Basset Hound Overview
- Dog Breed:
- Basset Hound
- Breed Group:
- Hound group
- Loyal, laidback, calm, lethargic, friendly
- A maximum of 15 inches
- 40-65 pounds
- Life Span:
- 12-13 years
- Coat Colors:
- Coats may be a combination of any of the following colours: black, white, brown, tan, lemon, mahogany, red, or blue. Markings can be black, black mask, ticked, or white.
- Area of Origin:
- Best For:
- First time dog owners
Basset Hound Characteristics
Basset Hound Gallery
About The Basset Hound
The Basset’s ears and facial wrinkles assist it with scent detection
The breed’s conformation is a result of achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism
A very low energy dog when not engaged in hunting
The Basset Hound’s distinctive appearance has earned the breed much affection worldwide. A gentle soul, this dog type carries itself with dignity and its own unique lumber. The Basset Hound has earned pride of place as a beloved family pet, but it traces its roots to rural France where it enjoyed popularity as a much sought-after hunting dog.
The Basset takes its name from the word bas, a French handle that translates to “low.” This term was applied to the breed to describe its girth which rests low to the ground. A dog known for its length of body, the Basset Hound is a dog of substance and can weigh up to 65 pounds.
A dog characterized by its short legs, the Basset Hound’s conformation is the result of a condition known as achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism. The Basset Hound is a sizeable dog yet still is most content curled up on the lap of its favourite person.
The Basset Hound uses its sense of scent to track prey on a hunt. In possession of one of the most acute senses of smell, the Basset Hound comes second only to the Bloodhound in its scent detection capabilities.
A dog with a smooth coat which is rough to the touch, the breed has very low grooming requirements. The most common colour combination seen in the breed is tri which can be comprised of many different hues.
The head of the Basset Hound is quite distinctive with its long hound ears and jowly appearance. This conformation of its face gives it a look of perpetual sadness.
A breed intended to function as a working dog, the Basset’s conformation was far more than fashion. The long ears of the Basset Hound are useful in stirring up scent when they drag through the earth on a hunt. The skin folds found throughout their head help to trap odours to further propel them along the track of the prey.
The fact that the Basset is in possession of short legs does indicate the dog was not capable of moving at momentous speeds. This feature allowed hunters to easily keep pace with the dogs. The tail of the Basset Hound also served a functional purpose. Its unique white tip made it simpler for their owners to find them when hunting in brush or tall grass.
The Basset Hound is far from an energetic dog and has low activity requirements. A breed renowned for its intense loyalty to its family, the Basset is a happy dog that is friendly to all. However, this dog type is most content when spending time with loved ones.
Bassets can be exceptionally loud; particularly when they are displeased. Their distinctive baying is quite unique to the breed.
The Basset loves to eat and can be prone to carrying excess weight. Obesity can be an issue, so all meals should be carefully measured to avoid weight gain.
Walking a Basset Hound presents a unique challenge as the dog prefers to keep its nose to the ground to track scents. For this reason, Basset Hounds should always remain leashed to prevent the dog from roaming.
Basset Hounds can be exceptionally challenging to train. Though a relatively intelligent breed, they are known for being obstinate and unwilling to learn. Food rewards can help motivate this breed to willingly participate in training sessions.
The Basset is a loyal family companion that does well in all situations including apartment living. The breed is an excellent choice for first time dog owners.
Basset Hound Breed History
Believed to have been descended from a dwarf breed known as the St. Hubert Hound
First the pampered pet of the French elite
Later employed by commoners to assist with tracking rabbits on hunts
Though the precise origins of the Basset Hound are not known, it is believed that the breed originated in France and was developed from a species of dogs known as the St. Hubert Hound. The St. Hubert Hound was an early predecessor of the Bloodhound which presented with the same low slung, short-legged body of today’s Basset. Though this breed was considered a mutation of other hound breeds then in vogue, the St. Hubert Hound likely enjoyed longevity as a breed when their skills as impressive trackers of rabbits became apparent.
The Basset Hound first appeared in a book in 1585 named La Venerie. This short, illustrated piece was dedicated to the sport of hunting and depicted a hound that was similar in appearance to the Basset Artesien Normand, a dog breed still very much known and loved in France today.
The Basset Hound first gained popularity amongst the nobility of France. Following the French Revolution, the breed soon found itself the companion of the more common people who brought the dog along on rabbit hunting expeditions. The Basset was an ideal companion for these hunters since they could easily keep pace with it on foot, a much cheaper venture than trying to obtain horses.
By the 19th century, the Basset Hound caught the attention of several prominent figures in England who began selectively breeding the dogs there. 1874 saw a gentleman named Sir Everett Millais bringing a Basset by the name of Model to England where he could promote the breed through his breeding program. He earned the title of the “father of the breed” in his country.
In 1928, the Basset Hound was featured on the cover of Time magazine. The cover detailed an article covering the 52nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to be held later that year at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This charming article was written from the perspective of a Basset Hound puppy.
The Basset Hound has been prominently featured in many different advertisements over the years. Perhaps its most popular role was the Hush Puppy for a much-loved brand of shoes.
Basset Hound Size & Weight
Bassets stand at no more than 14” at the shoulder
Bassets weigh between 40 and 65 pounds
Bassets are deceptively heavy to lift
Basset Hounds stand at a height which must not exceed 14” at the shoulder. Their weights can range from 40-65 pounsd with males at the upper end of the range and females the lower.
The Basset Hound is a dog of great substance balanced on extremely short legs. Potential owners of the breed should be prepared for the heft of this dog when they attempt to lift it. They are deceivingly heavy.
