Norman artesien basset

FCI standard Nº 34

Mrs. Peggy Davis
Group 6 Scenthounds and related breeds
Section 1.3 Small-sized Hounds
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 29 October 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 01 August 2023
Last update
Tuesday 29 August 2023
En français, cette race se dit
Basset artésien normand
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Basset artésien normand
En español, esta raza se dice
Basset Artesiano de Normandía
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Basset artésien normand


Small game hunting dog used for hunting with the gun. Hunts as well by himself as in a pack, with giving tongue. His short legs allow him to penetrate the most dense vegetation, there where the big dog cannot go, and to flush out the hidden game. His favourite is hunting the rabbit, but he can just as well hunt the hare as the deer. He tracks and flushes with great determination driving the game not fast, but with perseverance and giving voice.

Brief historical summary

The controlled breeding of the short haired French Basset began in the years 1870. From Bassets having an apparently common origin, Count Le Couteulx of Canteleu has fixed a utilitarian type with straight front legs called Artois, whereas Mr. Louis Lane has developed a more spectacular type, with crooked front legs, called Normand. Only in 1924 the name Artesien Norman Basset (Basset Artésien Normand) was finally adopted for the breed and the club Mr. Léon Verrier, who took over as chairman of the club in 1927, at the age of 77, has wanted to strengthen the Norman character of the breed and in the book of standards of hunting dogs of 1930, where the two breeds, Basset d’Artois and Basset Artésien-Normand figure, we find the following reference to this breed : "The committee of the "Société de Vénerie" (Game Society) decides and notes that the Basset Artésien-Normand should not be but one stage of transition towards a Norman type, without any trace of Artois."

General appearance

Long dog in relation to its size, well balanced, compact, recalling in his head the nobility of the big Norman hound.

Important proportions

• Height at withers : length of body = about 5 : 8.
• Depth of chest : height at the withers = about 2 : 3.
• Width of skull : length of head = about 1 : 2.
• Length of muzzle : length of skull = about 10 : 10.

Behaviour / temperament

Gifted with an excellent nose and a melodious voice, persevere but not too fast on the line, he permits his master to fully enjoy the hunting work. Outgoing and of very affectionate nature.


Cranial region

Dome shaped, medium width; occipital bone apparent. On the whole the head must have a dry look.  
Marked without exaggeration.

Facial region

Black and large, slightly protruding over the lips; nostrils well open.
Upper lip covering considerably the lower lip, without, however, being too pendulous nor too tight-lipped.
Nasal bridge
Approximately the same length as that of the skull and slightly aquiline.
Jaws and teeth
Scissor bite, i.e. upper incisors covering the lower ones in close contact are squarely set in relation to the jaws.
Formed by one or two folds of skin.
Oval shaped, large, dark (in harmony with the coat), expression calm and serious; the haw (= conjunctival lining) of the lower lid may sometimes show without excess.
Set as low as possible, never above the line of the eye, narrow at the base, well curled inwards corkscrew fashion, supple, fine, very long, reaching at least the length of the muzzle and preferably ending in a point.


Rather long, with some dewlap but without exaggeration.


Wide and well supported.
Slightly tucked up.
Hips a little oblique, giving a slight slant to the rump.
Of ovalized section, long, sternum well prolonged backward and prominent in front, with developed brisket.
Ribs long, carried well back.
Full flanks. The brisket sternal line is distinctly below the elbows.


Quite long, thick at base and thinning down progressively. At rest the tip of the tail must just touch the ground. Carried sabre fashion but never falling on the back; its extremity must not be like a plume. On that subject it is absolutely forbidden to modify the look of the stern of show dogs.



Forelegs are short and well-boned; they are half-crooked or a little less than half-crooked, provided there is a sufficient principle of crook visible. Some folds of skin, without excess, on the pasterns, must be considered as a quality.
Muscular, oblique.
Close to the body.


On the whole and seen from the back, a vertical line going from the point of the high (buttock) goes through the middle of the leg, the hock, the metatarsal and the foot.
Upper thigh
Fleshy and muscular.
Short and strong.
Strong, quite low, relatively bent, which places the hind foot slightly under the dog when he is at rest. A small pouch of skin at the point of the hock (calcaneum) is not a fault.


Oval shaped, a little elongated, toes rather close and placed firmly on the ground giving maximum support.

