The Blue Basset Hound or Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a French bred hunting dog, not to be confused with its cousin the Basset Hound. Originally bred in France as a hunting dog that hunters on foot could keep pace with it as opposed to hunters on horseback. The Basset Bleu de Gascogne has an incredibly strong sense of smell and a voracious prey drive, as such these qualities give it an amazing ability to scent trails that are several hours or in some cases even days old. A working, hunting breed that enjoys pack sociability and as such is very sociable with most other dog breeds as well as humans which makes it a good dog for families and elderly alike. A great companion dog for those that enjoy walking or hiking.
Quick Facts About the Basset Bleu de Gascogne
Lifespan of a Blue Basset
12 to 14 Years
Blue Bassets Height at the Withers
Male 12 to 18 inches or 30 to 45cms
Female 12 to 15 inches or 30 to 38cms
Weight of a Blue Basset
Male 40 to 44lbs or 18 to 20kgs
Female 35 to 42lbs or 16 to 19kgs
Average Price of a Basset Bleu de Gascogne
In the USA prices range from $200 to $500 if you can find one.
In the UK these dogs are about £300 to £600.
What Breed is the Basset Bleu de Gascogne
This dog is classified as a Hound.
Basset Bleu de Gascogne Hypoallergenic?
What does the Basset Bleu de Gascogne look like?
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne very similar to the Basset Hound but the coat really does appear blue to blue grey.
Being low-slung, with short, thick legs and a very long back, it is the lighter of the two breeds, and also slightly taller, meaning that it is a slightly finer, less bulky dog.
It has a wedge-shaped head with a subtle stop and a skull that is slightly domed from side to side. It has a long, broad nose and large open nostrils, reflective of its great scenting abilities.
The eyes are usually dark brown and convey the morose expression so typical of Bassets. The ears originate from a point just below the eyeline, and are narrow at the base, expand in the middle, and taper to their endpoint.
The breed has a long, arched neck with excess skin forming a dewlap; however, this is not so prominent as in the Basset Hound. The back is long and straight, and should be generously endowed with muscle, especially in the relatively short loin.
The broad tail is set quite high on the croup, and is usually carried below horizontal in an upward curve. The chest is very deep, extending to approximately two-thirds of the dog’s height, and the abdomen has a slight tuck.
The upper limbs are thick and strong, while the lower limbs have heavy boning. When viewed from the front, some deviation from vertical is expected, with the elbows in particular often being considerably kicked out from the torso. The paws are quite large, with long toes. The Basset Bleu has a short, hard coat with white as its base colour.
Diffuse black mottling is what gives it its blue effect, particularly noticeable when puppies and other larger black patches are also seen as irregular markings. The face generally has splashes of black on either side that cover the ears.
Although the breed standard specifies that Basset Bleus should be between 30 and 38 cm (12–15 in) tall, many otherwise good examples of the breed are several centimetres taller. The average weight range for males is 18 to 20 kg (40–44 lb), and for females is 16 to 19 kg (35–42 lb).
History of the Basset Bleu de Gascogne
As its name suggests the Basset Bleu de Gascogne really does originate from the region of Gascony in southwestern France. It is a very old breed, with a history dating back as far as the 14th century.
It is known to be descended from the breeding line of the Grand Bleu de Gascogne (a far taller dog from the same region). What’s not clear though is whether it was developed by selecting short-legged dogs from this breed, or whether the Grand Bleu was crossed with the vertically challenged and oldest known but now extinct Basset Saintongeois.
While most hunting hounds were bred to work with horse-riding hunters searching for their wanted prey, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne was bred specifically to help commoners enjoy the sport of hunting whilst following these slower-moving dogs on foot ( horses were expensive and except farming horses they were the prize of the wealthy elite and soldiers).
In fact, until after the French Revolution of 1789 peasants were actually forbidden to hunt, and so after the French Revolution demand for this breed soared.
Eventually in the late nineteenth century the breed fell out of favour, to the extent that it was considered that it may become extinct. The Basset Bleu’s saviour was a Monsieur Alain Bourbon who produced a sustainable population of dogs in the early twentieth century.
Today, the breed has a healthy population within its homeland, but it still remains uncommon elsewhere.
It is recognised by the Kennel Club, which registers a small number of imported dogs each year, but the American Kennel Club has not yet granted the Basset Bleu a full recognition.
