Basset Artésien Normand

Gemma Gaitskell
Dr Gemma Gaitskell (BVetMed MSc MRCVS, Royal Veterinary College, London)
 
Photo of adult Basset Artésien Normand

The Basset Artésien Normand is a medium sized scent hound with a common ancestry to the Basset Hound and Artois Hound. It was developed to hunt alongside man on foot, and is an excellent tracking dog, capable of working in areas of dense vegetation and undergrowth. Today, the breed is more commonly kept as a companion and makes an excellent family pet due to its cheerful and affectionate nature and tolerance of children. It is also a sociable soul and gets on well with other dogs, but its hunting instincts mean it is not suited to cohabitation with other small animals, such as cats, unless accustomed to them from a young age.

The Basset Artésien Normand is one of the more obedient hounds and is quick to learn. This combined with its eagerness to please means that training is not typically a problem, however, it is prone to picking up scents and following them. The breed is energetic and requires a fair amount of walking, meaning that although it can adapt to city living, it is best suited to the countryside. It has a short, easy-to-care-for coat, but can be prone to ear and skin infections, as well as some health problems, so choosing puppies from healthy parents without excessive skin folds is important.

About & History

The Basset Artésien Normand also known as the Norman Artesian Basset or BAN is a medium sized, short legged breed that shares a common heritage with the more widely known Basset Hound. These original common ancestors were affected by achondroplastic dwarfism that was then exploited to form the modern breeds we know today. The difference between the well-known Basset Hound and the Basset Artésien Normand is that the French breeders, which developed the latter, preferred to maintain a lighter more agile stature with more of an emphasis on hunting capabilities. This breeding began towards the end of the 1800s but another division occurred forming two French Basset breeds – the difference being in their front legs. The Basset Artésien Normand was bred by Louis Lane to have crooked front legs, differentiating it from the straight legged Artois Hound. The breed is recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and the United Kennel Club, but at the time of writing, is not recognised by the UK Kennel Club.

The Basset Artésien Normand is a scent hound traditionally bred to work with the hunter on foot and hunt small game, such as rabbits and hares, either alone or in a pack. The breeds small sturdy stature is meant to allow it to work in dense vegetation where larger dogs would have difficulty and track and flush out game. However, today, the breed is much more commonly kept as a companion and makes a good family pet, although it is unusual to find an example of the breed further afield than its native France.

Appearance

Basset Artésien Normand Large Photo

There are two colour combinations which are considered acceptable under the breed standard for the Basset Artésien Normand. These include:

  • Tricolour: Fawn with a black blanket and white; The head should be predominantly tan in colour and the black areas should either be solid black or mottled with white (described as grizzle), although this should not be so much as to cause a bluish appearance
  • Fawn and White

The Basset Artésien Normand should measure between 30 and 36 cm at the withers and weigh between 15 and 20 kg. Unlike many other breeds, there is little difference in size between male and female dogs. The breed is long in relation to its height and the height at the withers should be 5/8 the length of the body, with the chest filling about 2/3 of this height. The neck should be long, and the breed should have a dewlap, but this should not be excessive. Shoulders should be strong and well-angled, and the front legs should be short with plenty of bone and their characteristic ‘half-crooked’ or a little less than ‘half-crooked’ appearance, angled outwards. The breed should have a broad body, and long, oval chest leading to a strong back end with a slight slope from the croup down to the rump. Although front legs should be crooked, the hind legs should not.

The breed has a noble looking head that should be as wide as half the overall length. The skull should be domed and be of equal length to the muzzle. The jaws should form a scissor bite and the upper lip should cover the lower, but not hang excessively. The breed has large, oval shaped eyes with a calm expression. The ears are large but should be fine and low set, below the level of the eye, being at least as long as the muzzle and forming a point at the end. The Basset Artésien Normand should move evenly with a steady, effortless gait despite its short legs.

