The American Kennel Club breed standard

(You'll also find the French Standard here. Casual fans may be more interested in the owners' version of the breed standard.)

General Appearance: The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a scent hound developed 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 vivacious in character; compact, tough and robust in construction. He has an alert outlook, lively bearing and a good voice freely used. The most distinguished characteristics of this bold hunter are his rough, unrefined outline; his proudly carried head displaying definitive long eyebrows, beard, and moustache; his strong, tapered tail carried like a sabre, alert and in readiness. Important to breed type is the compact, casual, rather tousled appearance, with no feature 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 mentioned.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Size: Both sexes should measure between 13 and 15 inches at the withers, with a 1/2 inch tolerance in either direction being acceptable. Height over 15 1/2 inches at the withers is a disqualification.

Proportion: Somewhat longer than tall. A correctly proportioned dog will be approximately 50% longer than tall when the entire body is measured from sternum to buttocks as compared to withers to ground.

Substance: Strong bone with substance 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 2:1. A coarse or overly large head is to be penalized.

Expression: Alert, friendly and intelligent.

Eyes: Large and dark, showing no white. The red of the lower eyelid should not show. They 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, not above 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: Clearly defined.

Muzzle: The length of the muzzle is slightly shorter than the length from stop to occiput. The under jaw is strong and well developed.

Nose: Black and large, with wide nostrils. A somewhat lighter shading is acceptable in lighter colored dogs.

Lips: The lips are covered by long hair forming a beard and moustache.

Bite: It is preferable that the teeth meet in a scissors bit, but a level bite is acceptable.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck: The neck is long and strong, without throatiness, and flows smoothly into the shoulders.

Topline: The back is level with a slight arch over a strong loin. Viewed in profile, the withers and the croup should be equal distant from the ground.

Body: Muscular, somewhat longer than tall.

Chest: Deep, with prominent sternum. Ribs: Moderately rounded, extending well back. Loin: Strong. Muscular and rounded about the lateral axis of the dog.

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 of a sabre; normally about 20 degrees to the aft of vertical. In a curved downward position the tip of the tail bone should reach approximately to the hock joint.

Forequarters: Shoulders: Clean and well layed back. Upper Arm: Approximately equal in length to the shoulder blade. Elbow: Close to the body. Legs: The length of leg from elbow to ground should be slightly less than 1/2 the length from withers to ground. Viewed from the front, it is desirable that the forelegs be straight, but a slight crook is acceptable. The leg is strong and well boned.

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, with hard, tight pads. Slight turnout of the feet is acceptable. The nails are strong and short.

Hindquarters: Strong and muscular with good bend of stifle. A well defined second thigh. Hocks are short and well angulated, perpendicular 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. HOUNDS ARE TO BE SHOWN UNTRIMMED. Indications of scissoring for the purposes of shaping or sculpturing are to be severely penalized.

Color: White with any combination of lemon, orange, black, tricolor or grizzle markings.

Gait: The movement should be free at all speeds. Front action is straight and reaching well forward. Going away, the hind legs are parallel and have great drive. Convergence of the front and rear legs toward its center of gravity is proportional to the speed of his movement. Gives the appearance of an active hound, capable of a full day’s hunting.

Temperament: Happy, extroverted, independent, yet willing to please.

Disqualification: Height of more than 15 1/2 inches at the withers.

The French Standard

Translated by David K. Miller from the book "Les Bassets Courants."

General Aspect: Small, lively and vigorous dog, with a very slightly elongated body. Tail proudly carried, rough and long coated without exaggeration. Expressive head, ears well shaped, garnished with long hair and attached below the line of the eye, not too long.

Eyes: Rather large and intelligent, without showing the white of the eye. The red of the eyelid should not appear. The hair rising above the upper eyelid coming down forward should not cover the eye.

Ears: Supple, narrow and fine, covered with long hair, ending slightly in an oval, turned inside and not reaching completely the extremity of the nose. Well attached below the line of the eye.

