There are 6 officially recognized Basset breeds and i will introduce all of them in this video, but first, lets talk about them in general, as all of them share many similarities. The word Basset is is derived from the French word bas, meaning 'low', with the attenuating suffix -et—together meaning 'rather low'. And indeed, the low to the ground stature with short legs is the main distinguishing mark of the Basset breeds.
The reason why Bassets have short stature is due to dwarfism, professionaly called achondroplasia. It is a bone growth abnormality and not only Bassets are known for it, but also Corgis or Dachshunds.
It is believed that Basset breeds developed as a mutation in the litters of Norman Staghounds, a descendent of the St Hubert’s Hound and that the St Huberts Hound is most likely the main ancestor of majority of Bassets we have today. There are written evidences of short legged hounds in France from the 16th century, but they might have existed in France even before that.
It is believed that before the French revolution at the end of 18th century, there were a lot of different, regional variants of Basset dogs, but social upheaval after the French revolution caused downfall of the aristocracy, who used and bred Bassets most often. And even though not all Basset types survived the disband of aristocracy packs, there are still 6 different Basset breeds, which are the classic Basset Hound, Petit and Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, Basset Fauve de Bretagne, Basset Artésien Normand and Basset Bleu de Gascogne.
All of these dogs are known for their excellent hunting skills and extraordinary sense of smell. They should also be hardy dogs with good endurance and all of them are using their voice a lot, on the hunt, but also in their homes. All of them are also affectionate, adaptable and versatile companion dogs.
Of course, there are not only similarities, but also many differences between individual Basset breeds. Each one of them have its own standard and they have different appearance. The main differences are in their coat, color and size. You can see the size differences between individual Basset breeds in this table, where the Grand Griffon Vendéen is the tallest, while the Artésien Normand is the shortest.
The Basset Hound is the best known of all Bassets, that originated in France, but was further developed in Great Britain in late 1800s, where they most likely interbred Bloodhound blood into the breed, which is a reason why the Basset Hound is sturdier, more robust and heavier than other Basset breeds.. The Basset Hound has a smooth coat, most commonly in the great looking tri-color. Most often this is very laidback and affectionate companion.
Next we have the Grand and Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, also known as PBGV and GBGV. Those two are more extroverted, lively and playful than the Basset Hound. They have harder and longer coat, that can be in variety of colors like white, tricolor, black and tan or white with combination of lemon, orange, sable or grizzle. The main difference between the Petit and Grand is their size, but the PBGV also has shorter muzzle and tail and squarer body.
The Basset Fauve de Bretagne also has harder and rough coat, which is relatively short. It is very easy to recognize the Fauve de Bretagne from other Bassets, as they are always in a great looking fawn color. They have rather high pitched voice, in contraty to very melodious voice of other Bassets and it has also the happy, lively and playful personality like PBGV and GBGV.
The Basset Artésien Normand is a smooth coated dog, most commonly in tricolor or bicolor of fawn and white, which makes them very similar to Basset Hound, but it is lighter boned and more agile.
And the last Basset is Basset Bleu de Gascogne, which is probably rarest of all Bassets. It has very unique ticked appearance, which is created by mottled black and white coloration, which is giving the dog blueish appearance.
It is interesting, that some Bassets have a normal, straight and long legged version, from which they were derived. For example the Basset Bleu de Gascogne has Grand Bleu de Gascogne and the Basset Fauve de Bretagne has Griffon Fauve de Bretagne