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Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a medium sized purebred also known as a Roughi, the Small Vendeen Basset or nicknamed as the Petit or by its initials PBGV. It is a French dog bred to be a scent hound and dates back to the 1500s. Its French name translates as Small, Low to the Ground, Rough or wire coated and Vendeen is the place its from. It was bred to get through terrain full of brambles as it went after prey like hare. Today as well as being a good dog for hunting still it is a great companion and makes an excellent therapy dog because of its happy and extroverted nature.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen at A Glance
Name Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Other names Roughie, Small Vendeen Basset,
Nicknames PBGV, Petit
Origin France
Average size Medium
Average weight 25 to 40 pounds
Average height 13 to 15 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Harsh, dense, long, rough, thick
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, tan, yellow, grey, white
Popularity Not that popular – ranked 148th by the AKC
Intelligence Fair to average – takes 40 to 80 repetitions to understand new commands
Tolerance to heat Good – can handle hot weather but nothing too hot or extreme
Tolerance to cold Very good – can live in cold climates just nothing extreme
Shedding Moderate – some hair will be left around the home
Drooling Low – not a breed known to be prone to slobber and drool
Obesity High – prone to obesity, very important to measure and monitors its food and give regular daily exercise
Grooming/brushing Low to moderate – brush regularly
Barking Frequent – will need to train it to stop on command to control it
Exercise needs Very active – will need daily walks plus additional physical and mental stimulation
Trainability Very difficult – experience definitely needed
Friendliness Excellent with socialization
Good first dog Moderate – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good with socialization – does have a strong chase instinct
Good with strangers Very good with socialization
Good apartment dog Very good due to size but barking may be a problem
Handles alone time well Good – can handle small periods being left alone but not long periods
Health issues Somewhat healthy, has quite a few issues it has the potential for such as; patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, PBGV Pain syndrome, epilepsy, allergies, eye problems
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $145 a year for a good quality dry dog food and for dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $535 a year for basic training, license, grooming, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1140 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations Several including the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America Health and Rescue Foundation
Biting Statistics None reported

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen’s Beginnings

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is from France on the western coast where the terrain is rocky and covered with thick brush, brambles and thorns. It was bred to hunt through this difficult terrain to be low to the ground, to have a coat that offered it protection and to be able to hunt by scent not sight. It also had to be focused, determined, smart, fit and able to think independently. It comes from the Griffon Vendeen of which there are four sizes starting from largest to smallest they are the Grand Griffon, the Briquet Griffon, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen and then the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. The PBGV was developed to hunt small animals like fox, hare, rabbit and fowl and hunters would follow them on foot.

There are several varieties of French hounds and this one can be traced back at least the 1500s. In its mix are the white and tan Italian hound and the White Bloodhound which is no longer in existence. King Louis XII is said to have had several Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens and for that reason they once had the name King’s White Hounds or Chiens Blanc du Roi. The first standard for the breed was published in 1898 and in 1907 a breed club was established called the Club du Griffon Vendeen. In 1909 it was recognized that there were two versions, the Petit Basset and the Grand Basset. In the 1950s they were recognized as being separate breeds but they were allowed to be cross bred until the 1970s. Because of that even today sometimes both breeds can be born in the same litter. They are still a popular breed in France and still used as scent hounds.

New Lease on Life

In 1983 a Mrs Elizabeth Streeter from Pennsylvania brought into the US the first PBGVs. In 1984 the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America was founded and had 11 members. Just a year later it had 50 members and was drawing up a breed standard. It got full recognition from the AKC in 1991. They debuted in the Westminster Kennel Club in 1992 in New York where 24 competed. While its popularity in the US has grown steadily, it is still a rare bred. It is ranked 148th in popularity by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a medium sized dog weighing 25 to 40 pounds and standing 13 to 15 inches tall. It has short legs, a level topline and is low to the ground. It is half as long again as its hairy tail, which is medium length, tapered and strong, set high and upright and like a saber. It is a solidly built dog with a very tousled look. Dewclaws are removed in places that still allow this practice. The coat is casual, long and rough. Common colors are sable, white, tricolored, bicolored, grizzle markings, lemon, orange and black though they can come in a wide range. It is harsh and wiry to the touch not wooly or silky or soft. Hair on the legs and face are likely more soft then the rest of the coat.

