Basset Fauve De Bretagne
Sometimes known as the Brittany Basset. A charming, lively and outgoing little hound, that is full of fun and naughtiness. A breed with one of the hardest names to remember.
Any owner will tell you, they wish they had a pound for every person who asks, “What breed of dog is that?” and when told “A Basset Fauve De Bretagne” they say “A what!”
This breed was imported into the UK around 20 years ago and is still registered with the UK Kennel Club as a ‘Rare Breed’. When shown, they are not awarded Challenge Certificates and so are not able to be called Champions. During the past few years several hounds have been imported from France and Sweden to increase the gene pool. With around 100 registrations in 2002, they are still not common!
There are 28 different breeds of hunting hound in France. The Basset Fauve de Bretagne being the smallest. Used for hundreds of years to assist man in his quest for food, the history books tell us drawings in caves show early man with his hounds hunting deer. Historically, the ‘Basset Breeds’, those low to the ground, have been used mainly for hunting rabbits and other small game.
It is certain that, along with its larger version the Griffon Fauve, numbers were greatly reduced during the Second World War. Several dedicated breeders in France worked long and hard to increase numbers and revive interest in the breed, resulting in the stock you see today when you visit. Each year a ‘Nationale D’ Elevage is held in a different region of France to exhibit the packs of both Basset Fauves and Grand Fauves.
Fauves sent into dense undergrowth (ideal for stripping the coat) follow scent to pursue their prey.
Hounds imported into Sweden are used to hunt Elk. There, a single hound is sent away into the forest. It must remain quiet and guide the animal towards the hunters – no easy task for such a joyful, vocal hunting hound!
Here in the UK it is unusual, although not unheard of, to hunt with fauves. Most litters here are bred with a view to improving the standard of those hounds seen in the show ring, and to maintain good health and temperament
A fauve is a Basset breed and as such is ‘low to the ground’.
No puppy should be walked any distance until it is 6 months old as this can effect the formation of the bones, but this is particularly important in a basset breed. Of course, this does not mean you cannot train your puppy. Short lead walks are fine but no running in the fields at first. For the first few months, two 5 min. walks are all that’s needed. The puppy must not be allowed to run up and down stairs or jump on and off furniture.
Don’t forget that by the time he/she is allowed to go out for walks your puppy will be 3+ months old so it’s not long to wait. Between 6 and 9 months gently increase the walking time. At 9/10 months be ready to walk as far as you like, because a fauve will go all day and outlast the most ardent walker.
I cannot stress the point enough – stairs, sofas and long walks are not good for a young developing hound and can affect their health in later life.
At present, in the UK, there are no known inherited health problems in the breed.
The standard calls for the coat to be hard, dense and flat, never long or woolly. This is easy to maintain when hunting, as the coat is naturally lost in dense, thick undergrowth. However, those who don’t hunt can be hand stripped a couple of times a year either by the willing enthusiast or a professional groomer.
Fauves come in one colour and this varies from fawn, to a dark red wheaten. The standard again allows for a small white spot on the chest.
Choosing a puppy
As with any breed, the main consideration when considering the purchase of a puppy is, do your homework.
Fauves are a scent hound first. This makes them difficult, although not impossible, to train.
My first fauve, Luc, was taken to classes, walks to heel off lead and, fingers crossed, always returns from periods of free exercise. Certainly, none of those who followed can be trusted to do the same thing. If you are happy to use an extending lead and get lots of exercise yourself – this may be the breed for you!
Like most puppies, fauves will chew when young. It is advisable for the sake of your puppy and your furniture to obtain a crate. This can be left open all the time you are around and will give the puppy somewhere to go for a little peace.
This is not a breed for everyone – they need a secure garden to run and exercise – can make noise when playing or ‘singing’ (a hunting call and is normal during play)- need walking each day – a good diet – a warm bed and a loving environment. In return they are generally good with children and other animals, if raised correctly – give around 14 years of pleasure – and are a joy to own and be owned by!
If you are considering a fauve puppy you should contact the Basset Fauve de Bretagne Club website where you can find a breeders list and also contact details of club officials.