The sad Basset Hound look is misleading: Most Basset hounds are small cheerful rascals – their good sense is contagious! A basset hound walking with flying floppy ears conjures a smile on the face of every animal lover. Here you will learn the most important things about this short-legged hunting breed. He is a loyal companion of many families.
Long ears, short legs
With a maximum height of 38 cm, a Basset Hound weighs 35 kilos. This makes it a massive dog on short legs. Also striking is his relatively long back and the large floppy ears. That the breed always looks sad from its eyes, is due to the cross with bloodhounds. It led to the characteristic head and the loose skin. The short coat is smooth and dense, but not fine. The coat usually consists of two or three colors (black-white-brown). But other colors are also permitted.
Breed group of the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound belongs to the Breed group “Running dogs – sweat dogs and related breeds”, with the following traits:
male: 25–34 kg (55–75 lb)
female: 20–29 kg (45–65 lb)
male: 30–38 cm (12–15 in)
female: 28–36 cm (11–14 in)
Smooth, short and close
Generally black, white and tan (tri-colour) or tan/lemon and white (bi-colour); but any recognised hound colour acceptable.
Median 10–12 years
Character of the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is a quiet dog in the house that doesn’t seem energetic and loves to sleep curled up in a warm spot, where he can snore like a boat worker. Yet it is not a dog that can move with little movement.
The Basset has a very high endurance and really wants to test that from time to time. He can be happy in the city and on a flat without any significant problems, but insists that he takes some long walks with him.
Preferably loose, but some training and the necessary precautions must precede this.
The nose of the Basset is in fact excellent – on the world ranking list he is by far at number two, just behind the Bloodhound.
And that is precisely why that nose can put him in trouble.
Because when the Basset discovers an extremely seductive odor trail, it goes after it as if it were in a trance.
For him, the world then only consists of that trail and what is happening around it is blurring.
He can chase his nose almost literally all day long and in an unsafe environment this can pose a considerable risk. Also a well-behaved Basset, who listens well in normal situations, will in most cases fail when he picks up an irresistible smell.
Although the average Basset Hound is a fairly slow pupil, these dogs can be well trained with the help of patient training, a little perseverance, a good mood and a large bag full of goodies. In the Netherlands there is even a Basset with a Behavioral and Obedience diploma, but that dog is more the exception that confirms the rule.
The Basset cannot cope so well with punishment and a hard upbringing. It is a dog with personality that can act quite independently. In combination with that fabulous sense of smell, that sometimes leads to situations in which the dog is labeled as stubborn and stubborn. You can get angry about that, but it’s just the nature of the beast. By the way, if you are trying out a Basset and he looks at you with such a disgusted and deeply sad look, from which all the repentance of the world seems to speak, try to stay angry! Yet it is certainly important to have great consequences in the education of the Basset.
As a puppy, the Basset Hound is a very playful dog, but even at an older age, he can retain that playfulness and sometimes even play the clown and play mischief. As the Basset gets older, he develops a more even mood. The Basset is therefore an emotionally stable dog with a great adaptability. That is one of the reasons why in most cases he can get along well with children and is tolerant towards them. It is a gentle dog that has a mild character. Sharpness is strange to the Basset and because he is not very territorial, the qualification “watchdog” does not apply to him. He wants to catch on when he thinks he is detecting trouble, but that is it. Most of the time, however, that is more than enough to scare off any miscreants, because he has a voice that clearly evokes associations with that of the Bloodhound.
Originally the Basset is a dog that was kept in mobs. His attitude towards other dogs is therefore social. He is also generally easy to deal with other animals. As a pack dog, the Basset does not like loneliness. He prefers to be in the company of his boss and his family. Of course you can teach him to be home alone for a few hours, but it is not a dog for people who work all day. The Basset is good to keep alone, but he also appreciates a buddy, especially if he regularly has to stay without an owner.
History of the Basset Hound
Low-legged dogs (Fr. “bas” means “low”) have been loved in Belgium and France for centuries. The current Basset hounds are allegedly descended from the French Basset d’Artois breed, which has since been fully absorbed in the Basset Artésien Normand breed. In 1863 the breed description is mentioned for the first time at a dog show in Paris. Shortly thereafter the breed also spread to England, where it was crossed with Beagles and later also with bloodhounds. Only then did the breed get its characteristic appearance. 1880 the breed was recognized by the British Kennel Club. 1936 enthusiasts founded the American Basset Hound Club. In Europe, the number of Basset hounds was greatly reduced during the Second World War, leaving only a few specimens in breeding after the war. In Great Britain, breeder Peggy Keevil refreshed the available genetic material with French Bassets Artésien Normand dogs. She had a lot of influence with her animals on breeding in Europe. In the 70s of the 20th century, the floppy ears were the most loved. Especially in Germany, Great Britain and the US, they quickly became a fashion dog – not always in favor of the breed. With a striking physique in terms of ears and back, the breed soon came close to unhealthy extremes.
The predecessor of the Bassethound and many other hounds was the St. Hubertus dog. This St. Hubertus dog originated in a monastery in the Belgian Ardennes, where in the beginning of the sixth century, this monastery was founded by a young nobleman (later St. Hubertus). According to legend, he came to faith when he was hunting saw a glowing cross appear on a Good Friday in the year 683 among the horns of a deer. Out of his love for hunting, he developed a new type of hunting dog in the kennels of the monastery. These St. Hubertus dogs were described as being black and tan in color with a heavy head and long ears. They had a long body with relatively short legs. Another type was the same as the first but was higher on its legs. Both types had an excellent sense of smell and a heavy bark. The long ears helped the dog during the hunt. This because the ears tumbled the ground during the search, making it easier to follow the trail. The high-legged type was used by the monks for hunting bears and wolves.