Skull: Slightly domed, little length, not very wide, well cut away from the eyes. Defined stop. Occipital bone rather developed.

Muzzle: Much shorter than the larger Basset, but, nevertheless, very slightly lengthened and square to its extremity. Foreface straight, lips covered with ample whiskers. Translator's note: When you see the word "foreface," which I have chosen for this translation, it is meant to be the top line of the muzzle, which is the best translation for the French word "chanfrein."

Nose: Black, developed, opened and very prominent.

Shoulders: Clean, oblique, well fitted close to the body.

Chest: Rather deep, but not too wide.

Ribs: Moderately rounded.

Loins: Straight, muscled, demonstrating strong support. Translator's note: The term "demonstrating strong support" meaning that as the dog moves, this anatomical area is not soft but sturdy, supporting the animal in an optimal fashion.

Croup: Well muscled and rather pronounced.

Tail: Planted high, rather thick at the base, tapering evenly to the end, not very long, carried in a saber blade fashion, furnished with hair more at the end than at the base.

Legs: Rather strong boned, but proportionate to size.

Front legs: Straight with a good upper arm, pasterns very slightly apparent.

Thighs: Muscled and not very bent.

Hocks: Rather wide, slightly bent, never completely straight.

Feet: Not too large, hard pad, toes very tight, toenails strong.

Coat: Hard, but not too long, never silky or woolly: less fringe than the Grand Basset.

Coat color: Same colors as the Grand Basset. Any color derived from red (reddish brown) is never to be advised.

Translator's note: In the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Standard, the coat colors are stated as such: A reddish color (fauve) more or less dark is not to be recommended. Acceptable colors are the coat of hare, white, gray; two-colored: white and orange, white and black, white and gray, white and tan, black and tan; Tri-Color: White, black and tan, white coat of a hare, white gray and tan. Moreover, the obvious mention of the recommendation against the color "fauve" is probably due to the fact that in France there is a breed called the Fauve de Bretagne which is similar to the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. In order to differentiate between the two breeds, and to preserve the integrity of the Fauve de Bretagne, whose primary color is fauve, we see this definite mention against this color in the French standard.

Size: From .34 meter (13.39 inches) to .38 meter (14.96 inches) with a tolerance of 1 centimeter (.394 inches) under.

Gait: Very free (unconstrained) and easy.

Serious faults: Too long in structure, head too flat, nose leather with unpigmented spots or faded, light eyes, undershot or overshot, snipey muzzle, flat ears badly attached to head, lacking hair; bad topline, bandied or semibandied front legs, hocks too bent or straight, tail to long; insufficient coat, silky or cottony.

Points applicable to the non confirmation of Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens: Translator's note: In order to show a dog in France, the individual must present a dog to a judge which is certified to judge that particular breed. A form is issued to the person by the Societe Centrale Canine (French Kennel Club) which must be presented to the judge upon examination of the particular specimen. On this form, the judge in this breed must mark the size (remembering that at a show in France, a dog cannot be shown until after the age of 12 months for shows inside France and 15 months for international shows in order to receive certificates towards its championship.

In addition, on this form, is marked Apte, Inapte, Ajourne. Apte means it can be shown and is passed for breeding. Inapte means it cannot be shown nor used as breeding stock (the dog in all actuality may be used for breeding, however the offspring will not have papers). Ajourne means it must be brought back in 6 months for reconsideration. In this case the dog may be too thin, too fat or the judge may not be able to open its mouth for examination.

General Consideration of Non-Confirmation

Lack of type
Size exceeding the established limits of the standard.

Particular Points in Type:
Insufficient construction and bone bringing about the inability to hunt.
Defective tail.
Any trace of removal of dewclaws.
Too long in head.
Ears too long or too flat.
Front legs too bandied (pasterns touching themselves or asymmetrically twisted).
Eyes too light

Coat: Black coated or white coated, cotton or silky coated, excess of lack of pigmentation (exaggerated lack of pigmentation of the eyelids, nose leather, genital organs and at the exterior of the nostrils in particular).

