Many people are familiar with the basset hound, the solid, low-riding dog with the droopy countenance. However, the basset hound isn't the only basset out there. The American Kennel Club recognizes three types of basset dogs, though only two are included in its hound group. A fourth basset is included in the Foundation Stock Service.
Picture the basset hound and you may think of a dog sporting a jaunty cap and cape, bringing to mind a great detective, hunting for clues. That may be due to his reputation for following a trail wherever it leads him. As part of the American Kennel Club's hound group, he has a sharp nose and superior hunting abilities. Not only is the basset hound a valuable asset for tracking and pack hunting, he's a solid choice for a family pet. He's patient, agreeable and learns easily, making him fairly easy to train. Though he doesn't require vigorous exercise, he does need regular walks to ensure he doesn't carry too much weight on his short frame. He stands approximately 14 inches at the shoulder, has a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors including black, tan, red, white, brown and mahogany.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
The other basset in the hound group is the petit basset griffon vendéen. Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1990, this guy stands between 13 and 15 inches tall. Though he's a compact guy, he's not as heavy as the basset hound. His coat is also quite different from his more popular relative. The petit basset griffon vendéen sports a rough, medium-length coat requiring weekly brushing. He's a peppy, outgoing dog who enjoys time with other dogs and children.
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
The grand basset griffon vendéen is part of the American Kennel Club's miscellaneous group of dogs. Recognized by the organization in 2004, this dog stands taller than his petit cousin, between 15.5 and 18 inches tall at the shoulder. He shares the petit basset's terrier-like rough coat as well as his outgoing personality. His breed standard notes that he's generally happy and independent, and though he may have a stubborn streak he should be willing to please his master.
The American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service provides a means for rare breed fanciers to maintain a breed's integrity and is a requirement for a breed working towards recognition by the organization.
Basset Fauve de Bretagne
The basset fauve de bretagne is in the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service and has been designated as part of the hound group of dogs. Since he's not fully recognized by the club, he doesn't have a breed standard with the organization. The United Kennel Club recognizes the breed and notes he's a small, stocky, rectangular-shaped rough-coated hound. He's known as a solid rabbit hunter, but is also used for larger game.
The American Kennel Club states the griffon vendéen basset hounds have 400 years of French history behind them. Their harsh coats protect them from thorns and brambles. Other griffon vendéen hounds include the grand griffon vendéen and the briquet griffon vendéen. They are not bassets, however because they don't have the shorter limbs the basset is known for.
Basic Basset Traits
The thing that makes a basset a basset is his height. The word dates back to 17th century France's use of bas, which means "low." In addition to short stature, the four basset hounds are strong dogs with muscular necks and wide nostrils. Their original jobs as hunting dogs required they have impressive endurance and good noses. Of the four breeds, the basset hound tends to be the most relaxed, while the other three are more lively.