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The Basset Fauve de Bretagne

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 Basset Fauve de Bretagne

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a medium purebred scent hound from France, bred to originally to hunt rabbits but used for other prey too. Its name indicates it is from the northwest part of France once called Brittany or Bretagne. It is also known as the Fawn Brittany Basset and the Tawny Brittany Basset or nicknamed the Basset Fauve or BFB. Like other Bassets it is short legged and long backed though out of all the Basset breeds its back is the shortest of them.

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne at A Glance
Name Basset Fauve de Bretagne
Other names Fawn Brittany Basset, Tawny Brittany Basset
Nicknames Basset Fauve, BFB
Origin France
Average size Medium
Average weight 25 to 40 pounds
Average height 13 to 15 inches
Life span 11 to 14 years
Coat type Short, rough/harsh, dense, wiry
Hypoallergenic No
Color Fawn, red, black, white
Popularity Not yet a fully registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Average to above average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can live in most climates
Tolerance to cold Very good – can live in most climates
Shedding Low to moderate – some hair left around the home
Drooling Low – not a breed prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Above average – can gain weight if over fed
Grooming/brushing Low to moderate – regular brushing needed
Barking Occasional – does not bark all the time but there will be some
Exercise needs Fairly active – need a good couple of walks plus play time
Trainability Moderate – experience helps
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Good – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good to excellent 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 can have high prey drive
Good with strangers Good with socialization but can be wary
Good apartment dog Good – can adapt to an apartment as long as get taken outside at least twice a day. Do prefer a yard though
Handles alone time well Low – does not like being left alone for long periods of time
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues can include cancer, kidney problems, ear infections and eye problems
Medical expenses $460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $145 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $535 a year for grooming, license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1140 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None breed specific but check local shelters for options
Biting Statistics None reported
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The Basset Fauve de Bretagne's Beginnings

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne was developed using the bigger and now extinct Grand Fauve de Bretagne in France sometime in the 19th century. There are some fanciers who also think that other dogs used in its development are the Brittany Basset and the Griffon Fauve de Bretagne. It was bred to be a hunting dog and was used specifically to hunt rabbit but then also other prey like hare and some a little larger like the fox, and a lot larger like deer and boar. Its coat's patches were developed so that it was better at camouflaging itself when on the hunt.

Before the French Revolution while smaller hunting dogs were used, the larger hounds were more popular accompanying the nobles on horseback as they were able to run faster. During the revolution many of those dogs were killed and many breeds were lost forever. Smaller dogs though survived, including this one. Commoners realized that they could keep up with Basset type dogs on foot, so could use them to hunt with too. During this time period it became a popular and distinct breed and did well into the dog show era too. However the two world wars did a lot of damage to dog breeding all over the world but especially in countries like France who were directly impacted. The Basset Fauve de Bretagne's number dropped dramatically and it came close to extinction.

New Lease on Life

Thankfully after the war breeders worked hard to save this breed. Some say this was from using dogs like the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen and the Wirehaired Dachshund but the French Kennel Club denies this. While it is still a rare dog outside of France, its numbers are more stable. In 1983 it was brought to the UK and in 1996 it was recognized by the UKC. In France it has a good reputation as being a great rabbit hound and is used singly or in pairs to hunt with. In the UK it is kept more as a family dog and show dog. In 2001 it came to the US and is currently sitting in the AKC Foundation stock service class so does not have full AKC recognition.

The Dog You See Today

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a medium sized dog weighing 25 to 40 pounds and standing 13 to 15 inches tall. It is somewhat like the more well known Basset Hound but is definitely taller and lighter. Its legs are still shorter than non Basset dogs though and its frame is compact with a long body though shorter than other Bassets. Front legs should not have a crook in them and its tail is medium length, tapers to the tip and then is a little curved into a shape like a sickle. Its neck is muscled and it has no dewlap and the chest is broad and rounded. It has a wiry coat that is dense, harsh and coarse. Common colors are red, wheaten, fawn and some have white patches on the top of their head or on the chest and some have black ticking, though these may not be accepted show colors. Its ears tend to be a darker shade than the rest of its coat and the hairs are finer and shorter.

