Meet the Basset Breeds

The Grand  Basset Griffon Vendéen

The Years Before GBGVs Arrived in the UK

With GBGVs well established in some European countries, it wasn't until 1989, twenty years after the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen arrived in England that the first Grand came into quarantine.  However the years beforehand were significant in the run-up to its appearance on UK soil.

The first PBGVs that arrived in England were initially registered by the Kennel Club as Bassets Griffons Vendéens - this was because they were registered as such in France.  In 1979, work was continuing on a KC format Breed Standard, commenced the year before - but, rather than a Standard specifically for the Petit, the question arose of one Standard incorporating both sizes of BGV.  An old 1920s French BGV standard formed the basis of the draft.
The following year doubts were expressed over one Standard covering both Grand and Petit, especially as UK judges would only be seeing the Petit.  Also, the Kennel Club pointed out there was no need to register another breed with them which did not at that time exist in England.  Despite this and bearing in mind the club name - and that Grands Bassets would doubtless one day arrive in England - the committee felt it had a duty to look after the interests of both breeds and sought to resolve this by re-submitting the 1979 draft BGV Standard with a few amendments.
1980 draft BGV Standard
The Kennel Club was aware of substantial differences between the Grand and Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, saying these could not be incorporated into the one Standard. In 1981 they did, however, agree to change the breed name of the smaller variety already in the country from the meaningless "Basset Griffon Vendéen" to "Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen" so that as and when the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen arrived, it could be registered as such.

With this important anomaly ironed out, the way was paved for urgent preparation of a PBGV Standard for submission to the KC. This task was hastened by needing to overcome association of the word "basset" in the breed name with the traditional Basset Hound and a failure by many to appreciate that "basset" signified less height in relation to the other Griffon Vendéen hounds. It was realised this would be even more important on arrival of the GBGV to the UK.
 
In 1986 the KC agreed that the club could retain the name Basset Griffon Vendéen Club, with its activities restricted to the PBGV - and the Grand Basset, when it arrived in the country. The following year, established PBGV breeder Nicholas Frost, who took over from Joan Wells-Meacham the running the Clipperdown Cottage kennels in Hertfordshire, negotiated buying a GBGV bitch from Jolanda Huisman's du Greffier du Roi kennels in Holland. She had owned both Grands and Petits Bassets Griffons Vendéens since 1978, starting with a Grand female and Petit male. Success at the 1980 French Nationale d'Élevage with a GBGV had helped her decision to specialise in Grands.
The pick of litter bitch, Bien Venue at Dehra, went into the ownership of Nick Frost and Vivien Phillips who in 1985 had joined him at Clipperdown;  and another, Bon Hommie at Dehra, went to Val Jackson and Peter Marks.
 
The following year, 1991, Nick Frost and Vivien Phillips arranged to buy Efficace du Roc de Deymier (Diamant du Roc de Deymier ex Arima du Roc de Deymier) from Yves Audouy in France. She was born on 14 July 1989.  Although in whelp to Eros des Erondes de Peussifier when coming into quarantine, tragically she lost all six pups at around two weeks of age.  However she later produced five sizeable litters in the UK.
 
Interim GBGV Standard 1991

The Arrival of GBGVs in the UK

Two years later, in 1989, I'm Dutch du Greffier du Roi (Hennessy Cognac Du Greffier du Roi ex Et Caetera du Greffier Du Roi) arrived in UK quarantine, in whelp to Int/Dk/Ned Ch Dampierre du Greffier du Roi, who had been used extensively at stud in Denmark, producing several champions.
Four pups were born on 10 February 1989 but, following the early deaths of some of them, including the promising Dehra Ambassador, only one - a bitch - went on to appear regularly at shows in the early 1990s. Dehra Allo Allo owned by Lynne Owens (Jaclin) was the first GBGV to be campaigned widely.
 
