History of the Breed
Most of the hunting hounds of Europe descended from the stock commonly known as the Saint Hubert of France during 700 AD. By the 15th century, the developement of hunting hounds in France had taken on real distinctions and were divided into breeds. Some of those breeds were known as Griffon Vendeen, Artois, Normand, Bleaude Gascogne, and Fauve de Bretance. From these large hounds came hounds of the same basic makeup but that were low-set, heavier in limb than their larger counterparts and yet still serve a purpose in the hunting field. That purpose was the slow trailing of deer and other large game.
Later the lower set hounds were put to work hunting the smaller game that was available; i.e. hare, game birds, etc. The low-set hounds breeds became known by the names given to their larger relatives mentioned earlier.
Therefore, by the 16th century the basset (meaning to set) breeds became known as Basset Griffon Vendeen, Basset Artois, Basset Normand, Basset Bleau de Gascogne, and Basset Fauve de Bretange. In France, two strains became very popular. These were the Couteulx and the Lane basset strains. Along the line several different combinations were added to the gene pool also. Beagle and Bloodhound were among the new blood.
Through all of this, our beloved breed was actually developed and flourished into the breed known around the world as the Basset Hound. Not at all the little French hound that so many assume to be, instead a large, though low, hunter that could do a great job in the field or in the ring.
In fact, in North America, the Basset Hound has gone from field and pack hunter to show hound, obedience, tracking, movie, and tv personality to a couch potato. And it retains the ability to perform all functions with superior quality.
General Description of the Breed
The Basset Hound is a hunting dog. He was bred for hunting small game. He is a scent hound. He follows ground-held scent or that of trodden foliage that has been bruised by the game in retreat.
The Basset Hound is used primarily for hunting rabbit although he is successful in hunting other small game. The Basset’s long ears were developed to stir up the scent for his large nose to smell. The folds of skin under the chin, called the dewlap, are for trapping and holding the scent.
His large feet give him steadiness and his heavy bone is to make him sturdy. His short legs enable the hunter to follow him apace on foot. The Basset Hound must have a great lung capacity and large, strong heart so that he can track game for long periods of time.
Basset Hounds were historically hunted in large packs, however nowadays, Basset Hounds are usually hunted in pairs, called a brace. They are expected to have the endurance and stamina to hunt day after day in widely varying terrain, often with dense undergrowth and in all weather conditions that permit hunting small game.
The Basset Hound is one of the very few breeds for which there is substantial competition in all four sectors of the sport: field trialing, tracking, obedience and conformation. The Basset Hound, as you can readily see, is a very different sort of dog. While he is so often referred to as the clown of the canine world, the reasons for this strange, distorted frame are the very reasons why soundness is so important to his very survival.
The Basset Hound possesses in marked degree those characteristics which equip it admirably to follow a trail over and through difficult terrain. It is a short-legged dog, heavier in bone, size considered, than any other breed of dog, and while its movement is deliberate, it is in no sense clumsy. In temperament it is mild, never sharp or timid. It is capable of great endurance in the field and is extreme in its devotion.
The head is large and well proportioned. Its length from occiput to muzzle is greater than the width at the brow. In overall appearance the head is of medium width. The skull is well domed, showing a pronounced occipital protuberance. A broad flat skull is a fault. The length from nose to stop is approximately the length from stop to occiput. The sides are flat and free from cheek bumps. Viewed in profile the top lines of the muzzle and skull are straight and lie in parallel planes, with a moderately defined stop. The skin over the whole of the head is loose, falling in distinct wrinkles over the brow when the head is lowered. A dry head and tight skin are faults. The muzzle is deep, heavy, and free from snipiness. The nose is darkly pigmented, preferably black, with large wide-open nostrils. A deep liver-colored nose conforming to the coloring of the head is permissible but not desirable. The teeth are large, sound, and regular, meeting in either a scissors or an even bite. A bite either overshot or undershot is a serious fault. The lips are darkly pigmented and are pendulous, falling squarely in front and, toward the back, in loose hanging flews. The dewlap is very pronounced. The neck is powerful, of good length, and well arched. The eyes are soft, sad, and slightly sunken, showing a prominent haw, and in color are brown, dark brown preferred. A somewhat lighter-colored eye conforming to the general coloring of the dog is acceptable but not desirable. Very light or protruding eyes are faults. The ears are extremely long, low set, and when drawn forward, fold well over the end of the nose. They are velvety in texture, hanging in loose folds with the ends curling slightly inward. They are set far back on the head at the base of the skull and, in repose, appear to be set on the neck. A high set or flat ear is a serious fault.
The chest is deep and full with prominent sternum showing clearly in front of the legs. The shoulders and elbows are set close against the sides of the chest. The distance from the deepest point of the chest to the ground, while it must be adequate to allow free movement when working in the field, is not to be more than one-third the total height at the withers of an adult Basset. The shoulders are well laid back and powerful. Steepness in shoulder, fiddle fronts, and elbows that are out, are serious faults. The forelegs are short, powerful, heavy in bone, with wrinkled skin. Knuckling over of the front legs is a disqualification. The paw is massive, very heavy with tough heavy pads, well rounded and with both feet inclined equally a trifle outward, balancing the width of the shoulders. Feet down at the pastern are a serious fault. The toes are neither pinched together nor splayed, with the weight of the forepart of the body borne evenly on each. The dewclaws may be removed.
