It’s becoming a saga – this business of our family not yet having a dog. My elder daughter and I spend a lot of time discussing breeds and looking at other people’s dogs. Like this little fella we saw last week in Sicily while out for a passeggiata with friends in Catania.
I would call this dog Dachshund, or a sausage dog. Dachshund meaning Badger Dog in German. I guess there’s a reason for that.
“Che bel Bassotto” my friend called him.
“A Bassotto?” I asked. “Then what do you call a Basset Hound?” He didn’t know but I went home and looked it up. In Italian, Bassets are also called Bassotto or just “Basset Hound”.
Bassotto comes from the French “bas”, meaning low. And Basset Hound comes from the same kind of root – Basset meaning “quite low”.
But these two breeds are not really related to each other (according to another quick Google search); the droopy eared one is English and the cute sausagey one is German.
And – for the record – neither of them is related to a Beagle. Which in Italian is called “un Beagle”.
To confuse me even more, my younger daughter points me to her Italian Donald Duck comic book (which she still reads weekly) and points out the gang of bumbling bad guys – in Italian they’re called La Banda Bassotti. Meaning, the Dachshund gang.
“Ah those guys”, says my husband, “when I was a kid and read those comics they were called the Beagle Boys“.
And sure enough, these guys have a pet/guard dog called “Ottoperotto”. Who is a Dachshund.
Never mind all these cute beagles, bassets and sausage dogs. We might just make do with something simpler, like a labrador.
(You can check out an earlier post I wrote about how Italians love their dogs, whatever the breed)
(Oh, and the word besotted? That’s not connected. It comes from to become a sot (a fool, or drunkard).