Basset Hounds

At a glance
basset houndBasset Hounds are a long-bodied, low-legged, scent hound developed in medieval France.   One of the most distinct features of this breed is their prominent ears.  Although they can be stubborn at times, Bassets get along well with people, other dogs, pets and even children.  Moreover, due to their friendly nature, they are not ideal guard dogs and are welcoming to strangers. Despite their size, Basset Hounds are very lovable and are often happy being lap dogs.

Summary

  • Names –Basset Hound, Basset
  • Group – AKC: Hound Group; KC: Hounds
  • Size – medium
  • Life expectancy – 9 – 15 years (Basset Hounds live an average of 12 years).
  • Cost of ownership – medium
  • Ease of ownership – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Amount of Exercise – medium
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – medium
  • Obedience level – medium
  • Suitable for Children – high
  • Amount of Care Required – low
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium

Appearance
Basset Hounds have unique long ears, wrinkly skin and perpetually sad and sleepy eyes. They are heavy, long and low dogs with smooth and free movements. Their intelligent and charming personality makes it easy for people to dote on them.

Weight

  • Bitch – 18kg (40lbs) to 27kg (60lbs)
  • Dog – 18kg (40lbs) to 27kg (60lbs)

Height

  • Bitch – 33cm (13″) to 38cm (15″)
  • Dog – 33cm (13″) to 38cm (15″)

Coat

  • Color – honey/lemon & white, blue/gray, occasionally black & tan
  • Coat – coat is dense, hard, and smooth
  • Shedding – low
  • Allergies – low
  • Causes Allergies – medium

Character
Basset Hounds are friendly, calm, good-natured and affectionate but are also sensitive and stubborn. In addition, it is commonly said that this dog “forgets” his training when given a command without reward.

The long ears of this rather lazy breed are sensitive.  Therefore, inquisitive and rough children should be supervised when interacting with the dog. While Bassets can be obstinate, they should never be timid or aggressive.

  • Separation Anxiety – high
  • Barking tendency – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Compatibility with other animals – high
  • Suitable for children – high
  • Watchdog suitability – medium

Temperament
The Basset possesses traits that make him an exceptional family dog.  He is affectionate, lazy, devoted, quiet, and peaceful. This breed is accepting of children and is friendly with other animals and strangers. Their one major flaw is stubbornness, which needs to be dealt with in a patient manner.

Training
These dogs tend to reveal their hard-headedness and may attempt to resist commands, which can make training difficult. More importantly, because of their keen sense of smell, Bassets have a tendency to ignore the recall command once they catch the scent of something that appeals to them. Consistency and patience is essential to winning the Basset’s obedience. In addition, this breed is capable of learning dog tricks

  • Obedience – medium

Exercise required
Basset Hounds will be willing couch potatoes if given half a chance, but they still must have daily exercise to ward off obesity and keep them fit and trim. A well-fenced yard is best for a Basset since he will want to go under or around any obstacle that is between him and an enticing scent. They have delicate backs due to the length of their bodies, which means certain movements need to be limited until they reach a specific age. For example, they should not climb stairs or jump up or down from furniture until they are at least a year and a half old.

  • Energy – low
  • Amount required – 60 – 80 minutes per day.

Care
One way to help keep the Basset’s shedding to a minimum is to comb and brush them with a firm bristle brush. Toenails should be trimmed once or twice monthly. Don’t forget to clean under the folds of skin and the droopy eyes.  Their long ears, in particular, should be cleaned on a regular basis, especially since they are prone to infection, as airflow is very limited.   This breed sometimes requires assistance when it comes to moving in and out cars, jumping down from high surfaces, or climbing stairs.

Food
Breeders and veterinarians usually recommend dry dog foods. If an owner chooses to give a Basset dog treats they should be given in moderation, as too many treats can lead to weight gain.  Keep in mind; table scraps are not suitable for a Basset.

