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.
288 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2018
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