All the Colors and Markings of Basset Hound (with Pictures)

It’s time to talk about the colors and markings of a Basset Hound! Since most people know of them as the Hush Puppies, they often associate Basset Hounds with the colors of black, tan, and white. However, while it is indeed a classic coat, the Basset Hound comes in a variety of coat colors.

Aside from getting satisfaction from knowing what color your Hound is, it is also important to know their colors to be able to register them. Read on to find more information on the colors and markings of your Basset Hound!

Does Color Really Matter?

Although the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) standard on Basset Hounds recognizes any hound color to be acceptable and the distribution of color and markings are unimportant, there are colors and markings that are considered undesirable.

For example, although rare, blue Basset Hounds are considered undesirable because its color comes from having a recessive trait that is commonly associated with disorders such as alopecia, periscoping intestines, and skin and food allergies.

The placement of markings is also important to some competitors in dog shows as marks can create an optical illusion of a structural fault in a hound (for example, a white patch in the back can alter the look of the back of the dog). 

What Are the Colors and Markings of Basset Hound?

Basset Hounds can have a solid colored coat, a bi-colored one, or a tri-colored coat. Typically, the coat colors on the back, head, and shoulders will be different from the chest and their underbelly. Here is a list of colors and markings that the American Kennel Club recognizes.

The color and registration code for the AKC is also written to make it easier for you to identify them.

Colors

*S for standard colors and A for alternate colors

  • Black & White (S019)
  • Black, Brown, and White (S022)
  • Black, Tan, and White (S030)
  • Black, White, and Brown (S031)
  • Black, White, and Tan (S034)
  • Brown, Black, and White (S064)
  • Lemon and White (S115)
  • Mahogany and White (S130)
  • Red and White (S146)
  • Black and Brown (A009)
  • Black, Red, and White (A027)
  • Blue and White (A045)
  • Blue, Tan, and White (A291)
  • Brown and White (A063)
  • Tan and White (A197)
  • White and Lemon (A211)
  • White and Red (A214)
  • White, Black, and Brown (A360)
  • White, Black, and Red (A361)

Markings

  • Black Markings (A002)
  • Black Mask (A004)
  • Ticked (A013)
  • White Markings (A014)

Additional Note

Although Basset Hounds with blue tones are accepted by the AKC, they do not recognize pure blue ones and blue hounds with black markings, mainly because of the associated disorders that come with the blue coat.

Solid colors are also not recognized by AKC as purebred, and so they do not fit the standard. Another rare color is the pure lemon-colored Hound. Most puppies are mistaken for having a pure lemon coat, but their markings are usually just white that will eventually fade into tan markings.

To tell if a puppy is a true lemon coat hound, it should be totally white at birth with no hint of tan at all.

Description of Colors

While most of the Basset Hound colors are easy to understand, there’s also a lot of confusion regarding them. It’s understandable; we get it. What’s the difference between Tan and Brown?

Is there really such a thing as a Red color Basset Hound? What is a Blue Basset Hound? Let’s try to sort this out. Read on to find what each color actually means.

  • Black – A pure black Basset Hound is exceedingly rare. This is actually because most Basset Hounds are tri-colored, so breeding to get a solid black Basset Hound is really hard. Most black Basset Hounds typically have a strip of other colors in their body, or they tend to fade into a more brown color.
  • White – Similar to the black Basset Hound, getting a white Basset is very hard to achieve. Most whites tend to have tan markings that develop as they mature. There are also Albino Bassets, although they are not considered as white since their albinism is due to the lack of pigmentation, and not because they have a white coat.
  • Lemon – As said before, pure lemon Basset Hounds are also exceedingly rare. A lemon color means that the coat is a certain kind of pale yellow. The closest description to a lemon coat is blonde fur. Most Basset Hounds mistaken as pure lemon are just white Basset Hounds that haven’t developed their tan marks yet. However, there are Lemon and White colored Basset Hounds that the AKC considers as a standard.
  • Tan – The tan color is sometimes referred to as “fawn” and is a few shades darker than lemon. It can be described as a light brown that usually appears in combination with a White and/or Black Basset Hound.
  • Brown – The brown variants can range from hazel shades to dark browns. Some breeders also call this as “chocolate” or “liver” to be more precise on the color.
  • Red – This color can be described as being predominantly deep red mixed with dark brown. Basset Hounds that have red in them usually have black hair that appears as dark brown.
  • Mahogany – This Basset Hound has a deep brown color that has red undertones in it. A Mahogany and White Basset Hound can also be differentiated from a Red and White Basset Hound by looking at their hair. Mahogany Basset Hounds do not have black hair in the Mahogany areas.
  • Blue – Although it is very amusing to imagine a rainbow’s blue on a Basset Hound, a blue coat typically looks like a metallic dark gray coat. It can also be referred to as “slate” or “blue-black.”

Examples of Colors

Let’s see some examples of a Basset Hound’s colors.

