GRIFFON VENDÉEN GRAND BASSET
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Grand Basset Griffon Vend é en General Appearance: The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a well-balanced, strongly built, rough-coated scent hound of friendly and noble character. He is of medium size with straight legs, deep chest. He is longer than he is tall with a moderately long muzzle, long ears and a long tail. His neck is moderately long and strong, noble head with a mustache and beard, surmounted with protective long eyebrows. His structure was designed to hunt rabbit and hare at a fast pace through the bramble, and over the rough terrain of the Vendee area of France. He is a courageous, passionate and broadly skilled hunter who today is used to hunt not only rabbit and hare but also boar and roe deer. He is active, possessing great stamina for a full days’ hunt and uses his voice freely while on the trail. Any feature that detracts from function is a serious fault. Size, Proportion, Substance: Height – typically 15½ to 18 inches. Proportion – longer than tall as measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks. Never square nor long and low. Substance – in balance with the whole; strongly built and well boned without exaggeration. Firmly muscled, built for endurance and parts in harmony. Never clumsy. Head: Expression – noble with a proud head carriage. Eyes convey an intelligent, warm and friendly character. Eyes – large, dark and oval in shape, of the same color, showing no white; haw not visible. Rims fully pigmented. Ears – supple, narrow and fine, ending in an oval shape, draping and folding inwards. Leathers are covered with long hair and reaching at least to the end of the nose. Set on low, below the line of the eye. Viewed from the side, ears should form a corkscrew shape when the dog is relaxed. Skull – domed, not heavy and not too wide; it is longer than it is wide. Occipital bone well developed. Muzzle – preferably slightly longer from tip of nose to stop than from stop to occiput. The bridge of the nose is slightly roman and in profile finishes square at its extremity. Lips well-pigmented, covered with long hair forming beard and mustache. Bite – is a scissors bite, with a level bite tolerated. Stop – clearly defined; well chiseled under the eyes. Nose – large, protruding with open nostrils. Solid black except in white/orange and hite/lemon coats where brown is accepted. Underjaw – strong and well- developed. Neck, Topline, Body: Neck – strong and far reaching, thicker at the base, without excessive throatiness. Topline – from behind withers to rump is level with slight rise over well muscled loin. Body – well developed, sturdy and broad, with deep forechest and prominent sternum. Depth of chest reaches to elbows, ribs well sprung extending well back. Loin well muscled and of moderate length. Belly never tucked up. Tail – rather long, reaching to the hock. Set on high, thick at the base, tapering gradually, well furnished with hair, carried proudly like a saber or slightly curved but never kinked, curled too far over the back, gay or bent at the tip. Tail is never docked. Feet – large, oval and tight. Pads firm and solid. Nails strong and short. Forequarters: Shoulders clean and sloping. Well laid back. Length of shoulder blades approximately equal to length of upper arm. Withers very slightly prominent. Elbows close to the body, turning neither in nor out. Forelegs from front, straight and well-boned. In profile, set well
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under body. Dewclaws on forelegs and hind legs may be removed. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Hindquarters: Well boned, strong and muscular, with moderate bend of stifle and a well- defined second thigh. Hips wide. Hocks turning neither in nor out. Coat: Harsh and straight with undercoat. Not too long, fringing not too abundant. Never silky or wooly. Hair from bridge of nose fans up between the eyes without obscuring the eyes; this protective hair along with shielding eyebrows is an indispensable characteristic of the breed. No blunt scissoring, maintaining a casual appearance. Hounds should be shown clean. Color: Tri-color: white with any other colors, Bi-color: white with any other color, or Black and Tan. Solid not allowed. Gait: Clean, balanced and efficient. Free and easy at all speeds. Front action straight and reaching well forward. Going away, the hind legs are parallel and have great drive. Convergence of the front and rear legs towards his center of gravity is proportional to the speed of his movement. Temperament: Pack hound, friendly, not easily agitated by others. Temperament is happy, outgoing, independent. A little stubborn, yet willing to please. Disqualifications: Solid color.
