Basset Hound

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basset hound portrait
Get ready to fall head over heels for those droopy ears and soulful eyes! Meet the Basset Hound, a breed that captivates hearts with its unique charm. Renowned for their exceptional nose, endearing laziness, and an irresistible personality, these dogs have a special way of making every day brighter and filled with laughter.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

Basset Hounds are the perfect companions for those seeking a laid-back, affectionate fur-friend. Their low-energy yet lovable nature makes them great for families, seniors, or anyone who enjoys a leisurely lifestyle. If you’re ready for a loyal companion who prefers cuddles over sprints, the Basset Hound might just be your ideal match!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEBasset Hound
ORIGINUnited Kingdom
BREED GROUPHound Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT14 inches
WEIGHT50-65 lbs
LIFESPAN12-13 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSLow
TRAINABILITYLow
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYHigh
SHEDDING LEVELModerate
POPULARITY RANK36th
basset hound lying on the grass
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Appearance

The Basset Hound is a breed that expertly combines strength and elegance in a compact package. Standing at a height of around 14 inches and weighing between 50 to 65 pounds, these dogs might not tower over many others, but they have a distinctive presence that’s hard to ignore.

Their bodies are robust and low-slung, giving them a somewhat comical appearance that belies their strength. They have a deep chest and a straight, well-muscled back, a testament to their origins as scent hounds. Their tails are long and tapering, carried high with a slight curve, often likened to a sabre.

The head of a Basset Hound is one of its most striking features. It’s large and well-proportioned with a rounded skull and a medium-length muzzle. But it’s their ears that really steal the show – long, velvety, and set low, they can reach beyond the end of their nose when drawn forward, framing their face with an almost regal elegance.

And then there are those eyes – large, brown or hazel, full of warmth and a little bit of mischief. They have a soft, appealing expression that can melt hearts and coax treats out of pockets. The loose skin around their eyes and forehead forms wrinkles, adding to their unique and lovable appearance.

The coat of a Basset Hound is short, dense, and smooth, providing excellent protection against all types of weather. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, including tricolor (black, white, and brown), bicolor, and even a lemon color which is a lighter shade of tan.

Overall, the Basset Hound is a study in contradictions – strong yet gentle, serious yet playful, and dignified yet endearingly goofy. Their physical traits, combined with their charming personality, make them an unforgettable breed.

basset hound at a porch
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Temperament

Basset Hounds are a delightful blend of charm, character, and calmness. Their temperament is as unique as their appearance, making them a favorite among dog enthusiasts worldwide. But what exactly makes these droopy-eared darlings so captivating?

First and foremost, Basset Hounds are known for their gentle and laid-back disposition. They carry an air of dignified serenity that’s often punctuated by bouts of playful silliness. Bassets are never in a hurry, preferring to take life at their own leisurely pace. They’re the epitome of “easy-going”, content to lounge around and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Despite their relaxed demeanor, Basset Hounds are incredibly affectionate and sociable. They form strong bonds with their human families and are known for their unwavering loyalty.

They love nothing more than to be in the company of their loved ones, whether it’s cuddling on the couch, following you around the house, or simply sitting at your feet. This breed thrives on companionship and does not do well when left alone for extended periods.

One of the most endearing traits of Basset Hounds is their innate sense of humor. They have a knack for making people laugh with their amusing antics and expressive faces. Whether they’re chasing their tails, tripping over their ears, or howling along to your favorite song, Bassets are sure to keep you entertained with their comedic charm.

Despite their fun-loving nature, Basset Hounds are also known for their stubborn streak. They have a mind of their own and aren’t afraid to show it. They’re not always the most obedient dogs, often choosing to follow their nose rather than commands. However, this stubbornness is usually met with a good-natured tolerance by their owners who understand that it’s just part of their quirky personality.

Basset Hounds are also renowned for their exceptional patience, especially with children. They’re tolerant and gentle, making them excellent companions for families with kids.

Their calm demeanor and sturdy physique can withstand the rough and tumble play that often comes with young children. However, like all dogs, they should be supervised during interactions with small kids to ensure the safety of both parties.

In social settings, Basset Hounds are typically friendly towards strangers and get along well with other dogs. They’re not particularly territorial or aggressive, which makes them poor guard dogs but excellent ambassadors of goodwill. They’re the type of dogs who would greet an intruder with a wagging tail rather than a growl.

two basset hounds sitting at the sidewalk
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Ideal Environment

Finding the perfect environment for a Basset Hound is all about understanding their unique needs and quirks. These dogs are adaptable and can thrive in a variety of settings, but there are certain factors that can make their lives even more enjoyable.

