The Basset Bleu is a noble-looking hound, with the typical basset long body and short legs. Powerful and athletic – he is not a heavy, cumbersome dog. Medium-sized, he stands 30-38cm tall when fully grown and weighs approximately 16-20lb. The most striking feature is the coat colour – black on a white background, covered with black mottling to produce the blue appearance. Typical hound markings, in tan, are also a feature (see the breed standard for details).
France is the original home of many hounds, and, as his name suggests, this also includes the Basset Bleu de Gascogne dog breed, a dog that hails from Gascogny in the south-west of France. Blue hounds from this region are mentioned as early as the 12th century and were said to have helped hunt out wild boar and wolves as well as deer. The breed nearly died out at the start of the 20th century, but the longer-legged Bleu de Gascogne was used in breeding programmes to bring the Basset Bleu back from the brink of extinction.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne is affectionate towards his family and friends, but a little reserved with others. He should be 'sagacious' and 'audacious' – words rarely found in canine breed standards, suggesting this dog really is one of a kind! Like all scenthounds, the Basset Bleu is never happier than when he has his nose to the ground, following the trail of an interesting smell.
The Basset Bleu is not known to suffer widely from many inherited conditions. Like other dogs with this body shape they can be expected to be more prone to spinal disorders and abnormal joint development.
Like most hounds, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne can become deaf when following his nose, so a reliable recall is essential, as is exercising him off-lead only in safe, non-traffic areas. He was bred for extended, slow hunts, so he's more of a long-distance plodder than a short-distance sprinter, and needs a couple of hours' daily exercise to burn off his energy, along with a chance to use his nose.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food. The Basset Bleu is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The short, dense coat is low-maintenance, requiring little more than a weekly groom to remove any dead coat and keep it looking healthy. Owners may give this dog an occasional bath if necessary. Their ears require careful attention, as ear infections can occur due to limited airflow.