Approved October 28, 2011 Effective January 1, 2014
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen Historically Balanced BY KATHERINE KELLUM G rand Basset Griffon Vendeens: These wire-coated hounds with a long name are not only charming and rustic all over, they are also part of a long history of hounds and hunting in their native France. The breed has been around for an unknown amount of time, as records have not been clearly kept, but these hounds certainly date back to at least the late Middle Ages. It is important to understand that there are four distinct breeds of Griffon Vendeen hounds—of varying size and balance—all to represent the most important aspect of distinction between them; function in the field. All four are now bred as individual breeds and are recognized as such by FCI. However, you will only find the two Basset Griffon Vendeens in the show ring in the United States. A BRIEF HISTORY As with so many of the French hound breeds, they really wanted you to know all the basics of the breed just by the name. Many French breeds list exactly where breeds were developed, and the Griffon Vendeen hounds are no different. Little is known about the exact development of the breeds, but we do know a few key things. First, that the Grand Griffon Vendeen (which is the largest of the four hounds, standing at 25" to 27" at the withers) was the original breed that all the others were then developed from. Second, that all four were developed to be specialists on a certain kind of game, with the Grand Basset mainly meant to hunt hare and roe deer, though they eventually started to be also used with boar. And finally, that they all were meant to handle their native place—the rough, swampy, coastal area of the department of the Vendee, France.
This is a print from the 1930s by Francois Castellan for his book of prints, “Les Cheins de Chasse” (Dogs of the Hunt), which displays what Grand Bassets looked like as they developed into their modern interpretation. There are clear examples of both Grand Basset and Petit Basset characteristics in this print.
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THE GRAND BASSET GRIFFON VENDEEN: HISTORICALLY BALANCED
FUNCTION DICTATES FORM While we have all heard the saying, “Form Follows Function,” it is impor- tant when evaluating a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen to remember what exactly was asked of these dogs in the field—and why we should continue to look for them in today’s dogs as well. First and foremost, it is of the utmost importance to remember balance when judging and considering a GBGV in the ring. A Grand Basset should not look like a wire-coated Basset Hound. Rather, they should be a strong, much more moderate hound. These are hounds that were meant to be able to power through underbrush and fencing safely, without the assistance of the hunter who would likely be quite a bit behind the pack. This means that the dog’s ster- num should extend on their underline to protect all the dog’s vital organs, with a proper wire coat that pulls out easily in case they were to get stuck in burs. They should also have strong shoulders and a good prosternum, along with a powerful balance between both front and rear; to be able to quickly and power- fully get through the tight, rough areas where game was likely to traverse while on the move. They need a good amount of substance to them, but should never be coarse or clunky. These hounds were meant to be able to hunt all day. They need effortless, easy movement to ensure that they are able to do the job that they are asked to perform, day in and day out. A large nose and long ears mean that they are better able to focus and find the scent of the game they are pur- suing. GBGVs should be able to problem-solve on the fly, without assistance from the hunter, in case they meet a complex situation on a drag. Those long, iconic and silhouette-defining white saber tails sit high in the air to be able to find a hound with ease within the brush. Straight legs were the first defining characteristic used to separate a Grand Basset from a Petit Basset. They play a huge, important role in how well a hound is able to keep up with the slightly larger game than that which a PBGV was traditionally used to hunt. When all are combined, these traits create a stellar pack hound that is eager and able to handle the place where they originated. These were originally hounds that were created to be able to easily hunt without the use of horses, allowing peasants to still have a pack hound to work with by foot.
Barron Karl Reille was a French wildlife artist who specialized in painting French hunting scenes. While this painting was not clearly labeled as Grand Basset Griffon Vendeens, it is clear that this is what he is depicting in this piece. You can certainly see the preferred straight legs that were becoming the main identifier of the breed during the time that he was active Post-World War I.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLACE Throughout history, a locality has been one of the most significant factors in the creation of a place’s culture. Dogs are a large part of that his- tory and culture for many areas of the world— especially in France where hunting has played a large part in the average provincial resident's life and livelihood for centuries. The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen was developed with its home area in mind, above all else. The depart- ment of Vendee is located on the western coast of France, just south of Nantes and Breton, and was originally included in a much larger area than it does in modern France. It has long been an agrarian territory, with livestock and agri- culture being a long-held tradition in the area, making it a beautiful pastoral place ripe for the creation of a glorious hunting hound. Filled with rough coastlines, marshland, and pastures, it is in many ways an idyllic French countryside where peasants and nobles were more at peace than in other areas of France. Hunting for food and sport allowed for the advancement of the various sizes of the generalized look of a Griffon Vendeen hound, but the Grand Basset was cre- ated especially for hunters on foot looking for larger game. These hounds needed to be able to run and keep up with hare and roe deer; and therefore, needed to be able to get through thick underbrush safely and have a coat that was eas- ily able to handle marshy conditions. It is the Vendee area of France itself that has largely dic- tated the GBGV that we see today.
