GRIFFON VENDÉEN PETIT BASSET
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
ENERGY COMPACTED: PETIT BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN by KITTY STEIDEL
T he PBGV has made a big hit here in the U.S. in the last 29 years. Yet, there are not as many PBGV’s shown today, three decades after his arrival, because the competition is strong and the own- er/handler is frustrated in competing on the Specials Stage with the Profes- sional Handlers. Why did the profes- sionals eye them and want to show them immediately? Easy answer: The breed is happy, showy, enthusiastic, with flamboyancy and flash. How per- fect for the show scene!
From his development in the rugged Vendéen region of France, the PBGVwas smallest of four rough coated hounds of that region. His larger cousin, but still considered ‘basset’ to the French, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, joined the Miscellaneous Group Miscellaneous in January 2014. The PBGV’s busy–ness, activity and enthusiasm for all he meets coupled with his rustic and ready appearance, give one the impression of energy compacted and that he is. Alert at all times, he notices everything in his
environment. Since he misses nothing, he is never bored nor boring! I have brought together some expe- rienced voices in the breed to give perspective on breeding, judging, living with and the versatility of the PBGV character: Robyn Wallis, Rokeena Kennel, Aus- tralia, scoured the globe to find the very best with which to start. Her first breed was Gordons. She has had great success with PBGVs. She has an ideal she works toward. You may recall her big winner here, CJ with Jane Myers a few years ago.
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Robyn judged our Regional prior to our National in May 2014. Read her comments on breeding/selection consistency below. Nick Frost, the foremost author- ity on this breed in the U.S., originally from the UK, lives in of South Carolina today. He introduced and developed the breed in England. It was a long, very dif- ficult process due to the quarantine at that time. His Dehra Kennel is known internationally. He has had many PBGV- CA National Specialty winners and has judged our National and many impor- tant shows internationally including recently PBGVs at the World Congress. Many of our dogs in the U.S. and those in Europe have the Dehra prefix in their pedigrees. Nick’s article on judging the breed gives us insight into the PBGV’s reason for being and the importance of his distinguishing features. Susannah Cooper spent six years as the Corresponding Secretary of the PBGVCA and was breeder/co–owner of WD at the National 2013. She has also been involved in Tracking. She judged the Sweeps at the PBGVCA Regional in 2012. Susannah’s comments speak volumes for the many owner handlers in the breed today and she has some thoughts that judges might duly con- sider as well.
easy and fundamental law of breeding which I guess is either hard to learn, or maybe more to the point, follow through with. We all want to produce show dogs from well–planned litters.” “Unfortunately the one with the great angles and movement is not the best shape, but there is always that lure to keep it and continue to justify to your- self that it is such a wonderful show dog and has plenty of breed characteristics, and so eventually con yourself that it is good type. Then your idea of the cor- rect balance of the breed tends to shift slightly as your eye adjusts to the dog you are having all the fun with. You just have to be so strict with yourself.” “Believe me I have had plenty of dogs over the years that would have won in the show ring anywhere in the world that are in pet homes and it has broken my heart to have to do this, but this is why I am managing to pres- ent so many puppies now of the cor- rect shape and type. Then all I need is a dog that has the amazing character that loves to show off like Darcy and you have the whole package, but he is really is an amazing dog and I wonder if another of his character will ever come along again!!!” “I do have some gorgeous six month old puppies from him, but they will
Sandi Bustin describes herself as a hobby breeder. A highlight for her was winning BISS at the 2006 National while the litter sister won BOS to him. She was also co–breeder and co–owner of WD, BW at the 2013 PBGV National. Sandi judged her first PBGV Sweeps at Chicago International in 2007. Sandy writes about her first encounter with this breed, the charisma and her contin- ued fascination with the breed. Megan Esherick is dog trainer extraordinaire. Megan is the Program Director for Canine Partners for Life, a non–profit service dog organization. For us Megan has written an article to address the training of a PBGV in the fast exploding agility arena. Megan is a Breeder of Merit, who competes in a variety of activities with both PBGVs and GBGVs. Her agility article in part first appeared in the AKC Gazette. To follow her pack adventures go to www.clancypbgv.com.
