This little dog gives a whole French lesson with his big name: Petit means "small," basset means "low to the ground," griffon means "shaggy-faced" (about dogs, in any language), and Vendée is the area of France that he comes from. The breed is usually nicknamed Petit or PBGV.
Petits have been known in the United States only since the 1980s. But their raggedy looks, small size, and sparky personality have won them many admirers. Though Basset is part of his name, he is not like a Basset Hound. He is more like a terrier; curious and busy, determined and smart. The Petits need plenty of exercise and attention.
The Petit carries his tail high in the air, swinging it back and forth like a sword. He has big, dark eyes and a happy, mischievous expression behind his bushy eyebrows. His coat is harsh to the touch, not soft or silky. He is mostly white with lemon, orange, black, or a mixture of colors.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: A bold and lively character; compact, tough and robust. Casual in appearance, but always alert.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--males and females, 13 to 15 inches. Somewhat longer than tall.
This French hunting dog was bred to track down rabbits and other small prey. His harsh, wiry coat allows him to go into briars and brambles without getting scratched. His cousin is the Grand (large) Basset Griffon Vendéen. The Grands were used to hunt down larger prey such as deer and wolves.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.