The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is described as ‘extroverted’ in the American Kennel Club breed standard. Indeed, ‘the more, the merrier’ could well be this dog’s credo. The PBGV relishes the company of his family, but also gives a tail-wagging welcome to friends and strangers, and every furry pal at the dog park. His long eyebrows and scruffy beard are well suited to his merry, ‘no jacket required’ personality. Originally from France, this hardy, low-riding dog was developed to hunt rabbits through thick underbrush. PBGVs hunt in packs and have the tenacity and energy to pursue their quarry all day. They must be walked on leash always, or kept in a secure yard, because they can’t resist the lure of an interesting scent.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen's mouthful of a name is often shortened to Petit or abbreviated to PBGV.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has a double coat with a rough, medium-length outer coat, and thick undercoat. The breed is distinguished by his long eyebrows, and long mustache and beard. His coat should have a pleasantly tousled quality. The coat color is white with markings in lemon, black, sable, tricolor, grizzle, or orange, or in any combination of those colors.
Average Height: 13-15 inches
Average Weight: 25-40 pounds
Breed Standard & History
The spirited PBGV sets off on all his adventures with confidence and courage. He is known for the proud carriage of his head, and his keen, amiable expression. The PBGV is compact, robust, and low slung, with an alert saber tail. He is muscular through the body, chest, and legs, and he sustains his energetic, steady gait through long days on the hunt. The PBGV’s disposition is merry and outgoing.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen originated in the 1600s amid the rough terrain of France’s coastal Vendéen region. There they were bred to hunt in packs, tracking rabbits and other small game by scent. They are closely related to the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, a slightly larger hound distinguished from the PBGV in size only. The harsh coat of both breeds developed to protect them from rough terrain and underbrush, while their beards, mustaches, and eyebrows defend their faces from injury as they follow the scent of their quarry through dense thickets. The dog was separated into the Petit and Grand varieties in France in the 1950s, and the American Kennel Club recognized the PBGV in 1990.
AKC Breed Category
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens are the life of any party—lively, outgoing, and welcoming of new arrivals. With their penchant for barking, they also have the gift of gab. They are energetic and adventure seeking, with a dash of stubbornness and mischief-making. PBGVs require confident owners who are adept at obedience training and can stay active with their dog. Trouble brews whenever PBGVs get bored.
Are Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens good with Kids? PBGVs adore having kids around to play with in the yard or the house. Little kids will be tempted to climb on board this small dog's back, so make sure children know PBGVs aren't for riding.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens Good with Other Pets? Bred to hunt in packs, PBGVs are highly sociable with other dogs. They can live peacefully with cats with whom they’re raised, but their hunting instinct may kick in with other small animals.
Since all the world's a friend to the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, he doesn't have well-honed protective instincts.
Are Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens Good Guard Dogs? Noisy by nature, the PBGV will bark when people arrive. But it's a bark that greets friends and strangers alike with a cheery "Hello! Come on in!" This amiability makes him a good watchdog, but an ineffective guard dog.
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is brimming with energy, but will settle down if given outlets for his exuberance.
- Noisy, with "a good voice freely and purposefully used," according to the AKC breed standard
- Highly energetic with a need for frequent exercise
- Tendency to wander after interesting scents and adventures
- Strong prey drive
- Requires a securely fenced yard to prevent escapes and a personalized dog collar in case they do
- Strong willed and intelligent
- Requires an experienced dog owner
- Challenging to housetrain
This dog likes being the center of attention and belongs indoors with his family. If you give the PBGV enough exercise throughout the day, he’ll be mellow at home and even adapts well to apartment living. He’ll always need company because his barking tendencies worsen when he’s left alone. The PBGV’s rough coat sheds moderately, making fur cleanup minimal.
The more time your Petit spends outdoors, the better behaved he'll be inside. This is a breed that craves the opportunity to wander, so long walks and supervised backyard time are important. Leaving your PBGV outside alone is asking for trouble—he'll bark excessively and find an escape route.
A healthy, adult Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen requires at least an hour of vigorous activity every day. Several long walks or hikes, and boisterous games in the yard will suffice to keep him physically fit.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens have the stamina to chase swift rabbits through long days in the field.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: With their short legs, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens won’t be able to keep up with you over long distances. But a healthy, adult PBGV will happily set the pace on a one- or two-mile jog.
- Hiking Miles: The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is an enthusiastic hiker. If you can keep him from following a scent off trail, you can trek with him for three to five miles.
Generally, this breed requires about 1½ to 2 cups of good quality dry dog food each day, given in two feedings. This will vary, however, based upon your PBGV's activity level and age. Talk to your veterinarian about the optimal diet and quantity of food for your Petit.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens are not amenable to alone time. They are social butterflies and are happy only when they’re with their people. Don’t expect to get much alone time yourself when you bring home this affable fellow.
Health and Grooming
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen’s rough coat needs a thorough weekly brushing to prevent knots and matting. His coat requires only a monthly bath and the occasional trim. Brush his teeth several times a week, and trim his nails every month or so to prevent painful cracking. Wash your Petit’s ears weekly with a gentle, vet-approved cleanser to prevent infection caused when wax, moisture, and dirt build up.
Common Health Issues
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens are generally healthy, but should be watched for the following breed-specific issues:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Patellar luxation
- Eye conditions, including persistent pupillary membranes, retinal dysplasia, and corneal dystrophy
You can minimize serious health concerns in your Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
While eager to please, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has a short attention span that can prolong training. With consistency, positive reinforcement, and brief training sessions, however, your PBGV will respond to commands in no time. Be warned, PBGVs will always ignore you if they’ve caught an interesting scent.
Extracurricular dog sports are an excellent way to focus this breed's abundant energy. PBGVs are enthusiastic participants in agility, rally, and advanced obedience.
Sporting Dog Training
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens make excellent tracking dogs.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens.
No. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens shed and, as a result, release pet dander in your home. Dander is the primary cause of pet-related allergies.
A lot of information is packed into this breed's long name. Petit refers to his small stature, Basset to his low-slung frame, Griffon to his scruffy, rough coat, and Vendéen to the French geographic region where he developed as a scrappy hunting dog.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens can learn to swim, but with their short legs, they aren't the strongest swimmers. If your PBGV enjoys the water, always keep a close watch on him when he is swimming.