 
 

Int/Dk/Ned Ch Dampierre du Greffier du Roi

I'm Dutch du Greffier du Roi

Lynne Owens with a young
Dehra Allo Allo

Although the BGV Club had been formed specifically to cater for both sizes of Basset Griffon Vendéen, in 1990 the Kennel Club placed the GBGV on the newly introduced Import Register rather than granting breed status. Fifty registrations were needed before consideration would be given to taking the breed off this register and the club discouraged indiscriminate breeding to achieve this number.
Colin & Dianne Poole (Peterstown) and Nick Frost (Dehra) brought Ned Ch Halou Baba de Greffier du Roi into UK quarantine at Ryslip Kennels, on loan from Jolanda Huisman in Holland. Her sire was Rudhy du Val d'Orbieu, her dam Et Caetera du Greffier Du Roi.  On 30 November 1990 she had a litter sired by Int/Dk/Ned Ch Dampierre du Greffier du Roi.  Adult height varied from 39-63cm.
 
A male, Budweiser, was chosen to go to Peterstown, while another male, Billy Jo Peterstown, went to Miss Sue French.
 
 

Ned Ch Halou Baba du Greffier du Roi

Budweiser Peterstown

A young Bien Venue at Dehra

In July 1991 the interim Breed Standard was published, taking into consideration the FCI Standard but based mainly on the earlier BGV one, with wording in line with KC format.
 
The Kennel Club agreed that the BGV Club could hold classes for Grands at their 1992 open show. These, however, were to be classified as Import Register.  As well as PBGVs, Yvonne Dean (Deanound) had the honour of judging the three Grands entered in two classes. They were Frost & Phillips' Bien Venue at Dehra, Poole's Budweiser Peterstown and the orange and white Dehra Allo Allo who went Best of Breed (Best Import Register).  With Import Register breeds unable to compete further, the Grand could not challenge the Best of Breed PBGV for Best in Show.
FCI GBGV Standard 1997
On 31 October 1992 at the BGV Club's 5th Championship Show, Grands were represented for the first time in Import Register by the same three and Evan Roberts (Varon) also awarded BOB to Dehra Allo Allo.
 
During the year, a Billy Jo Peterstown ex Efficace du Roc de Deymier litter of nine was born on 31 August - co-bred by Nick Frost and Vivien Phillips. This introduced several newcomers to the breed: - Pam Aldous (now Aldous-Town) (Sweetdean) had Chanaan, the Checketts (Cavanero) Cassoulet, Val Jackson and Peter Marks (Duntech) had Cherie to join Bon Hommie.  Charlotte went to Stella Blackmore (Melanter) in Scotland.

Dehra Charlotte

Dehra Chanaan, Cassoulet and Cherie, BGV Club Open Show 1993 

In 1993. following a mating in Sweden between Mise-en-Scène du Greffier du Roi (I'm Dutch daughter) and Amour du Roc de Deymier, a young male, Qu-Pid du Greffier du Roi, born 10 February 1992, arrived in quarantine in the UK.
He became a useful stud dog and, later that year, sired the Dehra "D" litter of seven by Efficace. He also sired a litter of ten, born on 28 December 1993, for Lynne Owen's Dehra Allo Allo. From this, two went to Elaine King (now Dennis-Skuce) (Kandecx) one of which was Jaclin Indecent Exposure. Mixed Blessings went to to Pam Aldous (Sweetdean) and, another, Dolores Claiborne went to vet Trevor Turner and his wife Jean (Jayantees).
Just before the death of Yves Audouy, there was a further import, Ned Ch Flambeur du Roc de Deymier (César du Roc de Deymier ex Altesse du Roc de Deymier). Born 9 October 1990, having arrived into UK quarantine in 1993 from the French des Rives de la Garonne kennels, he became Top Import Register All Breeds 1994 for Vivien Phillips. He also took BOB at the BGV Club Championship Show under John Miller (France).