Physical Environment

Basset Hounds are indoor dogs at heart. They love to be part of the family action, whether it’s lounging on the couch during movie night or supervising dinner preparations. A home with plenty of space for them to roam around is ideal, but they can also adjust well to apartment living, provided they get enough mental stimulation and interaction.

Climate Adaptability

When it comes to climate adaptability, Basset Hounds have some specific needs. Their short coat provides some protection against the cold, but they’re not built for freezing temperatures. During winter, it’s a good idea to provide them with a warm sweater or coat for outdoor excursions.

Similarly, their heavy bodies and short legs make them prone to overheating in hot climates. During summer, they should have access to shade and fresh water, and walks should be scheduled for cooler parts of the day.

Ideal Owner

The ideal pet parent for a Basset Hound is someone who appreciates their relaxed pace and can provide a loving, stable environment. They thrive with families who have time to give them the attention and affection they crave. Patience is also key, especially considering their occasional stubborn streak.

Other Pets

While Bassets are known for their laid-back nature, they still appreciate the company of their fellow canines. Having another pet at home, dog or cat, can be a great source of companionship for them. However, it’s always important to ensure that any introductions are done gradually and under supervision to ensure a harmonious relationship.

basset hound standing at a backyard
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Grooming

Maintaining the distinctive charm of a Basset Hound requires a bit of grooming magic. But fear not, their grooming needs are fairly straightforward and manageable with a little bit of time and the right tools.

Coat Care

Starting with their coat, Basset Hounds have short, dense fur that’s relatively easy to care for. Their fur does shed, so regular brushing is necessary to keep it healthy and to control the amount of fur around your home.

Aim to brush your Basset Hound at least once a week using a firm bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt. These tools will help remove loose hair and distribute the natural oils in their fur, promoting a shiny and healthy coat.

Bathing your Basset Hound doesn’t need to be a frequent affair. They generally only require a bath every 2-3 months or so, unless they’ve rolled in something particularly smelly! When bath time comes around, use a gentle dog shampoo to clean their coat and skin. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent any soap residue from causing skin irritation.

Lastly, Basset Hounds are known for their expressive wrinkles. These should be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent any dirt or moisture from causing skin irritations. A damp cloth can be used to gently clean between the folds.

Ear Care

Now let’s talk about those magnificent ears. Basset Hounds have long, droopy ears that unfortunately don’t get much air circulation. This can make them prone to infections. To keep their ears clean and healthy, make it a habit to check them weekly for any signs of redness, bad odor, or discomfort.

Use a vet-recommended ear cleaner and cotton balls to gently clean their ears. Never insert anything into their ear canal.

Dental Care

Dental care is another important aspect of grooming. Like all dogs, Basset Hounds can develop dental problems if their teeth aren’t cared for. Regular brushing with dog-specific toothpaste can help prevent plaque build-up and bad breath.

Aim to brush your Basset’s teeth at least two or three times a week. Regular dental check-ups with the vet are also a good idea to catch any potential issues early.

Nail Trimming

Don’t forget about those nails! Basset Hounds have sturdy nails that can grow quite quickly. Long nails can cause discomfort and even lead to problems with walking. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly trim their nails, usually once or twice a month. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, a vet or professional groomer can help.

basset hound puppy walking in the snow
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Exercise

If you’re picturing a Basset Hound as the canine equivalent of a couch potato, you’re not far off. These dogs are known for their laid-back nature and love of leisure. However, don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t need exercise. Just like us, they need regular physical activity to stay healthy and happy.

Exercise Amount & Types

Basset Hounds aren’t designed for high-intensity workouts. They’re more about the “stop-and-sniff” approach rather than the “go, go, go” mentality. A couple of daily walks at a comfortable pace will usually suffice. Aim for around 20 to 30 minutes each walk. This gives them a chance to stretch their legs, explore their surroundings, and indulge in their favorite pastime – sniffing!

While Bassets might not be up for marathon runs, they do enjoy a good play session. Games of fetch or hide and seek can be a fun way to get them moving. Just remember to keep things low-impact to protect their joints. Their long bodies and short legs can make them prone to back issues, so it’s important to avoid activities that require jumping or climbing.

