Posts Tagged ‘Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen’

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From Robert Leighton’s Dogs and All About Them (1910):

The rough or Griffon-Basset, introduced into England at a later date than the smooth, has failed for some reason to receive great attention. In type it resembles the shaggy Otterhound, and as at present favoured it is larger and higher on the leg than the smooth variety. Their colouring is less distinct, and they seem generally to be lemon and white, grey and sandy red. Their note is not so rich as that of the smooth variety. In France the rough and the smooth Bassets are not regarded as of the same race, but here some breeders have crossed the two varieties, with indifferent consequences.

Some beatuiful specimens of the rough Basset have from time to time been sent to exhibition from the Sandringham kennels. His Majesty the King has always given affectionate attention to this breed, and has taken several first prizes at the leading shows, latterly with Sandringham Bobs, bred in the home kennels by Sandringham Babil ex Saracenesca (pg. 174).

Now, there are several basset breeds in France with this type of coat. The best known in the English-speaking world is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen.

I am not sure if the “rough bassets” that appear in the dog fancy’s literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are PBGV’s or other French bassets. One must recognize that the dog we call a “basset hound” was developed in its present form in England– with more than a touch of bloodhound crossed in.

The bassets in France are not nearly as heavily boned or as short in leg as the modern conformation “English” basset.

Ch. Tambour, the dog depicted above, looks like a rough-coated English basset, not  a PBGV.

I would like to know what happened to these “rough bassets.”

Did they disappear entirely from the  English basset bloodlines?

Were they absorbed into the PBGV?

Were these rough bassets essentially PBGV or Grand BGV?

The GBGV is closer to the size of a modern English basset, though it is a bit longer in the leg, but the breed has never had the following in English-speaking countries that the smaller PBGV has had.

Leighton suggests that one or more of the griffon-coated bassets was imported to England and then interbred with the “English” basset. The French never would have done such a thing, but the English don’t have a tradition of keeping hounds lines distinct on the basis of color and coat in the same way the French do. The only extant British griffon hound is the otterhound, whereas in France many hounds types have a griffon type as an auxiliary– which is rarely, if ever, interbred with the smooth dogs.

The English created their own version of the basset, largely by using two strains of smooth basset from the North of France. One of these, the Basset Artésien Normand, can still be found in France, and it strongly resembles what we would call a working-type basset.

At one time, it appears that there actually were English bassets with griffon coats.

Why these dog disappeared is a very good question. Because of their more recent French ancestry, it may have been harder to breed them to look like English bassets with rough coats. Those more refined French features would have been harder to eliminate, just as the “button-eyes” from  the outcrossed staffies were so hard to eliminate in the early colored bull terriers.

Bull terrier breeders did create a colored bull terrier that looked like the white ones, but it took several decades and a lot of infighting. Seeing as there was a debate within bassets about the bloodhound cross, it may have been that the questions about purity of the rough-coated dogs were simply battles that the basset hound fancy simply decided not to fight.


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