Elaine King with Jaclin Indecent Exposure

Ned Ch Flambeur du Roc de Deymier

 In 1994 the Dehra "E" litter (Ned Ch Flambeur du Roc de Deymier ex Bien Venue at Dehra) attracted more into the breed with Esprit d'Amour going to Dr Jessica Holm (Holmchappell) as as her foundation bitch and Ebats to Mich & Sue Virgo (Sumahari), though the handsome Esperance remained at Clipperdown.  The following year there were two further imports. Vivien Phillips obtained Jolanda du Hamel de la Renaudie (Fr Ch Grognon du Hamel de la Renaudie ex Abelle des Erondes de Peussifier) from Renaud Buche; and Val Jackson and Peter Marks imported a bitch from M. Raffy in France - Joie de Vivre du Clos de Montpezat (Archimede des Erondes de Peussifier ex Clochette des Erondes de Peussifier), who sadly never had puppies.
 
 

Dehra Esperance

Joie de Vivre du Clos de Monpezat

Alongside litters being produced at Clipperdown, 1995 also saw those who were amongst the first to have a GBGV starting to breed themselves. 
On 31 January Bon Hommie at Dehra produced a litter of seven for Val Jackson and Peter Marks.  Although she was too tall at 52cm, the sire, Dehra Chanaan at Sweetdean, was 41cm and average litter size turned out to be 43-46cm.

A good representation of the breed, East of England Championship Show 1995
L-R Elaine King, Val Jackson, Vivien Phillips, Pam Aldous, Julie Shelton, Jean Turner

Bon Hommie at Dehra

From this “A” litter, the aptly named Audouy, who went to Julie Shelton (Pommeraie), was subsequently used to produce in 1998 some nice youngsters out of Dehra Cherie who was 40cm, and all progeny were 42-45cm in height.   One of these was Duntech Cadeau, who joined Bellette at Kantilou.
 
In Scotland, on 21 April 1995, Stella Blackmore’s had her first litter of four from Qu-Pid du Greffier du Roi ex Dehra Charlotte at Melanter and Athos appeared in the ring.  
Jaclin Mixed Blessings at Sweetdean went BOB at the BGV Club Championship Show on 28 October 1995, where the entry had risen to 17.  The judge was Adele Walton Haddon.
 
 

Val Jackson with Dehra Cherie, judge Phil Freer, 1997

Pam Aldous with Jaclin Mixed Blessings
at Sweetdean

The "F" litter born on 23 November1994 (Qu-Pid du Greffier du Roi ex Efficace du Roc de Deymier) were the last Dehra Grands to be bred in the UK as, in 1995, Nick Frost went to live in America taking Dehra stock with him.   Vivien Phillips subsequently obtained her own kennel name of Debucher and, on 23 September 1995, the first Debucher litter was born (Qu-Pid du Greffier du Roi ex Efficace du Roc de Deymier).  This included Gaston who went to Basset breeder, Bill O’Loughlin (Bassbarr).
 
A litter of five, born on 29 December 1995 from a mating between Dehra Esperance and Dehra Degage, who was from an earlier Qu-Pid-Efficace breeding, attracted others and several were shown lightly.  One bitch, Haute Couture, went into the partnership of Roger Stock and Vivien Phillips.  Another, Heureuse d'Etre Monkhams, went to Linda Skerritt; a dog, Hermes Autour, to Linda Millar (now Mackenzie) (Limier) and Hercule Poire Eau to the Crocketts. This litter, co-bred with Julie Shelton, had no prefix but the Debucher suffix was added to the sire Esperance and to Haute Couture and Hermes Autour. The year ended with seeing many new owners, though some did not stay in the breed for any length of time. 
 
