Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Kaitlyn Arford

Kaitlyn Arford

. Reviewed by Jennifer Coates, DVM
Updated Feb. 6, 2024
tan and white petit basset griffon vendeen standing in grass

In This Article

General Care

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen originally came from the Vendée region of France, where the breed ran around the countryside hunting small animals such as rabbits. They would work in groups with their people to track down prey, using their sharp nose and fast feet, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Today, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen (called “PBGV” for short) is also a family dog with a happy—and competitive—personality. These tenacious hunters were recognized by the AKC in 1990, and a PBGV named Buddy Holly became the first of his breed to win Best in Show at the 2023 Westminster Dog Show.

Caring for a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Bred as hunters, PBGV dogs are energetic and need lots of physical activity and mental stimulation. While they’re relatively petite pups (standing 13–15 inches high and weighing 25­–40 pounds), they won’t be happy in a small apartment without frequent opportunities to stretch their legs outside.

At home, the PBGV needs lots of attention and affection from his family, according to the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America (PBGVCA). If he doesn’t get it or if he grows bored, he will let you know with his loud bark or by finding (possibly destructive) ways to entertain himself.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Health Issues

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is generally a healthy and hardy dog with an average life span of 14–16 years. But they can develop a few health concerns over the course of their life, according to the breed club.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs is when the hip joint doesn’t fit together properly. This leads to a loose joint, which causes pain, mobility problems, and with time, arthritis.

Responsible breeders will screen their PBGV puppies and parents for this inherited condition. Treatment and management can encompass anything from weight loss to joint supplements to medications to surgery in the most extreme cases.

Eye Problems

PBGV dogs can develop a few different eye disorders, including:

  • Glaucoma: an eye disease caused by high pressure inside the eye; it is painful and can lead to blindness.

  • Persistent pupillary membranes: abnormal strands within the eye that can affect vision if severe.

  • Retinal folds: occurs when the retina and sclera (layers at the back of the eyeball) grow at different rates. Puppies should outgrow this condition.

The PBGVCA recommends all PBGVs be evaluated by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist before they are used for breeding.

Patellar Luxation

A luxating patella is when a dog’s kneecap (patella) slips out of place (luxates). Dogs with patellar luxation may limp, walk with a bunny-hopping gait, and be in pain. The severity of this condition can vary greatly: Sometimes the kneecap quickly pops back into place on its own, while other cases need surgery.


Though not common, epilepsy has been reported in PBGV dogs. This is a neurologic disorder that causes the dog to have recurring seizures. Monitor your Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen for signs of seizures, including:

  • Collapsing

  • Twitching

  • Excessive drooling

  • Muscle stiffening

  • Loss of bladder control

  • Paddling their legs

Epilepsy cannot be cured, but veterinarians can treat the condition with medication.


PBGVs may have a slow metabolism due to an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism in dogs can cause weight gain, lethargy, high cholesterol, a thin coat, and a slow heart rate.

Though hypothyroidism isn’t curable, veterinarians can treat it with lifelong medication, and dogs with this condition can live a long, full life.

What To Feed a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Feed your PBGV dog a well-balanced diet. Your dog food should follow the guidelines put forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to make sure all his nutrient needs are met. The food should also be formulated for his life stage (puppy versus adult, for example).

Always talk to your veterinarian about what food is best for your dog.

How To Feed a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Feed your adult Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen twice a day. PBGV puppies need to eat more frequently—about three or four times per day. If your dog is eating too quickly, try putting his food in a slow feeder bowl.

How Much Should You Feed a ​​Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen?

The right amount to feed a PBGV varies. While your dog food label can give you guidance, talk with your vet about how much food to offer your pup every day. They can give the best advice based on your dog’s weight, lifestyle, age, and health history.

Nutritional Tips for a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

As long as you’re feeding your dog a nutritious AAFCO-labeled food, he shouldn’t need supplements unless your veterinarian recommends them.

Behavior and Training Tips for the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Personality and Temperament

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is known for being affectionate and loyal with the people they love, but they are also confident and independent.

This is not a timid breed, and if they don’t get the attention they deserve, they will bark to let you know and find ways to entertain themselves that you might not approve of. PBGVs are very social and often love other people and dogs. They will take great joy spending time at doggy daycare or the dog park. Like any dog, social isolation can lead to behavioral issues—so make sure they have quality time with their family members and canine companions.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Behavior

Because they were bred as hunters, PBGV dogs have a strong prey drive and will chase rabbits and squirrels in the neighborhood. Always keep them on a leash or within a fenced space whenever they’re outside—which should be often, as PBGVs are no couch potatoes.

Because they are an energetic breed, they are best suited for individuals and families who enjoy an active lifestyle. They also get along well with children, according to the breed club.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Training

PBGVs are highly intelligent dogs who are eager to please but do have an independent streak. The PBGVCA says these pups will happily learn obedience, rally, tracking, scent work, and agility trials. These are also great ways to keep your PBGV dog entertained and active.

Fun Activities for a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

  • Fetch

  • Agility

  • Scent work

  • Long walks

  • Hiking

  • Obedience training

  • Puzzle toys

  • Flyball

  • Rally

  • Running

  • Tracking

  • Hunting

  • Learning new tricks

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen Grooming Guide

PBGV dogs have a thick, wiry coat that always looks a little tousled, according to the breed club. They need to be brushed once a week to remove dead hairs and control shedding.

Skin Care

PBGV dogs don’t need to follow a consistent bathing schedule. If yours starts smelling funky or gets dirty while running around outside, give him a bath.

Coat Care

Brush your Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen once a week to remove dead hairs, control shedding, and prevent mats from forming. According to the breed club, a pin brush or comb is the best tool for the breed’s coat care.

Eye Care

Because PBGV dogs are prone to a handful of eye conditions, pet parents need to monitor their dog’s eyes. If you notice changes such as cloudiness or redness, contact your veterinarian.

Ear Care

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has floppy, hairy ears. This means it’s easy for moisture, debris, and bacteria to become trapped in his ear canals, which can cause an ear infection.

Make inspecting your PBGV’s ears part of your regular care routine, and contact your vet if you notice redness, odor, or debris. To help prevent infections, remove excess ear hair and clean your dog’s ears when they are dirty or overly waxy.

Considerations for Pet Parents

PBGV dogs love being outside, but you need to make sure they’re kept safely on a leash or inside a securely fenced yard. Otherwise, their high prey drive will make them chase after smaller animals like rabbits. Because of this, PBGVs might not do well in homes with cats, but they can get along with feline friends if introduced properly and at an early age.

These furry extroverts need lots of attention from their humans, and they will complain if they aren’t getting enough love. Keeping them busy with training sessions, outdoor adventures, and puzzles will make these dogs happy.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen FAQs

Is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen a good family dog?

PBGVs enjoy time with children, family members, friends, and other pets, making them excellent family dogs. They don’t do well when left on their own for long periods of time.

Is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen rare?

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is rare in the U.S. For that reason, PBGV puppies can cost thousands of dollars, and you will likely be put on a waitlist when working with a breeder.

What is the difference between a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen vs. Grande Basset Griffon Vendéen?

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is closely related to the Grande Basset Griffon Vendéen. The main difference between them, as their names imply, is size. PBGVs are 13–15 inches tall and weigh 25­–40 pounds, while GBGVs are slightly bigger, standing up to 18 inches tall and weighing as much as 45 pounds.

Featured Image: iStock/CaptureLight

Kaitlyn Arford


Kaitlyn Arford

Freelance Writer

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