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Basset Hound

Nicole Cosgrove

Height 10-15 inches
Weight 40-80 pounds
Lifespan 10-12 years
Colors Black, white, brown, chocolate, tan
Suitable for Almost any family or individual looking for a companion
Temperament Loyal, affectionate, loving, friendly, amenable, caring

The Basset Hound is a hunting dog, although when kept as a family pet, it’s usually happier sitting in front of the fire or getting attention at home than out running around. If you can keep your pet Basset Hound active and ensure that it doesn’t put on too much weight, you will get a loving and loyal companion that will get along with all family members. The breed is known for being remarkably friendly and will get along with most visitors and strangers, too.

Weight is the Basset Hound’s greatest enemy. So, while this breed is considered a good choice for novice owners because of its blend of loving nature, companionship, and intelligence, you do need to ensure that you stick to a controlled diet and regular exercise regimen to ensure that you have a happy and healthy pup. Although the breed is prone to several illnesses, most of these can be avoided through regular exercise and a good diet.

Read on to see whether a Basset Hound is the right breed of dog for your home and your family, and to find its daily requirements.divider-dog paw

Basset Hound Puppies – Before You Buy…

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Credit: siberian spring, Shutterstock
Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
Lifespan:
Sociability:

What’s the Price of Basset Hound Puppies?

Despite being purebred, Basset Hounds are reasonably priced, typically costing around $700 for a puppy, although you may have to pay more for one with an excellent pedigree and a good family history.

Look in your local vets and pet shops for breeders. You can also join breeder registries linked to the kennel club, and look on social media and online to find local breed groups and associations. You can also Google breeders. Remember that choosing a recognized breeder does not guarantee that you will get a healthy puppy, and you should always perform your own diligence when selecting a breeder.

Visit the breeder’s premises and ensure that you meet the parent dogs before you agree to part with any money. Try to ensure that the dogs have not been overbred and that they are kept in good condition. Meeting the mother is also a good idea because until you take the puppy home, usually between 10-12 weeks after birth, it is the puppy’s mom that will provide guidance and help provide social cues and training to your dog. A well-behaved mother dog that gets on well with people and other dogs is likely to pass these traits on to her puppies.

If you have small children and dogs, try to meet the new puppy with the whole family in tow. This will ensure that you all get along and it can prevent a lot of heartache in the future.

You should ensure that the parents have had the appropriate health checks and screening completed. With Basset Hounds, this means asking to see screening results for hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and poor eyesight.

Although the Basset Hound is a sweet-natured dog, some of them do still end up in shelters and need a home. Adoption costs vary but expect to pay around $250-$350 in fees. Meet the adoptee before you take it home, and introduce it to your other dogs. Remember that the shelter may not have any more information about the dog that you can ascertain yourself, but ask questions about the handlers’ and walkers’ experience dealing with the dog.

The cost of buying or adopting a dog is only part of the equation. You should consider insuring your dog to protect against the unexpected costs of vet bills. You should buy good quality food and provide treats, toys, and other necessities. These costs can add up to $1,000 a year, so do ensure that you have the budget to keep your new dog healthy and happy in the future.divider-dog

3 Little-Known Facts About Basset Hounds

1. They Are Named for Their Size

The word Bassett comes from the French word “bas”, meaning short or low, and the breed is certainly low to the ground. They measure an average of 14 inches tall but don’t let their low-to-the-ground stature fool you because they can weigh as much as 80 pounds.

The breed is French, as the etymology suggests, and the breed was first introduced when aristocrats wanted a variant of the bloodhound that they could use while hunting. The resulting Basset Hound was used to hunt smaller animals like rabbits and hares and the dog’s position means that its nose is naturally in the right position to be able to effectively follow the scent of its prey.

2. Basset Hounds Are Exceptional Scent Hounds

Having been bred from the Bloodhound, it is little surprise that the Basset Hound is a highly capable scent hound.

In fact, with more than 200 million smell receptors, they are the second-best scent hound there is. Only the Bloodhound itself is better equipped.

The section of the brain that deals with scent recognition and tracking is 40 times larger in the Bassett than it is in a human. Even the dog’s floppy ears are designed to help with the tracking and following of scents. As the Bassett runs, the floppy ears direct scents towards the nose, while the jowls or dewlaps under the chin trap the smell so that they can better recognize it.

As well as making it easier to keep their noses to the ground, the short stature of the breed also enables the Bassett to follow a smell without tiring.

Not every element of their physique is designed for optimal hunting, however. The short stature and short limbs mean that the Bassett is not a good swimmer, so it will not rival a Spaniel in this respect.

3. Bassets Are Skilled Singers

As well as having the perfect physique for hunting, they have the lungs of a skilled singer. A loud one, at least. The Bassett is a pack hunting dog, and such dogs would use howling and baying as methods of communication with the other dogs.

Unless you use your Bassett for hunting and you need it to tell you where to find game birds, this is one habit that you will want to get under control quickly. Fortunately, the dog is intelligent and is considered easy to train. Be consistent and be definite, but do not use cruel training and never use physical reprimands to train your dog. Identify the reasons for howling.

Pet dogs tend to howl because they are bored or lonely. Your Bassett could be suffering separation anxiety. The first you will know about it will be when the neighbors let you know on your return from work. You can take your Bassett to training classes to learn some basic commands and techniques, as well as how to train positive behavior and eliminate negative behavior, such as howling.

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Credit: praneem79, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is renowned for being a friendly dog. It is considered friendly enough to be able to get along with all of its own pack, human and animal, and it will usually be happy to befriend any visitors and strangers.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

In many ways, the Bassett is an ideal family dog. It will enjoy some playtime with the children and adults but will also want plenty of sleep. This means that the dog will settle down at bedtime and when you’re watching TV. You may find that you have to persuade it to go for walks and to expend any energy. Laziness is a big problem for this breed, and it can lead to the Bassett becoming overweight, especially if it eats too much.

