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Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen dog breed

The AKC Standard says, "Bold and vivacious in character... tough and robust in construction... an alert outlook, lively bearing, and a good voice freely used."

I just love that last phrase: "a good voice freely used." It means, "They bark and bay, especially when hunting, but also when restless or bored or left alone too much."

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV or "Petit", for short) is actually more like a terrier than a basset. In other words, he is lively, enthusiastic, curious, reacts quickly to interesting scents and sudden movements, and is always looking for something to do.

The PBGV plays vigorously and needs long daily walks and frequent romps. But this inquisitive sniffing machine should not be trusted off-leash, for he is a confirmed chaser who will follow his nose, right into trafic.

He may sound off (in a surprisingly deep bass) when strangers enter his territory, but then he welcomes them with happy wags. This is not a guard dog!

Most PBGVs are also extroverted with other dogs and cats. But with his hunting background, pet rabbits and rodents are not a wise addition to the household.

This stubborn, clever little hound requires an owner who knows when to laugh at his appealing whiskery face and mischievous antics – and when to be firm and in control. Not recommended for novice owners or couch potatoes.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is built long and low to the ground, with a rustic wiry coat and whiskery face
  • Is tough and robust, bold and curious
  • Is energetic and enthusiastic and always looking for something to do
  • Thrives on vigorous outdoor exercise
  • Will alert you when strangers arrives, but then welcomes them
  • Is usually sociable with other dogs

A Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing a good amount of exercise
  • Strong instincts to chase other animals who run
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Running away, oblivious to your calls, when an interesting scent catches his attention
  • Grooming: regular brushing and combing, plus regular trimming and clipping
  • "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
  • Digging holes
  • Potential for excessive barking

A Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen may not be right for you.


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Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament  is less predictable than the inheritance of physical  traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

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  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult PGBVs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy.

More traits and characteristics of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

If I was considering a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. PBGVs are go-getters who require plenty of opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. This is not a breed for an indoors-oriented owner.

    The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen should not be trusted off-leash. These hunting hounds will take off, oblivious to your frantic shouts, after anything that runs.

  2. Independent mind of their own. PBGVs are not particularly eager to please. They can be manipulative, and some are willful and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. To teach a Petit to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Follow my free online training programs.
  3. Potential barking. PBGVs are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound, especially if they're bored. You have to be equally quick to stop them. Yet another reason to be sure you have established the right relationship where you are the leader and your PBGV is the follower.
  4. Grooming. To keep their rough coat free of mats, PBGVs require regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming every few months. Contrary to what some breeders say, these dogs do shed and are not hypoallergenic.

    The longer the coat is, the more a PBGV displays "shaggy dog syndrome." This is where leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to the coat and ends up in your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers!

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

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book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
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