Other Names: N/A
Country Of Origin: France
Dog Group: Scenthound
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Maintenance Level: Low/moderate
Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, loyal
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Good For First-Time Owner: Yes
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Yes
Good With Strangers: Yes
Good For Apartments: Yes
Exercise Requirements: Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes but ideally with other dogs
Basset hounds are probably one of the most easily recognizable dog breeds, and are characterized by their long bodies and small legs.
The basset hound is a good family dog, and gets on well with all members of the family.
Originally bred as scent dogs for hunting, basset hounds have long been kept as companion pets across the world, and have a devoted following.
Although their appearance is what usually draws people to them, they do come with a range of health complications as a result.
Color: Black and tan, white and tan, tricolor
Height: Males – 12-15 inches, Females – 11-14 inches
Weight: Males – 55-75lbs, Females – 45-65lbs
Personality and Temperament:
Basset hounds are known for their friendly personalities, and definitely thrive on human attention. They love to play, both with people and other dogs.
However, basset hounds can be quite stubborn, so owners should be prepared to treat them firm but fair. Providing you get the right balance, basset hounds can be very affectionate dogs.
Basset hounds are very good with children, and make great family pets. They particularly enjoy playing with children, and their size means there’s generally little problem letting them do so.
A well-trained basset hound can be quite docile, which is ideal for having around small children. As ever though, owners should always be around just to ensure there are no problems.
The breed is known to bark quite a bit, although they don’t make very good guard dogs.
Their tendency to bark might make them problematic for keeping in an apartment, but if you believe you’ll be able to control their barking then they’ll make a great apartment pet.
They can be very calm indoors, but will need plenty of exercise to compensate for the lack of space.
In terms of exercise, basset hounds need at least daily walking. Obesity is quite a common problem in the breed, but so is overheating, so owners will need to find a good balance.
Similarly, their short legs mean they can’t handle too much walking in one go, even though they used to work as hunting dogs. Unfortunately, selective breeding has done its thing since then.
Considering basset hounds are generally quite low maintenance, they can be good pets for a first-time owner.
However, first-time owners might lack the discipline needed to monitor feeding and behavior, but if you think you’ll be able to keep this under control, then a basset hound will make a great pet.
Basset hounds can pick up commands quite quickly, making them ideal for training.
Considering they would often have to act without any commands, they’ve developed a reasonably independent nature
. A side effect of their intelligence and independence though is their stubbornness. This means that they might ignore commands unless they can see the benefit to them.
To combat this, owners should begin obedience training early, which will also help with socializing the dog.
Basset hounds get on very well with other animals, and because they were bred as pack animals, they do appreciate having other dogs around.
They may chase cats if they’re feeling playful, and owners should be careful leaving them unattended around small animals.
Similarly, basset hounds can be left alone but owners will have a much easier time if they’re left with other dogs.
Basset hounds are very sociable animals, and might become depressed if left alone for too long without any company or attention.
However, if the situation is right there should be little problem leaving them while you go to work.
Although basset hounds love to bark they don’t make very good guard dogs. This is mainly because their sociable nature overrides any defensive instinct they have.
While they might start barking at a stranger, it won’t take long before they’re looking for attention instead.
The basset hound’s French origins mean that the breed can tolerate hot weather to an extent, but there are limits.
They shouldn’t be kept in climates that get too hot because they have both a tendency for obesity and overheating.
They can tolerate colder climates better than warmer ones, but again should be kept away from temperature extremes.
If you’re unsure whether your area will be too hot, try consulting your local vet. They’ll have a much better idea of your specific circumstances.
Generally, basset hounds are quite low maintenance, with their coat needing only a quick brush once a week. Because their coat is so short, it’s best to do this with a soft-bristle brush or slicker.
Basset hounds have a particularly “doggy” smell, but this is completely natural and you shouldn’t try and wash it off.
The breed sheds almost all year round, but more so during seasonal changes.
The easiest way to deal with this is either a slicker brush or damp cloth, which will help to collect the loose hair. The more regularly you brush them, the less they’ll shed around the house.
One of the most important areas to pay attention to is the dog’s ears. Long ears are a particular problem when it comes to infections, and so they should be checked regularly.
It’s recommended to use a special cleaning solution to remove dirt and wax. Check a basset hound’s ears several times a week, but only clean once a week.
Basset hounds don’t really need bathing too often, and it should only really be done if they get dirty.
As mentioned, the doggy smell is natural and won’t wash off, no matter how many times you bathe them. If anything, it’ll probably just get worse.
You should check the dog’s nails regularly too, particularly as basset hounds are known for not being big runners.
Less exercise means less opportunity for the nails to wear down, so you should probably trim them once every other week. Always make sure to clean a basset hound’s teeth several times a week to minimize the risk of tooth decay.
Common Diseases and Conditions:
Basset hounds are prone to a number of health conditions, many of which are related to generations of selective breeding.
Basset hounds are quite an unnatural shape and as a result have complications with their eyes, ears, legs, and other areas.
Their ears are prone to infections and mites, but this risk can be reduced with regular cleaning.
The breed is also prone to dwarfism, which is actually a consequence of the desire for short legs. This condition will obviously be present at birth and has little impact on the dog’s overall health.
Basset hounds are also at a high risk of eye infections because of their droopy skin. The eye area should be cleaned regularly to avoid this.
Similarly, they can get yeast infections in their face folds, which should also be cleaned.
Other than that, basset hounds are prone to obesity, elbow/hip dysplasia, diabetes, and bone conditions.
Most of these conditions will be tested for by the breeder, but most can be controlled with a good diet and plenty of exercise.
The earliest examples of basset hound-type dogs actually date back to ancient Egypt, but the basset hound as we know it today can trace its lineage back to 16th-century France.
They were used for hunting foxes and other small game. Their small legs give them an advantage when tracking game through woods, as they can fit through very similar sized gaps to their prey.
The basset hound as we know it today originated in England after French basset hounds were brought over in the 19th century.
The English basset was bred to be stockier and heavier than its French cousin, and is now considered the worldwide breed standard.
The breed became a popular French symbol during Napoleon’s rule, with several bronze statues of his own basset hounds being shown in Paris.
Basset hounds have long been a popular and recognizable dog, and have featured heavily in popular culture.
Basset Hound Facts & Figures
Did You Know?
- Basset hounds have featured in several Disney movies, with one example being The Princess and the Frog.
- Elvis Presley once sang “Hound Dog” on TV to a basset hound wearing a top hat. Its name was Sherlock.
- Basset hounds are the logo of popular shoe brand Hush Puppies. It’s been their logo forever.
- The breed has a very keen sense of smell and can pick up tracks from miles away, often overriding their owner’s commands.
- Colonel Morrison bred a type of basset hound specifically for hunting, and it was included in the Basset Hound Association handbook in 1959.
- A basset hound features in the Dukes of Hazard TV series as Sheriff Coltrane’s ride alone buddy.
*More French Dog Breeds below: