Basset Hounds

basset houndA Quick Look at Basset Hounds…

Basset Hounds, affectionately known as the “Hush Puppy” dog are short-legged and relatively heavy boned dogs that are long-bodied and low to the ground. They have a very soulful expression and endearing, long floppy ears. These canines are very friendly scent hounds that are mild tempered and get along well with people, other house pets and children.

Originally bred to be a multi-purpose hunting dog, the Basset has a very keen nose and a sing-song bark. Their coat is very thick and taut to protect him during the hunt. He has a very gentle nature, is exceptionally obedient, loyal and makes a fabulous family companion.

Basset Hound Fast Facts…

Dog Group:
Hound (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 50-65 lbs. (23-29 kg)
Bitches – 45-60 lbs. (20-27 kg)
Dogs – 12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
Bitches – 11-14 in. (28-36 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
9 – 15 years (average of 10 – 12 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

Basset Hounds originated in France and has existed since at least the 16th century. Their name – Basset – is derived from the French words “Bas”, which essentially translates to “dwarf” or “low structure”. They are a very old breed that is a descendant of the Bloodhound, which is evident because of their outstanding sense of smell and their bone structure.

This sweet hound was developed by medieval monks for the purpose of tracking game, particularly hunting fox, hare, pheasant and opossum. They were celebrated for their exceptional scenting skill and were ideal for hunters that traveled on foot, as it was not difficult to keep up with these slow moving dogs. Bassets also had (and still have) the unique ability to hunt either in a pack or on their own and often do not startle game that is not within reach.

Basset Hounds were very popular in France during the 18th century, especially among the aristocracy. They later became a favourite in England and the U.S. during the middle of the 19th century, at which point the breed was re-developed so that they would possess hunting, companion and show characteristics. The Basset Hound was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Today, Bassets are primarily well loved family pets.

Basset Hound Breed Appearance and Characteristics

basset hound puppyGeneral Appearance – The Basset Hound is a short and a fairly heavy dog with a very strong and big boned look. They have a large, well proportioned head with a round skull and a deep muzzle. The skin on their head is loose and falls in folds. Bassets have large brown, somewhat sunken eyes that convey a very soft and soulful expression. They have exceptionally soft, large, velvet-like ears that hang low towards the ground. Their chest is deep and extends forward from the front legs. They have notable short and stocky legs and large paws. The basset has a long body and an undocked tail that is slightly curved and carried gaily. Their coat is short, dense, tough and shiny. Many colors are acceptable for the coat including, black, white, red, and tan, as well as white with chestnut or white with sand-colored markings.

Typical Temperament – The Basset Hound has a very sweet, gentle and calm nature. Although they are known to be devoted and obedient, they can be stubborn on occasion, especially if training is not firm and consistent or if he picks up an interesting scent and chooses to track it instead of listening to his owner. He is affectionate, docile and is a happy-go-lucky canine that is not timid, is friendly towards humans and is most joyous when he is in the company of his family. He likes the company of children and is generally accepting of other household pets.

Basic Basset Hound Caring Requirements

Grooming – The dense and smooth coat of the Basset is easy to groom and requires very little care. The short hair can be easily managed with a firm bristle brush a few times per week. The underside of their ears should be checked and wiped weekly with a clean damp cloth. Skin folds should also be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent dirt build up. Their nails should be clipped once a month and baths are required only occasionally. Note: Bassets are heavy shedders.

Exercise – To keep your Basset Hound mentally and physically healthy and happy he requires daily exercise and plenty of it. Although this breed can often be lazy indoors, he is a natural born hunter and thrives in the outdoors. He has energy that needs to be spent. A long daily walk of approximately 30 minutes and the freedom to run is ideal. Keep in mind, if given the chance he will play and run for hours and is happy to roam wherever his keen nose may guide him. Since this is the case, always make sure he is securely on a lead when walking him to prevent him from wandering off should he catch an interesting smell.

Approximate Food Cost – The average Basset Hound ingests between 2 and 4 cups of food per day depending on various factors including age, their level of activity, etc. The average cost of food per month for a Basset is $40.

General Health Information

The Basset should not be overfed or spoiled with treats and requires regular and sufficient exercise to prevent obesity, as well as the occurrence of extra weight on certain parts of their body. Excessive stress on their spine and legs from additional weight can lead to serious problems, such as potential lameness and even paralysis. In addition, special care should be taken to discourage this breed from jumping, as this stresses their front legs.

Due to the fact that they have a deep chest, Bassets are prone to bloat, a serious and sometimes deadly condition that causes the dog’s stomach to distend and fill with gas. In certain cases bloat can result in a twisted stomach. Therefore, to help prevent this from occurring, it is a good idea to feed them 2 – 3 smaller meals per day instead of a single large one. They should also not be exercised directly after eating or drinking.

Common Illnesses include: bloat, black problems, ear infections, certain cancers.

Are You the Right Basset Hound Owner?

Living conditions – The Basset Hound is best suited to a house with a yard where they can freely explore and run around. That said, they can also survive contentedly in an apartment as they are rather inactive indoors. However, they must be provided with the opportunity to run and should be walked regularly to keep them healthy, happy and in top shape, regardless of where they live.

Basset Hound Training – Bassets need a firm, consistent and confident handler. They do not respond well to meek owners, will not listen to anyone they do not respect and will become difficult to train. They require a strong leader and should be taught basic obedience as well as all of the home rules they are expected to follow at an early age. Housebreaking may be challenging, but persistence, patience and positive reinforcement will encourage success.

Common Problems – The Basset Hound is a very vocal breed and while they don’t bark, they are prone to frequent baying and howling, which can become very annoying to both you and your neighbors if it is not controlled. Other issues that owners may not find so pleasing include flatulence, slobbering, drooling, significant shedding, slow to housebreak and the temptation to stray if they catch a scent that interests them.

The bottom line…

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility that lasts for their entre lifetime. You need to be ready to devote a minimum of 10 years of love and care to your pet. Basset Hounds are highly affectionate dogs that require plenty of attention, affection and guidance from their owners. They should be included in as much of their owner’s life as possible and will not be happy in a home where they are left alone frequently and are neglected (Note: This breed is highly susceptible to separation anxiety). They enjoy the company of many and thrive with large families, including those with young children and other household pets.

The Basset Hound is an ideal breed for the first time owner, outdoor enthusiast, families and anyone looking for a devoted and loving canine companion they want to make an active part of their life.

Filed Under: Basset Hound Training


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