Meet the Basset Breeds

What is a Breed Standard?

The following, which precedes each UK Kennel Club Breed Standard, defines exactly what it sets out to do:

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of the breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds /watch for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Other than the BAN, the Breed Standards here are re-produced by kind permission of the Kennel Club

The Basset Hound

General Appearance - Short-legged hound of considerable substance, well balanced, full of quality. It is important to bear in mind that this is a working hound and must be fit for purpose, therefore should be strong, active and capable of great endurance in the field.
Characteristics  -Tenacious hound of ancient lineage which hunts by scent, possessing a pack instinct and a deep melodious voice.
Temperament  - Placid, never aggressive or timid. Affectionate.
Head and Skull - Domed with some stop and occipital bone prominent; of medium width at brow and tapering slightly to muzzle; general appearance of foreface lean not snipy. Top of muzzle nearly parallel with line from stop to occiput and not much longer than head from stop to occiput. There may be a small amount of wrinkle at brow and beside eyes. In any event skin of head supple enough as to wrinkle slightly when drawn forward or when head is lowered. Flews of upper lip overlap lower substantially. Nose entirely black except in light-coloured hounds when it may be brown or liver. Large and well opened nostrils may protrude a little beyond lips.
Eyes - Lozenge-shaped neither prominent nor deep-set, dark but may shade to mid-brown in light coloured hounds. Expression calm and serious. Light or yellow eye highly undesirable.
 
Ears - Set on low, just below line of eye. Long; reaching only slightly beyond end of muzzle of correct length, but not excessively so. Narrow throughout their length and curling well inwards; very supple, fine and velvety in texture.
Mouth - Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck - Muscular, well arched and fairly long with pronounced but not exaggerated dewlap.
Forequarters - Shoulder blades well laid back; shoulders not heavy.  Forelegs short, powerful and with great bone; elbows turning neither in nor out but fitting neatly against side. Upper forearm inclined slightly inwards, but not to such an extent as to prevent free action or to result in legs touching each other when standing or in action; forechest fitting neatly into crook when viewed from front. Knuckling-over highly undesirable. Some wrinkles of skin may appear on lower legs, but this must on no account be excessive.
Body - Long and deep throughout length, breast bone prominent but chest neither narrow nor unduly deep. There should be adequate clearance between the lowest part of the chest and the ground to allow the hound to move freely over all types of terrain.  Ribs well rounded and sprung, without flange, extending well back. Back rather broad and level; withers and quarters of approximately same height, though loins may arch slightly. Back from withers to onset of quarters not unduly long.
Hindquarters - Full of muscle and standing out well, giving an almost spherical effect when viewed from rear. Stifles well bent. Hocks well let down and slightly bent under but turn neither in nor out and just under body when standing naturally. Some wrinkles of skin may appear between hock and foot, and at rear of joint a slight pouch of skin may be present, but on no account should any of these be excessive.
Feet - Large well knuckled up and padded. Forefeet may point straight ahead or be turned slightly outwards but in every case hound always stands perfectly true, weight being borne equally by toes with pads together so that feet would leave an imprint of a large hound and no unpadded areas in contact with ground.
Tail - (Stern) well set on, rather long, strong at base, tapering, with moderate amount of coarse hair underneath. When moving, stern carried well up and curving gently, sabre-fashion, never curling or gay.
Gait/Movement - Most important to ensure that the hound is fit for purpose. Smooth, powerful and effortless action with forelegs reaching well forward and hind legs showing powerful thrust, hound moving true both front and rear. Hocks and stifles never stiff in movement, nor must any toes be dragged.
Coat - Smooth, short and close without being too fine. Whole outline clean and free from feathering. Long hair, soft coat or feathering highly undesirable. Skin is supple and elastic without any exaggeration.
Colour - Generally black, white and tan (tri-colour); lemon and white (bi-colour); but any recognised hound colour acceptable.
Size - Height: 33-38 cms (13-15 ins) at withers.
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. 
Last updated - October 2009

The Basset Griffon Vendéen (Grand)