This is a painting that dates back to the late 1800s by another French painter, Jules-Bertrand Gelibert, known for his work involving hunting dogs. This is a mixed pack of Grand Bassets and Petit Bassets hunting hare, clearly depicting the rough Vendee countryside.
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THE GRAND BASSET GRIFFON VENDEEN: HISTORICALLY BALANCED
TODAY’S GRAND BASSETS STILL LOOK VERY MUCH LIKE THEIR PREDECESSORS AND STILL HAVE THE NATURAL DRIVE TO HUNT. THESE ARE HOUNDS THAT STILL
Modern GBGV Bitch of the Dezamy type; she is proven in modern tracking trials.
EMBODY THEIR HISTORICAL USE THROUGH THE
MODERN INTERRUPTION Grand Bassets are still used as packs in France today to hunt primarily wild boar, which are as much a menace as they are a game meat. In fact, there are several lines of these working hounds represented in the stock already within the United States. While the original breed itself was more or less a jumble of styles between features that we would generally consider appropriate for a Petit Basset and those we consider Grand today, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that GBGVs actually started to have the distinct type and style that we associate with them now. It is largely thanks to the Dezamy family that we have the solid breed type and style that we do presently. They helped to set not only the actual ideal height (43 cm), they idealized a set style within the breed and created the written standard for the breed when dog shows started to take off in popularity in France around that time. The late Mr. Dezamy famously said of judging the breed that measuring sticks were for poor judges, and that balance was to be of first consideration in a quality Grand Basset. As with many breeds, balance and silhouette are of utmost importance when considering a GBGV—something that holds true even today. Today’s Grand Bassets still look very much like their predecessors and still have the natural drive to hunt. These are hounds that still embody their historical use through the details of their structure, their overall unique balance and silhou- ette, and their rustic French appearance. As breeders, we have the obligation to preserve this breed as best we can when taking all these factors into consideration. And we hope that we can continue to educate the dog fancy in general about this charming breed.
DETAILS OF THEIR STRUCTURE, THEIR OVERALL UNIQUE BALANCE AND SILHOUETTE, AND THEIR RUSTIC FRENCH APPEARANCE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Katherine Kellum is a Breeder/Owner-Handler of Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen under the “Straylight” prefix. She has been involved in the breed for six years, with wonderful mentors who have been involved in GBGVs for a combination of over 50 years. She has a passion for history, and what really sparked her interest in dogs was watching hounds do what they have been bred for centuries to do—hunt. Katherine and her significant other are both full members of the GBGVCA and they have been showing Grands since before they became officially recognized by AKC. Their first special was GCH Sidekick Talus Spellbinder BCAT, who was the No. 1 NOHS GBGV for both 2018 & 2019 (with multiple NOHS Group Firsts) and the first GBGV Champion in AKC history to also hold a performance title. Other than dogs, Katherine is involved in her local arts community, as her other hobbies are quilting, digital illustration, and photography.
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Distinctly GRAND by corey BeneDict GbGvc A President
W hen I was asked to write this article to help educate US judg- es, my first and fore- most thought was what an honor it is to share what I have learned about these noble French hounds that are dear to my heart. As a founding member and President of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America, as well as having bred 15 litters since 2004 with my partner Brent Humphrey, we have learned and gained so much knowledge in regards to correct type, soundness and best breeding practices. Our Dutch mentor and friend, Jolanda Husiman, who has bred and shown some of the top win- ning dogs in Europe since the early 1970s, has been a wonderful asset in helping to found the breed in the US. The old saying, “there is no perfect dog,” echoes each time I evaluate one of our litters for I have learned what faults I am willing to accept and which ones I cannot. No matter if it’s a show prospect or a family companion, we strive to reproduce the best examples of the breed. The breed does have several distinct characteristics which should always be obvious to anyone judging them. If someone were to ask for four things to look for in a Grand Basset, I would have to begin with balance. To me this is very important. Although the word Basset means low to the ground, they should not appear to be too low or stubby. They should never look like a
hairy Basset Hound and you should be able to see air between their body and the ground. Always keep in mind what they were bred to do in their country of origin. Hunters bred them to hunt roe deer, boar and hare through the rough terrain of the region of Vendéen in France and if they are too low they cannot keep up with the game. If they are too low on leg they have a tendency to be too long with a long loin and if
they are too tall they have a tendency to look too square with a short loin. The breed should be slightly longer than tall. Please keep in mind there is no DQ in our breed other than solid in color. The US standard is 15 ½ to 18 ½ inches for males and females. Current- ly there is much debate, even in the original French kennel club the Club Du Griffon Vendéen, about the correct size. I personally feel that I would rather
