The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen's Origins and History Source: Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America. Country/Region of Origin: France Original purpose: hunting hare and birds Name: descended from Griffon Vendeen breed, which was named for the Vendeen, the area of France in which the breed originated, and called Griffon, meaning wiry; bred to be smaller (petit) and lower (basset). Historical notes: The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen breed, one of many small French hound breeds, goes back to the sixteenth century. The dog is descended from the Griffon Vendéen, which was larger. The breed was developed as a scenthound, used to trail and drive smaller animals, such as rabbit, hare and sometimes even birds.