 
On 9 May 1996 Val Jack and Peter Marks' "B" litter of nine was born sired by Dehra Ebats.  The dam was Dehra Cherie.  Beau Geste went to Mick and Sue Virgo, Bellette to Lou and Tina Parker (Kantilou)  and they kept two themselves - Bavard and Berlingot, who both appeared in the show-ring. 
That year Vivien Phillips' Bien-Fait du Greffier du Roi (Rendez-Vous du Greffier du Roi ex Pourquoi Pas du Greffier du Roi) was the first GBGV to enter the country under the Balai Directive.  He was born on 9 April 1995.  He went on to be a prolific stud dog, siring fourteen litters.  Pups from some of these were to introduce others to the breed.
 
 

Val Jackson with Duntech Bavard and Peter Marks with Duntech Berlingot, 1998

With strictly controlled conditions, this avoided six months quarantine and the facility encouraged new imports, including Bill O'Loughlin's brother and sister GBGVs, Entre Nous and En Avant du Greffier du Roi (Dehra Extra Ordinaire ex Oh La La du Greffier du Roi).  When mated to Debucher Gaston, on 27 November 1997 En Avant produced the Bassbarr "A" litter of ten.
 
From a mating between Flambeur du Roc de Deymier and Dehra Favorite, two of the litter born on 4 December 1996, Debucher Karess and Debucher Karisma, went respectively to Jan Pain (Ravensbeech) and Linda Lewis (Tangaer). Karess went on to have two litters for Ravensbeech, the first of which included her successful Bayeux, who was born on 4 November 2000.  Another from this litter, Beau Geste, went to Stella Blackmore.  The sire was Debucher Jaromir.

Linda Lewis with Debucher Karisma at Tangaer,1998

Although Debucher was an undisputed dominant influence in GBGVs and Debucher males contributed towards helping other breeders to estasblish themselves, around this time several new enthusiasts were introduced to the Grand via early Dehra and Jaclin lines and subsequently Kandecx Grands produced by Elaine King (now Dennis-Skuce).
 
 
Never shown, in 1996 Sue Birney's first Grand was Kandecx Excuse My French (Dehra Chanaan at Sweetdean ex Jaclin Indecent Exposure at Kandecx), born on 28 October 1995.
 
Her next GBGV, Kandecx Dalwhinnie at Silvamoon (Dehra Esperance de Debucher ex Jaclin Indecent Exposure at Kandecx), born on 26 March 1997, set Silvamoon on the road to success both in the show-ring and as a foundation bitch.  On 9 July 1999, Dalwhinne produced a litter of six sired by Ebats, from which she kept Sancerre.

Kandecz Excuse My French at Silvamoon

Kandecz Dalwhinnie at Silvamoon

Amongst others to enter the breed with pups from the Kandecx "French" litter of ten were Chris Kobuta with Kandecx French Revolution at Grandeeaire and Sue Marshall who, with husband Nick, had French Bon Bon.  On 25 January 1999, she produced nine puppies, sired by Dehra Ebats.  From this litter they kept the well known dog, La Toc Lightening, who went on to sire four litters.
 
 
 
 

Sue Marshall with Kandecz French
Bon Bon at Soufrière, 1998

Sue Marshall with Soufrière La Toc Lightening

Silvamoon Sancerre

Having been removed from the Import Register from 1 January 1997, May that year saw the first club open show to schedule GBGVs in their own right. The judge was Jim Makin (Ekoz). Best of Breed went to Jaclin Mixed Blessings at Sweetdean.  Later that year Dehra Allo Allo went BOB at Hound Association Championship Show, the first to classify the breed.  The judge was Jolanda Huisman (du Greffier du Roi). The same award came at the BGV Club championship show in October that year, where there were 25 GBGVs entered for judge Vivien Phillips.
1989-1997 Foundation GBGV
 Owners/Breeders

The First Decade

Removal from the Import Register encouraged more and more Open Shows to mount classes for GBGVs, or they swelled the Not Separately Classified classes.  Several Grands achieved Reserve Best in Show, such as Peter Marks & Val Jackson's Dehra Cherie at the Swindon show  but it was only twelve days into 1997 when Vivien Phillips' Dehra Esperance de Debucher went BIS under Peter Jolley at Buckinghamshire Canine Society. Remarkably she followed this up the following year by going RBIS at the same show with Bien Fait du Greffier du Roi.

