The Basset Bleu de GascogneHome » Dog Breeds » Short Spotted French Hunter
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a medium French purebred also called the Blue Gascony Basset and the Bleus de Gascogne. It is a hound and the Basset part of its name refers to it being short legged and long bodied. The bleu part of its name refers to the ticked appearance it has and Gascogne is the region of France it comes from. Descendent of the Grand Bleu de Gascogne it is an ancient breed and was bred to be a scent hound tracking larger prey like boar and wolf but also used as well as to track rabbits and hare.
|The Basset Bleu de Gascogne at A Glance|
|Name||Basset Bleu de Gascogne|
|Other names||Blue Gascony Basset, Bleus de Gascogne|
|Nicknames||Blue or Bleu, Basset Bleu|
|Average weight||30 to 45 pounds|
|Average height||12 to 15 inches|
|Life span||12 to 14 years|
|Coat type||Dense, short|
|Color||White, black, blue|
|Popularity||Not yet registered with the AKC|
|Intelligence||Average to above average|
|Tolerance to heat||Very good – can handle most climates|
|Tolerance to cold||Very good – as above|
|Shedding||Average – will be some hair around the home to clean up daily|
|Drooling||Moderate – not especially prone|
|Obesity||Average to above average – measure out its food|
|Grooming/brushing||Low to moderate – brush once or twice a week|
|Barking||Occasional to frequent – may need training to control on command|
|Exercise needs||Fairly active – needs daily exercise|
|Trainability||Moderately hard – can be stubborn, experience helps|
|Friendliness||Very good with socialization|
|Good first dog||Good but best with experienced owner|
|Good family pet||Very good with socialization|
|Good with children||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other dogs||Very good with socialization|
|Good with other pets||Good with socialization but has high prey drive|
|Good with strangers||Good with socialization but may be wary at first|
|Good apartment dog||Moderate to good – best with a home with a yard|
|Handles alone time well||Low – does not like to be left alone for long periods|
|Health issues||Fairly healthy – some issues to look out for include back problems, ear infections, hip dysplasia|
|Medical expenses||$460 a year for pet insurance and basic health care|
|Food expenses||$145 a year for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$225 a year for basic training, toys, miscellaneous items and license|
|Average annual expenses||$830 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$1,500|
|Rescue organizations||None breed specific, look to your own local shelters and rescues and consider adopting|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne's Beginnings
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is believed to come from as far back as the middle ages, descending from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne which is now extinct. It can be found in paintings from the 1300s and is from Gascony in the Southwest of France. There are two theories about its development, the first that it was a mutation that happened naturally and the second being that other Basset breeds were crossed with the large Bleu to develop it. Since it was bred in a time when keeping good breeding records was not common, we will never know for sure which is true.
For many years it was a popular dog to hunt with, one of many in fact. During and shortly after the years of the French Revolution though (1789 to 1799) many French hounds and hunting dogs faced extinction, as anything linked to the French aristocracy came under attacks. In fact several breeds were lost as a result, but thankfully the Basset Bleu de Gascogne was one of the few that survived. This was because commoners realized that with its short legs they could use it to hunt with and keep up with on foot, without horses. For a while it was used in its original role but with hunters on foot but eventually the popularity of hound hunting waned as other breeds and options came around. While it had survived the French Revolution, by the early 1900s this breed was facing extinction as it fell out of favor.
New Lease on Life
Thankfully it was saved and its numbers revived largely in part to the work of one breeder, Alain Bourbon. Some say this was done by finding the last few Bleus left and used other Bassets to revive them, and some say the dogs was already extinct and Bourbon recreated it using larger Bleus and other Bassets. Whichever it was while the breed has survived it is still very rare today even in France, and is the rarest of the French hounds. It has not yet achieved AKC recognition in the US but in 1991 did gain UKC recognition. It is also recognized by The Kennel Club in the UK and of course in France by the French Kennel Club. Unlike with the other French hounds who are commonly kept as pets too, this dog is rare as a companion, most of the few that are around today are used in pack hunting.