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see a larger well-balanced dog put up for a win or placement rather than a smaller one. In like manner, the second thing I would look for is Type. Grand means large and the first thing I communicate in our Judges Education is if they look like their smaller cousin, the Petit Bas- set, they are incorrect. Their heads are completely different as well as their overall proportions. GBGVs should have a rounded top skull and their muzzle, which is the same length or slightly longer then the top skull, is one of the breed’s distinct features. You should observe a slight Roman nose when you view the profile of the dog. The muzzle should be almost as wide and appear the same width of their skull and never snipey. Keep in mind you do not want a heavy or “common” looking head, as they say in Europe. Adults should have a well sprung rib cage which protects their lungs while hunting. Their long ears should go to a least the end of their muzzle or rap around the nose to the other side of their face when pulled forward. I urge every judge to do this when going over a dog or bitch. If the ears are too short this is a Petit feature. The ear should be set at the level of the eye and when relaxed should hang like a cork screw on the side of the skull… which is another distinct feature of these noble hounds. A strong level top line should be apparent, however a very slight muscular rise above the loin permitted. Please remember—high in the rear is just that. The tail should be carried proudly like a saber and never between the rear legs. A shy dog is not preferred and would most likely be gun shy during the hunt. When going over the breed on the ground, as this is not a table or ramp breed feel the tail. The tail should be firm and strong at the base and if there is a kink in the tail this is not preferred although it is not a fault as it is in France. Angulation should be moderate, which is a word that can be subjective unfortunately. I always say if they look like they have pirate peg legs in the rear they are too straight and over angulated they will appear to almost have their belly on the ground when stacked. Keep in mind certain countries in Europe have bred them in circles where they lack substance and have an almost Afghan Hound look to them at times which is not correct. An adult should not be narrow when you
look down on them although of course a bitch will not have as much width as a full grown male. Thirdly, look for coat. Griffon means coarse or a wiry feel in the texture of the coat. It should never appear to be woolly, curly or extremely soft. “A FLUFFY COAT IS A NIGHT MARE COAT TO MAINTAIN. A puppy with lAck of hAir usuAlly hAs A very nice coAt upon mAturity which The tops of their heads and legs have a tendency to be softer than the top coat on the back. The coat is meant to be pulled out, or naturally rolled, as they hunt and a soft coated dog would get caught up in the brush. We have learned over the years that if they have coats like a Beagle when they are puppies they will tend to have an excellent coat when full grown. A fluffy coat is a night mare coat to maintain. A puppy with lack of hair usu- ally has a very nice coat upon maturity which will come in with great texture by the age of two to three years. Please note that there is a difference between a lot of coat and a good coat. The breed is not stripped but rolled to maintain the coarseness. This leads me to the topic of grooming the breed. No one wants to judge a dirty dog. As written in the American standard: hounds should will come in with greAt texture by the Age of two to three yeArs.”
be shown clean with no blunt scissor marks. As we all know, Americans love to over groom their dogs. This breed should never look like a terrier and should always have one eyebrow where the petit should have two. You should be able to see their eyes. They should never have the appearance of having a fall between their eyes or on the fore- head like a Sealyham terrier. Personally I can forgive a slightly softer coat then lack of balance in a Grand. Lastly, number four is movement in the breed. They do and should move differently than a Petit. Racing around the ring too fast or stringing up a dog tells me the person showing is trying to make the dog reach. This to me means lack of upper arm and good layback of shoulder. The breed is designed to hunt all day and should move effortlessly with ease and nice reach and drive. Never as busy as a Petit. Watch out for train fronts, as I call them, cow hocked and sickle hocked dogs. Basic clean canine movement goes hand in hand with a sound Grand. Although you will probably never see a Briquet Griffon Vendéen or Grand Griffon Vendéen in the ring anytime soon in the US, all four Vendéen hounds where bred for the function of hunting different size game and hopefully breeders will remember the old saying “form follows function” when planning their breeding program and not get caught up in breeding what is winning. Remember, as an approved judge for the breed you hold the future in your hands as to what people will think is correct breed type especially if exhibi- tors have never been to the country of origin France to see them shown. It is up to you to put up correct type for flashy is not always correct. It is by the hard work of the Board of Directors and members of the GBGV- CA that our wonderful French hounds have been accepted into the Miscel- laneous class as well as companion events and we look forward to the chal- lenge of moving into the hound group in the future with the guidance of the American Kennel Club. Please visit www.gbgv.net to learn more about our noble hounds. As I conclude, I would like to encourage all AKC judges to remem- ber that this is a breed that is truly “Distinctly Grand,” and should be judged that way!