Dog Sports

Despite their reputation for being a bit lazy, Basset Hounds can surprise you with their athletic abilities. They may not win any speed competitions, but they excel in scent work trials. Their exceptional sense of smell, second only to the Bloodhound, makes them naturals at tracking and nose work competitions. These activities offer a great mental workout and allow them to use their instinctual skills.

Exercise Precautions

One thing to keep in mind is the Basset’s susceptibility to obesity. Their love for food combined with their relaxed lifestyle can lead to weight gain. Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet, is crucial to keep them at a healthy weight.

basset hound walking in tall grass
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Training

Training a Basset Hound can be an adventure filled with laughter, surprises, and yes, a little bit of frustration. These dogs are known for their independent streak and selective hearing, which can sometimes make training a challenge. But with a dash of patience, a sprinkle of creativity, and a big scoop of treats, you can successfully navigate the journey of training your Basset Hound.

Basset Hounds are intelligent dogs, but they have a mind of their own. They’re not always eager to please, which means traditional obedience training might require some extra effort. The key is to make training sessions fun and engaging. Short, frequent sessions work better than long ones, as Bassets can quickly lose interest if they’re not entertained.

Positive reinforcement is the way to go when training a Basset Hound. They respond well to rewards, especially when those rewards involve food! Treats, praise, and petting can all be used to motivate them and reinforce desired behaviors. Remember, harsh methods or punishments are counterproductive and can harm your relationship with your dog.

Socialization is an essential part of training for any dog, and Basset Hounds are no exception. Introducing them to a variety of people, pets, places, and experiences at a young age can help them grow into well-rounded, confident adults. Socialization can also help curb any potential issues with fear or aggression.

Basset Hounds are renowned for their exceptional sense of smell. Training activities that tap into this natural talent can be both enjoyable and rewarding for them. Scent work games or tracking exercises can provide mental stimulation and allow them to use their instincts.

Lastly, remember that patience is key when training a Basset Hound. Progress might be slow, and there will be days when it seems like they’ve forgotten everything they’ve learned. But don’t despair! With consistency and positivity, your Basset will eventually get the hang of things.

basset hound sitting on the park bench
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Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Basset Hound isn’t just about filling their bowl and calling it a day. It’s about providing a balanced diet that fuels their laid-back lifestyle and keeps their health in check.

What to Feed & How Much

So what should you feed your Basset Hound? A high-quality dog food that meets the nutritional standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a good starting point. Whether you choose dry kibble, canned food, or a raw diet will depend on your dog’s specific needs and your personal preference.

Puppies typically require more frequent meals – usually three to four times a day. As they grow older, this can be reduced to two meals a day. The amount you feed your Basset Hound will depend on their age, size, activity level, and overall health. Always consult with your vet to determine the right portion sizes for your individual dog.

Treats

Treats can be a wonderful training tool and a way to show your Basset some love. However, they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Opt for healthy options like carrot sticks or apple slices instead of calorie-laden commercial treats.

Water

Don’t forget about water! Basset Hounds, like all dogs, need constant access to fresh, clean water. This is especially important during hot weather or after exercise to prevent dehydration.

three basset hounds sitting side by side outdoors
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Health

Basset Hounds, with their droopy ears and lovable expressions, are a breed that can steal your heart in an instant. But like all breeds, they come with their own set of health considerations. Understanding these can help ensure your Basset Hound leads a long, healthy life.

On average, Basset Hounds live between 12 to 13 years. However, with good care, regular vet check-ups, and a dollop of luck, they can certainly surpass this expectancy.

Here are common health issues associated with the breed:

Obesity: With their love for food and laid-back nature, Basset Hounds are prone to weight gain. This can lead to other health problems like diabetes and joint issues. A balanced diet and regular exercise are crucial for keeping them at a healthy weight.

Ear Infections: Those long, floppy ears can be prone to infections due to lack of air circulation. Regular ear cleaning and check-ups can help prevent this.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: These are inherited conditions that can affect the joints, leading to discomfort and mobility issues. Regular vet check-ups can help catch these conditions early.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): Also known as bloat, this is a serious condition that can affect deep-chested dogs like Basset Hounds. It’s important to learn the signs and seek immediate veterinary attention if GDV is suspected.

Eye Conditions: Basset Hounds can be prone to various eye issues like glaucoma or cherry eye. Regular eye exams can help detect any problems early on.

Keeping your Basset Hound healthy involves regular vet visits, staying up-to-date with vaccinations, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular check-ups can catch potential issues early, while vaccinations can protect against common canine diseases.

