Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Basset Griffon Vendeen
Average Cost to keep/care for a Basset Griffon Vendeen
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Basset Griffon Vendeen is a very skilled scent hound and although short in stature, these dogs are very long in the body. Their most endearing traits are their lovely bushy eyebrows, moustache and beard which add to their overall charming appeal. Over the years, these delightful dogs have become popular as companions and family pets in many regions of the world, but they were originally bred in France to hunt game and to scent hares and rabbits.
Also known as the GBGV, they like nothing more than to be part of a family which is just one of the reasons they are becoming a popular choice as family pets and companions with many people both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world. However, anyone wanting to share a home with a Basset Griffon Vendeen would need to register their interest with breeders for the pleasure of doing so, but the wait would be well worth it.
Records of the Basset Griffon Vendeen date as far back as the 16th century when they were bred to hunt. They hail from a region known as the Vendee, hence these dogs were given their name. Two sizes were developed being the Grand and the Petit and although both sizes could be found in one litter of puppies, it was not until the seventies that crossing the two sizes was outlawed. Many breed enthusiasts throughout the 19th Century promoted these hounds in other countries of the world and this included the Couteuix family, Le Compte d’Elva who started out by breeding a female Basset Griffon Vendeen with a male Basset de Bretagne. Other enthusiasts included a man called Ernest Ambaud who exhibited rough-coated hounds which he produced by carefully and selectively choosing his breeding dogs with an end goal being to eliminate both smooth-coated and silky-coated hounds from his litters. His favourite stud dog was a hound called Castilleau. Elva was to become one of the main breed enthusiasts to establish a standard for the Basset Griffon Vendeen earning him the title of being the Father of the breed.
The Club du Basset Francais was established in 1896, a time when the Basset Griffon was recognised as a breed in its own right with the Compte d’Elva being the president. The breed suffered during the First World War as did many other breeds, but thanks to the efforts of huntsmen in France, the Basset Griffon was restored to its former glory. The breed standard was amended several times over the ensuing years and in the post-war years separate breed standards were drawn up for both the Petit and Grand hound. It was then decided that a Petit Basset Griffons and a Grand Basset Griffons could no longer be registered as being from the same litter
Over the centuries, the Bassety Griffon Vendeen has constantly proved to be very able hunters and even today these charming dogs are still used to scent hare and rabbit in their native France and other European countries. They can work as individuals or as part of a pack to hunt deer and wild boar. With this said, today the Basset Griffon Vendeen is fast becoming a popular choice with people here in the UK and elsewhere in the world both as family pets and companion dogs thanks to their adorable looks and loyal, kind and affectionate natures.
Height at the withers: Males 40 - 44 cm, Females 39 - 43 cm
Average weight: Males 18 - 20 kg, Females 18 - 20 kg
The Griffon is a medium sized dog that's well-balanced being longer in the body than they are tall. They have a very noble look about them which is enhanced by the way these dogs carry their heads. They have domed shaped heads with a well-developed occipital bone and a clearly defined stop. Their muzzle is square and they boast having a bit of a Roman nose with wide nostrils which again enhances their dignified appearance. Noses are black except for white/lemon, white/orange coated Griffons where their noses are brown.
Their lips are well developed which adds to the square look of a dog's muzzle. Muzzles are well covered in long hair which forms their charming moustaches and beards. Their eyes are oval shaped, large and dark in colour with dogs always having an intelligent expression in them. Griffons have delightfully long eyebrows where the hair stands up so their eyes are not hidden. Ears are narrow and fine being covered in long, fine hair. Their ears fold inwards and boast having oval tips.
The Griffon has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their neck is set well into their shoulders and is strong and long being thicker at the base. Shoulders are well laid back and clean with dogs boasting straight, well-boned front legs. They have nice long backs with a level topline and well-muscled loins. Their brisket is deep and broad with dogs boasting a prominent fore chest.