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PROFILE OF A Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
BY COREY BENEDICT AND KITTY STEIDEL
T he Grand Basset Gri ff on Vendéen, a rough-coated scent hound, moved into the AKC Hound group in Janu- ary of 2018. Referred to as Grands, Grand Bassets, or GBGV’s, the Grand Basset Gri ff on Vendéen name gives one clues to understanding his size, his appearance and his history. Grand—large, Basset—low set, Gri ff on—course or rough, Vendée—region on the West Coast of France. While the French customarily developed hunting dogs in three sizes, the Vendéen hounds were developed in four. Th e GBGV is one of the four Vendéen French Hounds thought to have been bred down from King Louis’ white hounds that hunted
buttocks. Th is dog should look like it can do its job which is to hunt hare or wild boar all day. Weedy and lacking in bone or length of leg cannot do the job. He also needs, good tight strong feet to traverse di ffi cult terrain. Th e only disquali fi cation in our standard that of a solid color. GBGV’s are mostly white with any other color (bi-color or tri-color) and black and tan. Scissor bite is preferred but level is tolerated. Very important to note: the Grand is not a variety of the Petit Basset and should not look like a larger version of one. All the Grand features are longer and the heads, tails and ears are signi fi - cantly di ff erent: his ears should reach at least to the end of his nose.
di ff erent size game. What breeds were combined is unknown but it started with a cross between a Gri ff on de Bresse (wheat colored, rough coated hound) and the white smooth coated hunt- ing dogs from King Louis. Th is feat was accomplished by the “Gre ffi er” (archiver of the King) who lived in the Vendéen region. Th ough there were vague early stan- dards for each, Grands and Petits were inter-bred until 1976 when interbreed- ing was no longer allowed. Th e result: two distinct breeds. Th e Dezamy fam- ily played a major role in creating the GBGV and the PBGV. It was Paul Dezamy who “created” the Grand Bas- set. His son-in-law, Hubert Desamy, continued the original “Dezamy” type Grand Basset.
Th e muzzle is preferably slightly lon- ger from tip of nose to stop than from stop to occiput. Th e muzzle is the same width as the skull. His pigment is dark, eyes almond shaped, the bridge of nose slightly roman yet when viewed in pro- fi le fi nishes square at its extremity. Grand’s long ears serve to funnel scent toward their nose. Th e ears should be set below the line of the eye, are supple and fi ne, folding in a corkscrew on the side of the dog’s head when he is relaxed; the corkscrew is a signature trade mark of the breed. Unique are his moustache and beard giving him a rus- tic, lovable and endearing expression. Th e personality of the Grand Basset is laid back and willing to please and said to have good recall when hunted.
THE GBGV IS ONE OF THE FOUR VENDÉEN FRENCH HOUNDS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN BRED DOWN FROM KING LOUIS’ WHITE HOUNDS THAT HUNTED DIFFERENT SIZE GAME.
Th e Grand should have basic clean, steady canine movement with good reach and drive, enabled by his good lay back of shoulder balancing with matching angles behind. He carries his head proud- ly and his tail curved saber-like, thick at the base, slightly tapering to the end with furnishings. Th e double coat should be rough and harsh, never silky or wooly. Other very important features of type are eyebrows which do not obscure the eyes and are never bluntly scissored never resem- bling a terrier. Grooming the breed should simply accentuate their noble Grand features.
Hubert Desamy once was quoted saying “Measuring is for bad dogs and bad judges. With a worthy specimen, what is a centimeter or two?” Despite the Grand Basset Gri ff on Vendéen being low set, he should never be long and low with proportions similar to a Basset Hound, tall and square like a Harrier, or be as compact as a PBGV. Th e AKC GBGV standard reads height typically 15-18 inches but overall balance is most important. Th e GBGV is well balanced, and slightly longer than tall when measured from point of shoulder to
Corey Benedict, originally from Kansas City, and Brent Humphrey, born and raised in Central Florida, began their love for sport of purebred dogs and show animals at young ages when Corey began breeding and showing English Springer Spaniels and Brent Quarter Horses.
