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Basset Hound: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

The Basset Hound is a breed of dog of French and English origin, recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynélogique Internationale). The breed is listed under the grouping Hounds, Scenthounds, and Related Breeds and under the Hounds or Small Hounds section.

Basset Hound Dog Breed

Size: 28-38cm
Weight: Males: 25-34 kg, females: 20-29 kg
FCI Group: 6: Hounds, scent hounds, and related breeds
Section: 1.3: Small Hounds
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colors: black and white, brown and white, red and white, lemon and white, black and brown
Life expectancy: 10-15 years
Suitable as: hunting, companion, and family dog
Sports: –
Personality: Affectionate, Gentle, Kind, Devoted, Tough
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential rather high
The thickness of hair rather high
Maintenance effort: low
Coat texture: smooth. short and dense
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Social: yes

Origin and breed history

The Basset Hound is originally descended from the old French breeds Basset d’Artois and Basset Artésien Normand. Both breeds are now extinct. The beginning of the systematic breeding of the basset can be traced back to the 19th century. Here he was probably bred by monks and used as a hunting dog. In 1874, the Basset Hound breed was imported to England for the first time, where the dog breed received the Bloodhound-typical head through further crossbreeding.

Crossbreeding with the Bloodhound was intended to further develop the breed’s sense of smell. The beagle is also said to have been crossed in. The breed standard was first recognized in England in 1880.

In the 1970s, the Basset Hound developed into a real fashion dog, especially in the USA, which was accompanied by exaggerated physiques to the detriment of the dogs. Bodies and ears became longer and longer and the formation of wrinkles and thus loose skin became more intense. The legs were bred to be shorter, which significantly restricted the dog’s movements. This variant of the Basset Hound now had little to do with an agile hunting dog. In the meantime, breeding has mainly focused on healthy offspring.

The Basset is a hunting dog, which was mainly used for welding work. This means that the dog was responsible for searching for a shot, injured or dead game that could not be found immediately. For this, he needs above all a well-developed sense of smell. Thus, he is also able to follow somewhat older tracks. The breed was primarily used in packs to hunt hares and rabbits.

Nature & Temperament of the Basset Hound

This breed can probably best be described in terms of being headstrong and lovable.

The Basset Hound is a hunting dog, but nowadays it has a lot of potential as a family and companion dog. He is generally quiet in the house and is an affectionate and good-natured member of the family. At times he is also considered stubborn and strong-willed. Bassets are intelligent four-legged friends who are willing to learn and should be encouraged accordingly. Originally kept in packs, the Basset Hound is particularly social and friendly towards other dogs. He also gets along well with children, he is really cheerful and enjoys being with his family.

The breed has a particularly keen sense of smell and falls under the scent hound category. This term describes hunting dogs that pursue game over long distances. In this case, the basset hound is not a fast hunting dog, but it has extraordinary endurance. For this reason, he must also get enough exercise every day. However, the Basset Hound is generally not a hectic and demanding dog but rather is characterized by certain joviality. The breed has no genetic tendency to be aggressive or timid.

The appearance of the Basset Hound

The breed is one of the short-legged dogs and at first glance is quite clumsy and bulky in the physique. Depending on the gender, the Basset Hound can reach a height of 33 to 38 centimeters at the withers and weigh between 25 and 35 kilograms.

The dark eyes with the slight droopy eyes give the dog a calm, mostly sad expression. The Basset Hound’s distinctive head closely resembles that of the Bloodhound.
The fur is short, smooth, and slightly velvety on the ears. Breeding of the Basset focuses primarily on the coat colors black-white-brown and lemon-white. Nevertheless, all other hound colors can also occur.

The basset hound has a slight wrinkling on the head and legs. Its long, low-set, drooping ears, which reach about the length of the dog’s nose, are particularly striking. The neck is long and muscular. The basset hound has a low chest and short, powerful front legs. The hind legs appear longer and more muscular. The tail is strong and long. The breed has a high recognition value due to its special appearance.

How Big Does a Basset Hound Get?

The Basset Hound is one of the small dog breeds and can reach a height of up to 38 centimeters at the withers. Nevertheless, in contrast to other small dog breeds, it has a somewhat more massive physique.

Basset hound training and keeping – this is important to note

Because the Basset Hound was originally bred to hunt independently, it retains a degree of independence from its master to this day. A clear and consistent upbringing from puppyhood is particularly important for this breed. Nevertheless, this dog should not be brought up with too much harshness. In some places, there should be a certain tolerance and ability to compromise, because if the basset hound doesn’t want to obey, then he won’t do it either.

The Basset Hound is headstrong and reluctant to submit to its owners. That’s why the Basset Hound should be trained primarily with positive reinforcement, in other words, lots of praise. Visiting a puppy school or later dog school is an ideal activity for the basset hound.

The hunting instinct of the basset should always be kept in mind. Its well-developed sense of smell enables it to follow a trail over long distances. So if the dog has the tendency to follow its instincts, it should only be unleashed to a limited extent. The dog’s hunting instinct, on the other hand, can also be lived out in a very targeted manner with certain search exercises.

Due to its elongated body shape, excessive climbing of stairs should be avoided. For this reason, the basset hound is rather unsuitable for apartment keeping. In addition, the urge to move of this dog breed should not be underestimated. Therefore, a house with a fenced yard would be ideal for keeping the Basset Hound.

