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Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen and puppy.
Pet Portrait Dierfotografie /

Griffon Vendéen hounds have gone through 400 years of evolution to produce the loyal Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, or GBGV. Known for their great hunting skills and light-footed step, the breed name means “Large, low, shaggy dog of Vendée.”

French hounds developed into the breeds they are today to form the needs of different geographic areas, and the GBGV is no exception. Here are 10 things that you probably didn’t know about the GBGV.

1. They are from France and resemble a Frenchman.

The rocky area of Vendée, France, required a sturdy breed with pronounced mental stamina. Hunters in this area didn’t have horses, so they needed a slower dog that they could keep up with. That is how the shorter-laying hound evolved. With it came long ears, a shaggy coat, and bushy eyebrows that run into a mustache and beard. These qualities suggest the look of a Frenchman.

Image courtesy of the AKC Library/Archives

2. Their structure evolved through breeding to hunt.

Recognized by their well-balanced stance, GBGVs, also have a friendly character. They have a deep chest, are longer than they are tall, and have a long muzzle. This rare breed has bushy, yet protective eyebrows and a rough-coat that is imperative to hunt rabbit through France’s rough terrain. Occasionally, the breeds can find themselves chasing boar and deer with their extensive hunting skills.

3. The GBGV didn’t become its own breed until the 1950s.

Prior to the early 1900s, GBGVs were bred with the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen until the Club du Griffon Vendéen was founded in 1907 and recognized the two as different varieties of the Basset Griffon Vendéen. In the 1950s the GBGV became its own breed and interbreeding between the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen was banned in 1977.

Image courtesy of the AKC Library/Archives

4. They are one of the more newly recognized breeds.

The GBGV wasn’t recognized by the AKC until 2018, and it was assigned to the Hound Group. The AKC currently registers nine colors of the GBGV.

5. They are trained to mantrail.

GBGVs are trained to mantrail in the U.S. and Europe. Mantrailing is a scent pursuit of one’s individual scent wherever skin cells are dispersed.

6. They hunt in packs.

Because of their hunting skills, they are known to track their game by using their noses. While their sense of smell is an old feather in the cap of this companion, they hunt in packs like Beagles and Foxhounds.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen Trio
Jolanda Huisman
This GBGV trio (from left, Brunette, Grenache and Paco), from Greffier du Roi of the Netherlands, enjoy their time in a Pack class at the Club du Griffon Nationale d’Elevage in Malville, France, in 2011.

7. GBGV were recorded in the Foundation Stock Service Program.

The Foundation Stock Service Program is a program dedicated to purebreds not registered by the AKC. From 2004-2017, GBGV were recorded in this program so that they maintained their reputation and owners were able to develop the breed.

8. They are seasonal shedders.

GBGVs have a reasonably light upkeep. They only require weekly brushing with a slick brush, but an occasional bath will keep the coat clean.

9. GBGVs are trainable and versatile.

GBGVs have been competing in AKC sports since 2008. The breed has competed in everything from Agility, Obedience, Rally, Barn Hunt, scent work/tracking, and more. Many GBGVs also like to swim and retrieve.

10. They have a happy temperament.

GBGVs are noble because of their strong stance, yet they use their voice loudly on the hunting trail. While they hunt in packs, they are rarely aggravated by other dogs. They are easy to please and are very outgoing.

Purchasing and Registering your GBGV

Think the loyal and versatile Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is the breed for you? Check out GBGV puppies on the AKC Marketplace.

After becoming the owner of a GBGV, it is important to register your dog. Why? The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States that maintains an investigation and inspection effort. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of dogs and the environments in which they live.

You can register your dog here, and you will receive your official AKC certificate in the mail. There are many other benefits, including a complimentary first vet visit, 30 days of pet insurance, and eligibility to compete in AKC events and sports.
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