Now both residing together in Central Florida, Corey and Brent have been active together breeding and showing English Springer Spaniels, Tennessee Walking Horses in addition to the newly recognized Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen. Corey is the President and Brent, the Treasurer, of the GBGVCA and both have played an integral role in establishing the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen in the US. Corey and Brent fell in love with Grands in France and had a vision to get the breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. They are founding members of the GBGVCA and under the prefix “Sidekick” have been breeding Grands longer than anyone in the US. Sidekick has led the pack in the US by not only being the first established breeder but also by breeding and owning the Grands to achieve numerous “firsts”—first Certificate of Merit, first National Specialty Best of Breed, first US bred AKC Champion, first US bred Dutch Champion, and numerous other Specialty and Best in Miscellaneous Best of Breeds. In addition, they also have the first US bred GBGV to win a Best in Show since being admitted into the Hound Group in January of 2018.
Corey currently is the Northeastern Area Manager for Nestle Purina PetCare with the Breeder Enthusiasts group and Brent is President/ CEO of Baird Home Corporation.
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GRAND BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN
1. Where do you live? 2. What do you do “outside” of dogs?
What special challenges do GBGV breeders face in our current economic and social climate? The fact that the general public think of them as fluffy, cute dogs. However they do require grooming and can make great family pets but this is not what they were originally bred for. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? You have to know your pedigrees and how they mature. We can tell usually between six to eight weeks old what they will mature into. They should never be long and long or tall and square. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? First and foremost, they are not a variety of their distant cousins the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. As the family Dezamy, who wrote the French standard, stated, “Overall balance is the most important thing when judging them—not size.” The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Education by far. Our ultimate goal for the breed? To share their noble, rustic per- sonality with the general public as well as protect them as we move forward as a well balanced healthy breed for future generations. Our favorite dog show memory? Being the first American Breed- ers to win an Excellent Ticket at the Nationale d’Elevage in France with a bitch we bred. To all breeders looking to begin their breeding program. This is a breed that you cannot tightly line breed. If you do, this can cause health issues. Remember they have a gene puddle, not a gene pool. Their line breeding co-efficiency is recommend to be no more than 5%. As we know breeding out-crosses will produce litters that are not consistent. However in the long run healthier in this breed.
3. In popularity, GBGVs are ranked #177 out of 192 AKC-recog- nized breeds. As he’s one of the “newer” breeds, do you feel the average person on the street knows what he is? 4. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. Although “cute” is most often used to describe him, he’s a tremendously hard- working dog with great stamina. How has he adapted to civil- ian life? What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? 5. Any Hound requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal c ompanion? Drawbacks? 6. What special challenges do GBGV breeders face in our current economic and social climate? 7. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 9. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 10. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 11. What is your favorite dog show memory? 12. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.
BRENT HUMPHREY & COREY BENEDICT
“These are scent hounds and bred to track boars, roe deer and other prey at bay until the hunter arrives. THEY CAN MAKE WON- DERFUL PETS BUT NEED THEIR OWNERS TO BE THE PACK LEADER.”
We live in Lady Lake, Florida on 40 acres with our dogs and horses. We also show, breed and train Tennessee Walking Show horses. Corey is the Northeastern Area Manager for Nestle Purina Pet Care’s Breeders Enthusiasts Team and Brent is President/CEO of Baird Home Corporation. Do we feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? No. People all the time ask if they are a mixed breed. When you say it’s a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen they either dig deeper or feel intimidated when they can not repeat their French name. Then we tell them they can just say Grand or GBGV. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? In France they are still primarily used as hunting dogs. You can take the hound out of the field but never the field out of the hound. Being a pack hound, GBGV’s have a very endearing personality and love to be with their owners and other dogs. I would say their noses help them find toys in their homes! What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? These are scent hounds and bred to track boars, roe deer and other prey at bay until the hunter arrives. They can make wonderful pets but need their owners to be the pack leader.
Grand Basset Gri ff on Vendéen Q & A
“JUDGES NEED TO ATTEND TRAINING AND PARTICIPATE IN RINGSIDE MENTORSHIP EVENTS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE AND KEEP THE STANDARD HANDY. We are seeing a lot of variation in size and type coming into the show ring and over-grooming is becoming an issue. These are rustic, casual looking hounds of medium size. The coat should be harsh, straight, and natural. Grands should not be over-abundant in fringe or furnishing, nor should they show signs of scissoring, clipping or over-stripping.”
