Hunting with the

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

d’ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?
d’ye ken John Peel at the break of day?
d’ye ken John Peel when he’s far, far away,
with his hounds and his horn in the morning?
-anon., "John Peel"


There are four varieties of Griffon Vendéen hunting hounds: the Grand Griffon, suitable for hunting deer and boar; the Briquet, suitable for hunting deer and fox; the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen more suited to the hare; and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen which is the smallest of the Griffon Vendéen hound family and ideally suited to hunting hare or rabbit in the harshest terrain. As with all the Griffon Vendéen hounds, they are passionate hunters with great courage and tenacity.

This passion can also get the best of them and manifest itself as unruliness---a trait of most of the Griffons. They are best worked as a single, brace or in small packs. Their independent nature and poor packing instinct make them difficult to control in large packs. Physically and mentally tough, they are not deterred by thorns, rough terrain or outside distractions - their tenacity is unequalled. They are very clever at figuring out the tricks of the quarry and, coupled with their speed, they are well suited to hunting with or without a gun. It is often said the PBGV is almost too fast for his nose.

As with many other scent hounds, his voice is quite loud for his size and can be heard for great distances. He uses this voice a little more freely than other hounds, and one can easily distinguish the different tones he uses and what they signify. There is no mistaking the tone of his voice when he is hot on the trail of fresh quarry, or just speaking of yesterday’s news. His scenting abilities are said to be superior to many hounds. Some have also been used to flush and retrieve birds.
Cachet A breeder can make a difference in the dogs he chooses to breed.   All my hounds are used for hunting, we keep and breed our best to fine-tune their skills.  They must possess a willingness to please. There is no pleasure in hunting if you are always looking for, or yelling at, your hound. Secondly, they must all possess the drive and desire. This can be easily lost through indiscriminate breeding. Lastly, they must all possess their inherent keen scenting ability. Generation after generation, we breed for these qualities to produce a good working hound so it has the potential to become a great one.
Chaparral's Cachet
Never rush and make judgments on a young hound. He should be given at least two to three seasons to perfect his skills. The style he develops after all our careful planning varies from dog to dog but he should never be mistaken for, or likened to, anything other than what he is - - a Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen hound.

"Ever consider what they must think of us? I mean, here we
                       come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul-
                       chicken, pork, half cow. They must think we’re the greatest
                       hunters on earth!"—Anne Tyler

Hunting Hounds

doing what they do best!

The sport of rabbit hunting has been around as long as mankind. In the beginning it was a necessity to put food on the table whereas nowadays, although many still enjoy a good rabbit meal, going rabbit hunting with your hound  is done for the simple pleasure of watching a hound work.  The goal is no longer to catch the rabbit, but to test the skills and abilities of the hound(s).the nose knows

Developing and putting to use a good rabbit hound has been an artform which has been dabbled in in every country.  TheBeagles of Britain, the Drevers of Sweden, the Podengos of Portuguese and the Bassets of France.  Almost every country has developed a specific breed of dog for hunting their type of rabbit on their native terrain in their unique environment.

I can’t think of many things more enjoyable than strolling out with a couple of hounds just shortly after dawn, with the sunrise sparkling off the lingering dew and a fog still blanketing the hilltops, or after a fresh falling of snow precariously clinging to all the tree branches, bent slightly under the weight, and the air smelling so clean you don’t think you can breath deep enough. The only tracks you see are the hounds’ going this way and that,and the only sound you hear is the snuffling and snorting coming from their noses. You are serene in the peacefulness yet still waiting with great anticipation for that first “yip” that splits the silence then explodes into an exciting chorus of notes.  Soon you distinguish what type of game they have flushed and how close they are on its’ heals.  Standing still you watch and listen to seewhat pattern the rabbit has decided to weave and how well thehounds are playing their part.  If you are lucky, you glimpse therabbit darting by and you hold your breath waiting for the hounds to run by along the same route.  Around and around they all go until finally the labyrinth becomes too confusing for the hounds to follow or the rabbit goes to ground and ends the chase.

CKC Field Trial


The one that got away....................                                     

 02/2001  Rex, Nick
The one that didn't!

Jigsaw and Nixie
I  hunt on foot with the hounds.  Above are  some of my hounds, the Petits Bassets Griffons Vendéens and the Deerhounds.  Although the Petit is capable of catching a rabbit on his own or with the help of his teammates the Deerhound is much faster and if often the first to the rabbit if the rabbit moves into open space.  But, the Deerhound cannot penetrate the thick bush so it is necessary for the Petits to find the rabbit then continually push the rabbit around and around into open areas in order for the Deerhound to be effective.  Since the Petits are working in the thickest of bush, you must listen to the voice of the Petits to get a fix on exactly where they are pushing the rabbit and at what point it could possibly be intercepted.  The more Petits you have out working an area ,the more likelihood of them out-maneuvering the rabbit.

The Deerhound is also our deer sentinal and our coyote watchdog.  I work the hounds in a area of about 500 acres which is also home to a huge deer and coyote population.  The deer are a nuisance and some of the Petits will need to be broke from chasing them, while others never bother picking up on them.  The coyotes have chased several of our hounds and the hounds now have a healthy respect for them.  I know immediately if they have run into a coyote when all my Petits are gathered closely at my feet when I haven't even called them in!

03/2004    Susan with Reglisse & Nixie
The last rabbit of the season goes to train the puppies.

If you are interested in starting your  puppy or adult  in the field I have composed a page of some helpful tips in:
Training For The Field


Hounds and Packs I Know and Respect

This is the Ryefor Chase.  It is the private pack of 30 hounds owned by  Nick Valentine in Britain.  The pack is comprised of pure and cross-bred Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen hounds, as well as a couple of Dachshunds.  They hunt hare and fox in the southwest of England.  I have been out with the pack and had the most extraordinary time watching the pack thoroughly search the corn fields for fox, which were in abundance.  Afterwards a stop at the local pub ended a perfect day.

     The Tewkesbury Foot Bassets

This is one of the finest large pack of pure Basset Hounds I've had the pleasure of walking out with.  Several times they have visited Ontario to hunt hare and an exciting run was always had.
There is no comparing these athletes to the Basset Hounds in the conformation rings.

The Skycastle Pack is a pack of rough-coated Bassets and Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  We have been down to see them work and had a wonderful day of hunting the the thick bush of the area.  Jim Scharnberg is the Huntsman and owner of this private pack that meet once a week during the season.


1990 French Nationals - M.Mounac's pack "La Belle Musique" kennel

Although I have never had the pleasure of joining M. Mounac and his hounds, I have admired the work of his hounds in the French Field Trials from afar.  At the French Nationals I have had the opportunity to see his hounds win much recognition for their conformation proving beauty and brains are possible.

There are several working kennels in France that have also caught my eye and admiration.  Join the Griffon Vendeen Club of France to see results and critiques of hounds at the latest hunting trials.

We will be continually updating this page as I collect more hound stories and photos from friends around the world.

Hunting Links

  Hunting in France 
  The Drever Hound
The American Rabbit Hound Association
  Hounds & Hunting
  Women Hunters
  Small Pack Option - although this site deals with beagles and beaglers, it offers
        lots of information for anyone wanting to learn about your rabbit dog, rabbit hunting
        and the how-tos.  There are chat rooms, vet page, question & answer pages, great
        working beagle site links, as well as some interesting recipes!
Basset Bleu de Gascongne & French Bassets - Hunting Dogs
  Ma Chasse
       - audio of the Trompes de Chasse & artwork

     La Federation des Trompes de France
Krut's Kennel - Sweden
         -pictures of working Petits in Sweden

    Rabbit Hunting Net




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