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The BFB has a long head which is wider between the ears and then tapers to the eyes. Its muzzle is equal in length to its skull and tapers in to the nose which is dark brown or black. Its eyes are set well into the skull but are not overly deep in and are dark brown. Its ears hang down to about the nose and are pointed and turned in, with fine short hair on them. They are set low around the same line as the eyes.

The Inner Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Temperament

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is a loving and happy dog when in the right home and raised well. It is outgoing and lively but being traditionally a hound it is certainly not the best dog for any home, and needs experienced owners. It is active and needs owners who can commit to this side to it, especially if it is not being kept as a hunting dog. It is devoted and affectionate to its owners and it loves to spend time with the family. It needs to be included in family activities and does not like being left alone for long periods. It can have a sweet and gentle side to its nature making it a great companion but it needs owners who are strong with it not timid as it can be stubborn, otherwise it can be difficult to live with.

When hunting it is brave, bold and determined, and can be out there for hours. Therefore as a companion it still needs challenges, jobs and to be kept busy. It is not a good guard dog but it should let you know if a stranger is at the door. It is wary around strangers and socialization is important for it to not become overly fearful or defensive. It is a very loyal dog but can have a mind of its own.

Living with a Basset Fauve de Bretagne

What will training look like?

BFBs can be a little more difficult to train as they are independent minded and this means it needs experienced and firm handling. Start it early though and things will go better. Hounds tend to have their own ideas about things, and even with good training that is not something they lose so may develop selective hearing now and then! Be consistent, clear that you are the boss and use positive techniques though and it should be somewhat obedient. It is a dog that gets easily distracted so make sure sessions are short and interesting, use treats, praise and encouragement. Make sure you are the boss and never bend any of the rules you set. Housebreaking can be difficult, set a very regular schedule that you stick to, be patient, and use a crate to help. Early socialization is also important to ensure it grows into a more confident and happier dog. Introduce it to different sounds, situations, animals, people and places from a young age so it gets used to them, and knows the appropriate responses to them. It is also important for its wariness of strangers.

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How active is the Basset Fauve de Bretagne?

Since BFBs are active dogs they need owners who are already active themselves and can easily commit to giving them the kind of stimulation and exercise they need. Keep in mind that as a scenthound it will easily get distracted by what it smells so make sure when walking that it is on a leash. As well as being energetic it has a lot of stamina so can go for a long time. Give it a couple of long walks a day and also take it to dog parks where it can play doggy games with you, and where it can run safely off leash and socialize with other dogs. It can join you on hikes, jogs and other activities that you like to do too. When properly exercised it will be happy to relax at the end of a busy day on the couch with you and it usually less active when indoors. Opportunities for mental stimulation are also very important, without both behavior problems can develop. Take care when it comes to jumping though, it is agile but with its long back and short leg build it can be prone to back injuries. It can adapt to apartment living with enough opportunities outside but does best with a yard.

Caring for the Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Grooming needs

Grooming and maintaining the Basset Fauve is not a terribly difficult or time consuming process though it will need brushing once or twice a week, stripping by a professional two or three times a year and then other usual dog care of teeth, ears and nails for example. It shed a low to moderate amount so there can be a little hair around the home, but that is what the stripping and brushing helps with. Its shedding may be more to the moderate end around seasonal shedding times. Its wiry coat is good at repelling dirt and it does not really tangle. Only give it a bath when it really needs one using a proper dog shampoo as other kinds and bathing too often can actually damage its natural oils and cause skin problems. You can have it trimmed but this does affect the texture of the coat so should not be done with show dogs.