ROBYN WALLIS ON BREEDING
I asked Robyn how she managed to produce such fine quality genera- tion after generation. Robyn’s com- ment: “I find breeding is just a matter of knowing the right balance and never compromising that principle. This is an
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never be him as his character will be hard to emulate I think. I do have fingers crossed.” NICK FROST ON JUDGING The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (PBGV) is not a difficult breed to judge. It has a simple structure and a particu- lar look. It is a breed, however, where a little research pays dividends. Its his- tory and its function has a great deal of bearing on the finished product. The Griffon Vendéen family is a group of four hounds with two Basset breeds, the Grand and the Petit. The Grand Basset is the short legged ver- sion of the Grand Griffon Vendéen (the largest, on a par with an Otterhound) and the Petit Basset is the short legged version of the Briquet Griffon Vendéen (the second largest). Each of the four is a distinct breed in its own right. These are not four varieties (like Dachshunds or Poodles). The English Kennel Club did the breeds a great disservice when it classified the two Basset breeds as Basset Griffon Vendéen (petit) and Basset Griffon Vendéen (grand). It is highly important that the two breeds keep their own distinct features. It is worth noting that height is only one of the factors and the presence of grand and Petit type may disregard height— a Petit at the upper end of the height limit may demonstrate good Petit type while one at the lower end might dis- play grand features. This might be a
good moment to comment on those dif- ferences of type between the two. The Grand Basset standard says that every- thing is slightly stretched. Therefore the proportions of the Grand versus the Petit are longer backed, longer head (in particular forface), longer eared, longer tail. The Grand has a nobler bearing than the Petit. They also have a differ- ent outlook on life—the Grand is more phlegmatic and laid back. The Petit is livelier and more extrovert. All this follows over into the func- tion of the breeds. The Grand hunts much larger game than the Petit which is used primarily for rabbit hunting. Here we come into the realm of how function can dictate the details of a breed. The PBGV must be strong and sturdy yet lithe enough to be able to turn quickly. He must have good run- ning gear—legs that are pretty straight (only a small amount of crook), good feet and well laid shoulders. To be able to turn quickly he must be only of medi- um length with a short strong loin. For good stamina he must be well ribbed with a good chest and sternum. To hunt in the rough, dense terrain of the Vend- ee he must have a harsh coat with dense undercoat, hair surmounting the eyes and enough of it—all to protect him. To catch the prey he must have large nostrils to hunt it out, a strong under- jaw and large teeth to hang on! He must have a lively courageous outlook—vital for the character of a hunting hound.
He must have a good voice which is used appropriately while hunting—not easy to assess in the show ring! Let us take the time to look at some special features of the breed: The size section of the PBGV stan- dard has always produced some discus- sion among PBGV enthusiasts. Should there be a height disqualification or not. As already noted a smaller PBGV may have Grand features whereas a taller one may demonstrate better type. However it must be noted that a PBGV over 15 inches at the withers is in the range for a Grand and one under 13 inches is too toy like to make a good hunting hound. For this reason the Standard has a disqualification at both ends of the standard. (The lower end does not apply to puppies). The same section also gives rise to discussion on the proportions of the PBGV. The Gen- eral Appearance describes the breed as ‘compact’ but this does not mean short backed. All French basset breeds (and there are five) have some degree of length of back. The PBGV is described as ‘somewhat longer than tall’. The head type goes a long way to defining breed type. The Petit head is shorter in muzzle than from stop to occiput. The skull is somewhat domed, but not as pronounced as in a PBGV or a Basset Hound. The stop is clearly defined (the Grand is more Roman nosed), the skull is well cut away under the eyes and the underjaw is strong
Matching female and male
Head study of female PBGV
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‘Tousled!’ Group of males
and well developed. The ears are of medium length and should only come to the end of the nose when measured. It should be noted that the ears may at first appear correct on a dog with a too long foreface but are in fact also too long. The eyes are large, oval shaped, dark showing no white or haw—this gives for a lovely soft and warm expres- sion. This is a feature that is being lost with a preponderance of small, Terrier type eyes. We have already mentioned the structure and proportions of the breed. Two areas are worth further clarifi- cation. The PBGV’s front is relatively straight with just a small amount of crook and the feet do not turn out. The front angulation should be matched by the rear. The PBGV does not have a ‘wrap around’ front like a Basset or a Dachshund. This accounts for its easy free movement. Secondly the topline is level with muscling over the loin and very little tuck up. The tail is a feature of the breed and the make and shape is as important as in a Labrador or Pointer. It is of medium length (should just reach the hock joint but not beyond). It is thick at the base and then tapers regularly. It is carried proudly like the blade of a saber. The coat of the PBGV is a vital fea- ture—after all it is mentioned in the breed’s name—‘Griffon’. He is double coated with a harsh outer jacket. Some degree of tidying up is permitted but not so much as to detract from the breeds ‘tousled’ and casual appearance. If the PBGV was out hunting he would self trim in the undergrowth but would still look like a PBGV. If he looks like
