Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

A Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen with a toy.

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Often referred to as the "GBGV" or "Grand," the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a shaggy, active, and independent scent-hound from France. In fact, the rough translation of its name is very descriptive of its appearance: "Large, low, shaggy dog of the Vendéen (a region of France)."

The GBGV was originally developed to help hunt deer, boar, and other large game, but today, the GBGV's sweet, happy personality, and relatively calm demeanor make it the perfect pick for an active family or families with other dogs. The GBGV is pack dog, so he or she will thrive in households with multiple dogs.

Because the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen was bred as a working dog, they have higher energy levels and exercise needs. Like all hounds, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen loves to follow his or her nose, so a fenced-in backyard or large, enclosed exercise space is a must; they have the tendency to bark loudly and frequently; and they can be stubborn, so obedience training beginning in early puppyhood is vital. Although the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a smaller dog, they're not recommended for people who live in apartments or smaller spaces. If they aren't adequately exercised, they become bored and destructive.

Breed Overview

Group: Hound

Height: 15.5 to 18 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 40 to 45 pounds

Coat: Rough, scruffy, and shaggy with extra length around the eyes and chin; double-coated breed, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen has a long, rough outercoat and a soft, thick undercoat.

Coat Color: A variety of colors, including tri-color, yellow, orange, black, and sable

Life Expectancy: Typically 13 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

Affection Level High
Friendliness High
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly High
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability Low to Medium
Intelligence Medium to High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium to High

History of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

One of the four Griffon Hounds developed over centuries, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen was originally bred in Vendéen, a region in France, sometime during the 16th century, to help hunters track and take down game. Despite their smaller stature—GBGVs typically weigh between 40 and 45 pounds fully grown—they were able to take down larger game, like boar and deer, in addition to smaller prey.

For many years, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen was interbred with the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen—and they were considered a single breed. In fact, the Club du Basset Griffon Vendéen, the official organization of Griffon Hounds from Vendéen, established the same breed standards for both the Grand and the Petit. Eventually, in 1909, the club reassessed the breed standards and recognized the Grand and Petit as two distinctive breeds.

Over a century later, in 2018, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen was officially recognized as a member of the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Care

Because they were bred as working dogs in harsher conditions, the GBGV is a fairly low-maintenance dog in terms of grooming. They only need to be groomed once per week with a slicker brush and comb, and can be bathed as-needed.

Like all breeds, it's important to examine and clean your dog's ears on a weekly basis. You can gently remove dirt, debris, or waxy build-up with a soft, clean, cotton cloth or pad. Cotton swabs aren't recommended, as they can damage the delicate inner-ear structures. If your dog's ears are excessively dirty, red and inflamed, or smell funny, contact your veterinarian ASAP. These may be signs of an ear infection.

In addition to cleaning their ears, dental hygiene should be an important part of your weekly grooming routine. Daily brushing is ideal, but brushing your dog's teeth once per week can help protect her from oral disease.

As previously mentioned, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is very active and requires extensive, daily exercise in an enclosed space or fenced-in yard. Playing games like fetch, hide and seek, or tug-o-war can help keep your dog healthy, exercised, and engaged.

Obedience training is vital for GBGVs, who can be stubborn and have a mind of their own. If you're unfamiliar with dog training or obedience, or a first-time dog owner, the GBGV might not be the right breed for you—they can be challenging to potty train, too. Be sure to keep training consistent, positive, and engaging with plenty of rewards. It's important to note: No matter how much you train your Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, he or she will retain the urges to bark and chase prey if they're off-leash or in an open space.

Common Health Problems

Like all breeds, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen may be susceptible to certain health conditions. They're typically considered healthy dogs—and reputable breeders do everything they can to maintain the highest breed standards—but there's no guarantee that your dog will or won't develop a health condition in his or her lifetime. It's important to be aware of these conditions, so you can take the steps needed if symptoms arise in your pet.

Some health conditions that are common among GBGVs include hip dysplasia, a genetic disorder characterized by weakening and pain in the hip joints, and dermatitis, or irritation of the skin. If you're worried about these conditions, or any other health issues in your dog, be sure to talk to your vet about steps you can take to give her a long, happy, healthy life.

Diet and Nutrition

Your dog's diet will depend largely on his or her age and activity levels. Refer to the feeding chart on your preferred dog food or talk to your veterinarian if you're unsure how much to feed your Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen.

Canine obesity can affect dogs of all ages and breeds, so it's important to feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet—and take it easy on the treats. Canine obesity can be extremely dangerous, and can lead to other health issues like heart disease or diabetes.

Pros
  • Loyal, loving, and friendly

  • Low-maintenance grooming requirements

  • Ideal for active, outdoorsy families

Cons
  • Has a tendency to bark and chase prey

  • High exercise requirements and energy levels

  • Can be stubborn and difficult to train

Where to Adopt or Buy a Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is still a fairly rare breed in the United States—there are only 400 registered with the American Kennel Club—so it may be difficult to find one in your local shelter. If you work with a reputable breeder, there may be a longer waiting list due to their rarity.

Before purchasing a puppy from a breeder, be sure to do your research and ensure they're ethical and reputable. Look for signs of backyard breeding, like unhealthy dogs, multiple litters at the same time, or the ability to pay with a credit card over the phone or online.

More Breeds and Further Research

The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen can be a loving and loyal family dog, but may be difficult to find in the United States. If you're interested in the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, other breeds you may want to consider include: