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Lenni Cipriotti, AKC Breeder of Merit

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

Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens typically go hunting in packs, as Beagles and foxhounds do. GBGVs are scent hounds that track game primarily by using their noses.

4. The GBVB and PBVB Used To Be Interbred

Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens were used to hunt wolves and deer, while Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens were used to hunt rabbit, hare, and sometimes birds. But the PBVB and GBVB 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 besides size. In proportion to their height, the GBVB has have 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 to come to the United States came in 1990, and the first litter was born in 1994. They remain few in number in the U.S. today.
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