The Griffon Vendéen can be traced back to 16th century France and is now the only family of hounds that exists in four distinct sizes -
the Grand Griffon Vendeen, Briquet Griffon Vendéen, Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen and Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. It was not until the 19th century that the Basset Griffon Vendéen, the shorter-legged version of the Griffon Vendéen, increased in popularity in France.
From the late 19th into the early half of the 20th century in
France the breed was simply the Basset Griffon Vendéen,
recognising two types within the breed - “
One, from 34 to 38 cm, mostly with semi-crooked legs
(that is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen);
the other, from 38 to 42cm), which always had straight legs
(the Grand Basset GriffonVendeen)”.
During this time, the breed made enormous strides under successive generations of the Dezamy (also Desamy) family, when the nature and type of the varieties “Grand” and “Petit” were firmly defined and established. From 1907 until 1985 three generations of Desamys established the breeds, formed the Club du Griffon Vendéen, wrote the definitive breed standards and continuously served as Presidents of the club.
In the 1950s Abel Desamy set out to write a standard specifically for the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. This was not only based on the method of hunting and size but it recognised that evolution had led to two very different breeds. The aim was to give the PBGV its own identity. However, it had been common practice to interbreed both sizes, so it was not unusual to find Grands in Petit litters and vice versa, or at least significant characteristics. In 1972 steps were taken to stop interbreeding but it was not until 1977 when, with Hubert Desamy at the helm, it was officially banned by the French club.
Nowadays, there are very distinct differences between the two breeds, the main ones being that, compared with the GBGV,
The PBGV should be shorter in length of – muzzle,
ears, back (that is, more compact), legs and tail.
The History of the Basset Griffon Vendeen taken from: