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.
204 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, AUGUST 2021
Powered by FlippingBook