CINDY & PHILIP WILT Cindy and Philip Wilt have been showing and breeding happy and healthy PBGVs and GBGVs for the past decade and have con- sistently produced some of the top show dogs, and beloved family members, in the country. We own Talus PBGV & GBGV and are located in rural Mobile County Alabama. Do we feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? We very rarely have anyone recognize our breed for what it is. Most frequently we are asked if our dog is some kind of doodle. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? We live in the country and keep miniature cow, horse and chickens. Our Grands do a very good job of keeping our animals safe from predators. They keep a close eye on the surrounding woodland and sound a clear warning of trespassers. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? GBGVs make a wonderful family pet, as they are gentle with children and tend to be laid back in the house. That being said, I don’t recom- mend Grands for first time dog owners, unless they are willing to consult a trainer experienced in hound breeds. As with any hound, Grands require a securely fenced yard to run and play in, and are not reliable off-leash, due to their strong hunting instinct. Grands do not tolerate harsh training methods or corrections. At what age do we start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Our pups are born and raised in our home, and are lovingly condi- tioned from day one to be happy, confident and outgoing. Pups are evaluated for show potential at the age of eight weeks. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Judges need to attend training and participate in
ringside mentorship events as often as possible and keep the stan- dard handy. We are seeing a lot of variation in size and type com- ing into the show ring and over-grooming is becoming an issue. These are rustic, casual looking hounds of medium size. The coat should be harsh, straight, and natural. Grands should not be over- abundant in fringe or furnishing, nor should they show signs of scissoring, clipping or over-stripping. The best way to attract newcomers to our breed and to the sport? Participating in public education functions, such as Meet the Breeds, is a very good way to introduce the public to our breed. Grands are outgoing and friendly hounds, and their tossled appear- ance will steal your heart. Our ultimate goal for the breed? We strive to produce Grands that are first and foremost healthy and sound, true to their standard in type and temperament. Our favorite dog show memory? Winning Best of Breed at Royal Canin, over a large class of the very best Grands in the country, with a one year old youngster from our very first litter. GBGVs make exceptional, dedicated family members and lovely house dogs. When bred correctly, their coats are very low shedding and require minimal grooming when groomed regularly. They are easy to train, with positive and consistent training methods, and can excel in all types of performance disciplines. As with any medi- um to large breed, be aware of health issues, such as hip and eye challenges. I can’t stress enough about the importance of obtaining GBGVs only from reputable breeders who perform health screen- ings. Breeders recognized by the AKC parent club, GBGVCA, are committed to performing health screenings on their dogs prior to breeding, and only breeding dogs true to characteristics of the breed standard.
THE GRAND BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN
JEAN & FRAN FINNEGAN JEFFERY PEPPER 1. Please tell us about your background with the GBGV. J&FF: My sister and I got our first PBGV in 2001. In 2006, I went to the French Griffon Nationals, where I met my first GBGV. I became friends with Gwen Huikeshoven of the V. Tum-Tum Kennel. She sent me our first GBGV, Venue Bien V. Tum-Tums Vriendjes in 2006 followed by Saxo Du Barbillot Des Maladieres in 2007. We had our first litter in 2007. CoolSpring’s Pavarotti was the first GBGV in the US to earn a CD. JP: I have known GBGVs since about 1989, when I saw my first while attending Houndshow in Great Britain. I have had extensive contact with the breed both in Great Brit- ain and Europe as well as, to a much more limited degree, in this country. I have know one of the top BGV breeders in England and one in Holland quite well for more than 25 years and have not only discussed the breed at length with them, I have had the opportunity to go over large numbers of the breed at their homes. I have also attended the French Griffon Vendéen Club Championship Show in France on two separate occasions in the past. I have judged the breed at FCI shows since 1995 and have given CC awards at two FCI Champion Shows in Denmark over the years, as well as a club Open Show in Holland. I also judged the first American National Specialty in Orlando, Florida. 2. Besides size, what are the differences between the Grand and the Petit? J&FF: PBGVs are like a circus of flying monkeys—always busy, very inquisitive, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. GBGVs are much calmer, “the Prozac of dog- dom”—more hesitant, careful, reticent and questioning of anything new. JP: This is a subject that cannot be covered in a paragraph. There are numerous similarities between the two breeds, but there are also numerous differences that are
extremely important to know in order to properly dif- ferentiate between the two breeds when breeding and/or judging them. These differences go far beyond the more obvious size difference between the two breeds, though the top of the PBGV standard is 15" and the bottom of the standard for GBGV bitches is 15 ½ "—not an easily discerned visual difference. The heads on the two breeds should have significant dif- ferences, the Petit’s muzzle should be shorter from stop to nose compared to the distance from stop to occiput while the Grand’s muzzle should be about equal in length and the breed often has a “roman nose”. Petit ears are shorter than those of the Grand. The Petit’s should just reach the end of the nose (on the shorter muzzle) while the Grand’s should extend to the end or beyond. The skull on the two breeds is different as well, with the Petit’s being somewhat flat on top an oval shaped while “PBGVS ARE LIKE A CIRCUS OF FLYING MONKEYS— ALWAYS BUSY, VERY INQUISITIVE, ‘DAMN THE TORPEDOES, FULL SPEED AHEAD’. GBGVS ARE MUCH CALMER, ‘THE PROZAC OF DOGDOM’.”