General Appearance - Well-balanced, medium height, rough coated hound. Slightly longer than height at withers, with straight forelegs. A friendly and intelligent looking hound with noble bearing.
Characteristics - A strong, active and courageous hound, possessing great stamina, with a good voice freely used.
Temperament - Happy and outgoing. Independent and a little stubborn, not easily agitated, yet willing to please with firm handling.
Head and Skull - A noble head, carried proudly. Skull domed, without heaviness, elongated and not too wide. Well cut away under the eyes. Occipital bone well developed. Stop clearly defined. Muzzle square at its extremity, noticeably longer than from stop to occiput. Bridge of nose slightly roman. Nose protruding, well developed with wide open nostrils. Solid colour. Black except in white/lemon, white/orange coats where brown is tolerated. Lips well developed, just covering the lower jaw and giving the front of the muzzle a square shape. Well covered with long hair, forming good beard and moustache.
Eyes - Large, dark and oval, showing no white, with a friendly, intelligent expression. Haw not visible. Long eyebrows, standing forward but not obscuring eyes.
Ears - Supple, narrow and fine, covered with long hair, folding inwards ending in an oval shape; reaching to just beyond the tip of the nose; set on low, not above the line of the eye.
Mouth - Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck - Long and strong, set into well-laid shoulders; thicker at the base; without dewlap.
Forequarters - Shoulders clean and well laid back; elbows close to the body, never turning out. Forelegs straight, thick and well boned. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Knuckling over is unacceptable.
Body - Back of good length, without exaggeration, with level topline. Slight rise over solid, well-muscled loin. Prominent forechest, brisket broad and deep. Ribs moderately rounded, well let down to elbow and extending well back. Flanks rather deep, belly never tucked up.
Hindquarters - Well boned, strong and muscular with moderate bend of stifle. Heavily muscled thighs with well defined second thigh. Hocks turning neither in nor out.
Feet - Large and tight padded. Pads firm and solid. Nails strong and short.
Tail - Rather long. Set on high, thick at the base, tapering gradually, well furnished with hair, carried proudly sabre-like or slightly curved but never too far over the back or bent at the tip.
Gait/Movement - Free with great drive. Front action straight and reaching well forward; hind action easy and elastic, hocks turning neither in nor out.
Coat - Rough, of moderate length, with a flat structure, never silky or woolly, fringing not too abundant; thick undercoat. The coat may be tidied, but over-trimming or stylising should be penalised.
Colour - White, with any combination of lemon, orange, sable, grizzle or black markings. Tricolour.
Size - Height at withers: dogs 40-44 cms (15¾ -17½ ins); bitches 39-43 cms (15½ -17 ins). A tolerance of 1cm (3/8 in) more or less is permissible.
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Last updated - October 2009

 For more in-depth
         guidance -
click here for the
GBGV Extended  
 Breed Standard

The Basset Griffon Vendéen (Petit)

General Appearance - Well balanced, short legged, rough coated, compact hound. Alert outlook and lively bearing.
Characteristics - A strong, active hound capable of a day’s hunting, with a good voice purposefully used.
Temperament - Happy, extrovert, independent, yet willing to please.
Head and Skull - Head carried proudly. Skull of moderate length, slightly domed, not too wide, oval when viewed from above. Well cut away under eyes. Occiput moderately well developed. Stop clearly defined. Muzzle square, length from nose to stop slightly less than from stop to occiput. Underjaw strong and well developed. Nose black, large and prominent, with wide nostrils. Lips covered with long hair forming beard and moustache.
Eyes - Large, dark and oval, showing no white, with a friendly, intelligent expression. Haw not visible. Long eyebrow hair standing forward, but not obscuring eyes.
Ears - Supple, narrow and fine, covered with long hair, folding inwards, ending in an oval shape. Not reaching beyond the tip of the nose. Set on low, just below the line of the eye.
Mouth - Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck - Long and strong, thicker at the base, well set into shoulders; without dewlap.
Forequarters - Shoulders clean and well laid back. Upper arm approximately equal in length to the shoulder. Elbows close to body. Forearms straight when viewed from the front and well boned in proportion to size. Pasterns strong and slightly sloping. Knuckling over is unacceptable.
Body - Back of medium length. Length of body measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock exceeds height at withers at a ratio of approximately 7:5. Chest deep with prominent sternum. Ribs moderately rounded, well let down to elbow and extending well back. Level topline. Strong, short, well muscled loins. Croup well muscled and of good width.
Hindquarters - Strong and muscular with good bend of stifle. Well defined second thigh. Hocks well let down and turning neither in nor out.
Feet - Hard, tight padded, not too long. Nails strong and short.
Tail - Of medium length, reaching no further than the hock when lowered. Set on high, thick at the base, tapering gradually, well furnished with hair. Carried proudly, sabre-like when moving.
Gait/Movement - Free at all paces, with good drive. Front action straight and reaching well forward; hocks turning neither in nor out.
Coat - Rough, not too long and without exaggeration; harsh to the touch, with thick undercoat, never silky or woolly. For show purposes the coat may be tidied, but a natural appearance must be retained. Trimming or stylising should be penalised.
Colour - White with any combination of lemon, orange, sable, grizzle or black markings. Tricolour.
Size - Height at withers 34-38 cms (13 ½ - 15 ins). A tolerance of 1cm (3/8 in) more or less is permissible.
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to fulfil its original purpose.
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Last updated - January 2011 