the many years of showing. I do hope and think many judges are continuing to educate themselves on the breeds they judge and take the time to learn the changes in the standard. When I first started in the breed most PBGVs were owner handled but that has changed and many are professionally handled now. I will say it is very hard depending on your location to even find points in PBGVs in order to finish them and then you have to compete against professional handlers, who definitely show their dogs better than us aver- age owner handlers. It can get very dis- couraging at times when you know you have a good dog but can’t seem to beat the professional for the points. I truly appreciate the judges who have the knowledge and look past the possible mistakes we make in showing our dogs. We don’t always get a perfect stack but they should still be able to recognize a good dog. The dog should not have to be a perfect cookie cutter who is never able to move a leg while standing or have a hair out of place. They are a hap- py hound and not always agreeable to what we want them to do and I appreci- ate that personality trait. What I feel is vitally important in judging the PBGV that seems to be over- looked as of late is proper movement. A PBGV should have good reach and drive but the handler should not have to run with the dog like it is a sporting breed in order to show movement. Both ends should be equal when moving and fluid. Free and easy movement should be shown at a normal pace and not look like they are racing around the ring. The movement of a PBGV should be more
some other breed in the show ring (and we see many looks!) then the trimming is out of order. It should be noted that there is no preferred color for a PBGV, dark or light. However there should be some visible white, bi colors like black and tan are not favored. Finally how should our little hunting hound move? The standard says ‘free at all speeds’. He is agile with good reach, front legs straight and the rear legs driving and parallel. Above all his gait should be efficient—many PBGVS are rewarded in the show ring for incorrect ‘busy’ movement that looks flashy but would tire a dog out working. Please enjoy judging our happy breed. If they sense you do this they will turn on the charm! SUSANNAH COOPER ON OWNER/HANDLING & JUDGING I was asked to write an article of what I feel judges should focus on when judging PBGV’s and what they are doing right and what I feel might need work. I will do my best as an owner handler to express what I feel and what I have heard from other exhibitors. I have been showing PBGVs since 1998 and over the years the breed and standard has changed and I do feel for the better. When I started showing the PBGV was longer than tall, lower to the ground and heavier. Now I feel they have become more able to do the job they were bred for as they are to be slightly longer than tall and are getting more leg under them. When it comes to judging PBGVs I have experienced good and bad over
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from the shoulder so a straight leg out from the shoulder in front, no digging or knee action. I used to show horses so would compare the movement to a nice horse in the Hunter show ring. Easy movement holding their topline and at an even pace. It should never look labored or exaggerated. It should also never look bouncy. In more recent years there has been a huge debate with some of the language in the standard having to do with over grooming. Unfortunately, I think no matter what language goes in the standard this will always be an issue. I personally do not like the overly stripped down PBGV that now resem- bles another breed (Sealy and Schnau- zer) but as long as they win that is what will continue to happen. The dog show world is definitely subjective and you win some and lose some. I don’t have the kind of money that some people spend showing their dogs so just have to try and enjoy showing and possibly winning whenever I can. A PBGV that has a perfect shaped outline of hair and never has a hair out of place is never correct. They can be brushed and look neat but stripping them like a Terrier is totally incorrect in my opinion. I would definitely encourage judges to just make people feel like they are being given consideration in the ring and try to be understanding of the peo- ple who don’t do this for a living and make mistakes. We do get nervous in the ring and make mistakes, but we are truly are not trying to ruin your day. SANDI BUSTIN ON LIVING WITH PBGVS I think serendipity and maybe just a little sprinkling of fairy dust was at play when I discovered the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. It was in 1997 that I first stumbled, quite literally, onto the breed. In a gro- cery store some children were running the aisles and knocked a magazine off the shelf and onto the floor. Since they did not stop to pick it up, I did. It was a Dog World magazine, and there on the cover was the cutest little dog that I had ever seen with a name that was equally intriguing. Fascinated by this “new” breed, the magazine followed me home. I had to read about this captivating dog with the quirky name, PBGV. A few weeks later my husband was flipping through
“BOTH ENDS SHOULD BE EQUAL WHEN MOVING AND FLUID.”
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channels and stopped to watch the AKC Westminster Kennel Club show on television. We watched all the won- derful dogs and then the hound group came into the ring. All of a sudden there was Roger Caras announcing the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. We watched, excited and smitten by this little dog with the huge personality and endless charm. That did it. We wanted one. That was sixteen years ago, and today, five PBGVs later, the magic has not worn off. The enchantment remains. I often tell people who inquire of the breed, that you have to have a sense of humor in order to appreciate and navigate life with this breed. You do. I also tell them that they will never have a bad day that a PBGV couldn’t make better. They will. They are a cap- tivating and wonderful breed and some- times you can’t have just one. Not only do they take over your home, they steal your heart as well. Owning PBGVs has enriched my life in so many ways. There are lessons to be learned in observing their behavior. I’ve observed that they live and love life in the moment. PBGVs are selfless and unwaveringly loyal. They are the happy little hound, they love abun- dantly and unconditionally. It is easy to laugh around a PBGV. And, yes, some- times they can get in trouble, but they charm themselves out of it. They are great at reading moods, sensing when and how to console their humans, and sometimes know simply to just be there. Having done nursing home vis- its with my PBGV, it was wonderful to see how they lifted spirits simply by walking down a hallway wagging their tails and smiling, or visiting a patient’s room. Somehow, they intuitively sought out and approached those most in need of comfort. Life with PBGVs has opened the doorway to many new adventures.
