Documenting of the French Basset as a purebred breed began in 1870, and from a common ancestral type, two strains were developed. One had straight front legs (Chien d'Artois) and the other had crooked front legs (Normand). The breed club was formed in 1910 and the breed was given its present name in 1924.
Bassets are walking hounds, which are followed by the hunter on foot. The short legs mean that they would not get too far away from the hunter. The Basset artésien normand was used to hunt rabbits and other small game alone or in packs, but today they are primarily bred to be pets.
The height of the Basset artésien normand is between 30 and 36cms (11.8 to 14.2ins), with a ratio of the height to the body length of about 5 : 8. Weight is roughly 17 kg (37.4 lbs). The coat is short and tricolored (fawn and white with black blanket, a patch across the back) or bicolored (fawn and white). The head and long ears are distinctive, and the temperament should be calm and good-natured.
The original breed club is the Club français du Basset artésien normand & du Chien d'Artois, and the breed is recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale as breed number 34 in Group 6, Scenthounds. It is also recognised by the United Kennel Club (US) in the Scenthound Group. The breed may also be recognised by any of the various minor kennel clubs and internet based dog registry businesses, as well as hunting dog registries and clubs. As the breed is few in number outside France it is also promoted by rare breed breeder organisations for puppy buyers seeking an unusual pet.