It goes without saying that these dogs were not sailed for a little one. The short-legged types were used for hunting small game. The advantage of the short-legged dogs was that they could keep the nose on the ground for the entire hunt. This is in contrast to the high-legged type that regularly erect to avoid pain in the back and neck, which delayed the hunt. As a result, the dogs were bred on short legs. The character of these dogs was described as being, mild, obedient and too sweet. Therefore, they were no longer suitable for killing the prey, but for tracking the game. Another advantage of these dogs was that they could be followed on foot by the hunters. In the course of the following centuries these dogs spread throughout France. By crossing with other dogs, different breeds emerged, which differed in type, color and coat. All these short-legged dogs came under the collective name Bassets, which means so much in French as low-ranking. Each of the breeds had its supporters who bred new types over the centuries. The highlight for the Bassets in general was in the 18th century. However, at the beginning of the 19th century the Bassets lost popularity (much less hunted, because the nobility had largely fled / beheaded during the revolution. This was at the expense of both quality and quantity. That the short-haired Basset was saved thanks to two gentlemen, the Count Le Coulteulx de Canteleu and Mr Lane, who bred in the second half of the 19th century and brought the breed back to a high level, both working with the same material, but the outcome was two different types of Bassets: Mr. Lane’s dogs were lemon and white in color and had long ears, long bodies, were quite heavy with crooked legs, at the expense of the dog’s endurance.
Care: check the ears daily
The coat of the Basset Hound is easy to care for – brush every few days with a soft brush to remove loose hair. The long ears and the eyes that look sad because of the loose skin, must be regularly checked and cleaned because they can ignite quickly. Lift the ears of your Basset Hound daily and clean them if necessary. This is necessary because parasites, dirt and friction can cause skin irritation. Due to the poor ventilation compared to erect ears, a humid and warm climate is created. This means that inflammation can occur faster at this location. Let your dog get used to the “ear inspection” as a puppy and turn it into a feel-good ritual. This also strengthens the bond with your dog. Carefully clean the earcup with a cotton ball or cleaning pads available in the pet shop – cotton buds have nothing to do with a dog’s ear. The inner ear can be freed of dirt with a special ear cleaner. Skin irritation due to friction can help with a skin-friendly cream – the vet can give you tips on this during the first interview.
Diseases and hereditary disorders
Hereditary disorders can occur in any breed. These are the most important and (unfortunately) most common diseases and hereditary disorders:
- Chondrodysplasia (cartilage due to cartilage abnormality)
- Dystocia (difficult birth)
- Ectropion (eyelids turned outwards)
- Glaucoma (green cataract, increased eye pressure)
- Hernia nuclei pulposi (intervertebral disc protrusion)
- Hip dysplasia – medium-sized dog (hip developmental disorder)
- Stomach dilatation volvulus (stomach turn)
Education with consequence and patience
When raising a Basset Hound you need to be consistent on the one hand so as not to increase your dog’s fat head. Strictness and coercion should not be used in education. Instead, it is better to be a little tolerant during the upbringing because the Basset Hound will always remain a little obstinate. It is better if he gets to know the world while playing. Therefore try to keep the upbringing playful so that both dog and person can enjoy it. Before the Basset Hound moves in, look for a dog school, where they understand the education of playful fat heads. In addition to loving consequences, one thing is very important when raising a Basset Hound: a lot of patience!
This breed is looking for a challenge
Because of the short legs you might think that the Basset dog does not require an exceptional amount of exercise. But here you underestimate the four-legged friend: the original hunting dog likes long walks and needs a lot of run-off, but at his pace. They also like to perform searches of all types: searching for tracks or searching for objects are good search assignments for the tracking dogs.
Does a Basset hound suit me?
Unlike many other hunting dogs, the Basset Hound is a good guide dog and even a family dog. It is also suitable for people who do not have time to keep their four-legged friend busy for a long time. You do have to make time for consistent education. Moreover, a Basset Hound is not happy to be alone. It is child friendly and therefore also suitable for families. Most Basset dogs accept pulling on the long hangars – one has to teach the children a respectful relationship with the animal family member. Then a friendship for life is nothing in the way. The Basset Hound is also a suitable dog for older people based on his geniality, who like to go out into nature with their four-legged friend. Before you move in, make sure there is no family member who is allergic to dogs – to be sure, you can have a doctor do a test. The dog appreciates a garden in any case. This must be well fenced. Here he can move freely. You do him a favor with searches. The breed should not climb stairs due to its long back. If you do not live on the ground floor, it is advisable to carry the dog up the stairs.
Before you choose to buy a Basset Hound, you should think about the money you will need for the Basset in the long term: In addition to the daily walk, play hours and cuddly moments, you should also consider the care of your dog during the holidays or if you are ill. Nowadays you can often take your four-legged friend with you on holiday – inform the best before you move your Basset Hound to hotels to get an impression of the possibilities. In addition to the basic equipment in the form of feed troughs, lines, blankets and brushes, the Basset Hound naturally also needs high-quality food and you must regularly go to the vet for checks. There are costs involved. Moreover, due to illnesses, there may be unexpected costs that you must be armed with.
This is how you find your dream basset hound
It is decided: you are looking for a dream dog – and is it a Basset Hound? No problem. In Europe there are many serious Basset breeders. Please inquire about healthcare before purchasing. Even if the sight of a small Basset Hound with its loyal eyes and hanging ears makes your heart beat faster, you don’t just have to listen to your heart: for the purchase of a puppy you need your heart and your mind!
Therefore do not buy from a bread breeder who offers you the Basset Hound without papers and a health check for a cheap price.