It head is domed and oval shaped and it has shaggy eyebrows, a beard, mustache and hairy ears. Those ears are thin, long, low set and hang down. It has a large black nose with wide nostrils and eyes that are oval, dark and big with long eyelashes. The eyebrows stick out, they do not cover the eyes.

The Inner Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen


The PBGV is an alert dog who will bark to let you know if there is an intruder. It is not however seen to be a protective breed so it may not try to scare off intruders or act to defend you. It is a dog best with active and experienced owners. It is cheerful, lively, social, playful, friendly and outgoing. It is somewhat sensitive but not overly so, but it does bark frequently and to control that training will be needed. If it hears other dogs barking it is likely to join in and it does howl too. It makes a great family dog or companion to people who are looking for a dog with personality, energy and a zest for life.

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen loves people, is good natured and live happily with other dogs as part of the pack, as it used to when first bred to hunt. It is entertaining to have around and is bold and independent so needs its owner to be a firm and confident leader with it otherwise it becomes willful, demanding and difficult. Around strangers it is very good with socialization. If you do not make sure it has plenty of toys and things going on it gets bored and then it becomes naughty. With strong leadership and enough stimulation this is less likely to happen .It is a curious dog too always exploring and investigating and sometimes that can lead it to some mischief making as it is very good at solving problems like how to get something it wants, even if it should not have it!

Living with a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

What will training look like?

This is not an easy breed to train so experience, patience and consistency will be essential. It can be stubborn and willful as with most hounds so you need to establish your leadership in a very firm and sure manner. Use treats as it enjoys its food, be positive still and keep the sessions short, fun and engaging so that you do not lose its attention as it can be easily distracted. As mentioned consistency is an important part of it as mentioned, when you set rules never bend them, it needs to know what is what. Thankfully even when it is rebelling it is such a charming and happy dog you are likely to be laughing sometimes though the process. However once you have basics mastered it can go on to other training and be successful at it, and that is a good way to keep it engaged and active.

Housebreaking is likely to take between 4 to 6 months to achieve using crate training. You also need to make sure your PBGV is well socialized and start that as soon as you have it home. Get it used to different sounds, places, people, situations and animals so it grows into a confident dog you can trust.

How active is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen?

This is a fairly active dog so needs owners who are happy to be active daily too. It would need a lot of outdoor opportunities if you are living in an apartment and it would need training to control its barking. Really it is best suited to a home with a medium sized yard that is well fenced in. Be warned though it does love to dig. Two walks a day is necessary along with opportunities for it to go off leash safely in places like a dog park, where it can also play games with you and socialize. Do not let it off leash unless you are somewhere it is safe to do so, it will run off after small animals and will be very hard to get it to turn back.

Along with plenty of play and physical activity your dog will need lots of mental stimulation too. PBGVs can get naughty if they get bored or if they are allowed to make up their own entertainment. Further training beyond basic obedience is one way to offer it that along with different toys and puzzles. If your dog becomes destructive, hard to control, restless and such it may be a sign it is not getting enough physical and mental activity.

Caring for the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Grooming needs

This is a shaggy looking dog but it does not need a whole lot of grooming. It does shed a moderate amount though so be prepared for some hair around the home, and regular vacuuming. Brush the PBGV once or twice a week to help remove some of that loose hair and keep it from being tangled. You can use a mat breaker, comb and pin brush for all of its needs. Only give it a bath when it really needs one. Some owners opt to have it stripped or trimmed, and some do not.