Gait and movement

Even, quite effortless and steady movement.


Supple and fine.


Close, short and smooth without being too fine.
Fawn with black blanket and white (tricolour) or fawn and white (bi-colour). In the tricoloured dog, the head should be largely covered with tan hair and show a circle of darker hairs on each temple. The black blanket or the black patches should be composed of solid black hairs or black hair with “grizzle” (realising thus the former characteristic of "hare pied" or "badger-pied").

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males and bitches : 30 – 36 cm, tolerance +/- 1 cm for exceptional subjects.
15 - 20 kg.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Flat skull.
 Wide forehead.
 Medial furrow too pronounced.
 Eyes light, round and protruding, showing too much haw.
 Leathers flat, too round, thick, high set and broad at base.
 Neck short.
 Topline soft or swayback.
 Xiphoid process either too short or absent.
 Ribs flat or deformed.
 Tail too long, deviated or coarse.
 Shoulder straight, short, insufficiently muscled.
 Out at elbows.
 Pasterns touching each other, knuckling over.
 Exaggerated crook with feet turning out excessively.
 Flat feet.
 Thighs flat.
 Hocks close, too wide apart.
 Hair soft, distinctly long or fringed.
 Black shading on the head.
 Timid subjects.

Disqualifying faults

 Timid or aggressive subject.
 Serious anatomical anomaly.
 Hereditary identifiable and disabling defect.
 Lack of type.
 Undershot or overshot mouth.
 Eye very light.
 Rear end of sternum too short with absence of xiphoid process.
 Ribs very much deformed.
 Forelegs completely straight.
 Legs too weak.
 Too much dark shading on the head.
 Too much black-mottled giving the white a bluish tint.
 Height at withers other than that of the standard.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.



Detailed history

The appearance of a Basset dog corresponds to a real "accident of nature", a mutation that causes the shortening of the legs and which gives rise, within a litter of puppies normally constituted, an individual who differs from others by its "low ground" morphology. Moreover, the opposite can also occur, the Basset returning from time to time to the original type "normal" under the effect of a reverse mutation.

It is therefore logical to think that Bassets have existed for as long as the dog itself. Bassets bones have been identified in a prehistoric cave near Vence in the Alpes-Maritimes, and rock figures, dating from five to six millennia BC, have been interpreted as the representation of "eleven Bassets holding on the farm a wild boar that a bowman aims at. The Egyptians knew the Basset, as evidenced by the short-legged bitch of Beni-Hassan. On the other hand, it seems that the dogs of the Greco-Roman Antiquity, mentioned notably by Julius Caesar in his Commentaries on the Gallic War, were Terriers.

But even if it was tolerated, it was not sought after, nor, a fortiori, cultivated. Despite the brief description of Gaston Phoebus who, in the fourteenth century, in his Book of Hunting, mentions "the Basset who was short-haired or long-haired and which was used for hunting conins (rabbits)", it was necessary to wait until the sixteenth century for the Bassets to be considered as a race in its own right, and the nineteenth century so that hunters understand all the advantage they could derive from the short and twisted legs of these animals (we can also note that , on the two miniatures of the book of Phoebus which illustrate the phenomenon, none of the represented dogs has torso leg).

It is Jacques du Fouilloux who, in the sixteenth century, described for the first time in detail in his treatise on hunting with hounds these "dogs of land, otherwise called Bassets". France thus asserts itself, from this distant time, as the cradle of the race. Du Fouilloux distinguishes two varieties: "It must be understood that we have two species of bassets, of which we will say that we have come from the countries of Flanders and Artois. Some have twisted legs and short hair. The others have straight legs and big hair, like the Barbets. Those with twisted legs flow more easily into the ground than others and are better for badgers, especially since they hold longer underground than others. Those with straight legs run like common dogs but with more fury and boldness underground than others, but they do not stay there long."

It was around this time also that the origins of the Basset of the Ardennes and the Basset de Normandie, as well as Bassets Fauves of Brittany, Griffons Vendéens, Saintongeois, Bleus of Gascony, Vosges and Black Forest are located.

Proclaiming the abolition of privileges, the French Revolution puts an end to this passion of the aristocrats that constitutes hunting. Some breeds will never recover, and when the Restoration allows a new growth of the venery and the maintenance of crews, two races of Bassets have disappeared (the Saintongeois and the Ardennais), two others are very rare (Basset Fauve de Bretagne and Basset Bleu de Gascogne), while the Basset d'Artois, the Basset de Normandie and the Basset Griffon Vendéen assert themselves.