Undershot or overshot.
Meanly aggressive or fearful temperament.

Comments on the Standard
of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Translated by David K. Miller from the book "Les Bassets Courants."

Among the four Griffons Vendéens, the PBGV is the Basset which is the best adapted to rabbit hunting. The standard presents this small, active and resourceful dog as small, lively, and vigorous.

We have already explained how this basset, which at the origin was in some extent a small brother of the Grand Basset, became the reduction of the Briquet as the Grand Basset is the reduction of the Grand Griffon Vendéen. It was under the presidency of Abel Desamy that the decision to differentiate between the two types was undertaken, but a certain amount of time was necessary so that the effects of this decision were witnessed. ( Translator's note: A Briquet Griffon Vendéen is a running dog of small size with long hair. )

In its entirety, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has less striking traits than the Grand Basset. It is more compact, with a body proportionately shorter, a shorter head and a neck less developed. The size of the head is in harmony with the size of its body, with a slightly domed skull whose length is almost the same of the topline of the muzzle which is straight. The head is slightly wide, whose form and expression is identical to the former head (around 1930) of the Grand Basset. The defined stop and the groove under the eyes, allied with the shaggy eyebrows, contributes greatly in ascertaining the aspect so characteristic of the breed. The Petit Basset is clearly less bearded than its larger brother.

The ear of the Petit Basset is relatively shorter than the Grand Basset, not reaching completely the extremity of the nose. Since, according to the standard, the ear must be well attached below the line of the eye and turned inside, it is essential for it to be supple and narrow at the base. The ear of the Petit Basset is more rounded at its end than the Grand Basset and, detrimentally, often takes on a triangular form with a slightly wide attachment. This conformation of the ear spoils the head in this breed and becomes unacceptable when the ear leather is thick.

This Basset is rather compact and, seen in profile, the body gives the impression of being relatively square. The top line is sturdy with a rather short loin while the under line is a little sloped, indicating the presence of floating ribs of good length. The rib is slightly rounded. The chest is not particularly high and the elbows are placed a little underneath the line of the sternum.

The forequarters have a very characteristic structure. The shoulder-blade, whatever the standard may say about it, it not always very oblique and placed very forward on the body leaving appear a little of the breast (even less with the Grand Basset). This forward placement of the shoulder, coupled with a low placed elbow, permits a practically straight front because the upper-arms are long and are not obliged to outline the bulk of the chest. This conformation is very close to the conformation found in certain breeds of terriers. In the beginning, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen had a more developed chest and, being closer to the ground than at present, it was necessary for it to have front limbs at least halfway twisted. One continues to find front limbs halfway twisted because of its ancestors but this is not sought after.

While saying that the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen must correspond to the Briquet Vendéen, it is not necessary to deduce from this that it is a Briquet in miniature. It is less typey than the Grand Basset , quite like the Briquet is less typey than the Grand Griffon. It is more square in its structure, quite like the Briquet. But it is always a Basset and, in particular, it must display a strong frame which is necessary to this morphology. The standard well indicates this demand.

The front foot is not very long in length with very tight toes. Broken down feet at the level of the metacarpus with a lengthened foot is a problem which remains to be resolved in the breed.

In the hindquarters, the thighs must be muscled while remaining flat (but more plump, all the same, than the Grand Basset). The angulation on a par with the stifle must be good and the hocks close to the ground with the angle, on a par: with the hock, well pronounced but without exaggeration.

The tail, according to the standard, is placed high, carried like a saber and is not too long. The tail of rough coated Bassets is shorter than short coated Bassets and must fall a little more lower than the hocks when the dog is at rest. The end of the tail which touches the ground is a serious fault.

The standard demands good pigmentation as well as for the eyes and lips whatever color the coat may be. Problems of pigmentation are more frequent with dogs of white and orange coats and the followers of the breed who choose this attractive color must be informed about this.

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