How intelligent is the basset hound?

The Basset is considered to be particularly intelligent and willing to learn. Accordingly, he should also be employed and promoted.

Diet of the Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is known to be gluttonous and greedy when it comes to food. So it is important not to fall for the sad, lovable dog look too often. Otherwise, the breed tends to become overweight quickly. Lots of meat and low-grain food are ideal for these four-legged friends. The daily feed rations should also be adjusted to the activity level and the dog’s enthusiasm for exercise.
Health – life expectancy & common diseases
Due to its elongated body shape, the breed is more prone to intervertebral disc problems, which can be associated with subsequent paralysis. When keeping the Basset Hound from puppy age, care should be taken to avoid excessive climbing of stairs. It is also best to carry the puppy as often as possible when climbing stairs. Otherwise, there is a risk that the dog will suffer from restricted mobility and pain very early on. A ramp should also be used to get into the car to protect the dog’s back.

This breed’s ears and eyes are particularly prone to infection and should therefore be checked and cleaned regularly. A disease that is not uncommon, especially in Basset Hounds, is ectropion. These are hanging songs, which are so pronounced that the inside of the song is visible from the outside. For this reason, the dog’s cornea is no longer adequately protected from its own fur hair or other dirt particles and it can easily lead to infection, irritation, or pain. If the ectropion is too severe, surgery may become unavoidable.

The Basset Hound also tends to be overweight. He should be sufficiently exercised and fed with good quality food. If in doubt, the diet should be discussed with the veterinarian or breeder. Because of the short legs, being overweight can quickly lead to joint problems or restricted movement for the basset hound.

In order to get a healthy dog, it is important when choosing a breeder to ensure that he is not a representative of extreme breeding. Extreme breeding is basically associated with health problems and reduced quality of life for the dog.

The Basset Hound is a heat-sensitive dog. In summer you should make sure that the dog can always stay in the shade. In addition, walks should be shifted to the morning and evening hours during the hot season. To make the hot summer days easier for the dog, the long ears and the rest of the fur can be refreshed with cool water from time to time. Even in winter, care should be taken not to walk the dog for too long when it snows. Being so close to the ground, the basset hound’s stomach, ears, and genitals can freeze quickly.

How Old Do Basset Hounds Get?

The life expectancy of this breed is 10 to 12 years.

Caring for the Basset Hound

The Basset Hound’s coat is very easy to care for due to its short, smooth structure. From time to time, however, this dog should also be brushed.

Since the Basset Hound’s ears and eyes are prone to inflammation, they should be checked and cared for regularly. Otherwise, grooming this dog is not particularly time-consuming.

Basset Hound Activities and Training

Even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance, Basset Hounds need plenty of exercise and exercise. If he is kept as a family dog (and not as a hunting dog), then he should definitely be offered alternative employment opportunities. The Basset Hound loves long walks, during which he can sniff out his surroundings to the fullest.

Due to its body shape, the Basset Hound is not suitable for dog sports such as agility or the like. On the other hand, you can make your Basset very happy with intelligent toys and nose work.

Good to know: Peculiarities of the Basset Hound

As already mentioned, the Basset Hound developed into a real fashion dog, especially in the USA. It is, therefore, no coincidence that, especially from the 1940s, several representatives of the breed appeared in numerous television programs and films. For example, in the crime series “Columbo”, a basset hound was the main actor’s faithful companion

The breed was popular with stars like Elvis Presley and Marylin Monroe and Clint Eastwood also owned a Basset Hound. Even today, the Basset Hound can be seen in cartoons such as “Pets”. Due to the sad and loyal look of the dogs as well as their striking appearance, the breed is still very popular today.

For example, the Basset Hound is also the flagship for the shoe brand “Hush Puppies”. Likewise, the dog breed as a logo on school articles or clothing is still a popular motif today.

How Much Does a Basset Hound Cost?

When buying a Basset Hound from a reputable breeder, costs of up to $1200 can be expected. You should also pay for this to ensure that you get a healthy puppy.

Disadvantages of the Basset Hound

If you look for disadvantages in Basset Hounds, you will find them primarily in their health. The basset hound is considered to be sensitive when it comes to intervertebral discs, eyes, and ears. As previously mentioned, the breed has long been bred with exaggerations in physique and appearance. While these extreme breeds are on the decline these days, breeder selection should be carefully considered.

Is the Basset Hound right for me?

Due to its somewhat strong and idiosyncratic character, the Basset Hound is not necessarily a dog for beginners. The breed must be trained consistently and with clear rules and commands right from the start, otherwise, the dog will quickly take over. In addition, as with any hunting dog, it is important to ensure that the hunting instinct can be kept within limits.

The Basset Hound is anything but a lap dog, even if you don’t see it that way at first glance. The breed is therefore particularly suitable for hunting enthusiasts or families who can offer the dog enough time and employment opportunities. It is rather unsuitable for seniors due to its pronounced urge to move.

The Basset is not a city dog. He should be able to work out outside in nature. It is therefore particularly suitable for families with a house and garden. In general, buying a dog should always be well thought out. It should be ensured that all family members agree to the purchase of the dog. The basset hound does not like to be left alone for long periods of time. Rather, he wants to be in the middle of what is happening in the family.

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