19×24 colored pencil on pastel paper. Original available.
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The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family. They are scent hounds, bred to hunt rabbits by scent. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning “low”, with the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning “rather low”. Basset hounds are commonly brown and black and most often spotted, but also exist in a variety of colors.
These dogs are around 1-foot in height at the withers. They usually weigh between 35 and 70 lb (16 and 32 kg). They have smooth, short-haired coats but a rough haired hound is possible. Although any hound colour is considered acceptable by breed standards, Bassets are generally tricolor (black, tan, and white), open red and white (red spots on white fur), closed red and white (a solid red color with white feet and tails), Honey And White (honey coloured back, light brown spotty nose and legs, light brown tails with white tip) and lemon and white. Some Bassets are also classified as gray or blue; however, this colour is considered rare and undesirable. They have long, downward ears and powerful necks, with much loose skin around their heads that forms wrinkles. Their tails are long and tapering and stand upright with a curve. Tails usually have white tips so the dogs are more easily seen when hunting/tracking through large bushes or weeds. The breed is also known for its hanging skin structure, which causes the face to occasionally look sad; this, for many people, adds to the breed’s charm. The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears, help trap the scent of what they are tracking.
They were originally bred to have osteochondrodysplasia, known as dwarfism. Their short stature can be deceiving; Bassets are surprisingly long and can reach things on table tops that dogs of similar heights cannot. However, because Bassets are so heavy and have such short legs, they are not able to hold themselves above water for very long, and should never be made to swim.