I’d never heard of dog shows until I got my first PBGV, and I’ve been to many a show since then. It has led to travel to new cities, participation in shows and events, meeting and making new and lifelong friends, involvement on the BOD of the parent club, and working as rescue coordinator for my region. PBGVs add color to life, like flowers to a garden. MEGAN ESHERICK ON PBGV AND AGILITY Agility is an active sport where you guide your PBGV through an obstacle course consisting of jumps, weave poles, tunnels and contact obstacles. Agility is a timed event and dogs are expected to perform courses at a high rate of speed. If you are selecting a puppy or young adult dog with agility in mind, look for a very social puppy who prefers to be with people above anything else. Confidence is important, but you don’t want a puppy to be so independent that he often takes off on his own. An agility dog needs to have excellent structure to hold up to the demands of the sport. Even if you do not plan to breed your PBGV, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that spaying or neu- tering before puberty can have negative health effects, especially for canine ath- letes, so you may want to delay this pro- cedure until your dog is fully mature. In AKC agility, a shoulder height of fourteen inches is the cut off between jump heights. As this is the middle of our breed standard for height, a breed- er will not be able to guarantee that a puppy will mature into a certain agil- ity height class. If you are selecting an adult dog for agility, it would be a com- petitive advantage to choose a PBGV who is less than fourteen inches tall. As a team sport, agility requires good communication between dog and han- dler. Prior obedience training and off leash reliability are necessary for suc- cessful agility training. Prior to begin- ning your PBGV’s agility training, you will need to do some basic obedience training. An off leash recall and a sit or down stay are especially important. Agility is a physically demanding sport for dogs. Repeated jumping and climbing are a part of the sport, as well as negotiating tight turns at a high rate of speed. Prior to beginning train- ing for agility, your PBGV should be in
excellent physical condition. Extra weight will make agility more diffi- cult for your dog and can put him at increased risk for injury. In fact, most agility PBGVs are kept at a weight about five pounds lighter than would normally be considered ideal weight for the show ring. Agility should not be your PBGV’s primary source of exercise. A regular routine of cross training with activities such as long walks, swimming, balance ball exercises and playing with other dogs will help your PBGV to build the strength and endurance he needs to compete successfully. Agility is an all–breed sport, but the herding breeds tend to predominate at many trials. Finding an instructor who is experienced with scent hounds and the challenges specific to our breed may be a challenge. A good instructor has experience with a variety of dogs and enough training experience to real- ize that there is often more than one way to accomplish a goal. Handling is an important facet of agility. You will need as much or more training than your dog. An instructor who has experience running smaller dogs may be in a bet- ter position to teach the handling skills that you will need with your PBGV. When selecting an agility class, you will want to consider the quality and maintenance of the equipment used. If you intend to compete, you will want to train on equipment suitable for use in competition. Even if you are taking agil- ity classes for fun, you don’t want to risk having your dog injured or frightened by accidents caused by poor quality equipment. Because agility is an off lead sport, you will probably want to find a class that is held indoors or in a fenced area so you can focus on learning and not worry about your dog picking up a scent and taking off. The running sur- face may be grass, dirt, artificial turf or thick matting but should be comfort- able for you and your dog to walk and run on. Because the learning style and degree of motivation of a PBGV is dif- ferent than the more “typical” agility dog, finding a good group class may be a challenge. Sometimes private les- sons can be a better use of time because you have the option of working at your dog’s pace and focusing on the issues that you and your dog are facing as a team. The cost of private lessons can be a downside, but if you have access
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to equipment for practice in between lessons you might find that monthly pri- vate lessons allow you to progress more steadily than weekly group classes. To get the most from your agility training, you will need to do some practice at home. However, agility equipment can be very expensive and requires a lot of space. You will not need a full agility course at home, but will probably want a few jumps, a set of weave poles and some small traffic cones to use when practicing handling maneuvers. Mas- tery of the sport of agility is as much about the ease with which a dog moves between the obstacles as it is about the way he completes the obstacles them- selves. Practicing handling skills and teaching your dog exactly what each handling move means to him will make you a more successful competitor.
Agility dogs need to be able to main- tain a state of high arousal and transi- tion smoothly between focusing on the handler and the obstacles. Having a variety of ways to reward your dog is important. When you want to reinforce your dog for watching you (handler focus), the reward should come from your hand, or be an interactive game such as tug. However, when you want to reward the dog for independent performance of a piece of equipment or for distance work (obstacle focus), the most effective reward will be delivered at a distance, such as a tossed ball or a treat from a remote dispenser. Most PBGVs are more excited by food than toy, so you may have to get creative about how you deliver the reward. Training a PBGV for agility may take longer than other breeds, but many of
them are competing successfully in the highest levels of the sport. In summary, the PBGV is a dog with a hunting purpose, interesting to train and a natural at the show, easily adaptable to a home environment
friendly and fun to live with. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kitty Steidel—JEC for the PBGVCA for 29 years. Columnist for Sight and Scent. Author of Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen—rustique french hound (1987) first book any lan- guage devoted exclusively to the PBGV. JEC for PBGVCA. Delegate representing Channel City KC. BOD of Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America. Approved to judge Sporting and Hound Groups, BIS, MISC.