Click here for the  PBGV Extended
  Breed Standard
to learn more about
   the Petit Basset
  Griffon Vendéen

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne

General Appearance - Short-legged, rough-coated hound of moderate length.
Characteristics - Courageous, hardy, possessing good nose. Very nimble in movement.
Temperament - Lively, friendly and amenable.
Head and Skull - Medium in length, well balanced. Skull moderately domed, fair width; occipital point well defined. Foreface of medium length, slightly arched; moderate stop. Underjaw strong and well developed. Nose black or very dark. Nostrils wide open.
Eyes - Slightly oval, neither too deep set nor too prominent. Dark, hazel, no haw apparent. Lively expression.
Ears - Set on level with eye, extending to the nose when drawn forward, folding inwards ending in a point. Covered with finer, darker and softer hair than body.
Mouth  - Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck - Rather short, muscular.
Forequarters - Forelegs straight; slight crook acceptable; well boned with strong pasterns. Feet turning neither in nor out. Shoulders slightly sloping.
Body - Chest wide and deep. Sternum prominent. Ribs well rounded, carried well back. Level topline; strong loin.
Hindquarters - Strong and muscular. Stifles well bent, hocks well let down with good angulation, turning neither in nor out; just under body when standing naturally.
Feet - Tight, pads firm and hard. Short nails.
Tail Set on high, thick at the base, tapering to a point, reaching slightly beyond the hock when lowered, carried like a sickle when moving.
Gait/Movement - Quick, striding out well.
Coat - Very harsh, dense and flat. Never long or woolly.
Colour - Fawn, gold-wheaten or red-wheaten. White spot on chest permissible.
Size - Height at withers 32-38 cms (12½-15 ins).
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Last updated - September 2000

The Basset Bleu de Gascogne

General Appearance - Smooth coated, athletic and aristocratic basset. Powerful but not too heavy.
Characteristics - Sagacious, lively hound possessing an excellent nose and a deep and sonorous voice.
Temperament - Audacious, curious and affectionate but somewhat reserved.
Head and Skull - Wedge shaped, not too wide, skull domed with well defined occipital point. Foreface long and slightly aquiline. Nose black with wide nostrils.
Eyes - Oval, preferably dark brown. Sad and gentle expression.
Ears - Set below the eyeline, fine, curled in, ending in a point and extending just beyond the tip of the nose when drawn forward.
Mouth - Strong jaws with a regular scissor bite, ie upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth, teeth and set square to the jaws. Black lips not exaggerated, slightly drooping, covering the lower jaw.
Neck - Rather long, slightly arched with dewlaps showing but not excessive.
Forequarters - Forelegs strongly boned, straight or half crooked acceptable. Shoulders well muscled but not heavy, well laid with good slope to upper arm.
 
Body - Chest deep extending to elbow with prominent sternum. Ribs well rounded. Back long, strong and level. Loin short and strong with slight arch. Can have slight tuck up.
Hindquarters - Strong and muscular. Stifles slightly bent and hocks well let down. Rear pasterns parallel when viewed from behind and set in a line under the points of buttocks.
Feet - Strong, oval with black pads and nails.
Tail - Well set on, carried gaily, sickle fashion but reaching the ground when at rest. Broad at the base tapering to a point.
Gait/Movement - Balanced and easy with noticeable drive from hindquarters.
Coat - Short, dense and not too fine.
Colour - Black marked on a white base but covered entirely with black mottling which gives a blue appearance. Two black marks are found on head, covering each ear, enveloping eyes and stopping at cheeks. Above each eye a spot of tan gives breed a 'four-eyed' effect. Tan marks also found on cheeks, flews, inside ears, on legs and under tail. Some hounds completely mottled, but always have required tan marks.
Size - Height at withers 30-38 cms (12-15 ins).
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Last updated - October 2009
 

The Basset Artésien Normand

FCI Standard


General Appearance - Long dog in relation to its size, well balanced, compact, recalling in its head the nobility of the big Norman hound.
Important Proportions -
Height at withers : Length of body                about   5 :     8
Depth of chest       : Height at the withers  about   2  :    3
Width of skull         : Length of head                about   1  :    2
Length of muzzle  : Length of skull                 about 10 : 10 
Behaviour/Temperament - Gifted with an excellent nose and a melodious voice; perseveres but not too fast on the line; he permits his master to fully enjoy the hunting work. Outgoing and of a very affectionate nature.
Head - Cranial Region - Skull:  Dome shaped, medium width; occipital bone apparent.  On the whole the head must have a dry look. Stop: Marked without exaggeration. 
             - Facial Region - Nose: Black and large, slightly protruding over the lips; nostrils well open.
 
