Basset Hound Colors – The Many Hues Of Basset Hound Coats

As any Basset Hound owner knows, their dog is one of the most unique-looking dogs around. With their long droopy ears and short squat body, there’s no mistaking a Basset for any other breed.

But did you know that Bassets come in a variety of colors? From black to white, brown to red, each Basset has its own coat color that makes it stand out from the rest.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the many Basset Hound colors and what they mean for your furry friend.

So read on to learn more about your pup’s unique coat color, does color matter, and what it says about their personality!

What You Need To Know About The Basset Hound Breed

Before we dive into the different colors that exist in this breed, let’s start by taking a look at what makes Basset Hounds unique.

Bassets were originally bred to hunt rabbits and hares which is why they tend to be short with ears that are much longer than other breeds. However, Bassets were also used for tracking and even to find truffles during the 19th century.

Bassets usually have a smooth coat, but they do come in both rough and smooth varieties. In terms of their weight, Bassets are quite heavy for their size at around 65-80 pounds on average.

Bassets are a sighthound which means that they rely on their eyesight more than smell. This is why Bassets have large, wide-set eyes so they can see far away prey.

Basset Hound Coat Colors And Markings

Now that you’ve got an understanding of the Basset Hound breed, let’s take a look at some of their coat colors.

A Basset Hound may have a solid-colored, bi-colored, or tri-colored coat. The coat colors on the chest and underbelly of Basset Hounds will vary from their chest, head, and shoulders.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the following colors and markings: To make it easier to identify your AKC dogs, we have also included their color and registration codes in the below table.

 ** S is for standard colors, A for alternate colors

ColorReference Number (AKC)
Black & WhiteS019
Black, Brown, & WhiteS022
Black, Tan, & WhiteS030
Black, White, & BrownS031
Black, White, & TanS034
Brown, Black, & WhiteS064
Lemon & WhiteS115
Mahogany & WhiteS130
Red & White S146
Black and BrownA009
Black, Red, & WhiteA027
Blue & WhiteA045
Blue, Tan, & WhiteA291
Brown & WhiteA063
Tan & WhiteA197
White & LemonA211
White & RedA214
White, Black, & BrownA360
White, Black, & RedA361


DescriptionReference Code
Black Markings002
Black Mask004
White Markings014

Basset Hounds of blue color are acceptable by AKC. But they will not recognize pure blue hounds or blue hounds sporting black markings. This is mainly due to the associated disorders.

The AKC does not recognize solid colors as purebred. The pure lemon-colored Hound is another rare color. Many puppies mistakenly believe they have a pure-lemon coat. However, their markings will eventually turn to tan.

A puppy should be completely white from birth to tell if it is a lemon-coat hound.

Tri Color Basset Hound Colors

They change from the seventh to the eighth week. The dark brown and black heads begin to fade and become a tan or light brown color. This combination gives the dog a mix of all three colors.

tri color basset hound sitting on the grass

Lemon And White Basset Hound

The term “lemon” is used to describe a type of fur that is blond in color. This is usually accompanied by white hairs everywhere. This is the result of recessive genes that dilute the coat colors.

These colors will start to fade after 8 weeks. They will then darken to a brown color. Lemon Basset Hounds have no black hairs in their color.

Red And White Basset Hound

They look like a typical tri-colored Basset Hound. The difference is that they have a light red coat instead of the usual black and white coat. They are also called “rare reds.”

Red-and-white Basset Hounds are sometimes born with either jet black or chocolate markings. These markings will eventually fade to a dark tan color at around 3 months old.

Black And Brown Basset Hound

A male or female Basset Hound can be completely black and brown, without any white anywhere. This is because the dog’s cells do not produce pheomelanin. The result is a darker coat.

Some breeders and hunters don’t like Bassets without any white. They believe the white tip at the tail is vital. Historically, the white tips and blazes served a purpose in the past when these dogs were primarily used for hunting.

Black And White Basset Hound

It is notoriously hard for breeders to create black and white Basset Hounds. This is because there is often some brown, tan, or both around the eyes. As they age, black-colored puppies will often show brown marks.

Remember this when choosing your dog from breeders, especially if they are selling them at a high price.

You can have a bicolor Basset that is black and white, but it’s not common. There will likely be some brown or tan.

What Are The Most Common Basset Hound Colors?

Basset Hounds can come in many different colors. These breeds can include blue, lemon, white, tri-color, black and white, or black and brown. Which are the most popular though? 

1. Tri-colored Basset Hound

This is the most well-known Basset color by far. It’s the classic tan/brown/white, black, and white coat that most people associate with Bassets. It is a color that is associated with many ‘hounds’, including the Beagle which is a breed very similar to the Basset Hound.

Tricolor Bassets can change their color in a majority of cases (as mentioned earlier). It’s difficult to predict how much of the black will turn brown, especially around the ears and the tops of the legs. 

Tricolor Bassets are the most likely to change their color, out of all Basset Hound colors. The change in color will occur within 1-2 weeks of a pups’ birth and can take as long as 2 years before they settle on a permanent hue.

2. Black And White Basset Hound

Black and white is the second most popular color. Despite being not very common, there are still many breeders who specialize in selling these dogs. 

The typical black and white Basset is born with a black coat, which eventually turns brown. Therefore, they have a black head and body with white feet and legs.

A black and white dog will still keep the same distinctive face as the other Bassets as well as their wonderful floppy ears! In addition to having unique coloring, these dogs are also characteristically friendly and easy to love.

3. Red And White Basset Hound

There are an equal number of red-and-white hounds as black-and-white, therefore they are not as common. The red color on the Basset is more of a light red, compared to the chocolate or liver that you might find in other breeds. 

red and white basset hound

It’s also known as “rare” red.

The fact remains though, they can be tough to get if you want one through a breeder because of their rarity and hence a higher price.

What Are The Rarest Basset Hound Colors?

Despite being a popular breed, the vast majority of them will be tricolor. For this reason, people may not be able to find a specific color that they are looking for.

  1. Blue Basset Hounds

Blue is the rarest Basset Hound color. It’s not an official AKC recognized color, so if you are looking for one of the blue-hued dogs at a breeder, it might take some effort.

The AKC accepts blue as an additional tone to the coat and never as a solid, pure color. Other kennel clubs around the world recognize blue Basset Hounds and often list them as a distinct breed called the Blue Gascony Basset.

Pure blue Basset Hounds, however, are extremely rare.

You’ll find heated discussion about blue Bassets on the Basset Hound forums. While those in favor say they are healthy, the ones against argue that blue Bassets are not. They pose a risk to severe genetic defects that can lead to conditions like periscoping intestines, alopecia, and food allergies.

The debate will continue with both sides insisting that the breed’s welfare is their top priority.

  1. Lemon Basset Hound

The next rarest Basset Hound color is the lemon. The coat is pale yellow in color and has a lemon hue. Blonde fur is the closest thing to a true lemon coat. Most Basset Hounds mistakenly identified as pure lemon are actually white Basset Hounds who have not yet developed their tan marks.

The lemon color on Bassets is sometimes considered similar to the blue gene because it also results in a diluted coat.

  1. White Basset Hound

White is also a very rare Basset Hound color and very difficult to find. The reason why white Bassets are so rare has to do with genetics. There are two types of white coat found in dogs, Fawnequin and Harlequin. Both of these result in a lack of pigmentation on the dogs.

The Fawnequin is a light creamy white color, while the Harlequin often has patches of red in their coat. The resulting lack of pigment can cause common Basset Hound problems like skin cancer and congenital deafness. 

However, it’s worth mentioning that not all harlequins are born deaf; many have normal hearing.

If you are looking for a white dog, your best bet will be breeders who work purely with harlequins. However, more often than not, you’ll end up with a red and white dog.

Do Basset Hound Puppies Change Color?

As with any breed, Basset Hound puppies often look different from their adult versions. Basset Hound puppies tend to change their color over time, often several times or quite dramatically.

The color of their coat can change depending on the climate they are in too, particularly if it’s warm or cool. The same is true for how much sun exposure they get.

If you find a breeder that has both adults and puppies available, then you’ll be able to see firsthand how their colors can change throughout their lives.

Some colors will fade and others will get darker (mostly red), with the ears most affected. These effects are due to genes that influence the two pigments that create the patterns, colors, and markings in the coat.

Genetics: Why Your Basset Hound May Have A Different Color?

As with all animals, the color of your Basset Hound is determined by genetics. Two genes in particular influence coat colors: Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) and agouti signalling peptide (ASIP).

yawning basset hound sitting on the sand


If your dog has one variant copy of either gene, then you’ll get a tricolor Basset Hound (black, tan and white). If they have two different copies of the gene then you’ll end up with a “piebald” dog that lacks any pigmentation.

If both genes are identical then this is referred to as a solid coat. The last possibility is where both genes are defective and your puppy will be either red and white or blue and white.

The resulting coat pattern is a result of the different alleles that each gene possesses. If your dog has two copies of the same allele then you’ll get a solid color Basset Hound.

If they have two different alleles, then there will be pigmentation in their coat, which could come out as black or tan. If they have two copies of the same allele, then their coat will be piebald.


