This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
This is said to be a very ancient variety of dog, having existed in France for several centuries. In France the term " Basset" is frequently employed to indicate any crooked-legged variety of dog, being synonymous with the English word " Terrier " and the German " Dachs." Consequently the word " Basset," when applied to a dog in France, may become a very ambiguous one. There are Rough and Smooth -coated strains of Basset-hounds, but the Smoothcoated are the most popular varieties, and most of the Hounds shown at the Kennel Club shows are of the Smooth-coated variety, although this useful canine body provides a class for Rough-coated ones in addition. The Smooth-coated Basset had his origin in the province of Artois, whilst the Rough-coated variety came from Flanders. Although there are the crooked, half-crooked, and straight-legged Bassets in both Rough and Smooth coats, the only one of interest in this country is that having the full-crook of leg.
The late Mr Everett Millais brought the breed into prominence in England in 1874, through the importation of a famous Basset, called Model.
He purchased this hound at the Jardin d'Ac-climation in Paris.
This animal was the foundation-stone of the Basset as he appears in England at the present day.
The late Mr G. R. Krehl did much towards the improvement of the breed, and later, many other enthusiastic admirers, none more so than Mrs Tottie, The scenting powers of these dogs are said to be exceptional, and many prefer them to Beagles for rabbiting, their deep, clear musical notes telling one exactly of their whereabouts. Most of these Hounds are exceedingly sweet-tempered, though rather troublesome to rear.
In height they are from 9 to 12 inches at shoulder, but 12 inches is a desirable height, and about 40 lbs. weight.
The most popular one is the tricolour, viz., white body with black markings and a tan-coloured head. Many varieties of white and black and tan.
Glossy, smooth and close, but the hair must be hard enough to make the jacket fairly waterproof.
Taken as a whole in the Smooth-coated variety, the head has the expression not unlike that of a Bloodhound, chiefly owing to the high peak, deeply-set eyes, exposed " haw" and close carriage of the ears at their set-on. This expression of face is, however, overshadowed in the Bough-coated variety, the Airedale or Otterhound being more in evidence in this region.
In the Smooth-coated variety there is often a very weird expression on the face, and one that betokens a good-natured animal. Head must be long, have a good peak (no " stop "), and be rather narrow, but no snipy appearance. A typical head and ears, a good front and long body are, in short, the principal beauties of the Basset, and points of vital importance in judging the breed. A black nose, strong teeth, good long cheeks (flews as they are called), and a long, strong jaw with large, long, velvety ears, complete the beauties in the region of the head.
Mr Proctor's Basset-hound Bitch Queen of the Geisha.
A Brace of Typical Smooth-coated Basset-hounds (Property of Mrs Lubbock, Farnborough).
Smooth-coated Basset-hound Bitch and Her Puppies.
Smooth Basset-hound Dog Champion Louis Le Beau. Died 1902. A veritable pillar of the. Stud Book (Property of Mrs Tottie).
Typical Smooth-coated Basset Bitch. (Note the perfection of facial expression).
A Group of Champion Smooth-coated Bassets.
Typical Rough Basset Bitch (Bred by Mrs Tottie).
Horner, Photographer, Settle.
Rough-coated Basset-hound Dog Champion Puritan.
Horner, Photographer, Settle.
Viewed from the front and in profile, this region is powerfully built, the chest nearly touching the ground, the shoulders short and muscular, arm very short, with a short, stoutly-made forearm, turning in at the knee. From the wrist (knee) the parts below turn outwards, so as to give the Hound a very splay-footed appearance.
Typical Rough-coated Basset Dog.
The back is long, somewhat hollow, rising slightly at the loins to the top of the croup, and from this very powerful muscles should spring. Weak hindquarters are a serious defect. Well-rounded ribs and plenty of loose skin, especially over the tops of the shoulders and back, are desirable qualifications for the show ring.
Our illustration represents one of the most typical Basset-hound bitches ever seen.
The Basset Society.