Bien Fait du Greffier du Roi, RBIS Bucks CS, 1998, judge Geir Flyckt-Pedersen

Dehra Cherie, RBIS  Swindon Open Show,  1997,
under judge Ann Arch

Dehra Esperance de Debucher, BIS Bukinghamshire CS, 1997, 
judge Peter Jolley

In 1998 GBGVs appeared for the first time at Crufts where they by far outnumbered other breeds in the Not Separately Classified Hound classes.  From the 30 Grands entered, Anne Macdonald awarded Best of Breed to Jessica Holm's 3yr old Dehra Esprit d'Amour.

This year also saw Vivien Phillips impressing on breeders the need to inform their buyers of any litters born to parents carrying the long-legged genes. She said, being a "basset" breed, over-sized Grands should not be allowed to dominate.  The planned introduction in France of an upper limit of 43cms for bitches and 44cms for dogs (with a further upper tolerance of 1cm) helped re-inforce this.
 

Crufts 1998 - AVNSC Hound Post Graduate Bitch, Peter Marks with Duntech Berlingot and Linda Skerritt with Heureuse d'Etre Monkhams

Crufts 1998 - Mike Gadsby handling Jessica Holm's Dehra Esprit d'Amour in the Hound Group

A long-legged GBGV

After their fleeting appearance in NSC, the following year GBGVs had their own classes at Crufts for the first time. The judge was Kari Jarvinen (Finland) who, from an entry of 36, awarded Best of Breed to Vi Mochan's Melanter Fetlar (Dehra Esperance de Debucher ex Dehra Charlotte at Melanter), born on 8 August 1996 and bred by Stella Blackmore.  Best Opposite Sex was Yvonne Dean's Jaclin Bewitched for Deanound (Dehra Chanaan at Sweetdean ex Dehra Allo Allo) handled by Rose Phillips.

Vi Mochan with Melantar Fetlar, 1997

First breed classes at Crufts 1999 - BOB Melantar Fetlar, BOS Jaclin Bewitched at Deanound

Around this time further newcomers joined the breed.  Some stayed only a few years but undoubtedly made a contribution when breeding several litters.  During the period 1997-2001, the Leverett's Jaclin Abracadabra at Tasway (Dehra Chanaan at Sweetdean ex Dehra Allo Allo), born on 14 June 1995, produced three litters, two sired by Bien Fait, one by Esperance.  In October that year Kandecx French Kiss was born (Dehra Chanaan at Sweetdean ex Jaclin Indecent Exposure at Kandecx), evenutally going to K Boothe (Booleska).  She produced one Kandecx litter in 1997 and two for Booleska in 1998 and 2001.
 
Bassbarr Berceuse (Debucher Gaston ex Utopie du Greffier du Roi), born on 26 February 1998,  went to Sara Lefley.  When mated to Kandecx Elvis On Stage, in June 2001 she produced a litter of five for Nicsar.  From this litter the Lefley's Flame of Tara went on to produce two litters for them.  Born in 1999 and 2000, Holmchappell Hellzapoppin (Bien Fait du Greffier du Roi ex Dehra Esprit d'Amour) and Holmhappel Dutch Ado (Debucher Jaromir ex Kalipha du Greffier du Roi) went to David & Ursula Fitches as their first GBGVs at Durena.  Dutch Ado produced two litters. 
Others remain stalwarts to this day, some preferring to own and show consistently, some whose foundation bitches led them to create their own successful lines.
In 1998 Debucher Oh La La (Bien Fait du Greffier du Roi ex Dehra Embrasser at Darsoms) went to Anita Roberts.  When mated with Dehra Esperance de Debucher in 2002, she produced the Tioga A litter.  From A La Mode, in 2004 came the B litter, sired by Nireau du Barbillot des Maladières.
In 1998 Ray and Barbara Milton's first GBGV for Wilmit was Tasway Honcho (Bien Fait Du Greffier Du Roi ex Jaclin Abracadabra at Tasway), born on 11 August. 
Shortly after, he was joined by Debucher Utopie at Wilmit (Debucher Jaromir ex Debucher Libertine), born on 4 August 1999.  When mated to Nireau du Barbillot des Maladières, her first litter in 2002 produced their Wilmit Altesse.