Character & Temperament of the Blue Basset
The Basset Bleu is a playful, sociable dog that gets along well with almost everybody. Even though it has a high prey drive this is not an aggressive breed, and does not make a good guard dog. It will though, bark in its characteristic, sing-song manner which is far too friendly to threaten anyone.
It is a gentle and loyal pet, and makes excellent company for children.
However, it does also exhibit the independence of that of other hound breeds, and will decide that when it has had enough attention it will find somewhere quiet to go, usually to have a nap.
Because of its strong hunting instincts, it can never be fully trusted with smaller pets, and any outdoor space that it has access to must be securely fenced to contain any sudden urges to pursue a scent trail.
Trainability of the Blue Basset
By their nature, the Blue Bassets are independent, bred to lead a hunt rather than follow given commands, and this reflects the challenges posed in some training.
While the owner may be giving what he believes to be clear instructions the Basset’s sensitive nose and ears are often far too busy with other distractions for the dog to pay proper attention to verbal commands.
Training this breed takes persistence and patience, and is not a dog suited to obedience trials. Certainly us here at Top Lap Dogs would be more inclined to just let it follow its nose.
The Health of a Basset Bleu de Gascogne
The Basset Bleu suffers only a few breed-related health problems, and certainly not all of these at the same time but some suffer from the following conditions:
The breed’s short, often bowed legs put pressure on the joints, can lead to an onset of arthritis in middle-aged or elderly dogs. This may be seen as stiffness after lying down or reluctance to exercise, and should be addressed with medications or supplements under veterinary guidance.
As such the dog should not be allowed to be overweight.
Gastric Dilatation / Volvulus
Like many other dogs with a very deep chest, the Basset Bleu may suffer a twisting and bloating of its stomach (See Health Concerns Link Below). This problem can occur over a very short space of time, and can be seen as rapid abdominal swelling. Avoiding exercise immediately after eating is thought to reduce the incidences of this life-threatening condition.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Although a very rare occurrence, dogs with long backs are more prone to the degeneration of the shock-absorbing discs between the bones of the spinal cord, causing nerve compression, pain, and sometimes, paralysis.
The obvious problem with long pendulous ears is there tendency to produce a lot of wax in an area that is poorly ventilated, sometimes damp, and definitely a warm environment that is perfect for the growth of bacteria and yeast. As a result, ear infections are common. Therefore regular cleaning is recommended to help prevent and also detect such problems at an early stage.
Often seen with dogs that have bowed hindlimbs, also known as a “slipping kneecap”, and involves the movement of the kneecap outside the groove in which it should glide. This can cause lameness and discomfort, and may need surgical correction if severe. See Health Concern Link Below.
Exercise and Activity Levels
Basset Bleu’s need a surprising amount of exercise which is why they are good for walkers and kids alike. A slow-and-steady type of dog best with long walks or hikes, and should be given a minimum of one hours’ activity each day. Once they have this, they are relaxed dogs within the home and like many other dogs will spend much of their time napping.
Because the coat is short and hard-wearing, it does not need much brushing – once a week is generally enough. Oddly though, it can get quite smelly due to the high oil production of the Basset’s skin, so it may need frequent baths or showers.
If necessary the use of antifungal shampoos may help control the odour by keeping the numbers of skin-dwelling yeast under control, but some of these are prescription-only products, and so veterinary advice may be needed.
Thick nails or claw will need frequent clipping, and as they are generally black, you should take care not to cut them too short, cutting the blood vessel that runs down the centre of each claw.
The greasy ears may need to be washed out regularly with a suitable cleaning solution.
Nowadays, Basset Bleus are rarely crossbred. However, the breed was instrumental in the creation of the Blue tick Coonhound in the United States in the early part of the twentieth century, by crossing it with various Foxhound breeds.
It develops a strong bond with its owners, and makes a playful and good-natured pet for people of all ages. While it is not built for speed, it does need a good deal of exercise, and is an ideal walking or hiking companion for active owners.
The Singing Hound
Like many hounds, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne has a musical voice that it can be fond of using, especially if the dog is left alone for periods during the day.
Health Concerns in More Detail
For Detailed descriptions on some of the Health problems such as Bloat or Patellar Luxation see our Health Concern Page Here