Introducing the basset hound. As the name implies, this is a breed with a history of hunting small game so expect several “houndish” behaviors. This dog is overall a charming character that is quite easy to maintain. Remember: a basset was born to hunt first, he became a companion later.
The name “basset” derives from French word “bas” which means low, and if you look at this breed, indeed, you’ll see a low fellow with short legs who is naturally inclined to keep his head low as he works on catching scent. This brings him as close to the ground as he can get. His sense of smell is only second to the bloodhound. This breed was selectively bred to hunt rabbits and hare. There’s belief that this breed derives from the St. Hubert hound, the bloodhound’s ancestor. What likely happened was among the litters a mutation gave life to some curious short-legged pups that were then purposely bred to carry on their trait. The shorter version after all showed a great predisposition for hunting and their short body gave them an advantage in hunting under brush where the rabbits would hide.
Initially, this breed was much cherished by the French aristocrats, but after the French Revolution, more and more hunters were in search for a good hunting companion. Because most hunters back then didn’t have access to horses as these were mostly the preserve of kings and aristocratic families , they needed a dog that would follow on foot. verify The breed then began to spread to Great Britain in 1866 and became popular courtesy of Sir Everett Millais. Today, he’s known as the “father of the breed” in England. In the United States this breed arrived early in the 20th century. An article published on the Times Magazine in 1928 featured a basset hound on the front cover and an accompanying story that contributed to the popularity of the breed. The breed further became popular with the Hush puppy shoes commercials and the Fred Basset comic strip. In 1885, the AKC recognized the breed which is now registered under the hound group.
Did you know? Queen Alexandra was fond of Basset Hounds and kep them in her royal kennels. Marquis de Lafayette took Basset Hounds into the United States as a gift to President George Washington to aid him in his hunting expeditions.
This is one of the most amiable breeds blessed with a sweet temperament which makes him a great family dog. If you are planning to use him as a hunter, yes. he’s slow -paced when sent to hunt, but he has a great nose and will put it work. Despite their heavy weight, basset hounds think they are lap dogs and will climb into your lap for cuddles. They can be clownish creatures that will entertain you with their antics. Over all this is a calm breed that loves to be with its family. After all, these are dogs who used to always hunt in packs, so they have a strong pack drive. This may predispose them to separation anxiety when left alone. Despite wanting to be with his family pack, this breed is an independent thinker that isn’t much in tune with pleasing you.
This breed is a hearty eater and can easily get obese if he isn’t exercised enough. He’ll make vocalizations just to say he’s hungry and wants fed and is likely to drool too. Problem is, not many people can resist those soulful eyes pleading for a crumb. Beware of second of triple servings of food; this breed may appear short, but somehow he’s capable of reaching those counter tops and eating anything in sight. And when he’s not baying, howling or grumbling for a piece of steak, he’s likely snoring soundly by the fireplace.
These are low-to-the-ground dogs standing no more than 14 inches tall.. They look lighter than what they are thought. The have heavy bones which contribute to their weight averaging between 50 to 65 pounds. As in dachshunds ad bulldogs, their short legs are a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia. Osteochondrodysplasia? The coat is short and harsh to the touch. Its meant to repel dirt and water.The most common color is tricolor, which consists of black tan and white, but you may also see open red and white, closed red and white or lemon and white. There’s also a gray coat color often known as blue, but it’s linked to genetic problems. The face has loose skin and wrinkles which gives this breed a sad, yet irresistibly cure face. Many have a distinct white blaze on their head. The eyes are slightly sunken, with a prominent haw. Their necks have a dewlap that is, a flap of skin that hangs beneath the lower jaw. There’s belief that his long ears(known as “leathers”) help drag and pick up scent to aid them in tracking. Even the tail in this breed has a purpose, it’s white tip helps the hunter locate them when they’re hunting in tall brush. The tail is held up over the long back.
This is a scent hound, and as such, he will have a strong predisposition to follow scent. This dog shouldn’t be left off leash or in an un-fenced yard where he’s free to wander. The recall command can be challenging to train, but this is a dog that loves to eat, so if you use tasty treats, you can have some success. This breed requires patience because it can be stubborn, but more than stubborn they are simply more oriented towards activities that match what they were bred for. If you really want to make your basset happy, take him to tracking events (bassetting) where he can do what he was naturally bred for. House training can prove challenging with this breed. With time and patience though, most basset hounds learn. Despite their stubborn streak, this breed is sensitive, so always use positive reinforcement. As with all other dogs, make sure to socialize. Because this breed’s neck is wider than its head, this breed may do better with a martingale collar.
The Ideal Household
This breed does well with an owners that can spend a lot of time with him. Left alone, he gets anxious and may start barking, in this case baying, which can be very annoying to neighbors. This breed can be lazy, so it may make a good companion to couch potatoes, but they’ll still need their daily walks especially since they tend to fatten up if they aren’t very active. This breed has lots of endurance and loves loooong walks that keep him in shape. Always keep him on leash, even better on a long line so he can sniff to his heart’s content. If you’re looking for a breed that lives to please his master, this isn’t the breed for you. We’re talking about an independent thinker with a tendency to being stubborn.
Be prepared to wipe the floors and couches; because of the loose skin around its mouth, this breed is a drooling machine. Keep a mat by your watering bowl as things can get messy when he drinks. While this breed may do well in a small house or apartment, consider that if you have lots of stairs, when they got old or sick they may be very heavy to carry.
Because they were selectively bred to hunt in packs, these dogs have a strong pack drive and are quite friendly and happy to be around other dogs. If raised with them from a young age, they may even get along well with cats. With children, this breed can be sweet, patient, tolerant and gentle, but always keep an eye when children and dogs are together. Make sure your basset has a place to retreat when he’s had enough of interacting with the kids and that your kids respect that.
Make sure you have a sturdy fence. If this breed makes its way out, he’ll follow scent and even put himself in danger. Don’t leave him alone though as he may start baying from loneliness. He does as well bark showing great watchdog capabilities.
This breed is prone to having several issues in the health department. For starters, this breed is prone to flatulence. Many bassets are also prone to becoming obese. This breed is also predisposed to bloat, ear infections, hip dysplasia, pano, von willebrand disease, glaucoma, luxating patellas, cherry eye, eyelid problems, thrombopathia, intervertrebral disc disease, and back problems. The pups can suffer from joint problems during growth so make sure to limit excessive jumping. Because of their conformation, bassets are poor swimmers, they may be able to stay afloat for a bit but they tend to eventually drown like a stone if they fall into a pool. As these dogs age, they are more prone to injuries from jumping down that can be devastating. Same goes with puppies who can be injured permanently.The lifespan is 10-11 years.
Coat and grooming
The coat is overall low maintenance, but despite being short, it tends to shed quite a lot. The occasional brushing will help ensure you have less stray hairs around the house. This breed’s coat may have a distinctive doggy odor that some people aren’t much fond of. His facial wrinkles and drool will need to be wiped frequently. Particular care is needed for their droopy eyes, as their lower eyelids can collect dirt and mucus. (verify) It’s good practice to wipe this area every day with a damp cloth. Make sure to keep those ears clean and dry to prevent annoying yeast infections.
Where to find one:
ABC (All Bassets Cherished) Basset Hound Rescue
BROOD, Inc. (Basset Rescue of Old Dominion)
Guardian Angel Basset Rescue, Inc.
Basset Hound Rescue of So. California
Suncoast Basset Rescue
Arizona Basset Hound Rescue
Helping Hands Basset Rescue
4 the Hounds Basset Rescue
Western Missouri Basset Hound Rescue
Basset Hound Club of America, Inc.