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OfficialStandard for the PETIT BA SSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN COURTESY THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
General Appearance: The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a French scent hound developed first and foremost to hunt small game over the rough and difficult terrain of the Vendéen region. To function efficiently, he must be equipped with certain characteristics. He is bold and viva- cious in character;compact, tough and robust in construc- tion. He has an alert outlook, lively bearing and a good voice freely and purposefully used. The most distinguishing characteristics of this bold hunter are:his rough, unrefined outlines;his proudly carried head displaying definitive long eyebrows, beard, and mous- tache;his strong, tapered tail carried like a saber, alert and in readiness. Important to breed type is the compact, casu-
clearly defined. Muzzle - The length of the muzzle from nose to stop is slightly shorter than the length from the stop to occiput. The underjaw is strong and well devel- oped. Nose black and large, with wide nostrils. A some- what lighter shading is acceptable in lighter colored dogs. A butterfly nose is a fault. Lips - The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache. Bite - It is preferable that the teeth meet in a scissors bite, but a level bite is acceptable. Neck, Topline, Bod y: Neck - The neck is long and strong, without throatiness, and flows smoothly into the shoulders. Topline - The back is visibly level from withers to croup. There is a barely perceptible rise over a strong loin.
Viewed in profile, the withers and the croup should be equidistant from the ground. Body muscular, somewhat longer than tall. Compact, casual in appearance, with no feature exaggerated and his parts in balance. Chest rather deep, with promi- nent sternum. Ribs moderately rounded, extending well back. Loin short, strong, and muscular. There is but little tuck-up. Tail of medium length, set on high, it is strong at the base and tapers regularly. It is well furnished with hair, has but a slight curve and is carried proudly like the blade
al, rather tousled appearance, with no fea- ture exaggerated and his parts in balance.
Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the PBGV as in any other breed, regardless of whether they are specifically men- tioned. Size, Proportion, Substance: Size - PBGVs measure between 13 and 15 inches
of a saber; normally pointing at about two o'clock. In a curved downward position the tip of the tail bone should reach no further than the hock joint. Forequarters: Shoulders clean and well laid back. Upper arm approximately equal in length to the shoulder blade. Elbows close to the body. Legs - The length of leg from elbow to ground should be slightly more than half the height from withers to ground. Viewed from the front, it is desirable that the forelegs be straight, but a slight crook is acceptable. In either case, the leg appears straight, is strong and well boned, but never coarse nor weedy. Improperly constructed front assemblies, including poor shoulder placement, short upper arms, out at elbows, lack of angulation and fiddle fronts, are all serious faults. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Any tendency to knuckle over is a serious fault. Dewclaws may, or may not, be removed. Feet not too long, between hare and cat foot, with hard, tight pads. The nails are strong and short. Hind quarters: Strong and muscular with good bend of sti- fle. A well-defined second thigh. Hips wide, thighs well muscled. Hocks are short and well angulated, perpendicu-
at the withers. Height over 15 inches is a disqualification. Height under 13 inches is a disqualification at one year of age or older. Proportion - When viewed in profile, the body is somewhat longer than tall when measured from point of shoulder to buttocks, as compared to the height from withers to ground. Substance - Strong bone with sub- stance in proportion to overall dog. Head : The head is carried proudly and, in size, must be in balance with the overall dog. It is longer than its width in a ratio of approximately two to one. A coarse or overly large head is to be penalized. Expression alert, friendly and intelligent. Eyes large and dark with good pigmentation, somewhat oval in shape, showing no white. The red of the lower eyelid should not show. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward, but not obscuring the eyes. Ears supple, narrow and fine, covered with long hair, folding inward and ending in an oval shape. The leathers reach almost to the end of the nose. They are set on low, below the line of the eyes. An overly long or high-set ear should be penalized. Skull domed, oval in shape when viewed from the front. It is well cut away under the eyes and has a well-developed occipital protuberance. Stop
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OfficialStandard for the PETIT BA SSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN CONTINUED
Color: White with any combination of lemon, orange, black, sable, tricolor or grizzle markings, providing easy visibility in the field.
lar from hock to ground. Feet are as in front. Except that they must point straight ahead.
Coat: The coat is rough, long without exaggeration and harsh to the touch, with a thick shorter undercoat. It is never silky or woolly. The eyes are surmounted by long eyebrows, standing forward but not obscuring the eyes. The ears are covered by long hair. The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache. The tail is well furnished with hair. The overall appearance is casual and tousled. The rough, unrefined outline and tousled appearance of this rustic hunting hound is essential. Any sculpting, clip- ping, scissoring or shaping of the coat is contrary to PBGV breed type. The PBGV coat should be clean, neatened as necessary, but always remain casually disarrayed. Any deviation from the ideal described here and in the General Appearance Section of the official standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Gait: The movement should be free at all speeds. Front action is straight and reach- ing 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 proportion- al to the speed of his movement. Gives the appearance of an active hound, capable of a full day's hunting. Temperament: Confident, happy, extroverted, indepen- dent yet willing to please, never timid nor aggressive. Disqualification: Height over 1 5 inches is a disqualifica- tion. Height under 1 3 inches is a disqualification at one year of age or older.
