The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is one of the oldest breeds of French Basset and is descended from the large Grand Bleu de Gascogne and the Petit Bleu de Gascogne. It is not known whether the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a natural mutation of the larger Bleu de Gascognes or whether the breed was created by crossing a larger Bleu de Gascogne with another breed of Basset, most likely the Saintongeois Basset. As the breed was created well-before the keeping of records of dog breeding, the true origin of the breed may never be known. What is known is that the breed originated in the Gascony region of France, and that the first appearance of what may be a Basset Bleu de Gascogne comes from paintings made in Gascony in the 1300’s. It is widely believed that Gaston III of Fox-Bearn, the writer of what is considered the classic treatise on medieval hunting, The Livre de Chasse, kept a pack of Basset Bleu de Gascognes.
The French Revolution (1789–1799) was very damaging to the population of most French hunting breeds, leading to the eventual extinction of many. However, the short-legged Basset Bleu de Gascogne would actually grow in popularity. Hunters were able to follow these dogs on foot rather than on horseback. This meant that more French hunters were able to use these dogs than larger hounds. Eventually, the popularity of hunting with pack hounds diminished in France, and other breeds became more popular, especially other breeds of Basset. By 1911, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne was either extinct or very nearly so. Luckily, the breed had developed a devoted follower in M. Alain Bourbon. Bourbon is credited with the continued existence of the Basset Bleu de Gascogne. However, there is some dispute whether he collected a few remaining Basset Bleu de Gascognes and added in blood from other Basset and Bleu de Gascogne breeds, or whether there were no Basset Bleu de Gascognes surviving and Bourbon entirely recreated the breed by crossing other Basset breeds and the larger Bleu de Gascognes. In particular, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne resembles the Basset Artesian-Normand.
Although Bourbon did ensure that the Basset Bleu de Gascogne survived, the breed remains very rare. The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is one of the rarest breeds of French hound, both in France and abroad. The popularity gained by other Bassets such as the Basset Hound or the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen has not come to the Basset Bleu de Gascogne. One of the few countries outside of France where this dog can be found is in the United States. While the breed has not gained American Kennel Club recognition, even as a Foundation Stock Service breed, the United Kennel Club first recognized the Basset Bleu de Gascogne in 1991. Unlike most other Basset breeds, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne remains primarily a hunting breed. While some Basset Bleu de Gascognes are kept as companion animals, a sizable number, if not the majority, are pack hunters.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne appears exactly like what would be expected of the breed based on its name. The dog has the short legs and long body of a Basset, and the mottled “Blue” coat, droopy ears, and hound face of a Bleu de Gascogne.
The defining characteristic of a Basset Bleu de Gascogne is the breed’s short size. This short size is due to the breed’s very short legs and not the overall proportions of the dog. This gives the breed the appearance that a larger Bleu de Gascogne had part of its legs removed. These dogs should be between 12 and 15 inches high at the shoulder. While the breed standards do not include a weight requirement, most Basset Bleu de Gascognes 35 to 40 pounds. This dog is not particularly thick. They appear much thinner than the common Basset Hound, and in terms of body proportions more closely resemble a Dachshund.
The second most distinctive feature of the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is the breed’s fur. As with other Bleu de Gascogne breeds, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is almost entirely covered with mottled black and white fur. This makes the breed appear blue. However, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne also has large patches of solid black fur. These patches typically cover a greater portion of the Basset Bleu de Gascogne’s body than other Bleu de Gascogne breeds. These patches are particularly common on the breeds ears, cheeks, tail, and sides. The Basset Bleu de Gascogne also has bright tan markings around the snout, ears, feet, and tail.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne has a face typical of a French hound. The breed has a long snout and nose. The Basset Bleu de Gascogne also has long, drooping ears which are low-set on the head. The Basset Bleu de Gascogne has dark-brown eyes, which have a dignified but sad expression.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a hunting breed and should appear as such. These dogs are well-muscled, and should look fit. This breed has a long tail which is typically held in an upright, saber-like position.
The temperament is fairly uniform across the three types please see the "Bleu de Gascogne Main Page" for more information.
The grooming requirements are fairly uniform across all three types please see the "Bleu de Gascogne Main Page" for more information.