Muzzle: Approximately the same length as that of the skull and slightly aquiline.
Lips: Upper lip covering considerably the lower lip without, however, being too pendulous nor too tight-lipped. 
Jaws/Teeth: Scissor bite i.e. upper incisors covering the lower ones in close contact and are squarely set in relation to the jaw.
Cheeks: Formed by one or two folds of skin.
Eyes: Oval shaped, large, dark (in harmony with the coat), expression calm and serious; the haw (conjunctival lining) of the lower lid may sometimes show without excess.
Ears - Leathers: Set as low as possible, never above the line of the eye, narrow at the base, well curled inwards corkscrew fashion, supple, fine, very long, reaching at least th elength of the muzzle and preferably ending in a point.
Neck - Rather long, with some dewlap but without exaggeration.
Body - ​Back: Wide and well supported​. Loin: Slightly tucked up. Croup: Hips a little obligque, giving a slight slant to the rump. Chest: Of ovalised section, long, sternum well prolonged backward and prominent in front, with developed brisket. Full flanks. The brisket sternal line is distinctly below the elbows. Ribs long, carried well back.
Tail - Quite long, thick at base and thinning down progressively. At rest, the tip of the tail must just touch the ground. Carried sabre fashion but never falling on the back; its extremity must not be like a plume. On that subject, it is absolutely forbidden to modify the look of the stern to show dogs.
Limbs - Forequarters - General Appearance: Forelegs are short and well-boned; they are crooked or a little less than half-crooked, provided there is sufficient principle of crook visible.  Some folds of skin, without excess, on the pasterns, must be considered as a quality. Shoulders - Muscular, oblique.  Elbows - Close to the body.
              - Hindquarters - General Appearance: Seen from the back a vertical line going from the point of the buttock goes through the middle of the leg, the hock, the metatarsal and the foot.  Thighs - Fleshy and muscular.  Hocks - Strong, quite low, relatively bent, which places the hind foot slightly under the dog when he is at rest. A small pouch of skin at the point of the hock (calcaneum) is not a fault.  Metatarsal - Short and strong.
Feet -  Oval shaped, a little elongated, toes rather close and placed firmly on the ground giving maximum support.
Gait/Movement - Even, quite effortless and steady movement.
Skin - Supple and fine.
Coat - Hair : Close, short and smooth without being too fine.
Colour - Fawn with black blanket and white (“tricolour”) or fawn and white (“bi-colour). In the tricoloured dog, the head should be largely covered with tan hair and show a circle of darker hairs on each temple. The black blanket or the black patches should be composed of solid black hairs or black hair with “grizzle” (recognising thus the former characteristic of “hare pied” or ”badger-pied”).
Size  a​nd Weight - Height at withers : Males and bitches : 30 – 36 cm. Tolerance +/- 1 cm for exceptional subjects. Weight : 15 – 20 kg.
Faults - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
HEAD - Flat skull. Wide forehead. Medial furrow too pronounced.  Eyes light, round and protruding, showing too much haw.  Leathers flat, too round, thick, high set and broad at base.
NECK - Short.
BODY - Topline soft or swayback.  Xiphoid process either too short or absent.  Ribs flat or deformed. 
TAIL - Too long, deviated or coarse.
FOREQUARTERS - Shoulder straight, short, insufficiently muscled.  Out at elbows.  Pasterns touching each other, knuckling over. Exaggerated crook with feet turning out excessively.  Flat feet. Splay-feet.
HINDQUARTERS - Thighs flat.  Hocks close, too wide apart.
COAT - Hair soft, distinctly long or fringed. Colour - black shading on the head.
BEHAVIOUR - Timid subjects.
Eliminating Faults -  Aggressive or overly shy dogs. Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified. Serious anatomical anomaly. Hereditary identifiable and disabling defect.  Lack of type. Undershot or overshot mouth. Eye very light. Rear end of sternum too short with absence of xiphoid process. Ribs very much deformed. Forelegs completely straight. Legs too weak. Too much dark shading on the head. Too much black-mottled giving the white a bluish tint. Height at withers other than that of the standard.
 
Note - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.  Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed
typical conformation should be used for breeding.