The sable gene is responsible for giving Basset Hound puppies their markings. When a tricolor puppy has the recessive sable allele it will create a black overlay on their coat of a lighter brown color.

The Fawn gene, also called brown or chocolate, determines the base color of the dog’s fur, and masking affects everything else. The recessive allele of the fawn gene results in a harlequin coat, where patches of white and black are scattered over the body.

If you’re looking for a specific color Basset Hound, then you’ll need to find a breeder that breeds those colors primarily. This is because it’s unlikely you’ll find two that are carriers of those colors.

You can also take a look at pictures of Basset Hound puppies from the past to see what they looked like as babies and find out if you’re interested in their parents or not.

Do Coat Colors Really Matter?

In a word, yes!


The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for Basset Hounds recognizes all colors of Basset Hounds as acceptable, and that markings and distribution are not important. However, some colors are considered undesirable.

Although rare, blue Basset Hounds can be considered undesirable due to a recessive characteristic that is frequently associated with conditions such as alopecia or periscoping intestines and skin and food allergy problems.

When a blue puppy with a black nose is born it usually means that their coat color will fade to grey or white by the time they’re mature, and their skin could become irritated from sun exposure.


In rare cases, these puppies can have unpigmented hair follicles similar to human albinos, which may mean that they have an even higher risk of developing skin problems. In addition, their noses and paws can get dry and cracked from the lack of pigment.

More common to see in Basset Hound coats are white markings on the chest, feet, muzzle, or face. These should not be seen as undesirable traits in this breed because there is no real health risk associated with them and they’re not considered faults.

Lack of pigment in the nose and nails is acceptable, but black pigmentation should cover all pink skin or pink areas that will become brown or dark grey as the puppy ages. 

This includes the nose, eye rims, lips, and pads. Any other color on these parts (such as spots) should be considered undesirable.

The color of the nose leather can give an insight into your dog’s coat color, so keep an eye on any changes in skin tone as this may indicate a problem.


Some competitors in dog shows are also concerned about the placement of markings. The American Kennel Club standard for Basset Hounds is not overly concerned with these details, but they do say that the coat should be well spotted.

lemon and white basset hound

The standards of many other kennel clubs and dog associations encourage dogs to have either more or less spotting. It varies from one country to another though.

In all cases, it’s important to ensure that the markings on a dog’s coat correspond with what is considered normal for their breed.

Some competitors believe that marks can make an optical illusion of a structural defect in a dog (for example, a white spot in the back can change the appearance of the dog’s back).

People Also Ask

Are Basset Hounds Good With Kids?

Basset Hounds are generally good with children and they usually get along well with family pets if introduced when the puppy is still young. They can be a little stubborn though, so they need patient training and children need to learn how to be consistent with them.

Are Lemon Basset Hounds Rare?

Yes, lemon-colored Basset Hound puppies are rare and they’re not readily available from most breeders. They’re also sometimes called yellow, champagne, blond, fawn, or straw. Very few breeders specialize in breeding lemon Basset Hounds so it’s very difficult to find litters that will produce these beautiful dogs.

Are Blue Basset Hounds Rare?

Blue Basset Hounds are considered rare, but there are some breeders who will specialize in breeding them. They are not considered a separate breed of dogs, but they can be known as “blue”, “grey”, or blue-fawn. In most cases, the color has some kind of health condition such as alopecia or periscope intestines associated with it.

Can Basset Hounds Have Blue Eyes?

The more common variety of the breed has dark to medium brown eyes. However, there are a few that can end up with blue eyes due to other genetic conditions such as heterochromia (different colored eyes) and coloboma (the eyelids are not properly formed).

Can Basset Hounds Only Have One Color?

Although it is possible, it is not very common. It’s more likely that they will have a combination of colors because the breed originated from several other hound breeds that were also multi-colored. The most popular colors are tan, white, black, and brown.


One of the most interesting things about this breed is that they come in a wide range of colors. In fact, it’s one of the few breeds where you’ll find all these color variations within the same litter.

But it can be hard to keep track of them all. 

There are also some rarer colors, such as lemon and blue. However, the majority of breeders will not specialize in them so you’ll find it more difficult to locate litters or individual dogs that fit your particular preferences or requirements.

Knowing the different colors and markings of the Basset Hound will allow you to verify the information provided by any breeder or seller. It will also help you to understand the different coat types and their associated health problems.

They are a great family pet and their lovable personalities and gentle demeanors make them a wonderful addition to any home.

Having a better understanding of this information will also provide a more informed decision when choosing a Basset Hound puppy suitable for your family.

Do you own a basset hound? What’s your favorite color? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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