Character & Temperament

The Basset Artésien Normand is an intelligent, energetic and cheerful hound who is eager to please. The breed is very affectionate and friendly and is renowned for being gentle and tolerant with children, making an excellent family pet. The breed usually gets on well with other dogs and does not typically suffer from separation anxiety, although it should be gradually accustomed from puppyhood to being left alone for short periods of time. The breed does not make a good guard dog and is generally friendly with everyone, although it can be vocal and this may be a problem if living in close proximity to neighbours.

Trainability

The Basset Artésien Normand is intelligent and quick to learn and this, combined with its eagerness to please, mean that training is not generally a problem. The breed is fairly obedient and picks up quickly on house training, especially when a consistent routine is established with plenty of outdoor access.

Despite their collaborative nature and eagerness to please, it must not be forgotten that the Basset Artésien Normand is a scent hound and can be prone to picking up a scent and following it, as well as chasing small animals. It is therefore particularly important to socialise the breed with any other pets from the start if they will be expected to live alongside them.

Health

The Basset Artésian Normand lives between 12 and 14 years on average and is perhaps the healthiest of the Basset breeds. Despite this, it can still be affected by several health problems – although there is limited research and literature available about the conditions that can affect the breed and the extent of these problems within the breed as a whole. However, we can conjecture that some of the problems to affect the breed might include:

Intervertebral Disc Disease

This condition affects many long backed, short legged breeds and is caused by herniation of the intervertebral discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae. This herniation causes compression of the spinal cord and damage to the nerves, leading to neurological consequences. The severity of the damage can vary, and this greatly affects the chances of recovery. In many cases, surgery is needed to treat the problem, but it is not always successful, and paralysis can be permanent.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition caused by the abnormal development of the hips leading to joint problems later in life. Dogs intended for breeding should have their hips radiographed and scored by experts. The lower the score, the fewer the signs of hip dysplasia are present. Hip dysplasia has a large genetic component but can also be influenced by environmental factors.

Entropion/Ectropion

These conditions are caused when the eyelid turns either inwards or outwards due to excess skin. This either irritates the surface of the eye or causes the eye to become dryer than normal. Both conditions cause discomfort and can lead to permanent damage to the eye if not treated. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Skin Problems

If excessive skin folds are present, this can predispose the Basset Artésien Normand to skin infections as air cannot circulate over the areas inside the folds, allowing the build-up of bacteria. Ultimately, treatment is based around maintaining any skin folds as clean as possible with good hygiene.

Ear Infections

Long ears and narrow ear canals mean the Basset Artésien Normand is especially likely to suffer from ear infections. Similarly to the skin, this combination of physical features prevents air circulation, favoring the build-up of bacteria. Ear infections can be particularly painful and uncomfortable and prevention and early treatment is the best means of avoiding the problem.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Basset Artésien Normand is perhaps calmer but not necessarily less active than some of its close relatives and needs an hour to an hour and a half of walking a day. Ideally, this should be spent off the lead, but the breed can adapt well to an urban lifestyle if given enough exercise or longer lead walks. This said, the breed is energetic and still needs a fair amount of exercise, so a country environment is the best option if available.

Grooming

The Basset Artésien Normand has a short, close coat that should be smooth and glossy to touch. It is low maintenance with respect to grooming requirements and occasional brushing is sufficient to keep its coat in good condition and remove any loose hair which is being shed. As with other long eared breeds, the Basset Artésien Normand can be prone to ear infections, as air flow to the ear is limited.

This means it is advisable to regularly check and clean the ears. Any veterinarian will be happy to provide guidance on how to do this and it is best to get puppies used to this from a young age so that it is as easy and stress free as possible. In addition, any excessive skin and folds can increase the likelihood of skin problems and infections.

Famous Norman Artesian Bassets

Although the Basset Artésien Normand is a close relation to the Basset Hound, which appears commonly in popular culture, there are no well-known examples of this lesser known cousin. We would, however, recommend checking out thor_the_basset and watson_the_ban on Instagram if you are researching the breed, as they are both particularly lovely examples of the breed.

Cross-Breeds

The Basset Artésien Normand is rare outside France and there are no common cross-breeds that have been formed by breeding it with other types of dog.

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