The Basset Hound is an old breed which is a direct descendant of the original Bloodhound and has a nose that is almost as outstanding. Some sources suggest the Basset Hound may have originated from genetic dwarf dogs which were born in litters of different types of hunting hounds. The name "Basset Hound" comes from the French word "bas" meaning low. The Basset Hounds long ears have been poetically described by Shakespeare as: "Ears which sweep away the morning dew."
The breed was first presented at a Paris dog show in 1863 which began the dog's popularity. Their popularity spread to England and feuds soon arose between those who wanted the dog to be more of a show dog and to be able to keep them more as a companion and those who wanted to keep the dog as a hunting dog. Able to hunt in either packs or alone, the Basset Hound is good at hunting.
They are used to hunt fox, hare, and pheasant. While the dog’s reflexes are slow, it has an excellent sense of smell. The fact that they are relatively slow on their feet means they can be more convenient for hunters who are on foot. They are also less likely to scare game out of reach.
The Basset Hound is a short, relatively heavy dog. The head is large and well proportioned with a rounded skull. The muzzle is deep and heavy with the size being greater than the width at the brow. The brown eyes have a soft, sad look to them and are slightly sunken with a prominent haw. The darkly pigmented lips have loose hanging flews and the dewlap is very pronounced. The skin hangs loose like elastic and falls in folds on the head.
The velvety ears are set low and extremely long hanging towards the ground. The large teeth meet in either a scissors or even bite. The chest is very deep extending in front of the front legs. The dog’s hindquarters are very full and round. The paws are big. The dewclaws may be removed. The coat is dense, short, hard and shiny. There are no rules concerning colour, but it is usually black, tan, white, red, and white with chestnut or with sand-coloured markings.
The Basset Hound is sweet, gentle, devoted, peaceful and naturally well-behaved. They fit into family life well. Their temperament should always be friendly, and never vicious, moody or harsh, and would only become so if the owners led the dog to believe he was the ruler over humans.
They are mild but not timid and are very affectionate with the master and friendly with children. They can be a bit stubborn requiring a firm confident and consistent owner who remains the alpha pack leader.
Dogs need to know their boundaries and have the humans stick to them. Bassets like to do tricks for food and have a deep musical bark. Basset Hounds do well with positive reinforcement and patient, gentle training although house training can take some time. With proper training, they are obedient, but when they pick up an interesting smell, it's sometimes hard to get their attention, as they like to follow their noses and may not even hear you calling them back. Only allow your Basset off the lead in safe areas.
Height: Dogs 30-38cm Bitches 28-36cm
Weight: Dogs 23-29kg Bitches 20-27kg
Do not over feed these dogs because extra weight places too great a load on the legs and spine. A problem area is possible lameness and eventual paralysis because of short legs and a heavy, long body. As they can suffer from bloat it is also wise to feed them two or three small meals a day instead of one big large meal. If they do eat a large meal keep an eye on them for several hours in case they suffer from an attack of bloat.
The Basset hound can live in a flat or smaller house. They are very inactive indoors but outdoors they will run for hours in play if given the chance. They will do okay without a garden but should be given plenty of opportunities to run and play to keep healthy and trim.
To keep the Basset Hound healthy, it should be given plenty of exercise with at least two walks to keep the dog mentally stable, but discourage it from jumping and stressing the front legs. This breed will run and play by the hour when given the chance. Because of their keen noses they tend to roam when they pick up a scent. Take care when off the lead that the dog is in a safe area. When they pick up a trail they may not even hear you calling them back as their complete focus will be on finding what they can smell.
About 10-12 years
Averages of 8 puppies - large litters are common, known to have 15 or more puppies in one litter
The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, and shampoo only when necessary. Wipe under the ears every week and trim toenails regularly. This breed moults continuously.