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Basset Fauve de Bretagne

 Photo of Basset Fauve de Bretagne
Photo: courtesy of Ruth Farrell

Basset Fauve de Bretagne Books

Group: Hound || Breed Standard

History

Height: 32-38 cms (12½-15 ins)

Bassets Fauves are the smaller of the two Breton hounds still existing. The larger, the Griffon Fauve, stands at between 19 and 21 inches (1.5 and 1.75 metre), compared to the Basset Fauve's 13 to 15 inches (1.0 and 1.25 metres). Both breeds were virtually extinct by the end of the second world war, and it is thanks to efforts of a few breeders in France, who managed to keep some hounds through that difficult time, that both breeds are now thriving again. The Basset Fauve was carefully "re-created" using the few left, selected Bassets Griffons Vendeen and Standard Wirehaired Dachshunds. The Griffon is still rare, and until recently, when one was imported into Sweden, there were none outside their native France. It is recorded that Francis I (1515-1547) kept a pack of Breton hounds and hunted with them regularly. These would have been the now extinct Grand Fauve de Bretagne, intrepid hunter of wolf and wild boar, of which the Griffon and the Basset are the modern day descendants. Perhaps they were introduced to the Court of France by the Duchesse Anne of Brittany who had been the wife of both Francis' predecessors on the French throne, and was also his mother-in-law. Certainly the hounds of Brittany failed to retain their popularity at Court once the Breton influence was lost. Until the Revolution in France only the Aristocracy were permitted to keep hounds and hunt, and they did so on horse-back, with, for the most part, their "local" large hound breed - Breton, Gascon, Nivernais etc. With the abolition of aristocratic privileges in 1789 the people too could keep hounds and hunt with them, but, alas without horses they could not keep pace with the big traditional hound breeds. So, out of necessity, the Basset versions were developed, the true hound of Egalite. Whilst the Griffon Fauve was used for hunting large game, his Basset cousin's quarry was rabbit and hare. Both were (and still are) noted for their great courage and excellent scenting abilities. In modern day France hunting is still their prime occupation - the motto of the French Fauve Club, "chasse d'abord" genuinely applies there. Some are also hunted in England, in much the same style as Beagles are, though in mixed packs or in pairs. At the same time in both countries they are also appreciated as companions and house-dogs.

Description

A short-legged and rough coated hound of moderate length. The head is of medium length and well balanced, being of fair width and the occipital point well defined. The foreface is of medium length and slightly arched with a moderate stop. The ears are set level with the eye, and extend to the nose when drawn forward, folding inwards and ending in a point. They're covered with a finer darker and softer hair than the body. The neck is rather short and muscular. The forelegs are straight but a slight crook is acceptable. Their chest is wide and deept, sternum prominent. Strong and muscular hindquarters, with well bent stifles and hocks well let down with good angulation.

The tail is thick at the base and tapering to a point. Set high and reaching slightly beyond the hock when lowered and carried like a sickle when moving. They move quickly, striding out well and should be nimble. Their coat is very harsh, dense and flat. Colours are fawn, gold-wheaten or red-wheaten, a white spot on the chest is allowed.

Character/Temperament

A courageous and hard dog, possessing a good nose, they are lively, friendly and amenable. As a family pet the Fauve is wonderful, excellent with children and with other dogs, never snappy or bad-tempered and, if properly introduced, will get on with cats and other small pets. There is at least one Fauve who curls up for a nap with the family rabbit! Towards their human family they are very affectionate and responsive. Towards life in general they are cheerful and out-going, full of fun and character. Breeders are determined to keep this sweet nature as a prime characteristic of the breed. Fauves are not a problem to feed, in fact they have a reputation as eaters of anything, with nothing of the gastronomical finesse of their human compatriots!

Breed Health

A relatively health breed, there are currently no known inherited problems.

Breed Care

Their hard, dense coat needs to be stripped about twice a year. This can be done by a professional groomer if necessary.

Exercise

If it possible for an animal to be both bone idle and ready for any amount of exercise, then that is the Fauve. Happy in front of the fire at home but always ready to give the local rabbits a scare.

Training

Your Fauve will probably never respond to your every whispered command with the alacrity of a GSD or a Border Collie - but nor are you likely to have a problem with Dominance or Aggression. The Recall needs to be taught at an early age, and reminders given as often as necessary.

Obedience training is possible, Fauves can be taught many things (there is one who tells the time!) but they can still be led astray if a really wonderful scent meets their "super" nose. See our books on training


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Last link added: 08 Jan, 2006