Approved April 22, 2014 Effective July 1, 2014
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PETIT BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN Survey with Dr. richarD Meen
2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? The question for us should, in my opinion, never be about breeding and showing “better dogs” but rather “correct” ones. Our responsibility is to preserve the fea- tures that were developed to serve their purpose back to the 16th century. I do believe therefore that one has to be careful about the impact of the winds of fashion on the breed. The PBGV is not a fancy, fluffy-coated critter danc- ing lightly along looking for attention and treats. They are also not mechanical, over-controlled automatons performing like wind-up toys. 3. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? Well I must say that the introduction to the AKC standard is excellent and should be memorized by all judges since it really does say it all (even though standards are merely “blue prints” of a breed). Hounds, such as the PBGV, are in many ways the essence of our journey with canines in all countries and all breeders and judges should take the uniqueness of each such breed very seriously since it is preserving our history as well. 4. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? Decades ago when I was first beginning I was judging the Hound group at a match at Santa Barbara and I was standing in the middle of the ring pondering my choice and pondering my choices and pondering my choices. All of a sudden I heard the voice of Annie Clarke echoing through the air, “They aren’t going to get any better!” I immediately made a decision.
I am a psychiatrist who lives in Toronto, Ontario and have been involved in the world of purebred dogs since 1965—own- ing, breeding, exhibiting and judging. I am consid- ered a “Hound person” but have also been quite successful with Terriers. I was an owner/handler and accomplished win- ning the top dog award in Canada and to this day hold the record for top Hound in the history of the CKC. Those accom- plishments were with a
(Photo courtesy of wkc.com)
sighthound, but I have also had success with scent hounds. I should point out that I was introduced to the PBGV in Cana- da when Mrs. Ann Snelling first introduced the breed to the Canadian dog world. The breed caught my eye then and con- tinues to be a delight. 1. Describe the breed in three words. The name has four words and they say it all, that is if you have explored the incredible history of this breed. To summarize, I perhaps would use such words from the standard as “robust”, “bold” and “proud”. For me though the key word is Vendéen, which tells you where and how the dog had to function and I am sure that the terrain was not like that of our show rings.
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SMALL IN SIZE, LARGE IN SCOPE THE PETIT BASSET GRIFFON VENDÉEN CLUB OF AMERICA by BOB COHEN
L ike any national breed (par- ent) club, the PBGV Club of America has many functions, plays many roles beyond the basic function of being responsible for the breed standard. PBGVCA organizes competitive and educational events for its members and others interested in the breed, including conformation events, hunt tests, agility, obedience and rally trials, and providing written education- al materials as well as presenting expert speakers on a variety of topics. Th e PBGV is not a common breed. It has been recognized by the American Kennel Club only since 1991, and its par- ent club is not large, having fewer than 400 members. But the PBGV Club is active and has members in 42 states and 6 other countries. Some parent clubs, especially those with very popular and long-recognized breeds, have di ffi cult membership require- ments. Not so PBGVCA, in which the majority of members are “pet people” who do not breed dogs or show them. Th e club encourages participation of members and enjoyment of our dogs in many facets. It presents many activities for its members as well as a comprehensive web site and a beautifully produced quarterly magazine, Saber Tails , which covers all aspects of owning and enjoying PBGVs. Saber Tails and Meet the Breeds events highlight the club’s interest in educating members and the public regarding PBGVs. Th e club has a combined national and regional specialty show in the spring every year, where we try to pull together as many activities as we can. Th e shows are rotated among three regions so that people in di ff erent areas of the country have an opportunity to attend and to participate.
Of course we have the traditional con- formation shows. After all, recognizing healthy dogs that best meet the breed standard is important in improving the breed, maintaining its health and vital- ity. We also showcase companion events, demonstrating that PBGVs can be trained to perform well in competitive events. When suitable facilities are available near our national specialty sites we love to have “IF THE BREEDER CANNOT TAKE THE DOGS BACK, THE PBGVCA RESCUE COMMITTEE STEPS
specialty we now have about a dozen hunt tests annually, in many locations across the midwest and east, where PBGVs can show their talent for finding scent trails and cooperating with each other in the hunt. Another important activity of the PBGVCA is breed rescue. Th e club’s res- cue committee has a network of members and friends across the country who check out reports of any PBGV that is in a shelter or needs a new home. Sometimes through illness or change in family circumstances a dog owner can no longer keep his or her dogs. If the breeder cannot take the dogs back, the PBGVCA rescue committee steps in, deals with any veterinary or socializa- tion issues, and seeks a new, appropriate home for the dogs. Dogs going through breed rescue will be spayed or neutered if necessary, be brought up to date on vacci- nations, and the new home is matched up with the individual needs of each dog. Th is can be expensive. Fortunately, closely allied with the PBGVClub of America is the PBGVHealth and Rescue Foundation. Th e Foundation, as a tax-exempt 501c(3) organization, raises money to support the activities of the club’s rescue committee, as well as health matters. Th us far the Foundation has always had the resources to pay expenses incurred on behalf of breed rescue including veterinary and other costs. Th e two organizations, although separate, cooperate with each other for the betterment of the breed. Hav- ing the Foundation available to financially backstop the e ff orts of the club’s rescue committee means that the committee can concentrate on what’s needed for the dogs without having to worry about financial resources. Th e Foundation also underwrites a health speaker, often a prominent veteri- nary researcher, at each national specialty.
IN, DEALS WITH ANY VETERINARY
OR SOCIALIZATION ISSUES, AND SEEKS A NEW, APPROPRIATE
HOME FOR THE DOGS.”
agility trials and hunt tests, which allow other aspects of our dogs to shine. PBGVs may not be the archetypical agility breed, but those short legs can run quite fast and the dogs enjoy training for and compet- ing in agility. Hunt tests are becoming a very popular venue for allowing PBGVs to show their stu ff . Aside from the national
244 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015
THE HEALTHY PBGV BY LAURA LISCUM Vice Chair, PBGVCA Health Committee – Vice President PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation
T he American Kennel Club web- site sums up why I share my life with this breed. Th ey write “It’s tough to resist falling for PBGVs at first sight. Not only are they ridiculously cute, they’re among the hap- piest dog breeds—and their zest for life is infectious.” PBGVs are hearty, active scent hounds that were bred to hunt rabbits and other small game in the rough terrain of the Vendéen region of France. Fortunately, the PBGV is a remarkably healthy breed. Since the 1980s, when PBGVs were introduced in the US and the PBGV Club of America (PBGVCA) was formed, the individuals who established the breed in the US had the foresight to adopt the best health prac- tices of other breeds before there were sub- stantial health problems in PBGVs. So far this has kept the PBGV relatively healthy, a trend that we hope will continue. Two groups that oversee PBGV health in the US are the PBGVCA Health Com- mittee and the PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation. Th ese groups have distinct, but overlapping, memberships so that they can fulfill their objectives with ample cross communication. PBGVCA HEALTH COMMITTEE Mission. Th e mission of the PBGVCA Health Committee is to have the most cur- rent information on PBGV health readily available to Club members and non-mem- bers alike. Th is allows PBGV owners to provide optimal health care and make wise choices in managing breed-specific health care issues. Committee members develop and maintain educational information targeted to the general health care of PBGVs. Th is information can be found on the PBGVCA website. Articles on PBGV health care appear in almost every issue of the quarterly club magazine, Saber Tails . We also develop and maintain a knowl- edge base of medical problems specific to the PBGV on the Club website. Th ese include clinical resources to assist with
diagnoses, treatment and management of breed specific health issues. Health Surveys. Knowledge of PBGV- specific health issues comes from two types of health surveys that have been conducted in the past. Our first health surveys col- lected data cumulatively over many years. Th is gave us some qualitative information on health issues that a ff ected PBGVs, but ultimately proved unhelpful because own- ers would register their dog, enter their first health issue, and then rarely or never update the dog’s information. Th erefore, in 2011 we turned to a ‘snapshot’ format in
were asked to identify any problems in one or more of 18 groups of health conditions, and to briefly describe each problem. We kept in mind that it is much more com- mon for individuals to respond to surveys when there are problems than when there are no problems. Th erefore, the percentag- es of dogs with specific conditions would likely be much lower if we had received a health survey for every single currently liv- ing PBGV. For the dogs with health issues, the majority of conditions reported were either relatively minor or managed so that quality of life was well maintained. Th e most frequent issues reported still only a ff ected 11 or 12% of the dogs. Th ese were endocrine/hormonal disorders, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease; allergies; arthritis in senior PBGVs; eye issues, such as cataracts, persistent pupil- lary membrane, and glaucoma; and gas- trointestinal complaints, such as pancre- atitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colitis/gastritis. Reproductive, cardiovas- cular and urinary disorders a ff ected less than 10% of dogs a ff ected. We paid close attention to any reports of glaucoma and idiopathic epilepsy in our breed. Fortu- nately, the PBGV is not a breed that is at high risk for either disease. However, hav- ing a disease that will lead to blindness or recurring, unpredictable seizures is dis- proportionately traumatic for the dog and his/her family. Health surveys like this provide an important snapshot of a breed’s health. When compared to previous surveys, it is possible to determine which disorders have been successfully reduced or eliminated in the breed, and which are increasing. Th e 2011 survey form was short and uncom- plicated. We were disappointed that only 40% of the club membership participated. We recognized that some breeders might be concerned that public knowl- edge of their kennel’s health issues might a ff ect the breeder’s reputation. To allay these fears, our snapshot health surveys
“THESE GROUPS HAVE DISTINCT,
which owners provide health information on all PBGVs who were alive at any time during a one-year period. Information was gathered on age, sex, reproductive status, source of the dog, health testing that has been performed, and diseases or condi- tions that a ffl ict the dog. Th e good news from our 2011 survey was that the PBGV is a healthy breed. Of the 302 PBGVs surveyed, 134 (44.4%) had no health conditions. Survey responders BUT OVERLAPPING, MEMBERSHIPS SO THAT THEY CAN FULFILL THEIR OBJECTIVES WITH AMPLE CROSS COMMUNICATION.”