The Dog You See Today
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is a medium sized dog weighing 30 to 45 pounds and standing 12 to 15 inches tall. It has short legs and a long body, looking stocky like the more common Basset Hound. It looks very much like the larger Bleu de Gascogne but with much shorter legs. It is slimmer than the Basset though and its tail is long and held upright. It has ears that are low set and hang down to their muzzle. Its eyes are dark and full of expression. The muzzles are long and strong. Its coat is mostly white but is ticked which gives it a bluish look hence its name. Above the ears and eyes and around the snout, tail and feet there can be brown and tan markings. The coat is short and smooth and there can be large sections of black fur too.Advertisement
The Inner Basset Bleu de Gascogne
Basset Bleu de Gascognes tend to be lively, happy, active and affectionate dogs. When outside in a hunt they are very agile, focused, full of vigor and stamina. In the home it is more laid back, friendly and social and steady. It wants to be a part of family activities and it can be a loud dog, barking, howling and so on. Training will be needed to stop that on command and understanding neighbors or no close neighbors would be best! It has a very curious nature and will want to explore everything. It is a pack dog though and enjoys having other Bassets around it especially for times when you are out as it does not like to be left alone for long periods.
This dog tends to be quite friendly with everyone even strangers so it is not the best option if you want a dog that can act as a watchdog. As mentioned in most cases they are an affectionate dog but there are some that a bit more reserved, but a well bred and raised one should never by shy or aggressive. It will be devoted to its owners but can suffer from separation anxiety so is best in a home where someone is there more often than not. It can be stubborn and independent sometimes but is fairly adaptable too.
Living with a Basset Bleu de Gascogne
What will training look like?
As mentioned the Basset Bleu can have a stubborn side to it which is why it is best with experienced owners. It needs you to be firm, consistent and patient, and to use positive training techniques. Offer it treats to motivate it, reward it and praise it and encourage rather than scold or punish. Stay in charge at all times and be prepared for it to test your position now and then. Unfortunately it is prone to having selective hearing so be prepared! It is not untrainable but it will be a gradual process that will take a lot of time and effort. When it comes to anything to do with hunting though, it will pick it up a lot quicker. It also needs early socialization so that it learns how to respond appropriately to different places, sounds, situations, animals and people.
How active is the Basset Bleu de Gascogne?
This breed is not often kept solely as a companion, it is used to hunting and having jobs to do and being active, and it will need a lot of opportunities at releasing energy and having mental stimulation. Give it jobs to do each day and make sure it gets at least two long walks a day. The minimum it would take is an hour a day. Also included in that could be time for physical play with you, having opportunities for off leash safe time where it can explore, maybe visit dog parks for socialization too. Without enough things to keep it active and engaged it can become destructive, hyperactive, hard to live with and even more vocal. It needs owners who are committed to being active and happy to include it in that lifestyle. Make sure that unless you are in a safe place you keep it leashed as when exploring scents and such it is likely to go off after them. It can adapt to an apartment but is best not in one. It likes to have yard it can explore and play in, but that will need to be properly fenced so it does not dig its way out.Advertisement
Caring for the Basset Bleu de Gascogne
A plus for this breed is its easy to groom coat! This is an average shedding dog so there will be some hair around the home, but it is easy to look after and to brush. Brush it about once or twice a week to keep some of that loose hair under control and to get rid of any debris that it might have collected being so low to the ground. If it gets really yucky give it a bath using a dog shampoo but avoid bathing too often as that can strip them of the natural oils they need. Because it is a droopy eared dog the Basset Bleu needs them checked weekly for signs of infection, kept dry and cleaned weekly. Use just a cotton ball and dog ear cleanser or a damp cloth, do not insert anything into the ears, that can cause damage and pain. It will also need its teeth brushed at least two to three times a week and its nails clipped if they get too long. Some dogs who are regularly active will wear down their nails outside, but if that is not the case for yours, get some proper dog nail clippers and trim them. Always be careful during this process to not cut into the quick of the nail where there are blood vessels and nerves. Cutting those would cause bleeding and a lot of pain..
