BASSET ARTESIEN NORMAND

COUNTRY: France
WEIGHT: 33 pounds
HEIGHT: 101/2-141/2 inches
COAT: Short and smooth
COLOR: Tricolor or orange/white
OTHER NAMES: Artesian Norman Basset
REGISTRY: FCI
GROUP: Hound

Short-legged dogs were present in northern France for many years where they were generally known as Norman Bassets, although many also came from Artois (Artesien), Frenchman Fauilloux’s memoirs from the 17th century mention his use of short-legged dogs from Artois for hunting badger.

By the end of the 19th century, when identification of individual breeds was begun throughout the world, two types of “Norman” bassets existed that were unrelated to one another. The Count Le Coulteux de Canteleu was breeding strong-bodied, straight-legged bassets with particular emphasis on hunting qualities rather than on “classic” appearance. In head type, they were similar to the Chien d’Artois, with the small flat ear. Near Rouen another breeder, Louis Lane, was emphasizing aesthetic characteristics, and his hounds had noble heads with large drooping ears. But they also had less energy, due to the extremely dwarfed front legs, so curved that the dogs were half disabled. Many other breeders of the area, wanting the best of the extremes, crossbred the two types.

By 1898, when the first written standard was adopted, most of these bassets carried characteristics from both types. The man who spearheaded the modern blend was Leon Verrier. In the early years of this century, his hounds dominated the exhibitions, and were the type most sought by the newly formed association for the breed. During the 1920s, his dogs were often referred to as Artois Bassets (Basset d’Artois), despite their double origin. WWI wiped out Ver-rier’s kennels, but he continued his influence as a judge and leader. Under his presidency, the name of Basset Artesien Normand was chosen.

After WWII, the breed was reduced to very few pure specimens, but several dedicated breeders, especially Leparoux de Combree des Maine et Loire, saved the Artesian Norman Basset from extinction.

The desired type is an athletic dog, with an elegant head and long, smooth muscles. The muzzle is long, refined and arched. Ears are low-set, thin and curved. Most modern specimens approach the top of the standard or even larger. While not carrying over-abundant skin, some wrinkles appear on the cheeks, and this hound does have a bit of dewlap.

The Artesien Normand is a happy, good-natured dog who is courageous and headstrong in the hunt. He, like so many of his basset cousins, was designed to go into heavy cover. Originally bred for rabbit shooting, he is now adapted to hunt a variety of prey. His additional qualities of kindness, obedience and patience with children have found him a place as a house dog.