The Basset Artesian-Normand results from the crossing, in the second half of the last century, Bassets d'Artois and Normandy, under the impulse of two breeders of great reputation: Louis Lane, established near Rouen, and the Count Le Couteulx of Canteleu. The two men each followed a personal ideal to lead to the constitution of two reputed breedings and the birth of two very different breeds which did not take long to evict the original strains: the Bassets Lane, corresponding to a renovation of the old Norman types, and Bassets The Couteulx, Derived Bassets d'Artois. The distinguishing characteristics of these two varieties are:
- Basset Lane is a heavy Basset, much bigger than Le Couteulx, "very capped"; legs are twisted and as large as in crew dogs; the ears are thin; the whip is fine, carried in a candle; the dress is most often white and orange (head in light yellow), sometimes tricolor;
- The Basset The Couteulx differs from the previous by a more elegant look, a silhouette and a lighter head; the legs are almost straight (sometimes half-twisted) and thin; the ears are thick; the whip is shorter and worn more straight; the dress is tricolor, most often with black coat.

It seems that the Lane was for a time more popular than the Le Couteulx, because Lane breeding showed a remarkable homogeneity; the blood was considered less costly, because the count sometimes used other common dogs crossing (especially the Beagle, which explains the frequency of the black coat in the dress Le Couteulx). The reverse phenomenon occurred in England, where the Basset Le Couteulx, which had made a reputation as the best hunter, was imported successfully and was the starting point of British breeding.

Around 1874, Basset Lane was taken over by Leon Verrier. The very widespread variety that he produced, called "Basset Verrier", was distinguished by its length and by the embellishment of its "hairstyle", obtained by selecting a long lobster ear. The Norman Artisan Basset owes much to the Verrier family.

At the end of the nineteenth century, some breeders advocated crossing the Lane and Le Couteulx: the Lane type being very difficult to maintain in breeding consanguin, blood infusion The Couteulx would, they thought, avoid degeneration. And, in fact, it soon became apparent that the product of this cross was of great interest. The union of a pure male Lane and a pure female The Couteulx were born dogs whose genetic stock was composed of 50% of that of the father and 50% of that of the mother. Then crossing a pure male Lane and a female 50 •% Lane and 50% Le Couteulx, dogs were 75% Lane and 25% Le Couteulx. Such dogs represent for Dr. Pinel (breeder in the years 1875-1890) an ideal type of Basset: Lane blood strongly marks his descendants; it gives him a solid constitution, combining power and energy, a wise temperament despite a great resistance to fatigue, and he gives him a great voice, sound, "well sip". The blood The Couteulx, refining the morphology Lane and straightening the legs a little, makes the Basset more agile, increases his train, and transmits his hunger instinct. Pinel cites as an example the male Presto, 75% Lane, 25% The Couteulx: it measures 32 cm at the withers and weighs 22 kg, that is to say that it is located optimally between conformations Lane and Le Couteulx , which are 30 to 35 cm at the withers and 25 kg for the Lane, 30 cm at the withers and 20 to 24 kg for the Le Couteulx.

This new type will settle quickly, evolving to the Norman Basset Artésien as we know it today. The proportion of old Norman blood has of course decreased compared to the original 75%, but it is fundamental that the Norman Artesian remains deeply impressed with the type Lane, guarantee of robustness. This influence is still very visible in some subjects who have kept a morphology adapted to hunting.

The success achieved by this dog was such that he soon supplanted completely the strains that gave birth to him, despite the reluctance of a few very purist enthusiasts. Léon Verrier, Dr. Pinel and Jules Machart were among the first breeders of Bassets Artésiens Normands. From the latter, who was hunting with his Bassets on foot, and who often came to force his hare; which earned its breeding fairly large outlets across the Channel; Leon Verrier wrote: "His Bassets no longer seem to be related to the Lane and the Couteulx. They have a lot of type, a very beautiful ear, badger gray body stains, a lot of dewlap."

It was in 1886 that the Central Canine Society founded the French Basset Club, whose chairmanship naturally returned to the great huntsman Count Le Couteulx de Canteleu, Mr. Konnink taking care of the Bassets à poil ras and Earl of Elva being more particularly in charge of Longhaired Bassets. Club officials were not only interested in the conformation of the dogs, since, in 1902, a motion was passed in favor of organizing work tests; but the financial means available did not allow the realization of this wish.

