Basset Hound Breed Guide

Basset Hounds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds and are known for their big body, short legs, and long and floppy ears. These dogs can be any color, including combinations of black, tan, white, red, and others. They have dark, expressive, mournful eyes and a gentle nature. Basset Hounds measure up to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 50 to 65 pounds. With proper care, these dogs live about 12 years.

They have a reputation for being slow, relaxed, and even lazy, but these dogs needs some physical activity and enjoy long walks and other calm activities.

Basset hounds are great hunters and can follow a scent anywhere. They have a reputation for being slow, relaxed, and even lazy, but these dogs needs some physical activity and enjoy long walks and other calm activities.

The Basset Hound gets his name from the French word for low, "bas." These dogs are so named because they have short legs and are very low to the ground, a physical trait that enables them to easily find and follow scents.

Basset Hounds are known for clowning around, and these dogs have a remarkable sense of humor. They make great companion animals due to their adaptable, affectionate, and somewhat playful nature. They are intelligent dogs and spend a lot of time manipulating their human companions out of food and other treats.

The Basset Hound's non-confrontational nature allows the breed to excel at hunting alone or in packs. It also enables them to get along well with children, cats, and other dogs. They are friendly to strangers, which means they are not ideally suited to the role of watchdog, and they make excellent playmates for small children. It's essential to caution children not to strain the Basset Hound's back or try to ride these dogs, as doing so can cause serious harm. Unfortunately, these dogs are so easy-going they'll allow their human children to get away with just about anything.

Although Basset Hounds are slow-moving dogs, they need a daily walk to use up excess energy and provide an opportunity to satisfy their natural urge to track. However, these dogs won't be happy spending a lot of time outdoors; they prefer human companionship to outdoor play.

Basset Hounds have weak backs and may become injured while attempting to jump onto furniture. This breed is prone to a spinal disorder called intervertebral disc disease, which makes even slight movements painful and may require surgery. Basset Hounds are also prone to skin and ear infections that can lead to permanent ear canal damage and deafness. Foreleg lameness, entropion, ectropion, glaucoma, thrombopathia, von Willebrand's disease, hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, elbow dysplasia, and combined immunodeficiency, a condition that impairs the immune system and makes it more difficult for these dogs to fight off infections, are other conditions that affect Basset Hounds.

Basset Hounds are also more susceptible than other breeds to bloat, a condition that can quickly turn into gastric torsion, which is where the stomach twists on itself. Gastric torsion is potentially fatal and requires immediate surgery. Because bloating often returns, dogs previously diagnosed with this condition should undergo stomach tacking to keep the stomach from twisting again.

This breed can live up to 12 years with routine vet care, vaccinations, regular exercise, and proper nutrition. Because these dogs are at increased risk for obesity, a condition that increases rates of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers, weight management is an essential part of caring for this breed.

Basset Hounds are not the most trainable dogs around, and they have a natural talent for ignoring human companions when they don't want to be bothered. However, these dogs have an impressive hunting instinct and excel in obedience, tracking, field trialing, conformation, and pack hunting.

Because they are typically very friendly to strangers, this breed does not make a good watchdog. They tend to bark more than is desirable, and are known to howl when upset or bored. Additionally, Basset Hounds may beg for or steal food, a habit that can lead to obesity and other dangerous outcomes. Early training and socialization can help minimize some of these negative traits and behaviors. Overall, the Basset Hound is a delightful dog.

The breed's nose can quickly lead these dogs into trouble, and they must be on a leash or inside a securely fenced yard for their own safety. Because they actively, and sometimes aggressively, follow scents while on walks, these dogs may pull on the leash or run off unexpectedly.

The Basset Hound's short coat requires minimal grooming. These dogs are moderate shedders and should be brushed every few days with a rubber curry brush to keep dead and loose hair under control. The nails should be trimmed every few weeks.

It's important to keep the Basset Hound's ears, wrinkles, and the skin area under their sagging eyes clean and dry to prevent bacterial or fungal infections and skin irritation. These areas must be regularly checked for concerning signs, such as redness, discharge, odor, and rash, and cleaned frequently with a veterinarian-approved cleanser.

These dogs have a distinctive odor caused by having an oily coat. While this odor is unappealing to some people, it cannot be washed away or covered up with perfume. Attempting to do so can cause skin irritation. Additionally, Basset Hounds tend to slobber and drool, sometimes considerably. Anyone giving thought to the adoption or purchase of a Basset Hound should consider these issues.

Earliest records are limited, but the first mention of the Basset Hound breed is in a text from the 16th century concerning badger hunting. Today's breed originally developed in France where it was bred to be a trailer of small game that hunters were able to follow on foot.

Basset Hounds were a favorite breed with royalty and world leaders. The breed became very popular during Emperor Napoleon's reign, and Queen Alexandra kept these impressive dogs in the royal kennels. Marquis de Lafayette brought Basset Hounds to America and offered them to President George Washington as a gift for use in hunting.

These dogs became well known in the United States during the 1960s after the breed starred in an ad campaign for Hush Puppy shoes. After appearing in the campaign, the breed's popularity significantly increased and these dogs became sought-after companion animals.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Basset Hound breed in 1885.