Header image courtesy of Lenni Cipriotti, AKC Breeder of Merit
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, or GBGV, is a rare breed in the United States. He is energetic, curious, and always makes his presence known. Here are more interesting facts about the GBGV:
1. They Come From France
If you're familiar with the French language, you may have already figured out that the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen originated in France. The predecessors of the GBGV — short-legged hunting hounds — appeared at the first dog shows in France in the 1860s. As time went on, French hunting dogs became more and more differentiated, and one of the resulting breeds was the GBGV.
2. They Were the Poor Man's Hunting Dog
Because poor huntsmen could not afford horses, they could not keep up with fast, large hounds. While the aristocrats followed their large hunting dogs on horseback, peasants followed slower dogs on foot. This is why the basset breeds, including the GBGV, were bred to have short legs
3. They Hunt In Packs
4. The GBGV and PBGV Used To Be Interbred
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens were used to hunt wolves and deer, while Petit Basset Griffon Venden were used to hunt rabbit, hare, and sometimes birds. But the PBGV and GBGV did not become separate breeds until the 1970s. The litters used to be interbred, and the puppies were separated by size. Today, there are other key differences in these two breeds in addition to size. In proportion to their height, the GBGV has a longer muzzle, longer ears, a longer back, and a longer tail.
Photo courtesy of Lenni Cipriotti, AKC Breeder of Merit
5. Their Name Is Quite Descriptive
Let's break down the full name: "Grand" is a French word that means large, so it fits the bigger version of the two Basset Griffon Vendéen breeds. "Basset" means low. "Griffon" is a type of wire coat, and "Vendéen" comes from Vendée, the region of France where the breed originated.
6. They Only Recently Came to the U.S.
The first GBGV came to the U.S. in 1990, and the first litter was born in 1994. They remain few in number in the U.S. today.
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is one of the newest breeds to join the AKC. They received official recognition into the Hound Group on Jan. 1, 2018. Learn more about this independent, happy, and outgoing breed here.