The rib structure is long, smooth, and extends well back. The ribs are well sprung, allowing adequate room for heart and lungs. Flatsidedness and flanged ribs are faults. The topline is straight, level, and free from any tendency to sag or roach, which are faults.
The hindquarters are very full and well rounded, and are approximately equal to the shoulders in width. They must not appear slack or light in relation to the over-all depth of the body. The dog stands firmly on its hind legs showing a well-let-down stifle with no tendency toward a crouching stance. Viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel, with the hocks turning neither in nor out. Cowhocks or bowed legs are serious faults. The hind feet point straight ahead. Steep, poorly angulated hindquarters are a serious fault. The dewclaws, if any, may be removed.
The tail is not to be docked, and is set in continuation of the spine with but slight curvature, and carried gaily in hound fashion. The hair on the underside of the tail is coarse.
The height should not exceed 14 inches. Height over 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blade is a disqualification.
The Basset Hound moves in a smooth, powerful, and effortless manner. Being a scenting dog with short legs, it holds its nose low to the ground. Its gait is absolutely true with perfect coordination between the front and hind legs, and it moves in a straight line with hind feet following in line with the front feet, the hocks well bent with no stiffness of action. The front legs do not paddle, weave, or overlap, and the elbows must lie close to the body. Going away, the hind legs are parallel.
The coat is hard, smooth, and short, with sufficient density to be of use in all weather. The skin is loose and elastic. A distinctly long coat is a disqualification.
Any recognized hound color is acceptable and the distribution of color and markings is of no importance.
Height of more than 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blade.
Knuckled over front legs.
Distinctly long coat.
Q: Will a Basset Hound make a good companion for a child??
A: Yes.A Well Bred Basset will have an even temperament and great patience, Kindness and deep devotion. Proper handling is a must as these dogs are very sensitive and an over correction can result in shying away for a long time to come, therefore I recommend the basset owner be a very patient,kind person as well and the results will be rewarding.And of course Always supervise the child and pup until both are in a consistently good place with each other.When giving a dog to a child the adult must always assume varying amounts of responsibilities involving care and supervision until both the dog and child reach stages of growth and maturity.I think the Basset Hound makes a great pet for the whole family.
Q: What are the health problems of Basset Hounds??
A: Basically not a whole lot.With proper nutrition and exercise, routine grooming,and parasite control,Proper housing and a clean fenced yard,alot of things that happen due to neglect can be avoided.Because of the dog`s long back we don`t like these dogs to have alot of stair or jumping on and off of higher places.And don`t let your basset get too fat.
Q: What activities can we share with our Basset Hound??
A: Your dog probably wants to go every where with you. Just remember to keep him on his leash when out of his fenced yard so you don`t lose him. A cat or a boogie man could make him run.
Q: Can we train our dog??
A: Bassets are very trainable.Allit takes is 5-10 minutes a day and you`ll have the smartest,best mannered hound in your neighborhood.
Q: What should we feed??
A: DOG FOOD.
For the life Of My Basset Hounds I feed a Maintenance kibble with some canned meat mixed I hand feed TWICE a Day to avoid Bloat and Keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.We stay away from puppy food and high protein especially in growth period because we want to not overload the Basset Hounds’ bones and growth plates.The Basset Hound grows More Bone than Any Other Breed for it’s size. It is a Dwarf breed. Too much protein steals calcium from the bones.Adding Fat to your puppy’s chow is helpful. As in building up to 1 Tablespoon of Peanut oil a day.This also helps the loose skin system.
We feed Two times daily.I see better results splitting their rations up rather than overloading at one end of the day.
Q.How much do we Feed ?
A: When your puppy leaves here He’ll be having 1 1/2 cups morning and night.And then depending on the size and weight Go to 2 cups twice a day or even 3.You want to put a layer of fat on your pup to grow on.And if you see your dog is getting overweight as an adult you can cut back to where it works and he or she is fit.But you need to feed if you want to Grow your puppy. You can of course ,call anytime and we can discuss it
Q: Should we breed our dog??
A: Most people shouldn`t .It`s an awful lot to get into and Basset Hounds are prone to get into difficulties in labor.BUT, if you`re gonna be on call all through the night and be midwife and be on tap through the rest of nursery time,are prepared to give vaccines at the proper moment,worm on time ,keep their area clean,Keep the babies dry,warm,cool,free of fleas and find good safe homes for all your babies.GO FOR IT!!! basically it`s like having 2 full time jobs on top of what you`re already doing.Personally,for the average situation We say spay and neuter.
Q: What about fleas?
A: Get with your vet.There`s so much new stuff that works great and we don`t have to have fleas.Fleas bring other problems as well.And with the elimination of fleas we lose these other problems.
Q: Do Basset Hounds make good pets?