Basset Fauve de Bretagne: Your Lively Little Spitfire

Basset Fauve de Bretagne with her puppies
John Walton
Written by John Walton

If you’re the type of person who likes to be alone and isn’t interested in going out much, then you’ll probably get along well with one of these low energy dog breeds. However, if you love going hiking, taking road trips, and socializing with other people—most likely other dog owners—then a Basset Fauve de Bretagne will be a great addition to your home.

The BFB is an interesting breed. These dogs are energetic and love being outdoors—hiking and exploring the land around them fearlessly like a champ even though they’re quite small in size. For such high energy dogs, they do surprisingly well indoors as well. They’re very loyal dogs and highly affectionate, so if you love to snuggle while watching a movie, they’ll be right beside you.

If you’re looking for an energetic and loving dog that will be next to you through thick and thin, then a BFB is a great option. They’re extremely friendly and social with humans and other animals; thus, if your household is already full of children and pets, they’ll make a great drama-free addition.

Buckle down as we take you through all the ups and downs of living with this dog. From how to care for them to their personality and character, as well as the kind of companionship that they bring to the table, once you’re done with this article, you’ll be able to say with confidence whether this dog is the best breed for you or not.

Breed Characteristics

Basset Fauve de Bretagne standing on stones

  • Adaptability: High.
  • Trainability: Below Average; can be quite stubborn and easily distracted.
  • Health and Grooming: Good; low maintenance.
  • All Around Friendliness: Good; great with kids and other dogs but not so much with cats or other smaller animals.
  • Exercise Needs: High.

Dog Breed GroupFoundation Stock Service Dogs
Height12.5 - 15.5 inches
Weight25 - 35 lbs
Lifespan12-14 years

The BFB originated in Brittany, France. The breed was mainly used for hunting foxes, deer, rabbits, and boar. Though they’re popular in Western Europe, it wasn’t until 2001 when they were first brought over to the United States.

The BFB are extremely loyal and social dogs who love to spend time with their families. They’re almost never in a bad mood, and you will rarely catch them showing signs of aggression unless the owner has allowed the dog to feel that they’re the leader of the pack.

The BFB needs a firm and confident owner that will train them through patience and kindness. They may not be the best fit for a first-time dog owner that may not know how to exert dominance as the alpha of the pack.

See Also: Easiest Dogs to Train

They’re great with children and other dogs, so they have no problem adjusting to a home that already has pets. However, since they’re hunting dogs, they generally do not do well with cats and other small non-dog animals.

They’re energetic and love to explore nature, so, if you’re an avid hiker or biker, they’ll loving running behind you or exploring what’s up ahead. Though they’re calm indoors, they explode with energy the minute they get outside.

Main Highlights

Basset Fauve de Bretagne puppies in grass

  • The BFB has a long lifespan with many living past 16 years of age.
  • The breed originated in France, in the town of Brittany.
  • They were originally used for hunting, specifically foxes, rabbits, deer, and boars.
  • If a BFB has any black or white patches on their coat, it reduces their camouflage while hunting.
  • The BFB doesn’t shed very much. Thus, brushing is not always necessary. They’re quite easy to maintain.
  • They were recognized at the United Kennel Club as a breed in 1996; the first BFB arrived in the USA in 2001.
  • The breed is very healthy and has limited health problems.
  • The BFB is great with children and other dogs. However, these dogs are not ideal for cats and other small animals because of their strong prey drive.
  • Training can be difficult as the BFB can get easily distracted.
  • They need consistent training; if not, they quickly lose favor with novice owners. In essence, they’ll train you instead.
  • They are amazing companions if you’re frequently hiking and exploring the outdoors as they love to run alongside you and sniff around.

Breed History

Basset Fauve de Bretagne standing

The BFB is a French Breed which originated in Brittany, France. In the 16th century, four different types of large hounds existed. The breeds mainly varied in coat color and texture. The four breeds were the white du Rol, the fawn de Bretagne, the grey (du St Louis), and the black.

Their ancestors were said to be the Grand Fauve de Bretagne dogs which existed about two hundred years ago but is now extinct. The Grand Fauve de Bretagne dogs were known for their fire, dash, and drive during a hunt, as well as their fine sense of smell and their resistance to harsh weather conditions.

The BFB inherited many of the characteristics which the Grand Fauve had. The BFB were and still are mainly used for hunting—specifically foxes, rabbits, deer, and boars. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1996, and the first BFB arrived in the United States in 2001.


Basset Fauve de Bretagne size

The BFB is a small hound dog. They don’t have the Napoleon Complex which many small breeds seem to carry.

They are a bit similar appearance-wise to a Basset Hound. However, the BFB doesn’t have long, dragging ears on the floor. Also, some BFB come with long, curly hair, whereas others have shorter hair, though still longer than the Basset Hound.

These dogs can reach a height of 12.5 to 15.5 inches, and they typically weigh anywhere from 25 — 35 lbs, with the females being smaller than the males.

Personality and Character

Basset Fauve de Bretagne running and playing on grass

The BFB is a very social, sweet, energetic, gentle, and loyal breed—making them an excellent companion. Their temperament makes them almost always friendly and positive. It’s very rare that you’ll see them moody, aggressive, or vicious to other animals or people.

The only time they show aggression is when the owner allows the dog to believe they’re the leader of the pack. This is why training is extremely important with the BFB.

