Where Are Basset Hounds From?
The word “basset” first appeared in a hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585, accompanied by an illustration of a Basset Hound. The French word bas, meaning “low thing” or “dwarf,” is where the hound got its name. French friars bred various strains of French hounds to produce a dog that was shorter and slower, making them easier to follow on foot. French royals were known to be hunting enthusiasts, so it is no surprise that the Basset made its way into their kennels.
By the mid-19th century, there were two large breeders of Basset Hounds in France. One of them being Count Le Couteulx, who developed a tri-colored hound with a distinctive facial expression. Two of Count Le Couteulx’s Bassets were imported to England by Lord Galway in 1866, but the breed did not gain popularity until much later. In 1874, Sir Everett Millais imported a French hound, Model, to England. Millais’ continued breeding program of the Basset Hound, which added more Bloodhound to the breed, is what has given him the title of “father of the breed” in the UK. Millais exhibited his first Basset in an English dog show in 1875. Basset Hounds were also owned by Queen Alexandra in the early 1880s.
After the American Revolution, George Washington was given a Basset Hound by Marquis de Lafayette. In 1883-4, Americans began importing Basset Hounds from England, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1885. The Basset Hound has grown in popularity since the 1920s, with a puppy making its cover debut on Time magazine in 1928. The breed was also featured on The People’s Choice (an American sitcom in the 1950s), the English comic “Fred Basset,” and advertising for Hush Puppies shoes.