The Basset Hound – Fun to be Around and a Good Family Dog!

The Basset Hound is known mostly for his big, low belly and sad eyes. But there’s more to this breed than his physical appearance. He’s a good family dog and fun to have around.

General Appearance and Description

The Basset Hound’s name gives a clue to the dog’s physical disposition. The name Basset Hound comes from the French. “Bas” means low, and the Basset Hound sits low to the ground, sometimes even sporting a belly that skims the ground. Sometimes people choose Basset Hound names that fit somehow with the distinctive look of this breed.

The origin of the Basset Hound isn’t completely known, but some believe that it’s a very old dog, and was mentioned even by Shakespeare. But in 1863, Basset Hounds were first presented at a Paris dog show, and they were immediately popular, both for hunting and as companion dogs.

Bassett Hounds (as they are sometimes misspelled) have a penchant for hunting and therefore have a great sense of smell, but he’s a bit slow to be truly helpful.

The Basset Hound’s distinctive look includes loose skin and deep falls in the folds of his head. He has long ears that hang low and he’s known for his sad eyes that belie the friendly personality within. The Bassett Hound (another common misspelling) has big paws and moves deliberately and somewhat slowly, but not usually clumsily.

These dogs are usually white with either sand or chestnut-colored markings.

Basic Temperament

While they might look sad, Basset Hound puppies and dogs are peaceful, happy, gentle and devoted companions. They are naturally good dogs, who behave with the best of them and take to training easily.

Basset Hound breeders will tell you that if you don’t take the lead and indicate your position of leadership over the dog, he will sometimes be stubborn and willful. It’s best to be firm but gentle with the Basset and he will reward you with that gentle temperament.

Care Required

The Basset Hound is easy to care for. His short, smooth coat is easy to keep clean and requires a shampoo only when necessary. Because the ears hang low, it’s best to wipe under them each week. Be sure to also trim toenails regularly.

Although he’s hardly a hairy beast, the Basset Hound does shed a good deal, so be prepared to either keep him off the furniture, or to vacuum often.

Exercise Requirements

Any Basset Hound information you receive should include a healthy warning about the propensity of the Basset to gain weight. Therefore, a long walk each day is not only encouraged but made almost mandatory. This will help him keep the weight off, but also keep his mind active, which he requires.

When you walk the Basset Hound, be sure to discourage him from jumping and causing undue stress to his front legs, which can’t handle that strain.

Training

If you see Basset Hounds for sale, particularly if they are puppies, you should know that these dogs are notoriously hard to housebreak. If you give him positive reinforcement and patient guidance, he’ll come around, however.

Otherwise the Basset Hound is relatively easy to train, but he does follow his nose, which has been compared to that of the Bloodhound. Sometimes his nose can get him into trouble, as he might prefer following his nose to following you in your commands and teaching, especially during training.

Height and Weight

Male Basset Hound dogs will grow to be between 12 and 15 inches in height, while females will be between 11 and 14 inches tall. Male dogs can weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, while females can weigh between 45 and 60 pounds.

Health and Longevity

If you get a female Basset Hound, keep in mind that these dogs generally have large litters. The average is eight puppies, while some can have 15 or more Basset Hound puppies in one litter.

Because they gain weight easily and the extra weight can cause problems for the dog’s spine and legs, be careful not to overfeed the Basset. Some Basset Hounds will suffer lameness or paralysis because of their very short legs and heavy body. Keeping the weight off, then, becomes a true issue of health.

Most Basset Hounds will do better being fed two to three small meals a day rather than one large meal. If they eat too much, they can be prone to bloat.

Most Basset Hounds will live to be between 10 and 12 years old.

Suitability

Basset Hounds can easily handle most living arrangements. They are fairly inactive in the house and rarely get into trouble, and do fine in apartment arrangements. Given some outside time, however, they will run for hours (and this is an excellent way to keep that weight off).

Basset Hounds make excellent hunting dogs, and are excellent with children. They are tolerant, so they handle most living situations with ease and grace.

More Information

Further information about the Basset Hound can be found here.

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