Other grooming needs will include trimming its nails when they get too long taking care not to cut into the quick of the nail where there are nerves and blood vessels. Cutting there will hurt the dog and cause bleeding. Use proper dog nail clippers and ask for help from a vet or professional groomer for help if needed. Its ears should be cleaned and checked for infection once a week. Do not insert anything into the ear, wipe clean the parts you can reach using a warm damp cloth or dog ear cleanser and cotton ball. Infections signs to look for include swelling, redness, discharge, irritation and wax build up. There are also its teeth that need cleaning at least two to three times a week.

Feeding Time

The PBGV will eat around 1 1/2 to 2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day split into at least two meals. How much exactly will vary depending on your dog’s size, health, age, metabolism and rate of activity.

How is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen with children and other animals?

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens are good with children but older ones not younger. They are playful, lively, and make great playmates and are also affectionate and loving, especially when raised with them and with socialization. If there are smaller children around adult supervision is a good idea and make sure you teach children how to touch dogs nicely. With other dogs they are pretty good as they enjoy being a part of a pack. Something you should be aware of is that the erect tail of the PBGV can be seen by some other dogs as a challenge of dominance, when in fact it is just how this breed holds its tail. Care and socialization is important with other small animals like cats. It has strong chasing and hunting instincts and in some Petit Basset Griffon Vendeens that can be hard to overcome, even with good socialization and training.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The life expectancy of this dog is about 12 to 15 years. It is a fairly healthy breed in general but there are a few issues it can face such as ear infections, eye problems, hip dysplasia, aseptic meningitis, patellar luxation, skin allergies, food allergies, cancer, heart problems and hypothyroidism.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks that led to bodily harm in North America over the last 35 years, there are no reports of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen being a part of them. This is not a dog known to be especially people or even dog aggressive. It is not one you need to fear or be nervous around when you take it out, but early socialization and training are an important part of that. You should also make sure when you get a dog that you get one you can keep up with in terms of needs, its mental and physical ones as well as giving it the attention and love it deserves. Any dog has the potential to have an off day, there are no complete guarantees with any breed, but being a responsible owner is a great step towards making that less likely.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen puppy is going to cost around $1000 for one from a trusted breeder of pet quality dogs. If you want to use a show quality top breeder that price will go up at least double that. Be prepared to be put on to a waiting list for them, and accept that waiting period as it means you are getting a healthy dog from a knowledgeable breeder. Trying to get a dog quicker from a less reliable source like a puppy mill, pet store or backyard breeder is not a good idea for you or the dog. Another option for finding a new dog is a rescue or shelter though purebreds are not as common there, it is possible your new best friend is a mix. Expect to pay between $50 to $400 for a rescue.

When you have a puppy or dog chosen there are some initial costs to pay out for it in terms of items it will need as well as some medical needs. At home it needs things like a crate, carrier, bowls, leash and collar for example and these will cost about $200. Then as soon as you have it you should arrange to take it to a vet for a good physical check up along with some tests and procedures. These will include blood tests, deworming, microchipping, vaccinations, spaying or neutering and will come to around $270.

There are also ongoing costs of being a being a responsible pet owner. Yearly costs for food for example, one that is of good quality and dog treats, will cost about $145. Other needs like grooming, toys, miscellaneous items, license and basic training will cost about $535 a year. Basic health care like shots, flea and tick prevention and check ups as well as pet insurance is another $460 a year. This gives an estimated annual starting figure of around $1140.


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The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is a bold, curious, lively, stubborn dog best suited to people with dog experience and ones who are active themselves. It will make you smile and frustrate you sometimes with its mischief and willfulness but it will also be affectionate, loyal and bring a lot of happiness to the home. It does not always get on well with other small pets though and housebreaking and training can be a slow and difficult process, so be prepared to have some patience. It is also a vocal dog so is best where neighbors are not too close or are very understanding.

Featured Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

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.

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