Basset Hound Personality & Temperament
Friendly and loyal
Can be excessively vocal
Well-suited to any living situation including apartments
The Basset Hound’s gentle nature makes it an easy companion to live with. This type of dog enjoys the company of family, friends, other pets, and even strangers encountered on the street. Affectionate to all, the Basset is a breed that is quite easy to love.
A low energy breed known for its lack of enthusiasm in general, the friendly Basset only truly gets excited about hunting. In possession of an excellent sense of smell, the Basset’s nose remains firmly to the ground when out on a walk, making it necessary for it to remain on a lead at all times.
A typical hound, the Basset can be exceptionally stubborn and uninterested in learning new things. However, its love of food can often persuade the dog to participate in short training sessions.
Bassets can be extremely vocal and make very unique baying sounds. If left alone for too long a time or bored, they can be prone to howling and destroying things left in their surroundings. Bassets enjoy the company of other dogs and remain content when its family is out if there is a second dog in the home for companionship.
A relatively small breed, Basset Hounds are well-suited to nearly any living condition including apartments. However, the Basset is a very social creature and only thrives when living indoors with its family.
The Basset’s short coat makes it ill-suited to time spent outdoors in either extreme heat or cold. This dog breed prefers moderate weather conditions.
By nature, the Basset Hound can be quite lazy, preferring couch time to vigorous activity. However, regular exercise is necessary to keep excess weight at bay. This can be achieved through short walks in areas that are rich with scents for the dog to enjoy.
Bassets must be securely contained to prevent wandering or chasing of prey. Since Bassets do possess short legs, care must be taken to prevent jumping on and off things which could lead to permanent injury.
A breed that enjoys the company of children, Bassets are affectionate and patient with kids. Carefully supervise all interactions with the dog and children because the Basset’s sweet, laidback nature means it will not defend itself when feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Children should also be taught to respect the dog and to handle it with kindness and great care.
A breed intended to function as part of a pack, Basset Hounds love the company of other dogs. Integrations are not difficult but should be undertaken in a neutral location where established pets do not feel compelled to be territorial.
Basset Hound Health & Grooming
Prone to ear infections
A heavy drooler
The Basset Hound has a number of health conditions it can be predisposed to. However, this is not necessarily of great concern since all breeds can befall genetic illness that is common to their specific dog type. Careful genetic screening can help eliminate dogs from the breeding pool who may be contributing to the development of disease in their offspring. Among the health problems which can plague the Basset Hound are gastric dilatation-volvulus, Von Willebrand’s disease, glaucoma, allergies, patellar luxation, thrombopathia, problems involving the eyelid and eyelashes, intervertebral disc disease, ear infections, obesity, hip dysplasia, and cherry eye.
The Basset’s distinctive long, low-set droopy ears make it particularly prone to ear infections. To ensure proper ear health, the Basset’s ears should be checked and cleaned regularly. Shaking of the head or scratching at the ears may be indicative of an infection. Regular dental and nail care are also required to keep the Basset in good health.
Surprisingly, the short coat of the Basset sheds a great deal. This breed does not require much grooming beyond the occasional brushing to remove any errant hairs. Bathing can occur on an as needed basis since the Basset’s rough-textured coat is a natural repellent against dirt.
The Basset Hound drools excessively, and this excess saliva can accumulate in the dog’s folds of skin. These should be kept clean and dry to prevent the buildup of bacteria which could lead to infections.
The Basset loves to eat and is quite prone to obesity. For this reason, its food should be both measured and monitored.
Basset Hound Training
Challenging to motivate
Respond well to positive reinforcement training
Have high prey drive and will roam
Basset Hounds have a mind of their own, and they rarely welcome the opportunity for training. A breed of moderate intelligence, they possess the ability to learn if not the drive to apply themselves. Since Bassets are food motivated, yummy treats can help to encourage the dog to participate in short training sessions. The average Basset can learn the basic obedience commands in up to three months’ time since it is very difficult to maintain their focus.
Bassets are very sensitive dogs and will respond with sharp baying and even cowering if harsh training methods are employed. This breed responds best to positive reinforcement training.
The Basset is not a particularly mouthy breed; however, it is important to teach the dog that teeth on skin is never permitted. The easiest method to solve this problem is to redirect the dog’s attention to something more appropriate for biting or chewing such as a bone or toy.
The Basset Hound was born to be a hunter, and thus, has high prey drive. Given the opportunity to roam, this dog breed will go wherever its nose takes it. For this reason, a secure containment system is necessary for the Basset Hound.
The Basset Hound can be a very vocal breed, particularly when annoyed, offended, or bored.
Basset Hound Exercise Requirements
Challenging to motivate
Respond well to positive reinforcement training
Have high prey drive and will roam
Basset Hounds are a very low energy breed. However, to maintain optimal health and to prevent weight gain, the Basset should engage in regular exercise at a moderate level of intensity. A leisurely stroll of between 20-30 minutes each day or a rousing play session is sufficient to keep this breed in tip top shape.
The Basset Hound is not a very playful breed.
Basset Hound Diet & Feeding
Puppies should eat puppy food
Adults should eat adult food
Adjust amounts according to activity
To ensure the selection of a high-quality diet, it is always a good idea to consult a veterinarian to assist with securing the right diet for a Basset Hound. As a general guideline, foods that are nutritionally balanced and age appropriate should be suitable for this breed.
Puppies should eat a puppy formulation to support their developing bodies. Likewise, adults should eat a food that is designed to meet the unique requirements for their age and activity level.
To determine how much to feed the Basset Hound, the serving size suggestions on the side of the bag are helpful. Since each dog is a unique individual, these amounts may need to be adjusted to reflect activity level and/or weight.
Basset Hound Rescue Groups
If you are looking for Basset Hounds for adoption near you, we highly recommend the following comprehensive resource:
Basset Hound Club of America