Steiff I Love: Basset Hounds

By Special Guest Blogger

February 4th, 2011

Today’s guest blogger is Rebekah Kaufman, also known as Steiffgal, who runs a terrific blog called My Steiff Life.

What we have here is a complete set of Steiff’s 1960s-era Basset hounds. Steiff produced these handsome hounds from 1961 through 1963 in 12 (above, center), 14 (above, right), and 22 (above, left) cm. All three are sitting, head jointed, and made from mohair that has been carefully airbrushed in multiple shades of tan, brown, and black. Each has wonderfully long, droopy ears; hand embroidered black noses; and realistic, dimensional soft jowls. The biggest Basset has black embroidered claws and the two smaller ones have brown airbrushed claws. But their most interesting—and eye-popping—feature would be their outstanding peepers! The 14 cm and 22 cm size have extremely round, realistic-looking eyeballs that are embedded into their facial mask structure. The 12 cm model one has flatter, but no less realistic looking, eyes that seem to have a reflective quality to them. These Bassets were produced in limited quantities for less than three years, making them quite rare and desirable from a collector’s standpoint.

Their history
Basset hounds made their debut in the Steiff catalog in 1960 in a big way. Steiff’s first Basset hound was actually a larger-than-life Studio piece, measuring a whopping 75 cm tall. He was unjointed and stuffed with excelsior. He closely resembled the Bassets pictured above, though on a much bigger scale. Just to put into perspective how large this dog was, his vertically stitched nose alone measured three inches wide by two inches tall, and his hand painted wooden eyeballs were bigger than golf balls! Interestingly, the famous “Hush Puppies” footwear brand, whose logo is a Basset hound, was founded in 1958 and was quite popular in the late 1950s and 1960s. Based on this timing, I would not be surprised if the studio-sized Basset was designed as a window display piece for Hush Puppies shoes. Steiff also produced Hush Puppy branded 12 and 14 cm Basset hounds as premiums from 1970 through 1972; these were differentiated from the standard line of Basset hound items by a special chest tag that had the “Hush Puppies” logo on it.

Where I got them
It took several years to collect all three sizes of this rare, standard line Steiff doggie design. I found the 12 cm model at a small antiques show in the Northeast; he was sitting on the bottom of a box of old plush toys that was partially hidden under a table in the dealer’s booth. Good thing I asked to peek at its contents! The 14 cm one was discovered in an antiques shop; I still can’t get over how new he looks, like he was made yesterday. And I found the 22 cm model on an online auction; he was misidentified as a bulldog. All I can say is, eye, eye, eye…

6 comments so far

  1. Vickie Says:

    No questions, just to tell you I LOVE them!!! And I’m So envious!

  2. Bonnie Says:

    Love these dogs. I have the big basset hound, the 14mm and 22mm little basset hounds. They were purchased for me in Las Vegas, NV around 1958 to 1960 and rode home in the back of a private airplane. Have always taken good care of them, my son enjoyed them in his room also. They have traveled with me as I have made each move, very impressed to hear the history behind them and the history of the company that made them. Had no idea. Would love to hear from you.
    Bonnie

  3. Christina Rossi Says:

    I have the ten inch basset hound from the 50′s numbered 3322 and the 5 1/2 size
    also. What would be their value? I also have the “Floppy Hans” bunny numbered
    7328. I had collected several of other Steiff animals.

  4. Rhonda Gowers Says:

    your site was given to me by Steiff facebook. I own 2 of the bassett hounds. They have the embroidered paws and are 22cm. Would you be able to point me in the right direction as to finding out their value?

  5. Steiffgal Says:

    @Rhonda: drop me an email at Steifflife@gmail.com with a description of their condition and if they have ID, and I can help you out.

  6. elaine Says:

    Would you know if steiff ever made a train conducter doll has red cap looks like a number five on cap. dark navy suit and tie. black rubber shoes.wire feeling legs and arms I can’t find anything. If you know anything I would appreciate any information about him he is about 17” tall thank you


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