Their ribs are nicely rounded and let right down to the level of a dog's elbow and they reach quite far down a dog’s body. The Griffon's flanks are relatively deep and their hindquarters are well-boned, muscular and strong. Back legs are heavily muscled with dogs boasting well-defined muscular second thighs. Feet are large with tight, firm pads and short, very strong nails. Their tails are well feathered, long and set high being thicker at the base, but tapering very gradually to the tip which dogs carry slightly curved, but never over their backs.
When it comes to their coat, the Griffon boasts a moderately long coat that's lays flat to their body and they have a nice thick undercoat. Accepted breed standard colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
When a Basset Griffon moves, they do so with good drive at all paces showing a nice, straight front action and good reach with their hocks not turning out or inwards.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
The Basset Griffon Vendeen is known to be intelligent which is paired to a wonderful, calm and charming nature. These dogs boast having masses of personality which is matched only by their stamina. They are confident, outgoing dogs by nature that love nothing more than doing what they were bred to do which is to hunt, track and then bay to let their owners know they have found something.
They are very well-balanced dogs that boast a very even disposition and are therefore just at home in the field as they are lying in front of an open fire. However, they are not the best choice for first time owners because these dogs need to be well handled and trained from a young age by an experienced hand. Training must start early and be consistent throughout their lives. With this said, even the best trained dog may well pick up a scent and be off after it, choosing to ignore any recall commands because their instincts often just get the better of them.
These dogs are a great choice for people who are familiar with the breed or similar type of hound knowing they would be living with a fun-loving albeit boisterous canine companion. They do boast a bit of a stubborn streak which is why it's so important for their training and education to start when dogs are young. Waiting until later and not giving a GBGV the right sort of guidance and direction at the right stage of their lives, could result in them becoming unruly and hard to handle.
If a Basset Griffon Vendeen is not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise on a daily basis, boredom quickly sets in and this could result in a dog finding their own way to amuse and entertain themselves which is often displayed in them developing some rather destructive behaviours. These dogs are also known to be very good escape artists and therefore if they are allowed to roam around a back garden, the fencing must be very secure to keep them in.
Basset Griffons are a good choice for first time dog owners because they love to please and although not as quick to learn new things as many other breeds, they are always ready to show willing. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times.
Although Basset Griffons are social by nature, they have a very high prey drive and would be quick off the mark to chase any animal or pet that tries to run away. They have a tremendous sense of smell and love nothing more than to follow an interesting scent often ignoring the "recall" command when they do.
Basset Griffons have a playful, fun-loving side to their natures and like to entertain and be entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes more especially when they pick up an interesting scent when out on a walk.
Basset Griffons are highly adaptable dogs and providing they are given enough daily physical exercise combined with as much mental stimulation to prevent boredom from setting in, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they are living in a house in the country.
Although Basset Griffons form strong ties with their families and are very loyal by nature, they are not generally known to suffer from separation anxiety providing they are never left to their own devices for too long that is. No dog, no matter what breed, likes to be left on their own for long periods of time which could result in them developing unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home. This could include barking incessantly as a way of showing their displeasure and to get attention.
Some Basset Griffons like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them. Others will only bark when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their surroundings.
Most Basset Griffons love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot. But they are not as well built as other breeds when it comes to being strong swimmers thanks to their shorter legs and longer bodies. With this said, anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. Care should always be taken when walking a Basset Griffon off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Basset Griffons are very loyal to their families but they are not natural watchdogs although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively preferring to keep their distance and bark.
The Griffon is a highly intelligent dog, but they are independent by nature and therefore they can be hard to train. With this said, in the right hands and with the right sort of training and guidance, these dogs can be taught to obey commands although it must be said it is not in their natures to be that obedient.
Their training must start early, it should be consistent. These dogs need time to learn and therefore a lot of patience and understanding is needed when they are first being trained. A GBGV must know their place in a pack and who is the alpha dog in the household or they may start to show a more dominant side to their nature.
