Of the breed specific phrases and terms shared on these pages, our favorites are those not necessarily found in breed standards. These “kitchen sink” terms used by breeders and owners can be colorfully vivid because they’re so descriptive, and to illustrate this, we can do no better than to investigate a term used in Basset Hounds, the “apple butt.”
Rather than reinvent the wheel, we share the marvelous description given to us by Basset Hound fancier, Sylvie McGee, when we asked about the term. Is it a good thing? What is “it,” anyway, and how does it help the dog do its job?
Sylvie explains: The apple butt is quite desirable. It’s not mentioned in the standard as that, but the standard does state: “The hindquarters are very full and well rounded, and are approximately equal to the shoulders in width.” The apple butt is the musculature that makes the hindquarters “full and well rounded.” It provides the muscle to create drive from the Basset Hound’s rear. You never want a “slack” butt. The Basset’s job is to get out and hunt – when needed, all day. They need well-developed muscles to propel them over varied terrain and under varied obstacles like fallen trees. [To do] all that, they need a strong rear end, and that muscle creates the padding that gives the apple shape. It’s not fat, it’s truly strong muscle.
Below is another illustrative photo with an apple outline, this one of Ch. Deerhill Splash’s Fun Fun Fun shared by Jax Nolan:
Since this first posted, we have since learned that this term used to be in the AKC breed standard, and is still in the Canadian one. “The quarters should be full of muscle, which stands out so that when one looks at the dog from behind, it gives him a round, barrel-like effect, with quarters “round as an apple.”
We doubt you’ll ever walk behind a Basset Hound again and not remember the “apple butt.”
Our thanks to Sylvie, Elisa and Jax for sharing their knowledge and photos to teach the rest of us about this term.