This section is from the book "British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation", by W. D. Drury. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs: Their Points, Selection And Show Preparation.
It has frequently been urged that the points of a dog, of whatever breed, must, if worthy of appreciation, be capable of demonstration in terms comprehensible to every one. Mr. Millais was certainly not one of those who cannot express in language the differences they distinguish in the animals they judge; and it will be acknowledged that he did good service in plainly stating the distinguishing features of the four varieties of Basset-hounds as they were types fixed in his mind. It is a decided advantage to have the points, or, as the old school of breeders called them, "the properties," of each breed defined. If the definition proves to be wrong, or capable of amendment in any way, it can be done; but without a written definition we are left to the incompetence of egotists, who claim to be inspired, and able to see a something they call "character," indefinable by them, and invisible to all but themselves and the privileged few initiated in the mystery.
Though it is not difficult to accept Mr. Millais' distinction between the Fino de Paris and the Termino Hounds, the same can hardly be said of his theory of breeding, which appears to rest on an insufficiently solid basis, leaving out of account influences which sometimes assert themselves in a way to all of us inexplicable.
Fino de Paris was bred from brother and sister - farther than his grandparents his pedigree is unknown. Termino is said, as a sire, to show more prepotency, stamping the character of his family against odds in favour of Fino de Paris; yet the pedigree of Termino is unknown. To square results, in this case, with the accumulated experiences of breeders, Termino's pedigree, although unwritten, must be the longest, and most free from foreign admixture.
The facts of the case appear to be that Comte Couteulx and MM. Masson and Lane have each bred his own strain from the same common stock. It is, therefore, going too far to base a system on present results in England of any combinations of these strains, until several more generations of breeding from existing results are seen.
Most of the above has already appeared in earlier editions of this work, but it is of so much interest to present-day breeders that it has been deemed worthy of repetition. Since the above remarks were penned, the Basset has increased enormously in popularity, both in the field and on the show-bench. Among the successful breeders have been, in addition to those already mentioned, Mrs. C. C. Ellis, who produced a remarkable succession of champions from her kennels, Mrs. Walsh, Mrs. Tottie, Mr. Harry Jones, Mr. F. B. Craven, Mr. G. T. G. Musson, Dr. S. Isaacke, Mr. W. W. White, Major Owen Swaffield, Mr. McNeill, Captain Stone, Mr. G. Dalton, Mr. B. F. Parrott, the Messrs. Heseltine, Mrs. A. N. Lubbock, Miss Wimbush, Mr. C. Garnett, Captain Crowe, Dr. Woodhead, Mr. Roberts, Mr. J. Stark, Mr. C. R. Morrison, Mr. Lord, Prince Pless, Hon. C. B. Courtenay, Mr. Kenyon Fuller, Mr. A. Croxton Smith, and many others. The King and Queen are acknowledged lovers of the showy little hound, and good specimens, mainly bred at Sandringham, are from time to time exhibited by them.
Quite a number of packs, too, exist for the purpose of hare-hunting, and it is pleasing to find that in the majority of instances Masters are breeding to type. One or two attempts have been made to produce a longer legged hound, but the idea has not met with favour, and most Basset-hound men of to-day will be thoroughly in sympathy with the concluding remarks of Mr. Blain, quoted on a previous page.
Below we give the points and description of the Basset-hound, originally drawn up by Mr. G. R. Krehl, and accepted at a club meeting in 1899 : -
POINTS OF THE BASSET-HOUND (SMOOTH)
Head, Skull, Eyes, Muzzle, and Flews ......
Ears . . . ••• ••• ••• ■>• •• ••
Neck, Dewlap, Chest, and Shoulders ........
Fore Legs and Feet ..........
Back, Loins, and Hindquarters ..
Stern ••• ••■ • • • ••• •• ••• ••
Coat and Skin .. ........
Colour and Markings .. .. .. ...
"Basset Character" and Symmetry ..........
1. To begin with the Head, as the most distinguishing part of all breeds. The head of the Basset-hound is most perfect when it closest resembles a Bloodhound's. It is long and narrow, with heavy flews, occiput prominent, "la bosse de la chasse," and forehead wrinkled to the eyes, which should be kind, and show the haw. The general appearance of the head must present high breeding and reposeful dignity ; the teeth are small, and the upper jaw sometimes protrudes. This is not a fault, and is called the "bec de lievre"
2. The Ears very long, and when drawn forward folding well over the nose - so long that in hunting they will often actually tread on them ; they are set on low, and hang loose in folds like drapery, the ends inward curling, in texture thin and velvety.
3. The Neck is powerful, with heavy dewlaps. Elbows must not turn out. The chest is deep, full, and framed like a "man-of-war." Body long and low.
4. Fore Legs short, about 4m., and close-fitting to the chest till the crooked knee, from where the wrinkled ankle ends in a massive paw, each toe standing out distinctly.
5. The Stifles are bent, and the quarters full of muscle, which stands out so that when one looks at the dog from behind, it gives him a round, barrel-like effect. This, with their peculiar, waddling gait, goes a long way towards Basset character - a quality easily recognised by the judge, and as desirable as Terrier character in a Terrier.
6. The Stem is coarse underneath, and carried hound-fashion.
7. The Coat is short, smooth, and fine, and has a gloss on it like that of a racehorse. (To get this appearance, they should be hound-gloved, never brushed.) Skin loose and elastic.
8. The Colour should be black, white, and tan; the head, shoulders, and quarters a rich tan, and black patches on the back. They are also sometimes hare-pied.
POINTS OF THE BASSET-HOUND (ROUGH)
Head and Ears ..........
Body, including Hindquarters ........
Legs and Feet ..
Coat • • ••• •• ••• ••• ••• • •
"Basset Character," etc. ..........