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CHAPTER XXVIII.
THE BASSET-HOUND.

IN this handsome hound we have another example of the naturalisation of a foreign dog in this country. A quarter of a century ago he was a great favourite in France, and some other parts of the Continent, where he for years had been bred with great care; in England he was almost unknown. Now he is one of our own varieties, at least he is claimed as such, and even “Stonehenge,” so loth to adopt anything for ourselves that did not belong to us, So far back as 1881, gave him a place amongst his “ Dogs of the British Isles.” The Kennel Club acknowledged him in their stud-book by classification in 1883, when but ten entries were made; there were thirty-eight in 1891; and the Curzon Hall committee at Birmingham moved the Basset from the variety class to one of its own in 1882. Mr. Everett Millais, who took the initiative with regard to the Basset's introduction in this country,

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supplies me with the following valuable history and particulars of this hound : “Before I commence a description of the various kinds of Bassets and their especial points, it might be advantageous to touch upon the origin of the word Basset, since it has been my misfortune, not once but many times, to listen to the most absurd reasons for the nomenclature of the hound. Briefly the word basset means ‘a low thing' or a dwarf,' and it has a similar derivation to the words bassinette, basset (the game), bastard, basse (a shoal), and many others which it is unnecessary for me to give, all of which have a common ancestor in the French adjective ‘bas." “The meaning, then, of the word being almost apparent on the face of it, notwithstanding the fact that I have heard people urge with the greatest gravity that the Basset is a hound used for the purpose of hunting the basset, in the same way that the foxhound pursues the fox. It might also be interesting to observe how the hound became a dwarf, for if it be a dwarf, and this is what its name undoubtedly implies, it is obvious that it must be a dwarf of some other race of hound. “It is also obvious that as there exist many varieties of Bassets in France, Belgium, Austria, and G. rmany, they too are dwarfs of some form of hounds. “To account for this somewhat extraordinary assumption I must go back in the history of these countries to somewhat remote periods, and ask the reader what the use in those days, that is to say the days when men did not take the trouble to hunt small game, and the modern weapons of sport were still uninvented, would have been for such a hound as the Basset, which to-day, in France and Belgium especially, is looked upon as one of the best companions the sportsman can have by him.

“I need hardly say that such a hound as the Basset, when men followed the chase on horseback and looked upon rabbits and hares as vermin, would have been quite out of place, and the only logical conclusion one can come to as to the origin of these hounds is, that as men took up the chase of the smaller game a slower hound was required—a type of hound which would at once be produced by breeding only from those that were short in the leg, and consequently slower in speed. Breeding from such hounds, it must be observed, would but tend to decrease the height, and not the bodily proportions, coat, or form of head.

“In due time, as weapons made their appearance —and by weapons I especially mean when guns came into use—a slower dog still was required,

which would either hunt in front of the sportsman or drive game slowly towards him. “This type of hound would be produced by again breeding from the lowest and heaviest of his predecessors, and, what with the weight in front and the question of stability, the internal ligaments of the carpus would give way, the fore-feet would turn out so as to act as buttresses to the chest wall, and in the animal thus produced we should find a hound of full-sized body, of similar head and colour to the hounds from which it sprang, identical in fact with them except in this peculiar formation of the front and hind feet. “Such undoubtedly is the manner in which the Basset originated, and what is still more remarkable is the fact that the tallest of the Bassets are the straight-legged ones, the medium the half-crooked, and the lowest the full-crooked, thus showing alone the gradual change which has been wrought by man to bring the great chiens courants down to the dwarfs or the Bassets of to-day. “Had this manufacture, as I may reasonably call it, been limited to one breed of hound, we should naturally find but one breed of Bassets, but this is not so, since from the great variety of Bassets to be found in the countries I have named, it is certain that many breeds of hounds have been thus dealt with.

“As a result Bassets abroad are to be found smooth in coat, wire-haired and rough, straightlegged, half-crooked and full-crooked, and had we imported and bred all the varieties together, my task of describing them would have been somewhat difficult. I am glad, however, to say that we have stuck pretty closely to one strain in the smooths, and am in hopes that the same will follow in the Griffons, consequently in classifying them as we have them, or had them in this country, for one of the smooths has all but disappeared, I can name them as the Basset Français, and the Basset Griffon, the former being the smooth coated and the latter rough.

“ In France every smooth-coated Basset is called a Basset Français, whether it be big, little, straightlegged or crooked, tricolour, lemon and white, or any hound colour whatever. The two strains which have been imported into this country are those which combine size with lowness in front and crook, tricolour or lemon and white markings, and, what is more to the point, the true hound type of those hounds from which they are descended. These two strains are the Le Couteulx and The Lane, originating respectively in the 'Artois' and ‘ Poitevin.'

“The strain of the Le Couteulx hounds owes its

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