The Basset Bleu de Gascogne’s historical rootstock is from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, a Scenthound of ancient lineage.
The existence of the Basset Bleu de Gascogne is supreme evidence of the antiquity of the parent breed and is, therefore, itself a very ancient and important breed when speaking of Basset varieties in general and Bleu de Gascogne hounds specifically.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne evolved directly from the Grand Bleu de Gascogne, shows certain signs of distinction, and reflects an aristocratic air shared with the parent breed.
The Basset Bleu de Gascogne was recognized by the United Kennel Club in January 1991.
– History courtesy of the United Kennel Club breed standards. UKC Basset Bleu de Gascogne Breed Standards
Basset Bleu de Gascogne (Blue Gascony Basset) Breed Story
The Old French Breed
The Blue Gascony Basset is an old breed of dog originating from France, near the Pyrenees Mountains and the Spanish Border. Like all basset hounds, they are dwarfed versions of large scenthounds; usually they were shrunk to allow the hunters to keep up with the hounds on foot, rather than having to use horses when hunting. The Blue Gascony Basset was descended from the Grand Bleu De Gascogne, a breed which can be traced back over 800 years.
The Grand Bleu De Gascogne was a large hound used for hunting wolves, boar and deer, a job it did very successfully. How the Blue Gascony Basset came into existence is a matter of some debate, some maintain that the breed occurred as a result of a crossing between the Grand Bleu and the Saintongeois Basset. Some insist that the breed occurred due to a natural mutation of the Grand Bleu and, through careful selective, breeding the shorter legged version was kept, slowing down the breed.
Changing Life and Times of the Blue Gascony Basset
Before the French revolution, the sport of hunting was considered a noble pastime and, as a result, the rest of the population were not permitted to take part in the hunt. However, after the revolution this changed; suddenly, ordinary citizens were allowed to hunt as well. They needed a small legged dog so they could keep up with the hounds whilst they trailed a scent, as the majority did not own horses and so were not capable of keeping up with the larger, quicker hounds.
Whilst this meant that the breed was very popular, recent times have seen a large decrease in the popularity of hunting and, as a result, a large decrease in the popularity of the breed. As they were specifically bred for the hunt, the need for the Blue Gascony Basset was less; this resulted in the breed becoming almost extinct. It took the extraordinary efforts of Alain Bourbon, who set forth to rescue the breed, and managed to do just that.
The Blue Gascony Basset Today
The Blue Gascony Basset, despite being saved from extinction, is still not that well known outside of France, and even its happy and affectionate nature it does not have a large following. To those that do own the breed or know of them, they are a delight to be around. Stable and fun, the Blue Gascony Basset truly makes a fantastic pet, as well as an exceptional hunter.
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