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grand basset griffon vendéen Q&A WITH JEAN & FRAN FINNEGAN AND JEFFERY PEPPER
“I’M WILLING TO FORGIVE MINOR MOVEMENT FAULTS IN DOGS OF SUPERIOR TYPE COMPARED TO A SUPERIOR MOVING DOG THAT IS MORE GENERIC IN TYPE. I’M WILLING TO FORGIVE A SOFTER THAN DESIRED COAT IN AN OTHERWISE QUALITY EXAMPLE OF THE BREED.”
the Grand’s is narrower and somewhat more domed. The Grand has longer legs, longer body and longer tail than the Petit. Short tails and ears and a more compact body are all very desirable hallmark characteristics of the PBGV but faulty on the Grand. Neither breed, however, (especially the Petit) should ever look long and low. Even the smallest allowable adult Petit (13" at the withers) should have good leg length—the standard specifically states that slightly more than half the height at the with- ers should be from elbow to ground. 3. In order, name the five most important traits you look for in the ring. J&FF: Proportion, length to height; long rib, short loin; gait and movement; substance, well-boned; harsh coat. JP: Because the two breeds could come from the same litter as recently as the 1970s, correct type must come first. If the GBGV looks like a big PBGV, it’s automatically wrong! Second is the outline of the dog, which should show correct balance both in angulation front and rear and body parts fitting together properly. Third would be movement. Fourth would be correct coat quality and presentation. I don’t want to see either of these breeds so trimmed that they look like another breed—too often with a Terrier type of tightly presented coat. And lastly, temperament and showmanship. 4. What shortcomings are you most willing to forgive? What faults do you find hard to overlook? J&FF: Shortcomings: a slight turn out of one leg. Faults to overlook: too tall, long legs. JP: Once the GBGV is fully recognized, correct type will have to be the paramount consideration. However, I do not like to fault judge, preferring to favor the dog with good type and balance over one with an outstanding part, but a lack of harmony and/or balance. With this in mind, I’m willing to forgive minor movement faults in dogs of superior type compared to a superior moving
dog that is more generic in type. I’m willing to forgive a softer than desired coat in an otherwise quality example of the breed. 5. Which traits are going in the wrong direction? J&FF: Length to height ratio. JP: The breed is just beginning its evolvement in the US. There is a divergence of styles now that will, hopefully, become more refined over time. My greatest concern is and will be that handlers (both owners and profession- als) will get too involved with coat presentation and forget about the dog underneath the coat. I’d hate to see what is a working and somewhat rustic breed in its home country become a stylized and over-groomed generic show dog rather than a breed that retains its ability to function as originally intended. 6. How should the breed be groomed? J&FF: Undercoat stripped out, brushed and combed; no scissoring. JP: The breed should be presented bathed and brushed out. Excessive trimming, barbering, stripping and grooming as practiced by some one Europe and the US should be avoided. The addition of product to the coat to enhance harshness (yes, I can tell it’s there) is contrary to AKC rules and really doesn’t fool the knowledgeable judge. This is not a Poodle or a Terrier and a totally perfect dog is not in keeping with the breed and its function. The correct coat is there to protect the dog when he is out hunting. Removing body coat and excessive fluffing and puffing is really undesirable and should be avoided. What owners and breeders decide should be permitted in the ring today will control the future presentation of the breed, either to its credit or its detriment. 7. What previously campaigned GBGVs come close to your ideal? J&FF: Saxo Du Barbillot Des Maladieres.
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