Basset Hound Information

Overview

The Basset Hound is a sweet-natured, friendly, easygoing dog wrapped up in a short, stocky package. Originally bred to hunt small game such as rabbit and fox, this breed has become an incredibly popular house companion in the United States and Europe. The Basset Hound is one of the most easily recognizable breeds of dogs owing to its stout body, droopy skin, and extroverted demeanor.

Basset Hound
Basic Info
NameBasset Hound
Other NameBasset, Hush Puppy
OriginGreat Britain, United Kingdom, France
Size Type Medium Dog Breeds
Breed Group Hound Dog Breeds
Life Span10 -12 years
TemperamentFriendly, Devoted, Sweet-Tempered, Tenacious, Affectionate, Gentle
HeightMale: 12–15 inches; Female: 11–14 inches
WeightMale: 55–75 pounds; Female: 45–65 pounds
Colors Black & White, Lemon & White, Black & Brown, Brown & White, Red & White, Tri-color
Puppy PriceAverage $300 - $500 USD

Basset Hound

Physical description

Body Type

The Basset Hound is a very long dog with short, squatty legs. It is often surprising to realize that these compact dogs are quite heavy, with healthy dogs averaging 45 to 70 pounds. Basset Hounds have a round head, a long nose, and dark eyes with droopy eyelids. These dogs have very long ears and saggy skin, especially around the face. The tail is long and is held over the back while the dog tracks a scent.

The short, thick legs of the Basset Hound are due to a form of dwarfism in the breed. This genetic aberration makes the front legs slightly crooked and may make these dogs more prone to joint problems like arthritis or injury. Sometimes, puppies are born with severely crooked legs that may require surgery to correct.

Color

The most common color pattern of the Basset Hound is a combination of black, tan, and white known as “tri-color”. Other color combinations include white and buff (known as “lemon” color); red and white; black and white; mahogany; and a variation of gray known as “blue”.

Coat

The coat of the Basset Hound is short, smooth, and sleek. The skin tends to be slightly oily which gives the coat its sheen but can also cause these dogs to have a musky odor. Basset Hounds shed lots of hair.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  No

Grooming

Daily brushing of a Basset Hound will help keep its coat smooth and lustrous by removing loose hairs and helping distribute skin oils; using a brush or grooming mitten with rubber bristles will make this an efficient task. Basset Hounds do not need to be bathed very often unless they become excessively dirty or have a medical skin condition; bathing no more than once weekly is recommended. Toenails are thick and can get long quickly, so trimming every week or two is encouraged.

The excessive skin and long ears of the Basset Hound make this breed of dog susceptible to skin and ear infections. Normal microorganisms that live on the skin can propagate in areas that gets excessively moist and warm, such as along the lip margins or in the ears. When this happens, inflammation accompanied by yeast and bacterial infections can result. Such infections can be prevented by gently cleaning and drying any skin folds on the face and body, and by flushing the ears with an ear cleanser as needed (no more than once or twice weekly unless medically necessary).

History

The Basset Hound we are familiar with today originated in France but its lineage can be traced back to ancient Greece. A breed of dog called the Laconian Hound originated in the ancient Grecian region of Sparta and eventually found its way to Europe. These were short, stocky, dedicated hunting dogs with a tenacious spirit. In the 6th century A.D., a bishop named Saint Hubert of Belgium created a breed of hound dog aptly named the St. Hubert’s Hound. This breed retained the resolute hunting spirit of the Laconian Hound but was taller, looking much like the modern-day Bloodhound. Centuries later, a breed of hunting dog called the Norman Staghound was developed from the St. Hubert’s Hound in the area of Normandy, France. These dogs either developed a genetic mutation or were selectively bred for shorter legs but the end result was a steady but slow-moving hunting dog that hunters on foot could keep up with.

After several decades of breeding throughout France and Great Britain, the breed standard for the Basset Hound was established and is what defines the Basset Hound we know today. It is believed that the Basset Hound made its American debut when French military officer Marquis de Lafayette gave two Basset Hounds to President George Washington as a gift.

Temperament

The Basset Hound is a cheery, affectionate, laid-back dog that seems happy with a sole owner or in a home filled with children. They love to be near members of their family and enjoy relaxing and sleeping the day away. The seemingly lazy nature of this breed quickly transitions to a single-minded sniffing machine when these dogs are used as hunting companions.

The Basset Hound is not without its unfavorable attributes. Members of this breed can be quite stubborn and housebreaking one of these dogs may prove challenging. They are extremely food-driven and will attempt to snatch food anywhere they can find it. Since this breed was created to intensely follow a scent, care must be taken not to allow a Basset Hound out of one’s sight while exercising it or else the dog may become lost.


Interesting Basset Hound Facts

  • The tip of a Basset Hound’s tail is bred to be white. This acts as a flag to help hunters keep track of their dogs while the hounds track prey.

 

  • The word “basset” originated from the Old French word bas, which means “low”.
  • The Basset Hound’s long ears and droopy facial skin help it to track its quarry. The ears help stir up scents which are then trapped in the wrinkly skin around the dog’s face.