Care also has to be taken that it does not gain weight as that can lead to back problems.
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is not an aggressive dog and is very unlikely to be involved in any incident where a dog attacks a person and does bodily harm. Looking at reports that cover these attacks in the last 35 years in North America there is no mention of this breed. Any dog can have an off day though but to lessen the odds that is your dog make sure you give it good socialization, training, exercise and stimulation. It should also get the attention and nutrition it needs and be supervised when appropriate.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
A GBGV puppy will cost about $800 from a decent and experienced trainer. If you are looking for a show dog quality breeder that amount is going to go up by a lot. Avoid using unsavory options though like puppy mills, pet stores and backyard breeders. There is another option which is to look at rescues and shelters. You may not though get a purebred this way but mixed breeds have a lot to offer in terms of companionship and loyalty. Adoption is usually $50 to $400 and often some medical needs are taken care of for you before it comes home with you.
Once you have found the right dog for you there are some items you should get for it and some medical needs to take care of as soon as it is home. Items means things like a collar and leash, crate, carrier, bowls and such for a cost of around $225. Medical concerns covers blood tests, deworming, spying or neutering, micro chipping, physical exam, vaccinations and these come to about $270.
There are also annual costs to care for it. Basic health care like shots, check ups, flea and tick prevention and dog insurance will cost an annual figure of around $460. A good quality dry dog food or better and dog treats will be another yearly cost of about $145. Then annual miscellaneous costs like grooming, toys, basic training, license and miscellaneous items come to about $525. This gives an annual starting figure of $1130.
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This dog is going to need a lot of experience and patience, as well as owners who are active. It is not easy to train and will need a lot of love and firm handling. It is a great companion though when it is being raised as it needs, it is loyal and affectionate, funny and has a big personality that will fill your home and heart.
Featured Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
- Living with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
- Caring for the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
- How is the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag