Showsight Presents The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

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

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , D ECEMBER 2017 • 287

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