The Basset Hound orignated in around the sixth century France.
Most strains of French hounds had both tall and short- legged versions,
the short- legged dogs were known as "bassets", since "bas' means
"low" in French.The taller hounds were followed on horseback in
pursuit of stag,wolf,boar,and deer. The low-set "basset" hounds accompanied
hunters on foot in search of smaller game in thick cover.
The keen nose of these short - legged hounds enabled them to work
difficult, cold trails,and easily follow, the hold line of a scent that faster
hounds might overrun. The slower moving, Basset Hounds did not
attack and kill their prey,but rather drove it into open terrain to the waiting
hunter. The Basset Hound most resembles its longer - legged cousin,
the Bloodhound.It is thought that both are descendants of the
famed St. Hubert hounds. St. Hubert,who became patron saint of the
hunt,set out to develop a new strain of hound. His abbey, situated on the
France/Belgium border, became famous for its packs of hunting hounds,
which were annaually presented to the French royal kennels.
After Hubert's death,monks continued breeding these prize hounds
which looked similar to today's Bloodhounds.
Authorities on dog breeding beleive a mutation for short legs occurred in the
St. Hubert strain. It resulted lower to the ground hounds proved useful
for penetrating underbrush, while their shorter legs benefited hunters
on foot. Selective breeding maintained and refined this mutated version.
Short - legged hounds gained popularity with sportsmen hunting small
game since they needed extra time to load their cumbersome muskets
and guns. They were also popular with hunters who could not afford horses.
Pack hunting is a known sport with Basset Hounds continues to this day
in France and England.In America, although a number of Basset Hound
packs regularly hunted in the early decades of the 20th century.These were
eventually disbanded and we no longer see formal packs of purebred Basset
Hounds in America.
Modern historical accounts of the Basset Hound begin with several important
Working with their low-set hunting dogs, both of these breeders envisioned the ideal
Basset Hound in different ways. The bloodlines of the Lane and Conteleu Bassets
were eventually combined,including the best of both familes. The resulting French
strain, now know as the Basset Artesien- Normand, was the foundation of the Basset Hound we know today. The first Basset Hounds arrived in Great Britain
in 1866. The hounds were called Basset and Belle,they were a gift to
Lord Galway from Comte de Tournon. He described them as "Long,low hounds
shaped much like a dachshund with crooked forelegs at the knees with much
more bone and longer heads than on Beagles. Basset and Belle were bred,
producing a litter of five,which laid the foundation for the Basset in England.
Their popularity and success of the Basset Hound in England owe a great
deal of efforts to Sir John Everett Millais. He imported the highest quality
French Basset Hounds in the late 19th century for use in his breeding program.
One of these imports was a dog named Model,brought to England in 1874.
His efforts to improve the Basset Hound through careful selection and mating,
the breed captured the attention of English dog fanciers, including the Prince
and Princess of Wales,Queen Alexandra and Lords Onslow and Galaway.
The Kennel Club in England officially recognized the Basset Hound in 1880.
At the same time, the Basset Hound was also capturing hearts in America.
Entries in George Washington's diary suggest that Basset Hounds made their
debut in America following the revolution, when Marquis de Lafayette sent
Bassets to his friend Washington.These short-legged French hounds may explain
the origin of the so called "Virginia Bench Legged Beagles".
In 1935, the Basset Hound Club of America(BHCA) was formed by a group
of Detroit fanciers, whose goal was to foster the Basset Hound breed in
United States. They was recognized as the official breed club by the
American Kennel Club. The first field trial for Bassets took place in
Michigan in 1935.Knowing the origin and history of the Basset Hound
will help you understand your dog's instincts,needs,personality,and