Debucher Oh La La for Tioga

Barbara Milton with Debucher Utopie at Wilmit, 2005

In 2000 Colin and Ann Makey (Gairside) began their long association with the breed by acquiring Dalwhinnie's litter brother, Kandecx Old Huckleberry (Dehra Esperance de Debucher ex Jaclin Indecent Exposure at Kandecx) who was born on 26 March 1997. 
And just into the turn of the century, born on 1 April 2001, Melanter Toot a Loo (Melanter Fetlar from Stepends ex Bassbarr Posh Spice from Melanter) was the first GBGV in the Tarmachan household.  She became a Champion and Irish Champion and went BIS at the BGV Club Championship Show 2009.
 
She had two litters, for Fiona Buchanan and Mike MacLaren, the second of which in 2006 produced their successful Ch/Ir Ch Tarmachan Arc-en-Ciel.  The sire was Surcouf de l'Oustal Viel.

Ann Makey with Kandecx Old Huckleberry at Gairside

Fiona Buchanan with Melanter Toot a Loo of Tarmachan, 2009

Just in Time to Make History

At the end of 1999, registrations of the breed since the first litter was born in quarantine in 1989 were catalogued  in the BGV Club newsletter by Peter Marks, showing numbers published up to the end of June that year.  43 litters had been born sired by 14 different males and 296 registered (including 12 imports).  Average litter size was 6.88 and, in spite of individual variation between sexes in the litters, there were almost equal numbers of males and females.
 
 
In 2003 the Kennel Club indicated they would give GBGVs championship status but they were unable to say in which year.  Moving towards finalising the Standard, amendments to the interim were presented at the 2004 AGM but several points needed clarification.  These and members' subsequent comments were reviewed.   Given the importance of the matter, the committee decided to hold an open meeting to finalise proposed changes.  In preparation for this, Linda Skerritt reviewed members' comments and researched the FCI Standard seeking to be faithful to the Standard of the country of origin and taking the opportunity to differentiate clearly between the Grand and Petit Standard. 
 
Following the Open Meeting on 16 January 2005, the proposed Standard was presented to the AGM  at Warwick on 10 April. Chairman, Phil Freer, and Linda Skerritt explained the presentation which incorporated small alterations to facilitate early approval by the Kennel Club.  Members present voted unanimously in favour of the final version.
FCI GBGV Standard 2001
FCI GBGV Standard 2001
in KC format
2005 membership approved GBGV Standard
Following submission to the Kennel Club, in October 2005 the club secretary, Mrs Yvonne Dean, heard back from them advocating minor changes.  These were mostly agreed and the KC issued the final Standard on 1 January 2006, just in time for the first CCs to be awarded at Crufts on 10 March that year.
 
There, judge Dr Jessica Holm award DCC and BOB to Vivien Phillips and Jolanda Huisman's Ned / Ger Ch Debucher Le Barbu and BCC to Vivien Phillips and grand-daughter Amelia's Debucher Sauve Qui Peut.
2005 GBGV
Standard proposed by KC
2006 GBGV
final Standard

Vivien Phillips with Ned / Ger Ch Debucher Le Barbu, judge Jessica Holm and  Vivien Phillips' daughter, Meredith Theodorou, handling Debucher Sauve Qui Peut