While petit basset griffon Vendeens might look like particularly shaggy basset hounds, there's much more to them than meets the eye. They were originally bred in the Vendeen region of France, where their great sense of smell and long, low bodies made them invaluable scent hounds for hunting small game. Today, they're mainly kept as pets, but their history as working dogs means they're hardly low-maintenance pets.
Height and Weight
As the "petit" in their name suggests, petit basset griffon Vendeens are small dogs. They should measure between 13 and 15 inches to the withers, according to American Kennel Club breed standards. They should weigh roughly between 25 and 35 pounds, but correct proportions are more important than numbers on the scale. They should always be longer from their shoulder to the base of their tails than they are tall from the ground to their withers.
Coat and Color
Petit basset griffons have long -- but not overly long, rough coats, that should be wiry to the touch, never wooly or silky. Their coats should have a generally tousled appearance, with longer facial furnishings around the eyebrows and beard area. Their base color is white, but they can have markings of any kind in black, sable, orange, lemon, tricolor or grizzle. Historically, these markings would have made them more easy to see while out hunting.
Body and Conformation
While petit basset griffon Vendeens have long bodies, they should also be sturdy, with a good amount of bone. Their heads should be balanced and should be longer than they are wide by a ratio of roughly 2 to 1. Their necks should be long and strong, flowing gracefully into their shoulders. Their bodies should be well-muscled and compact, but not overly bulky. Their legs, from the elbows, should be a little more than half the total length from the withers to the ground.
Temperament and Requirements
According to AKC breed standards, petit basset griffon Vendeens should be outgoing, confident, friendly and independent but still eager to please their owners. They should never be aggressive or timid. Due to their origins as working dogs, they need a lot of exercise, despite their small size. If you don't walk them enough, they're likely to make their own fun, which often involves barking and chewing. They don't require lots of grooming, but they will need weekly combing to keep their coats tangle-free.