246 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015
PBGV HEALTH & RESCUE FOUNDATION
Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Fin- land, Germany, and Australia. Th e objec- tive is to get all countries working together to share best practice and information regarding health status of both Petit and Grand Basset Gri ff on Vendéens. Th e first priorities are developing a worldwide health survey and focusing on glaucoma and epilepsy. Coordination of these e ff orts is a big step in the right direction. GLAUCOMA—A PBGV HEALTH SUCCESS STORY Finally, I want to end with an incred- ible success story. Glaucoma is a word that was rarely spoken by PBGV breeders a decade ago. Th en we started to hear of a few cases of primary open angle glauco- ma (POAG); then we heard of more. In the UK, the BGV Club teamed up with Dr. Cathryn Mellersh, head of the Ken- nel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust, who began a search for the gene leading to POAG in our breed. In the US, Dr. András Komáromy, a vet- erinary ophthalmologist from Michi- gan State University, gave the health seminar at the 2013 PBGVCA National Specialty, conducted eye examinations, and collected DNA samples for Dr. Mel- lersh’s project. Dr. Komáromy returned in 2014 to collect additional samples and give an update on the POAG gene hunt. In late 2014, Dr. Mellersh announced that the POAG gene in PBGVs had been found! In March 2015, the Animal Health Trust launched the first DNA health test for canine glaucoma, which tests for the PBGV mutation. It is so exciting to realize that this disease can be eliminated from our breed before it becomes prevalent.
were collected by a club member who is not a breeder but who had years of experi- ence in collating and presenting de-iden- tified health data. For future surveys, we hope to turn to the Orthopedic Founda- tion of America, which o ff ers breed sur- veys for a number of breed parent clubs. We will also participate in surveys orga- nized by the World Health Committee (discussed below). Health Seminars. Each National Spe- cialty features a seminar by a nationally recognized veterinary clinician/researcher. Th e seminars serve two purposes. First, they educate the Club membership on an aspect of canine health or behavior rele- vant to the PBGV. Second, they introduce veterinary clinician scientists to the PBGV community and announce our willingness to participate in research studies. Health Clinics. Central to the mis- sion of the Health Committee is the col- lection of DNA samples for submission to the Canine Health Information Center DNA Repository. Owners who attend a National Specialty with their dogs can participate in the annual collection clin- ic organized by the Health Committee. Alternatively, blood can be drawn during a routine veterinary check and submitted to the Repository. For several years, eye clinics have been held in which a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist per- forms an eye exam, tonometry (to mea- sure pressure within the eye), and goni- oscopy (to assess eye structure). Th e latter two tests will detect early stages of glau- coma and a predisposition to closed angle glaucoma, respectively. We have also had a heart clinic in which a board-certified veterinary cardiologist o ff ered cardiac auscultation and echocardiogram.
Keeping the PBGV healthy requires funds; thus, the PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation was formed. Th e Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 organization that can accept tax exempt donations and provides funding to support the goals of the PBGVCA Health and Rescue Com- mittees. Th e Foundation sponsors the health seminars and health clinics at the National Specialties. If blood is drawn at a routine veterinary check instead of a health clinic, then the cost of the blood draw and shipping is reimbursed. Th e Foundation examines the research grant portfolio of the AKC Canine Health Foundation and selects grants for sponsorship that are rel- evant to PBGV health. All of these activities require fundrais- ing. Initiatives that have been successful include inserting donation envelopes into Saber Tails , organizing state gift baskets for silent auctions at the National Spe- cialties, 50/50 ra ffl es, and auctioning get- aways at Club members’ vacation homes. Club members are also able to donate used vehicles and leave a bequest in a will or liv- ing trust. In the end, most of the Foun- dation income comes from small dona- tions from PBGV lovers who read in Saber Tails or on the Foundation Facebook page about the good works of the Health and Rescue Committees. WORLD HEALTH COMMITTEE An exciting new development in the PBGV world was the 2014 organization of a Basset Gri ff on Vendéen World Health Committee, spearheaded by the UK BGV Club. So far, this e ff ort has representa- tion from clubs in the UK, US, France,
“IN MARCH 2015, THE ANIMAL HEALTH TRUST LAUNCHED THE FIRST DNA HEALTH TEST FOR CANINE GLAUCOMA, WHICH TESTS FOR THE PBGV MUTATION. IT IS SO EXCITING TO REALIZE THAT THIS DISEASE CAN BE ELIMINATED FROM OUR BREED BEFORE IT BECOMES PREVALENT.”
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