The Bones and Raw Food (BARF) Diet is an alternative to dog kibble. Also known as the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet, this meal option is composed of raw meaty bones, cooked meat and vegetables and/or raw natural foods.

Grooming
Bassets are relatively easy to groom.  Their loose and/or dead hairs can be easily removed with a firm bristle brush and should be removed frequently during their peak shedding season.  Bassets have a short close coat that is easy to clean and care for. Check the ears regularly for infection and clean them out once a week. Keep the claws short and clean the folds of the skin when necessary.

  • Ease of grooming – high
  • Amount of grooming – low

Breeding
Listed here are considerations for those who have determined that their dog or bitch is worthy of being bred. First of all, a safe, secure, and clean area need to be prepared for the visiting bitch. The Basset couple left in a room will not guarantee a successful breeding; Bassets do not “free” breed and actually need handling and supervision. Stud owners need to watch out for their male peeing all over their homes (his way of marking his territory). Lastly, there is a chance that the male may become irritable and aggressive, even to his family.

  • Litter size – Bassets can have litters of 15 or more puppies. The average is around 8 puppies.
  • Puppy cost – the approximate range is $350-$700

Other expenses – If you are from England or Scotland, the price of a puppy will vary depending on your specific location. In Scotland, expect a price to be in the range of £475 to £525; down south, expect to pay more. A good show dog may fetch twice as much.

Health
Do not overfeed (nor under-exercise) these dogs because any weight accumulated will strain the legs and spine. Injury to these areas can lead to possible lameness and eventual paralysis.   Basset’s are at a high risk of bloat.  Therefore, these dogs need to be fed two or three small meals a day instead of one large meal.  They should not be exercised directly before or after they eat or drink, wait at least 10 minutes.

Basset Hounds that take part in conformation may be more prone to certain health problems, such as bone and joint disorders, particularly shoulder and foreleg lameness.

  • Susceptibility to illness – medium
  • Common health problems – some cancers, ear infections, back problems

Ownership
If properly nurtured the Basset can be very active for10 years and still be recognized as a stud dog up to 12 years (Note: this recognition requires AKC’s permission and a certification from a veterinarian). Bassets rarely lose their appetite in old age and can easily become overweight if their diet is not monitored to suit their lifestyle. The Basset is a wonderful companion and a devoted friendly watch hound that usually lives up to 8 to 12 years and in some rare cases has been known to live up to17 years.

They are extremely tolerant and love everyone in their family equally. Though, they can be taught to give a deep bark as a warning when strangers approach, a sniff and a wagging tail is the most common greeting for anybody dropping by. The Basset Hound is a versatile pet who will want to join children’s games, track scents and simply stay by their owner’s side.

Living conditions
The Basset hound is suitable to apartment living. They are happy lying around indoors but will want to run for hours and play when outdoors. While they do not necessarily need a yard, they should be given the chance to run and play to remain healthy and in shape.

Good with Children – The Basset Hound is seen an especially friendly breed. For this reason they are an excellent pet for children.

History
The Basset Hound traces its roots to 16th century France. The Basset was developed by medieval monks to track game. Their physical appearance suggests the joining of three breeds: Bloodhound (head, sense of smell, and bone structure), Foxhound (coat markings) Dachshund (pudgy legs). However, it wasn’t until they were in the British Isles in the 1850s that the breed’s final development occurred. Importation followed, but stopped after a few years and by that time the English version of the Basset was fully established. The first of these dogs appeared at the Wolverhampton Dog Show in 1875.  In 1883 The Basset Hound Club was formed.

  • County or origin – France
  • AKA KC name and group – Hound

Trivia
Did you know…

  • Basset hounds were chosen by the Hush Puppy brand of shoes as its “mascot” to reflect the laidback feel of the brand.
  • Basset hounds are among the worst swimmers of all dog breeds.
  • Basset hounds were purposely bred to have short legs for concealment when hunting.

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