Black

This cute pup is a pure black Basset Hound, but not for long! If you observe further, the edges of his ears are turning brown and there is a white spot on his chest. This puppy will eventually turn into a tri-colored good boy!

Lemon and White

Lemon and White colored Basset Hounds are considered as a standard by the AKC, but it doesn’t mean they are often seen. These lighter colored Basset Hounds are lesser seen than their darker-colored counterparts.

Tan and White

You can see the slight difference between Lemon and Tan in this puppy. The fawn color is very apparent in this Basset Hound and he will be listed as a Tan and White bi-colored Basset Hound.

Red and White

This red and white Basset Hound has red tickings, or spots, all over his body. His coat is also darker than tan and lemon. He looks very similar to a brown and white Basset Hound.

White Blue and Tan

Although it is very amusing to imagine a rainbow’s blue on a Basset Hound, a blue coat typically looks like a metallic dark gray coat. It can also be referred to as “slate” or “blue-black.”

Other Examples

Black and White

Black and Brown

Black White and Brown

Black White and Tan

Black White and Red

White and Mahogany

All Brown

Examples of Markings

Black Mask

A Black Mask marking is exactly what it sounds like. This mark creates a cute illusion of a mask that surrounds the eyes area of the Basset Hound and typically extends to their ears, excluding its middle forehead down to its nose. This generally occurs in red, lemon, mahogany, and brown colored Basset Hounds.

Ticking

This is a black and white Basset Hound with some black ticking. He has a black mask too. A Ticked marking is a series of small spots on the lighter color of the Basset Hound, usually on a white coat.

Color Changing Puppies

Can you believe these cuties also change in color as they mature? What can they *not* do? It isn’t out of the ordinary for Basset Hounds’ coat to change in color, especially during the pup’s first few weeks. 

Tri-colored puppies (and mahoganies) generally lighten, but their white shades will typically be close to permanent. Ticked markings also develop as they mature.

You can also predict how they will look by observing the black and brown areas because they will usually fade into an even brown color. This is true especially for ears. For example, a black-eared puppy with brown edges will usually fade into just brown.

Red and White colored pups tend to deepen in color, but these colors also fade when they reach their middle ages. The depth of color and how they change also depend on how much undercoat the puppies have.

Check out a few photos of puppies and their descriptions below!

Red and White Puppies

For the Red and White puppies, the periods of change are noticeable within the first 7 weeks. They lose some of the dark spots on their heads and bodies to reveal a more light brown colored pup.

Lemon and White Puppies

For Lemon and White pups, their changes can be seen within the first 8 weeks. The faded out lemon spots begin to develop into a more pronounced shade of light tan, giving the pup a cute blend of lemon and white.

Brown and White Puppies

Photo from @leuvilaca (IG)

For Brown and White pups, their changes can be seen in the first 7 weeks. The dark brown spots around their faces and bodies also develop to become a more light brown color.

Tri-colored Puppies

For the Tri-colored pups, the change is seen within the first 7-8 weeks. The black and dark brown around its head and body begin to fade in some spots and become lighter brown and tan in color, giving the pup’s coat a nice blend of the three colors.

So.. When Do I Register My Pups If They Change Colors?

The AKC actually requires registration to be submitted within 12 months of the litter being registered. It doesn’t really matter if they change colors after being registered, they’re still the same loving puppy both in paper and in real life!

Generally speaking though, most owners register their pups after the 12-week mark.

Eye and Nose Colors

Basset Hound eyes are slightly sunken into the face and are typically sad looking. Their lower eyelids normally sag after aging. Not to worry though, as they surely enjoy spending time with their families!

Their eye color is normally brown or hazel in color. However, there is a special case when they have blue eyes. In fact, blue-eyed Basset Hounds are considered to be a fault in breeding because blue-eyed Bassets are automatically disqualified from any show ring.

Their blue eyes don’t add anything when it comes to hunting and tracking skills, they are just an aesthetic difference. When it comes to Basset Hounds, the considered “standard” when it comes to eye color is simply the rule of the darker the eye color, the better.

However, it also depends on the coat color, as light colored coats tend to have lighter colored eyes, such as a Red and White Coats having a lighter eye color than a Tri-colored one.

The noses of the Basset Hounds have large open nostrils, which are helpful for their increased tracking skills compared to other dogs. In fact, their noses are just second only to Bloodhounds!

Their noses are typically dark in color, and mostly black. However, the same rule for their eyes also applies to their noses: if their coats are light colored, then their noses can be brown or liver in color.

Do You Have a Favorite Basset Hound Color?

The classic idea of these hush puppies are long velvety ears and a droopy face with a black, tan and white coat.

However, we’ve seen in the article that Basset Hounds can come in a wide variety of colors, all as adorable and as unique! As these Basset Hounds become more popular, their colors become more unique, and there are even new colors such as a pure lemon coat.

Have you seen or owned a rare-colored Basset Hound? What’s your favorite?

References

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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