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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