The Briquet Griffon Vendéen is the third member of the Vendéen family. It has roughly the size of the Basset Griffon Vendéen, but with longer, straight and rather fine legs. Briquet in French means ‘medium sized’. They were derived from the Grand Griffon Vendéen and bred down to a smaller size by the Count of Elva to make them more versatile, easier to handle and better suited to hunt smaller animals. This down-scaling happened early last century and as such the Briquet Vendéen is not such an old breed.
During WW2, the breed got nearly extinct, but due to the efforts of Hubert Dezamy, a judge of dog shows who was in love with the Briquet, the surviving individuals were traced down and the breed was saved. Some will even argue that the briquet was bred back as a show dog rather than a hunting dog. It’s not a big wonder then, that the briquet is quite easy to train and far more obedient than his Grand brother. But mind you! The fact that they are still used as hunting dogs – and do a pretty decent job! – and that they are still griffons with a mighty nose slapped on, will not give you any warranty that they will come back when you call them once they run off after some scent.
The Briquet, in comparison to the Grand, can also be used to hunt smaller game like hare and rabbits beside wild boar, deer and other small game. However, in Spain, just like in Switzerland, France and Corsica, the Briquet Vendéen is actively used and specifically for hunting wild boar.
These griffons often hunt in packs – sometimes with other breeds – and work together while on the scent, but most of all to drive the boars out from hiding.
Because too many briquets do not do their job well enough, or because they walk off in distraction during a hunt, they often end up in pounds and shelters. In spite of their past as a hunting dog, they adapt amazingly well and fast to living in a home with people.
Briquets make great companions. They love to be with people, they are affectionate and like to cuddle. Also they are quite playful. They are easier to train than Grands. They are really good with children, have little aggression and they generally adapt well to living with cats, other dogs and whatever animals make up the household. As they are used to being around others and love to be with their person(s), teaching them to stay alone at home may need extra time and training.
The Briquet usually has a predominantly white coat, often with orange spots and sometimes also grayish, to dark grayish brown or even black spots. The coat is a bit coarse to the touch and can be slightly curly, so it needs disentangling every so often. Usually a brush down once a week should be enough to keep your dog’s coat look more or less tidy until it’s time to strip their coat. As they love digging and rolling in dirt, while the coarse hair of their coat traps dirt particles easily, they will often need a shower.
Briquets make great pets. They need exercise though, much more than his basset brothers that are a tad more lazy bums who consider lounging with their owner on the sofa all day also a great activity. Briquets like long walks where they can use their nose to sniff out their surroundings. Probably you will need to keep them on leash all the time, because they can’t help but to find out where that rabbit went, Some will like it a lot to play with a ball or some other toy, but because they have an innate need to hunt and trace you might also consider a course for nose work, man trailing or a training you and your briquet can learn to track wounded wildlife or lost pets. They can be quite successfully trained for these jobs!