Feeding a balanced diet that’s appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is also critical. And don’t forget about exercise – even though Basset Hounds are known for their relaxed demeanor, they still need regular physical activity to stay fit and healthy.

basset hound walking at the beach
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History

Basset Hounds trace their roots back to France in the 1500s. The word ‘Basset’ in French translates to ‘low’, a fitting name for these dogs with their short legs and low-slung bodies. They were bred by monks in France to hunt small game. Their exceptional sense of smell (second only to the Bloodhound!) and short stature made them excellent at tracking game through dense underbrush.

Bassets became popular among the French aristocracy for hunting, thanks to their slow pace which allowed hunters to follow on foot. Later on, during the French Revolution, their popularity spread to the common folk who also appreciated their hunting skills.

The breed made its way to England in the mid-1800s, where it gained recognition for its unique appearance and hunting prowess. It was around this time that the breed started to be selectively bred for traits that we associate with the modern Basset Hound – a stockier body, shorter legs, and longer ears.

The Basset Hound reached American shores in the late 19th century. They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, making them one of the first breeds to gain such recognition.

In popular culture, Basset Hounds have made quite a name for themselves. Perhaps the most famous Basset Hound is Droopy, the cartoon character created by Tex Avery. With his slow-moving demeanor and droopy face, Droopy captured the essence of the breed’s laid-back attitude.

Then there’s Flash from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, who won over audiences with his lazy yet loveable persona. More recently, a Basset Hound named Fred starred in the film “Smokey and the Bandit”. And let’s not forget the many Basset Hounds that have graced the world of advertising, like the Hush Puppies’ dog and the logo of Basset’s Ice Cream.

Today, Basset Hounds are beloved pets known for their friendly nature, patience with children, and loyalty to their families. They may not be as popular on the hunting trail anymore, but their exceptional sense of smell has found them roles in search and rescue operations and scent detection work.

Parent Club

In the United States, the parent club for Basset Hounds is the Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA). Founded in 1935, BHCA is dedicated to preserving the breed’s standards and promoting responsible ownership of Basset Hounds.

The club offers a wealth of resources for Basset Hound owners, breeders, and enthusiasts. You can visit their website for more information.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the Basset Hound’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

basset hound puppies in a wooden cart
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Acquiring

Bringing a Basset Hound into your life is a joyous occasion, but it’s also a commitment. Before you dive in, make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility. This means having the time, space, and resources to care for a dog.

If you decide to buy a Basset Hound, always choose a reputable breeder. Look for breeders who prioritize health and temperament over appearance. The Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA) can be a good starting point for finding responsible breeders.

But remember, buying isn’t the only option. There are many wonderful Basset Hounds waiting for their forever homes in rescue centers. The American Kennel Club and the BHCA can assist with rescuing a Basset Hound.

Whether you choose to buy or rescue, remember that the goal is to provide a loving and caring home for a Basset Hound. After all, they’ll repay you tenfold with their loyalty, affection, and endearing personality.

FAQs

Are Basset Hounds good pets?

Absolutely! Basset Hounds are known for their friendly and laid-back nature. They’re great with children and other pets, making them excellent family dogs. However, they do require regular exercise to prevent weight gain and enjoy mental stimulation to keep them happy.

Do Basset Hounds bark a lot?

Basset Hounds can be quite vocal. They may bark when they’re bored, anxious, or if they’ve picked up an interesting scent. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce excessive barking.

What makes Basset Hounds special?

Basset Hounds are unique in many ways. Their exceptional sense of smell, short stature, long ears, and soulful eyes set them apart. But above all, it’s their friendly, patient, and loyal nature that truly makes them special.

Can Basset Hounds be left alone?

While Basset Hounds are generally independent, they’re also social animals that enjoy company. They can tolerate being alone for a few hours, but prolonged periods of isolation can lead to anxiety and destructive behavior.

How much exercise does a Basset Hound need?

Despite their laid-back demeanor, Basset Hounds need about 20-30 minutes of daily exercise to stay fit and healthy. A couple of moderate walks per day, along with some playtime, is usually sufficient.

Are Basset Hounds easy to train?

Basset Hounds are intelligent, but they can be stubborn. Training can be a challenge, but with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, they can learn the ropes.

Do Basset Hounds shed a lot?

Yes, Basset Hounds are moderate to heavy shedders. Regular brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat healthy.

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