It's essential that puppies be well socialised from a young age and this means introducing them to new situations, other dogs and animals as soon as they have been given all their vaccinations. As previously mentioned, these dogs are very skilled escape artists and therefore if they are allowed to run around a garden, the fencing must be very secure.
Basset Griffon puppies are incredibly cute which means it is all too easy for them to be spoiled when they first arrive in their new homes. However, once a puppy is settled in, owners need to set out rules and boundaries so that a puppy understands what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Starting out as an owner means to go on also helps establish a pecking order and who is the alpha dog in a household. As such the first commands a Basset Griffon puppy should be taught are as follows:
Being such a happy, outgoing character, the GBGV loves being around children, but because they can be quite boisterous especially when they are puppies and adolescent dogs, any interaction between the kids and a dog should be supervised by an adult to make sure nobody gets knocked over and hurt.
They are also known to get on well with other dogs providing they are well socialised from a young age. If a Griffon has grown up with a cat in the house, they generally get on well together. However, care should be taken when they are around any smaller pets and this includes rabbits because their strong hunting instinct might just get the better of them.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Basset Griffon Vendeen is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The GBGV is known to be a hardy dog and unlike many other pure breeds, they do not suffer from the many hereditary and congenital health disorders that so often plague pedigree dogs. However, if you are hoping to share your home with one of these charming dogs there are a few health issues worth knowing about which includes the following:
Basset Griffon Vendeen puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Basset Griffons are prone to gaining weight because they like their food a little too much. However, they can also put on weight when they've been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Basset Griffons are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Basset Griffon Vendeen breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Basset Griffon Vendeen in place at the moment.
There are currently no DNA tests or BVA/KC DNA screening schemes available for the Basset Griffon Vendeen, but prospective owners should discuss hereditary health issues with breeders and tests available before buying a puppy from them.
As with any other breed, GBGVs need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Basset Griffon puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Basset Griffon Vendeen puppies, bearing in mind that like many hound breeds, they are more sensitive to noise than other dogs. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out making them more timid and shy.
As previously mentioned, Basset Griffon puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Basset Griffons need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Basset Griffon Vendeen in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Basset Griffon Vendeens need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Basset Griffons don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
These dogs boast medium length coats, but they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush is all it takes to keep their coats looking good and to remove any dead hair or dirt a dog may have picked up when out on a walk. With this said, because these dogs boast lovely moustaches and beards, it's important to keep an eye on them because they tend to get mucky when dogs eat and drink. Although, a Griffon's coat does not need trimming, it is worth giving their beards and moustaches a little trim which makes it easier to keep them clean.
It is also a good idea for a GBGV to be professionally hand stripped every few months which helps keep their coats tidier and their skin in good condition. As with other dogs, they tend to shed more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent coat care may be necessary to keep on top of things.
Griffons are high energy dogs and because they are so intelligent they need to be given lots of mental stimulation as well as a ton of physical exercise on a daily basis. Ideally, they need to be given at least 2 hours exercise a day, but they also like to roam around a secure back garden as often as they can too which really allows them to let off steam in a safe environment. These dogs like to be kept busy and find it hard to sit still for very long which is why they are more suited to living in the country or with people who boast having large, secure back gardens with a lot of emphasis on "secure" because these dogs, as previously mentioned are very good at escaping.
If you get a Basset Griffon Vendeen puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature GBGV twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Basset Griffon puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 13 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Basset Griffon must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Basset Griffon Vendeen can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a GBGV, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £800 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Basset Griffon Vendeen in northern England would be £29.51 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £64.15 a month (quote as of January 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £50 - £60 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a GBGV and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Basset Griffon Vendeen would be between £80 to £130 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred, healthy Kennel Club registered pedigree Basset Griffon Vendeen puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Basset Griffons have found a large fanbase both in the UK and elsewhere in the world which means that well-bred puppies command a lot of money. As such, with Basset Griffons there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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