“The Basset Hound is a charming, low-slung and somewhat lazy breed, known for its incredible sense of smell and friendly nature, making it a great household pet.”
About the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound, unforgettable with its droopy ears and sad puppy eyes, is a wonderfully good-natured breed. With a nose that’s second only to the Bloodhound in scent detection, and a heart just as big, this sweet-natured, easy-going dog is a lovely addition to many homes. Known for their gentleness and patience, they make wonderful family pets, though they might be a bit stubborn when it comes to training! They’re not exactly your next marathon partner, and you might have to monitor their food bowl to keep them from becoming portly, as they enjoy a good snack almost as much as a good sniffing session. All in all, with a Basset Hound at your feet, there’s never a dull moment (unless you count their love for long naps)!
Basset Hound Breed Standard
The breed standard for the Basset Hound, as defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC), is a detailed guidelines for defining the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of the breed.
- Acceptable Colors: According to the AKC, Basset Hounds can be any hound color, including bi-color, tri-color, and even a pattern called “lemon” (a light tan).
- Acceptable Markings: White markings are common in Basset Hounds, particularly on the chest, paws, and the tip of the tail, and they can also show speckling or mottling patterns.
Personality and Ownership Rankings
|Good with kids
- Patience: Basset Hounds are known for their kind and patient temperament, making them great with both children and other pets.
- Affectionate: They love their families and are always up for a cuddle!
- Gentle Nature: Despite their hunting origins, Basset Hounds are gentle dogs with a loving demeanor.
- Good-Natured: They are usually friendly dogs, getting along well with people and other animals.
- Determined: Basset Hounds are determined dogs, and once they’ve picked up a scent, they won’t easily give it up.
National Breed Clubs and Rescues
Clubs and Organizations
- The Basset Hound Club of America: https://basset-bhca.org/
- National Basset Hound Club (UK): https://thebassethoundclub.com/
- Basset Hound Rescue of America: https://bassethoundrescue.org/
- Basset Back Rescue (UK): https://brngb.org/
Basset Hounds, like all breeds, have specific healthcare needs and are prone to certain genetic conditions. They are known to potentially develop a series of eye, ear, and spine issues, including glaucoma, otitis externa, and intervertebral disk disease. It’s important for Basset Hound owners to safeguard their pet’s health by scheduling regular checkups, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime, and monitoring their health closely. An informative article on Basset Hound healthcare provides further insights on maintaining the breed’s health.
Recommended Health Tests
- Eye Examination
- Otitis Externa Test
- Spinal Examination
- Thrombopathia Screening
- Cardiac Exam
Although relatively low-energy compared to other breeds, Basset Hounds still require regular, moderate exercise to keep fit and fend off obesity, which they are prone to. A couple of short walks per day, along with some light playtime, should suffice to meet their needs. Keeping them mentally stimulated is just as important as physical exercise – remember, they’re a scent hound breed that loves to track scents! An informative article on petguide.com elaborates further on the exercise needs of Basset Hounds.
Actionable Exercise Needs Advice
- Take them for 2-3 short walks daily
- Include some playtime each day, ideally with puzzle toys
- Arrange tracking games to stimulate their scent instincts
Basset Hounds are known for their stubborn streak, which can make training a bit of a challenge. However, they are extremely food motivated, and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. It’s also important to start training early and be consistent. Patience and consistency are key when training a Basset Hound.
Actionable Training Needs Advice
- Start training early when they’re a puppy
- Use positive reinforcement techniques, rewards, and treats
- Consistent repetition of commands is key
- Enroll in puppy socialization classes
Basset Hounds require a well-balanced diet to meet their specific nutritional needs. They are prone to obesity due to their love for food and lower energy levels, which makes it important to closely monitor their calorie consumption. Avoid over-feeding and ensure they are receiving the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals in their diet. Regular and measured meals, rather than free feeding, can help manage their weight and overall health. Further insights on Basset Hound nutritional needs can be found in this article from Basset Hound World.