In terms of food, when dealing with dry food use a good quality that is not full of well fillers! The Basset Bleu will eat about 1 1/2 to 3 cups of it a day and it should be split into at least two meals for them to prevent problems with bloat. How much one Basset Bleu eats compared to another can vary all depending on their size, age, metabolism, activity level and health. Make sure to always provide your dog with water it can access all day and keep it fresh.
How is the Basset Bleu de Gascogne with children and other animals?
The fact is since the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is not commonly kept as just a family pet, there are not a lot of example to draw information from. However that said, those that are out there with socialization do well with children it seems, and it is true that other breeds similar to it are also good with children, especially if raised with them. It will play with them and each of them can help the other to burn off some of their energy! Its intelligence means it has some funny antics and tricks it can learn that might entertain them too. Make sure children are taught how to play and touch it correctly and to take care with its back. It comes from a background of being a pack dog so in general it gets on well with other dogs especially other Bassets. There is likely to be the usual who is more dominant behavior at first but when that is settled other dogs are good company for it. Still take care when introducing new dogs or if you are introducing it to a pack you already have. This is not the best dog to have in a home that has small pets like rabbits or cats as it has a high prey drive and they are prey to it. If it has been raised with them and well socialized some can learn to live with them, but they should be supervised just in case.
What Might Go Wrong?
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne has a life span of about 12 to 14 years and is generally a healthy breed but a few issues to be aware of include back problems, ear infections, bloat and hip dysplasia. Also keep an eye out for cuts, nicks and small injuries from hunting to make sure they are cleaned so they do not become infected.
In North American records on reports of people being attacked by dogs and having bodily harm done to them over the last 35 years there is no mention of the Basset Bleu. This is not a people aggressive dog, and really its aggression only come in the form of its focus on its prey during a hunt, otherwise it is a steady, laid back dog unlikely to be involved. However note that is unlikely not a guaranteed never. All dog breeds, even the popular family ones, no matter size have the potential to have an off day. You can help lessen the odds that your dog gets drawn into such a terrible situation by giving it at least basic level obedience training, giving it comprehensive socialization that starts early on and making sure it gets the attention, mental stimulation and physical exercise it needs.Advertisement
Your Pup’s Price Tag
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne puppy will cost about $1500 from a decent breeder but it is going to be a tough one to find. Be prepared to be placed on waiting lists if you do find a trustworthy breeder. Also be prepared that if you are looking at top show dog breeders those prices may go up even more. Do not be tempted into looking into less professional options like puppy mills, backyard breeders or pet stores. If you are not absolutely set on having a purebred you could look at local shelters and rescues for a new dog. While you are more likely to find adults or teens rather than young puppies these are all dogs that deserve a new home, and have a lot of love and loyalty to offer the owner willing to give them a chance. Adoption fees usually cover initial health needs too and range from $50 to $400.
When you have got your puppy or dog there is a possibility there will be some initial health costs to pay out still as not everything may have been covered by the breeder or shelter. Things like vaccinations, deworming, blood tests, a thorough physical examination by a vet, micro chipping and then spaying or neutering need to be done. These can cost around $270. There are also some things you will likely want to start off with at home for it, items like a collar and leash, bowls, bedding, crate and carrier for example. These are going to cost around $220.
Your pet will have ongoing needs that will also cost some money. It needs to be fed a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. These will cost about $145 a year. Basic health care like shots, check ups with the vet, flea and tick prevention and then pet insurance will cost around $460 a year. Then other costs like the license, miscellaneous items, toys and basic training will cost about $225 a year. This gives an estimated yearly cost of $830.
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The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is an active, loyal, happy and intelligent dog. It is mostly kept as a hunting dog but with committed owners it could easily be kept as a pet as long it gets enough exercise and stimulation each day. Care has to be taken with its back, how you pick it up and let it jump down, how it gets up and off the couch and how others play with it could all cause injury otherwise.