They look like what they are . . . sweet, fun, active, smart, independent. If
you like everything in its place, this is not the breed for you. First and
foremost these are a hunting scent-hound to the core. Their nose still
guides them and their fast pace takes them off and away before their brains
(or your rules) kick in. They need exercise, control and something to keep
their interest. They are not a retriever breed, although some enjoy bringing
the object back, most figure once they go after it, they should get to keep it.
PBGVs love people, children and other dogs, but they are not a dog that will
quietly curl up in your lap. Mine always know where I am, but as long as
that's the case, they are likely to be in the next room hunting up mischief or
This is generally a healthy breed. It is important to keep their fast-growing
nails trimmed and the long ears clean -- especially in the summer. Mine show
some minor allergies during the St. Louis summers -- as do most breeds
here -- generally some eye discharge, excess ear gunk and a little itching.
They need enough exercise to keep in trim condition and I recommend
thyroid testing at age 2, unless there is an indication before that. Thyroid
problems are not prevalent, but have appeared, and getting an affected dog
onto correct medication early can make a big difference in effects. In my
opinion, any dog with a thyroid condition should be spayed or neutered
immediately. I believe that low thyroid has a strong effect on a dog's
temperament, as well as physical condition (coat loss, weight problems, etc.).
Meds are not expensive and control the effects well.
These are fun dogs in the show rings -- whether conformation, obedience,
rally or agility. They learn quickly, but they will always keep you guessing!
It's not really in their nature to be "precision" dogs, but they like the
one-on-one work and want to please.
Always crate-train your PBGV. Their self-entertainment tendencies can get
them into big trouble if they aren't supervised. Crate training assures their
safety, protects your prized possessions and helps your vet treat them,
should they ever need to spend time at the vet's office, since they will feel
safe and secure in the crate and it won't add unnecessary stress to the
situation. Dogs in crates are also more welcome at hotels when traveling.
The PBGV is naturally a tousled, rough-coated breed. They have a dual
coat, a fairly easy-care coarse coat and a soft, protective undercoat. They
need to be combed through weekly to clean out the undercoat and make
sure it doesn't mat. Additional brushing will help reduce shedding. The coat
is designed to protect the dog through harsh hunting conditions, easily pulling
out in brambles rather than snagging the dog in such rough ground. Thus
there is a certain amount of shedding to be expected, but the brushing helps
manage it. Everyone's tolerance level is different, but expect dog hair to
show on your black clothes! Otherwise the coat tends to stay pretty clean
and these are not smelly dogs. Under normal conditions a monthly bath will
suffice although a washcloth to the beard helps between baths. Your
breeder should demonstrate any additional grooming needs, such as
trimming the hair between the foot pads and cleaning teeth.