Actionable Nutrition Advice
- Measure meals carefully and avoid over-feeding your Basset Hound
- Feed a balanced diet with the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats
- Avoid feeding them human food scraps or snacks
- Consult your vet to decide the best type of food and feeding pattern for your pet
Basset Hound Breed History
The Basset Hound, with its recognizable droopy ears and sad eyes, has its origins in France. It is a scent hound that was first bred for hunting small game. Bassets trace their ancestry back to the St Hubert’s Hound, a breed that was popular among royalty in medieval France. The slow, smaller and shorter-legged dogs from St Hubert’s breedings were picked out and bred together to produce the Basset. Learn more about the breed’s ancestry in this DogTime article.
The early development of the breed focused on its ability to follow a scent trail, second only to the Bloodhound. Basset Hounds were not only used for hunting, but their charming and affectionate nature made them popular as companions.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that breed standardization began in earnest by Everett Millais, considered the ‘father’ of the modern Basset Hound. Millais developed and promoted the breed in England, advocating for characteristics such as a substantial body, heavy bone structure, and the unique head shape.
Basset Hounds gained popularity and recognition largely through the influence of popular culture. They were featured on television shows and used heavily in advertising, which resulted in a rapid increase in the breed’s popularity in the United States. The first Basset Hound Club in America was formed in 1935.
Despite their popularity, Basset Hounds face health challenges that have brought about preservation efforts in the breed. These affable dogs tend to experience obesity, ear, and eye problems. Breeders are now working towards reducing these health issues through responsible breeding practices.
Modern Basset Hounds retain their original breed characteristics. They are known for their excellent sense of smell, friendly personality, and charming, yet stubborn nature. Today’s Basset Hounds are shown in two groups in the United States – those that are less exaggerated with modern hunting ability and the show hound, which conform to the breed standards of the American Kennel Club. Learn more about modern Basset Hound characteristics in this Britannica article.
Basset Hound Fun Facts
- Scent Superpower: Basset Hounds possess an extraordinary sense of smell, second only to the Bloodhound. In fact, they have over 200 million scent receptors!
- Famous Faces: Basset Hounds have been made famous through TV and advertising, with a notable example being the Hush Puppies brand mascot.
- Royalty Approved: French aristocrats loved Basset Hounds, and this breed was very popular among the French nobility in the Middle Ages, especially for hunting purposes.
- Long Distance Call: The Basset Hound has an unmistakable, loud howl that can carry for large distances. This vocal breed was bred to have a loud bark to allow their humans to hear them while on the hunt.
- Marathon Ears: Basset Hounds often have ears that can reach lengths of up to a foot long, one of the defining characteristics of the breed.
- Stubborn Streak: Basset Hounds are infamous for their stubbornness. Though it can make them a little tough to train, it’s an endearing quality that makes them memorable pets!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Basset Hounds shed a lot?
Yes, Basset Hounds are known to be moderate to heavy shedders and will require regular grooming to manage it.
2. Are Basset Hounds good family pets?
Yes, Basset Hounds are generally considered to be great family dogs due to their friendly, patient, and affectionate nature.
3. How much exercise does a Basset Hound need?
A Basset Hound will typically require at least an hour of moderate exercise daily, including walks and playtime.
4. What are common health issues in Basset Hounds?
Common health issues for Basset Hounds include ear infections, eye conditions, obesity, and hip dysplasia.
5. Are Basset Hounds easy to train?
Basset Hounds can be somewhat stubborn and may require a consistent, patient, and reward-based approach to training.
Breeds Similar to the Basset Hound
- Beagle: Like Basset Hounds, Beagles are scent hounds with a friendly nature and are known to be great with kids. They also share the Basset’s propensity for stubbornness, making them a similar, though smaller and more energetic, alternative.
- Bloodhound: Bloodhounds share the Basset’s excellent sense of smell and lovable, laid-back nature. They are also a larger breed that requires similar care, making them a good alternative for potential Basset Hound owners looking for a bigger dog.
- Clumber Spaniel: Not a traditional choice, but Clumber Spaniels share the Basset Hound’s relaxed and amiable temperament. They are also moderate exercise lovers, making them an interesting but comparable breed for potential Basset Hound owners.
- Dachshund: Dachshunds are another breed that possesses a lot of the same qualities as Basset Hounds. They are small, affectionate, and can be stubborn at times. However, their size makes them a great choice for those looking for a smaller version of a Basset Hound.