About the Breed
The Griffon Vendeen family of hounds originate in the Vendee Region of France. The Grand Basset is used to hunt hares and occasionally small deer. The Griffon Vendeen family can be traced back to sixteenth century France, it is one of four rough-coated French breeds, and the only one to come in four distinct sizes. The Grand Griffon Vendeen; the Briquet Griffon Vendeen; the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. As yet only the two Basset sizes are known in the UK. Originally there was only one size of Basset who nowadays would look like a mixture between the PBGV and the GBGV. It was the Comte Christian d’Elva who attempted to improve the soundness of these hounds. His hounds were taller and straight legged and the forerunners of today’s GBGV’s.
In the next century the breed made enormous strides under the Desamy family where the nature and type of the varieties ‘Grand’ and ‘Petit’ were firmly defined and established. Until the last decade the name ‘Desamy’ was virtually synonymous with BGV’s in France.
The kennels of the late Yves Audouy (du Roc de Deymier), Renaud Buche (du Hamel de la Renaudie) and Jolanda Huisman (du Greffier du Roi) have provided foundation stock for the British Grands. By the end of 1997, a total of 200 Grands had been registered with the Kennel Club.
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen is a loyal intelligent hound with wonderful scenting ability and an in-bred desire to hunt. He has a noble head, with a slightly Roman nose; his ears and muzzle being longer than that of his cousin, the Petit. The desirable proportions of height at the shoulder to length of body should be 1 to 1.4. His legs are totally straight. His tail should be carried like a sabre. His coat should be straight, harsh and weather proof.
The happy, outgoing nature of these hounds that are always willing to please and never aggressive, have earned them the nickname of ‘The Happy Breed’. However, this is a hound and it needs space, patience and a secure garden. The Grand is not a breed for the faint hearted, or the sit at home.