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History of Basset Hound

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

The word “Basset” was first mentioned in an early book about hunting written by Fouilloux in the year 1585. This book was also considered as the first illustration of this dog where a woodcutter showing his sportsman friend going out in his charette de chasse accompanied by “badger dogs” giving them advice on dog training for badger hunting.

Basset Hounds are mostly used for trailing rabbits, hare and deer. The Friars from French Abbey of St. Hubert are known to develop the breed by selective breeding from other strains of French Hounds to produce a slow moving dog that can be followed by foot. The word “Basset,” was derived from the French adjective bas, means “dwarf” or “low structure”.

Since hunting was a classic sport in France during the medieval times, small hounds have found their way to the kennels of aristocracy, only to be dispersed with the ever-changing life style brought by the Revolution. However, the basset hounds were not lost. This breed was mentioned again in a sporting book entitled Le Chasseur written by M. Blaze in 1850. During the same year, M. Robert wrote Calibri “The Basset will hunt all animals, even boar and wolf, but he is especially excellent for the chasse a tir (shooting with the aid of hounds) of rabbits and hares.” in his book Chiens de Chasse.

In 1700, Basset Hounds were extensively used throughout France. It is also the same year when George Washington received a pair of this breed as a gift from Lafayette. In 1800, the breed was exported to England and United States.

The Basset Hound was recognized by English Kennel Club in the year 1882, and the English Basset Hound Club was formed two years after. The American Kennel Club followed in 1885, accepting the Basset Hound as a breed. The Basset Hound Club of America was founded in the year 1935, and the breed standard was created in 1964. Today, these dogs are still used for rabbit hunting, but they can also hunt and track anything. The breed’s ubiquitous appearances in magazines, books, movies and mascot for Hush Puppies footwear is a tribute for their continued admiration and popularity.

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