The Grand Griffon Vendeen was developed to hunt wolves and boar, and the breed is primarily a hunting dog to this day. As is the case with many French hound breeds, the Grand Griffon Vendeen is virtually unknown outside of continental Europe. The breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), even as a Foundation Stock Service breed. However, there is a growing interest in this versatile and skilled hunting dog, and the Grand Griffon Vendeen was registered with the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1996.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen has been highly influential in the development of other dog breeds. The breed is the direct ancestor of the Briquet Griffon Vendeen and both Basset Griffon Vendeens. The Grand Griffon has been mixed with other hunting dogs to give them its wiry coat. Unlike the majority of large French hound breeds, the Grand Griffon Vendeen survived the French Revolution and both World Wars although the breed’s numbers heavily declined. As a result, the breed was used to reconstruct and save several other French breeds, most notably the Griffon Nivernais.
For more information on the history of this breed, please see the history section of the article on the Griffon Vendeen.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen looks similar in appearance to other wiry coated hound breeds. This is a large hound. Males are between 24½ and 27½ inches tall at the shoulder, and females are between 23½ and 25½ inches tall at the shoulder. These dogs typically weigh between 66 and 77 pounds, although the breed standard cares more about correct proportions than exact weights.
The most distinctive feature of the Grand Griffon Vendeen is the breed’s wiry coat. The fur should be coarse with a dense undercoat. This gives the dog protection from the elements, in particular water. The Grand Griffon Vendeen should never have a wooly coat. The Breed has pronounced eyebrows and a mustache, but these should never cover the dog’s eyes. The Grand Griffon Vendeen comes in many color varieties; white and black, white and orange, tricolor, fawn with black overlays, and traditional colors such as hare, wolf, badger, and wild boar. The dog should never be either solid white or solid black.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen is a well-proportioned breed which should be robust and solid without being heavy. These dogs are quite muscular, but this is not readily apparent as a result of their coats. The Grand Griffon Vendeen has a long tail that is normally held in an upright saber-like position, but should never curl around the back.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen is an intelligent and good-natured breed, although somewhat willful and independent. The Grand Griffon Vendeen is known for being a very affection breed with its family. These dogs also have a reputation for being good with children. The breed is typically friendly with non-threatening strangers and is rarely aggressive. Some members of the breed are known for being somewhat snappy and mouthy. When properly trained, exercised, stimulated, the Grand Griffon Vendeen can make a fine family companion animal.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen was bred to hunt in packs with dozens of other hounds. As a result, the breed is generally good with other dogs. If you are looking to add a dog to a household with existing canines, a Grand Griffon Vendeen may be a good choice for you. However, you should always use care and caution whenever you introduce new dogs to each other.
Although the Grand Griffon Vendeen is friendly with humans and other canines, the breed can show a high level of aggression to other creatures. This is a hunting dog through and through, and has been for many centuries. A Grand Griffon Vendeen can probably learn to coexist with cats and other small creatures if carefully socialized with them from a very young age. However, if you have cats or other animals, you should definitely think twice before acquiring a Grand Griffon Vendeen, especially if you are considering adopting an older animal.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen can be quite challenging to train. These dogs are known for being stubborn and willful. Like many hounds, the breed often has selective hearing and will choose to do what it wants, rather than what you want. This does not mean that the Grand Griffon Vendeen is untrainable or unintelligent, but it does mean that you will have to be extremely patient. You will have to spend a great deal more time and effort training a Grand Griffon Vendeen than you would with most breeds. Also be aware that you may never get the results that you want. If you are looking for a highly obedient breed, the Grand Griffon Vendeen is probably not the right choice for you.
The Grand Griffon Vendeen is a powerful athlete and an intelligent problem solver. These two characteristics combine to make the breed a talented escape artist. If you intend on leaving a Grand Griffon Vendeen without supervision for any length of time, you must make sure that the dog is properly contained. These dogs can get over even a six-foot tall fence quite easily, and are also more than capable of digging under a fence or just breaking right through.
As is the case with most hunting hounds, the Grand Griffon Vendeen requires a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs were bred to follow game for hours on end, solving problems along the way. If you do not meet your dog’s needs, it will probably become bored. A bored Grand Griffon Vendeen can become a real handful. These dogs can become destructive and vocal. These dogs are smart and strong enough to cause a great deal of damage, and loud enough to generate noise complaints. If you do not have the ability or willingness to provide a dog with thorough daily exercise, a Grand Griffon Vendeen is probably not the best breed for you.
The grooming requirements are fairly uniform across both types, please see the "Griffon Vendeen Main Page" for more information.