It is worth noting that while the breed is short, it does not mean it is a light dog. One can weigh as much as 80 pounds, and this is more than enough weight to injure small children, so time alone should be supervised.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Basset’s reputation for befriending all others doesn’t stop at humans, either. The breed will get along with other dogs. This is because it has been bred as a pack hunting animal. It can communicate with other dogs and naturally gets along with them.

It is especially easy to introduce your Bassett to other dogs when it is still a puppy and this will allow it time to really bond with the other dog. The Bassett does have a prey drive, having been used to hunt animals like rabbits, and it may retain its scenting ability, but most Bassetts are not bothered with chasing after potential prey.divider-dog paw

Things to Know When Owning a Basset Hound:

The Basset Hound is known for being everybody’s friend. It will get along with people of all ages, can live with dogs and cats, and is not known to be an overly demanding dog. However, it may not be perfect for all owners and families.

It will train, but it can be lazy, and you will need to be ruthless with your walking and exercise demands. The breed is also prone to putting on weight and can suffer from a few genetic conditions because of the characteristics that have been bred into it. Below, we look at what you need to consider before owning a Basset.

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Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Food & Diet Requirements

The Basset Hound has thick bones and carries a lot of weight on a relatively small frame. It needs a good diet to help ensure that its frame can successfully carry its body and without injury or incident.

A good quality dry kibble will provide the protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals that the hound needs. You will need to feed approximately 2 cups of food per day, but weigh your dog and check this against the food measurements to ensure that you’re giving the right amount.

If you intend to feed wet food, follow the manufacturer guidelines to determine how much, and if you are feeding combination, reduce the amount of both accordingly.

Because the Bassett is prone to putting on weight, don’t forget to take into account any treats and training tidbits that you feed. These may not look like much to you, but a handful of treats can contain a lot of calories.

Exercise

The Basset Hound can run all day when hunting. And some dogs of this breed will want and demand regular and moderate levels of exercise. Others would rather sit at home or lay in the garden, but you must take your Bassett out for regular exercise. Although it won’t require intensive runs, it will benefit from around 45 minutes of walks per day. The Basset can benefit from agility classes and even some stamina-based canine sports.

Training

The easiest dogs to train are those that are intelligent enough to pick up commands and that desperate to please their owners. They also need to be attentive, have good concentration, and not be lazy.

The Bassett fulfills most of these criteria. The breed is certainly intelligent and it enjoys fun, so if you can turn training into a game, then you will be able to keep the dog’s attention for more than enough time to get some basic training down. The only issue could be one of laziness. Catch your dog when it’s not tired, keep sessions to a minimum, and, if necessary, use your dog’s love of food to your advantage.

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Credit: Daniel Myjones, Shutterstock

Grooming

The Bassett is a loving dog that will get along with its family, but allergy sufferers may not want to get too close. This is because the breed is known for being a profuse shedder. However, if you brush the short coat every week, they shouldn’t leave too much hair on the furniture. He should not need bathing, and the coat does a very good job of repelling water and dirt, which means that even emergency baths are rarely required.

What is required, however, is some care of the ears. The Bassett has very long ears and they will reach down to the ground, so they tend to get dusty and dirty. Air does not circulate inside the ear, either, and this can lead to a higher instance of infections. Wipe down the ears using a recommended cleaning solution and take similar action to wipe out facial creases and get any food or other debris that is stuck in there.

Starting from a puppy, you should help manage your Bassett’s dental hygiene, too, which means brushing at least three times a week, and ideally daily. If you start from a puppy, it will make the process much easier when the dog gets older and bigger.

Health and Conditions

Basset Hounds are prone to certain genetic conditions. When choosing a breeder and choosing a puppy, ensure that you see screening results for joint dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, thrombopathia, and certification to declare the parent dogs’ eyes normal. This won’t guarantee good health in your dog, but it does reduce the likelihood of these conditions.

One of the most common genetic conditions in the Bassett is gastric dilatation-volvulus more commonly called bloat. This is prevalent in dogs with deep chests and is found especially in those deep-chested dogs that receive their food in a single meal. Feed your Bassett over two or more meals in a day to reduce the likelihood of this painful and potentially lethal condition. The stomach becomes filled with gas. The dog is unable to bring food back up and healthy blood flow is prevented. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, restlessness, and weakness. You should get veterinary treatment as soon as possible to prevent the worst.

Serious Conditions:
  • Bloat
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Thrombopathia
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
Minor Conditions:
  • Glaucoma
  • Intervertebral disc disease

Male vs Female

Basset Hounds are considered good family pets. Males tend to be an inch or two taller and a few pounds heavier than females. Some owners claim that females are more independent and that males can be a bit dafter, too. This independence means that females can be more challenging to train, but both males and females are considered very good pets even for novice owners.divider-dog

Final Thoughts

The Bassett is a highly skilled scent hound, originating from France where it was bred down from the Bloodhound and used to hunt and chase animals like rabbits. Today, the breed is a popular family pet that will usually befriend anybody. It gets on well with seniors and children, will usually get along with other dogs, and although it does require moderate exercise, it is less energetic than most hounds and hunting dogs.

Some care and grooming are required. The Bassett sheds heavily all year round, although this can be managed with a decent weekly brushing. But the ears drag, they are susceptible to infection, and you will need to clean them and the facial skin folds out regularly to ensure a comfortable and healthy dog.

Considered intelligent and usually keen to please their humans, the Bassett is considered easy to train, and if you are looking for a good all-round family dog that is not too demanding but is happy to bond with all family members, this is a good choice of dog breed.


Featured Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.