In 1907, Paul Dezamy created the Basset Griffon Vendéen Club. Bassets d'Artois amateurs did the same in 1910 under the aegis of Viscount de Peufeilhoux, the French Basset Club continuing to take care of Basset Bleu de Gascogne and Basset Fauve de Bretagne. After twenty years of discussions and controversies within the Basset d'Artois Club between the big breeders (represented by Messrs. De La Burthe, Léon Verrier, Peufeilhoux, Hannoire, Baillet, Duval de La Croix and Villate des Prugnes), the Central Canine Society and the Society of Hunting, the first standards for the Bassets were written by a committee composed of MM. Cornu Langy, Paul Dezamy, Leon Verrier and Hubert d'Andigné. In 1924, the Basset d'Artois Club changed its name and became the Norman Basset Artesian Club, thus taking note of the preponderance of this breed to the detriment of that of the Bassets d'Artois, including the Book of Standards of the Central Society canine does not talk about the rest after 1930. The successive presidents of the club; the viscount of Peufeilhoux until 1927, then Léon Verrier, Mr. de La Burthe (former president of the Porcelain Club) and especially Mr. Rothéa, constantly re-elected from 1936 to 1970 and who possessed the affix of Bois Renault and the crew of Trotte-Menu - strove to develop the hunting qualities of the Norman Basset Artésien and to clarify the confusion that persisted between the Basset d'Artois old type, gradually sacrificed despite its great qualities, and its modern successor.

At the same time, and thanks to farms like MM. Audrechy (Parc aux Biches), Boin (Rameaux de Cuisy), Femel (Champ d'Oise!) And Leblanc (Petite Sologne), the Norman Basset Artesian rose to notoriety without losing any of its intrinsic qualities. For the past fifteen years, the number of valuable subjects has steadily increased, witnessing the 928 Bassets Artesiens Normans registered in the LOF for the year 1986. In the sixties, fashion has even seized this dog who, promoted pet, was baptized by a women's magazine "Buster Keaton dogs, the sad dog that makes Paris laugh". It would be regrettable if this success led to degeneration of the race; already, we see too many subjects with flat skulls, asymmetrical anterior forebears, with a bad position of the feet, ribs keeled, xyphoid appendages rolled up, not to mention the mediocre quality of the posterior aplombs. It is therefore important, if they want to avoid cruel disappointments, that amateur hunters Bassets Artésiens Normands address the club of the race to obtain products of flawless lines.

Created from two varieties of Bassets old, the type of Lane leaning rather towards the Norman type, and that of the type The Couteulx, a very hunter dog rather close to the artesian race, the Norman Basset Artésien harmoniously combines the provisions of these two lines that Le Couteulx de Canteleu described as follows: "The Picards or Artois dogs were the best we have ever seen; they ran the hare in all countries, for all were just on the way, wondering wonderfully and bringing together a hare passed by an hour in the drought; they had very beautiful gorges and haughty voices, while the Norman dogs were very stuck in the track, slow pace but having a lot of background, bringing beautifully close, chasing perfectly all kinds of beasts, very biting, cringing well and easily."

We understand why the union of these varieties has created a dog combining exceptional hunting qualities with a homogeneity that is the beauty of this breed.

Like all French dogs, the Norman Artisan Basset has a great nose finesse. He sticks pretty well to the track and has a beautiful throat despite its small size. It is very suitable for all game, while showing a preference for rabbits and hares. It riots well, but it is especially as auxiliary of hunters who have only one or two dogs he gives full measure. He likes to live near his master and will gladly share the children's games. A reputable breeder and fine hunter wrote: "Live with your Bassets and you will see that they will come to guess your thoughts and to prevent your desires. Admitted to the home, this dog will be smarter, more submissive and more faithful than the one who will live far from the contact of the master. It is certain that it is impossible to keep all your dogs with you when you have a certain number of them; in this case, life in the kennel is essential. But you, modest hunter who owns one or two Bassets, make them live with you!"

Very popular for a few years as a pet dog, the Norman Basset Artésien needs a lot of physical exercise despite its reduced size. And if he does not hunt, he runs the risk of losing the qualities that are the very interest of the breed.

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