Though they’re generally well-tempered, this doesn’t mean that they’re timid. Yes, they’re stubborn dogs, especially when it comes to training. Thus, they need a firm owner who’s confident and consistent with their training and house rules.

See Also: Best Dog Training Collar: Solving Your Dog’s Behavioral Problems

Once they know the house rules and understand that they cannot be broken, they’re great. Though, again, this means that training them will be difficult as they will challenge you. You’ll be able to win them over using treats, and they generally respond well to gentle and patient training.

The BFB breed is also very serious when it comes to hunting. They can adapt very easily to various terrains and, if trained properly, are highly obedient. Though, when they pick up a specific smell, it can be challenging to get their attention if you want to call them back as they will typically be too focused on following their noses.

Health and Potential Problems

two Basset Fauve de Bretagne sitting

The BFB are relatively healthy dogs with minimal health problems. Although, breeders of the BFB should screen their dogs for progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), epilepsy, cardiomyopathies, skin allergies, and age-related thyroid issues. Breeders are now able to identify carriers, so they should be able to prevent unhealthy litters.

In general, most BFBs are healthy and can live a long life—approximately 16 years long. If a BFB does have a condition, they’re usually:

  • Cataracts.
  • Ear infections.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Heart problems.
  • Kidney problems.

Most of these conditions are treatable if caught on time, so it’s important to take your dog for regular checkups at the vet.

See Also: Choosing Best Dog Health Insurance

Care Features

Basset Fauve de Bretagne puppies playing with each other

The BFB are energetic and playful dogs. This means that they need to be walked regularly and allowed to run off-leash if possible. However, prior to letting them off leash, make sure they’re well-trained as their noses will quickly lead them astray.

If you walk them twice a day and socialize them with other dogs, they’ll be fit and animal-friendly. They are usually quite friendly and amiable around other dogs but watch out if your neighborhood has many free-roaming smaller animals such as cats or squirrels as your BFB may go chasing them around.

They do well in backyards or generally fenced areas which will keep them contained but free to roam around.

See Also: Best Electric Dog Fence

Feeding Schedule

Like most breeds, BFBs do very well with high-quality dog food, whether it’s commercial or home-made. Of course, regardless of the brand, you should always consult your vet and get their approval.

The diet you put your dog on should suit their age, whether they’re a puppy, adult, or a senior as different age groups need different nutrients. If your BFB isn’t active, then you need to keep an eye on their weight, reducing their food consumption slightly.

Treats should be used especially during the training period; however, you must be careful in making sure they don’t gain weight. BFBs are stubborn and can be easily distracted when it comes to training, so you’ll be needing a lot of treats. Make sure they’re cut in half to prevent weight gain.

See Also: How to Cook Chicken Livers for Dogs

Coat, Color, and Grooming

orange and black Basset Fauve de Bretagne puppies

The BFB is essentially a “wash-and-wear” dog. Their coat is wiry and coarse which is great for repelling dirt and preventing matting. You may also notice that some have white patches on their chest.

Some of these dogs will have more hair than others; it simply depends on their parents. Generally, though, their coat is easy to groom and sheds a minimal amount of hair. This doesn’t mean they don’t need a brushing though.

They typically shed the most during seasonal transitions. You should brush them at least a couple of times a week and more during shedding seasons. But they don’t need a bath on a regular basis due to the coarseness of their coat. You should just bathe them when they start to smell.

You’ll have to trim the hair around their eyes and ears. This can be done every couple of months. Their nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid overgrowth and splitting. Of course, their teeth should be brushed regularly, and their ears should be checked on a regular basis as well.

See Also: How to Get Knots Out of Dog Hair

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

BFBs are very outgoing and social dogs who have no problem making friends. If you have children or other dogs in the house, you won’t have a problem introducing the BFB to them as they love children and dogs.

However, if you have other animals such as cats or rodents, your BFB may chase after them because these dogs were bred to be hunters. That’s not to say that it’s impossible for these dogs to coexist with cats or other smaller animals, however.

With the BFB, the key lies in a firm and consistent training. Establish your role as the alpha of the pack and the dog should listen to whatever you say.

See Also: How to Introduce a Cat to a Dog

Wrap Up

Basset Fauve de Bretagne lying on grass

The BFB is a loyal, energetic, and lovable breed that loves to socialize with anyone it comes in contact with. These dogs love to spend time with their owners. Although, it is important to note that they need a firm hand when it comes to training.

They love to sniff and catch a scent, though sometimes, it gets the best of them and they become completely immersed in it. If you have a large yard or a fenced area, you can allow them to go off-leash, but it is best to keep them on-leash during walks.

See Also: Best Retractable Dog Leash

They love attention whether it’s coming from an adult or a child, so long as they get a chance to play and be petted. Thus, if you have other dogs in the house or children, this is a breed that’ll adapt quickly and will make friends with everyone, so as long as the other pets are friendly. Although, they don’t do well with cats and smaller animals.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog that doesn’t need constant brushing and bathing, then you’ll love the BFB. Though they do need brushing, it’s not on the same level as other breeds which need daily, if not more, grooming. Thus, they’re highly independent.

Do you think that the BFB breed for you? What do you like most about this breed? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments section below! If you’ve just adopted a BFB, perhaps you’re looking for a name for him/her. In that case, do check out our article on brown dog names.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.