You don’t have to speak French to appreciate the appealing look and sweet personality of this medium-sized, short-legged scent hound — you can call him by his other name, the Fawn Brittany Basset. He is a newcomer to the United States, having first arrived here from his native France in 2001. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1996.
The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is one of six recognized Basset breeds and one of five who originated solely in France. Outside France, the breed is considered rare.
The French have a long history of purpose-breeding hunting dogs — they’ve been at it since the middle ages. Hunting with hounds has been popular across Europe since the Renaissance, particularly among the nobility and other people of means. As the sport grew, so did the impulse to breed new hounds that could excel at specific tasks.
The earliest Basset breed (the word is French for “rather low,” a reference to their short stature) is thought to have appeared in the 1300s. There is some mystery as to the hound’s exact lineage, but we do know he was bred to drive small game into its hole or quarry, where the hunter then retrieved it.
Basset breeds grew in popularity after the French Revolution, among a growing middle class for whom horses might have been out of reach financially. While hunting with a Basset breed, the handler could follow the hound on foot.
The first Basset Fauve de Bretagne appeared in France’s Brittany region in the 1800s and quickly became a favored hunting dog. His popularity has increased gradually in the years since World War II.
A Basset Fauve de Bretagne can stand 12.5 to 15.5 inches from the ground to the shoulder. A sturdy dog, he should weigh up to 40 pounds for optimal health. His ears droop but are shorter than those of other Basset breeds. He has short legs and a shorter tail than that of most hounds. Colors occurring in this breed are fawn shades that vary from golden to reddish, with a possible white patch on the chest or stray black hairs occurring.
When properly trained and given adequate exercise, the Basset Fauve de Bretagne makes an exceptional companion or family dog. He is most affectionate with his family or owner, but he’s also friendly to strangers and gentle with children.
This breed can be challenging to train for the role of house pet; you may need to put more time and energy into his training than with other breeds. Consult an experienced trainer. Dogs bred for hunting can be stubborn and independent thinkers who are hard to “reprogram.” If being trained to hunt, the Basset Fauve de Bretagne will excel.
Although he generally can make friends with and live with other dogs, bringing a Basset Fauve de Bretagne into a home with small companion animals is not recommended. Their record at living with cats is mixed. A home visit before adoption, with all family members present, will root out any potential problems.
The Basset Fauve de Bretagne does best in a home with a highly secure fenced yard. They enjoy exploring an area they can consider their own. “Secure” cannot be overemphasized, as the dog quickly figures out how to go over low fences or under fences not fixed to the ground. In an unsecured outdoor environment, it is imperative that your dog be on a leash.
As with most breeds, “a tired dog is a good dog.” A daily walk will release your dog’s energy and prevent destructive behavior and excessive vocalization. The Basset Fauve de Bretagne makes a delightful baying sound, but a little goes a long way; your neighbors may not find it so charming.
This is a generally healthy breed that lives between 12 and 14 years. The United Kennel Club plans a new, in-depth health survey in the hope that the dog’s longevity can be more accurately represented.Some breeders claim their Bassets Fauve de Bretagne are no more predisposed to any disease than any other breed. The most common causes of death are traffic accidents, cancer, heart problems, and kidney problems. Their deaths in traffic underscore the need to keep the dog on the leash at all times in unsecured areas.
The Basset Fauve de Bretagne will need his coat “plucked” twice a year. In this procedure, also necessary for terriers, the dog’s dead hair is removed by hand to allow the growth of new coat. A professional groomer can show you how to perform this procedure to avoid the expense in the future. Regular brushing must also be part of the care routine.
You’ll need to keep an eye on your dog’s ears. Hounds, because their ears are so large, are prone to wax and ear mites. Although your dog does not need all-over coat trimming, he does need the fur around his ears clipped away from time to time.
This breed’s numbers in the U.S. are so low that rescues of adult dogs are rare, but they do happen. If you’d like to make this quirky little hound a part of your family, volunteers at the Basset Fauve de Bretagne Club of America (BFdBCA) are willing to help. An application process is required. You may also contact this group if you need to rehome a Basset Fauve de Bretagne. http://www.bassetfauveclub.com/rescue.htm
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