Instantly recognizable by their low-to-the ground body, and long soft ears, the Basset Hound is one of the most popular breeds around. With his signature sad hound eyes and endearing nature, this breed is an excellent companion for those in search of a loyal and relaxed dog.
This dog’s steady and unperturbed nature, combined with their strong noses, makes them a great choice in hunting breed, or just as a friend around the house. These dogs are one of the mellowest and most enjoyable companions you could have. Read on to learn more about the Basset Hound.
Description of the Basset Hound
With their stumpy legs, ears sometimes long enough for them to step on, and wrinkly faces, Basset Hounds can come off as a bit goofy. But their good-natured attitude fits in perfectly with their appearance, making them a very low-key and agreeable companion.
This breed was originally bred in France and Belgium. The word “basset” is French for “low,” and these “low hounds” live up to the name. Their close-to-the-ground bodies are well adapted to trekking over rough terrain, and their compact legs make it easy for their human hunting companions to follow close on foot.
Their coats are short, dense, and smooth, and can come in any of the hound colors. These include tri-color of black, tan, and red, black and white, brown and white, or red and white.
Life Expectancy and Size
The Basset Hound lives an average of 12 – 13 years. While often a hardy breed they can have health issues that may affect their lifespan. Always work with a reputable breeder to get the healthiest puppy, but be prepared as your dog can become sick at anytime
One of the most heavy-boned dogs in relation to size, the Basset may appear small, but is quite compact and dense. They only stand up to 15 inches tall, but can weigh 45 – 60 pounds.
A natural-born hunter, the Basset Hound is quick to pick up on the scent of a stranger and won’t hesitate to let you know in his deep hound howl. But his general sweet disposition means he is more likely to greet a new person warmly than be wary of them. Expect a vigilant but friendly dog in your Basset.
The Basset Hound was bred to be an independent dog, capable of hunting and making decisions on his own. This independence can still be strong in the breed today, but with the right type of approach, training can be quite easy and enjoyable.
These dogs are particularly food-motivated, so using treats is an essential part of training. If you give your dog something he wants to work for, he will be excited to learn and will respond to you! Just monitor his treat consumption, as he can become overweight quickly.
It is also important to use a positive and consistent approach to training. It can be easy to become impatient if your dog isn’t picking things up right away. Just take a step back and think about how you can break it down for your dog. Coming to training sessions fresh and positive is important for making the best use of your time. Your dog wants to learn, he just needs a patient and kind approach.
Bassets can only take so much training at one time, so keep training sessions short and simple.
Early socialization is also an important step in training your dog. This will help expose him to many types of situations, and get him togrow into the calm and outgoing breed he is.
While this breed is used to long days in the field, they are more the tortoise than the hare. They have lots of endurance and tend to move at a nice steady pace, than to sprint around in short bursts. Your dog will need moderate exercise every day, but beyond that it is just whether or not your dog wants to play or not that will determine his activity level.
These dogs can do well in a home with a sedentary family. Their calm and easygoing nature, combined with their moderate exercise needs, makes them a great choice of dog for those who want a more laid-back companion.
What Living with a Basset Hound is Like
This is a relaxed breed.
The Basset Hound loves his family, and does well with kids and other pets. His sweet and gentle nature makes him a great companion in a home with small kids, but always supervise interaction between children and dogs.
Their slow and steady pace makes these dogs suitable for long days in the field, but they are equally happy hanging around at home with the family. This is a low-maintenance dog that just likes to be around his family.
Care of the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is happy to entertain himself and doesn’t have a lot of needs to be happy. Just provide him with moderate exercise and enough social interaction every day and he will be content.
This breed does better in moderate climates. They are not built for extremely hot or cold climates, so limit time outside in these environments. Consider investing in a jacket for your dog if you live somewhere extremely cold.
The Basset Hound just needs moderate exercise to keep him fit and happy. This can be achieved through a nice brisk walk, backyard playtime, or scent hunting. This breed does like to bark, so if you can’t stand their howling you may want to consider a different breed. But many people find the melodic howling of this hound to be endearing. Exercise can help keep them from barking out of boredom or frustration.
Shedding and Grooming
Though the coat of the Basset is short and smooth, it does need at least weekly brushing. This will help keep the loose hair to a minimum and distribute your dog’s natural oils to keep his coat healthy
This breed sheds moderately.
Because of their extremely long ears, it is important to regularly check and clean them to prevent infections.
Ideal Home Environment
These dogs can do well in almost any home. Their chill attitude and love of family make them good with families, novice owners, and everyone in between.
They are vocal watchdogs, but because of their friendly nature, they are not great guard dogs. They are better at welcoming than warding people off, but who doesn’t want a friendly Basset Hound greeting them at the door?
The Basset Hound can be prone to health issues that may be costly or time consuming to deal with.
One of the biggest concerns for this breed is ear infections. Their long ears tend to block airflow and make this spot a very inviting place for bacteria to grow. Regularly clean and check your dog’s ears to prevent this from happening.
Other issues include hip and elbow dysplasia, glaucoma, hypothyroidism, bleeding disorders, and patellar luxation. Regular checkups can help catch, treat, or prevent these issues.
The Basset Hound loves to bark. While this is natural and it cannot be trained out of them, you can do some training to try and keep his barking to a minimum.