Its ears should be checked once a week for signs of infection like redness, swelling, irritation and they should also be cleaned weekly too. Only reach the areas that are easy to get to using a dog ear cleanser and cotton ball or damp cloth. Do not inset anything into the ears, this can cause pain and permanent damage. The hair around the ears and eyes may need a trim now and then using blunt nosed scissors. Some dogs wear their nails down naturally with their high level of exercise outside. If however its nails do get too long they should be trimmed using proper dog nail clippers. Have someone show you how if you are not familiar, dog nails have blood vessels and nerves in the quick of the nail. If you cut into that you will hurt it and cause bleeding. Its teeth need to be looked after too, a brush at least two to three times a week is good.

Feeding Time

This dog will need to eat about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food each day split into at least two meals. How much exactly it eats can be different from other BFBs, it depends on their size, metabolism rate, level of activity, age and health. Make sure it gets water every day and that it is changed often so it is fresh. It likes its food and treats are a good way to motivate it but take care it does not get too many!

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How is the Basset Fauve de Bretagne with children and other animals?

With early socialization the Basset Fauve is very good with children, though it is best around older ones who know not to put pressure on its back, or to let it jump from large heights, or to not pull and tease it. With children it has been raised with it is friendly, playful, happy and affectionate. It is a hunting dog so with strange small animals it will see them as prey and want to chase them. However with good socialization and if raised with other pets like a cat, it can learn to get on with them or to tolerate them. It is good with other dogs and is often used when hunting with other dogs.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The Basset Fauve de Bretagne has a life span of about 11 to 14 years. In a very small survey done by the UK Kennel Club on 15 dead BFBs it was found leading cause of death was car accidents, then cancer, heart problems and kidney problems. Out of a survey on 84 living dogs common health issues were ear problems, eye problems and reproductive problems. In Europe epilepsy has also been noted.

Biting Statistics

In reports from the US and Canada concerning dog attacks against people that caused bodily harm over the last 35 years, there is no mention of the Basset Fauve de Bretagne. This is not a dog that is especially aggressive towards people, though being rare in those countries means any reports are not likely to mention it because there are not many there! Key ways to ensure your dog is less likely to be provoked or drawn into such an incident are to make sure it is well socialized, has basic obedience training, and is well stimulated, exercised and cared for.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

Being hard to find in the US you may have to be prepared to do a lot of homework finding a decent breeder and then being placed on a waiting list when you do. $800 may get you a puppy from a breeder of companion dogs but if you are looking to buy from a top show breeder that price will go up substantially. Avoid looking to easier and quicker options like pet stores, back yard breeders and puppy mills. If you do not have to have a purebred for show dog reasons a great option is to look at local rescues and shelters. It is possible there may be a BFB mix, or even some other dog altogether that catches your heart. There are lots of dogs that are hoping for a new forever home and you could make that happen. Rescues and shelters have adoption fees that range between $50 to $400 but those also usually include medical concerns taken care of for you.

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If they have not already been done there are some initial medical needs to be dealt with and also some items your dog will need. The former includes things like spaying or neutering, micro chipping, a physical exam, shots, deworming and blood tests. These will cost about $270. The items includes things like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and such and will be around $215.

Then there are the ongoing costs of pet ownership. Paying for its health care, feeding it, grooming needs, toys and so on. A starting figure estimate for the Basset Fauve it $1140. That is about $460 a year for pet insurance and basic health care like tick and flea prevention, shots and check ups, $145 a year for a good quality dry food and dog treats, and $535 a year for license, grooming, miscellaneous items, toys and basic training.

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  • The Basset Fauve de Bretagne is mostly kept as a hunting dog used on its own or in pairs in its native France. Elsewhere it is a rare breed and is more often kept as a show dog and/or companion. It is best suited to homes are experienced dog owners, are committed to being active and have a yard. It gets on well with children but socialization is important to get on with other pets and to not be too wary of strangers. It is long bodied and short legged breed, and while it is not as pronounced as in other Basset breeds it still means care has to be taken in terms of back injuries and how it is picked up and how it jumps. It is an intelligent, sometimes stubborn, happy and outgoing dog that could be a great companion and best friend in the right home.

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