The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family, as well as one of six recognized Basset breeds in France; furthermore, Bassets are scent hounds that were originally bred for the purpose of hunting rabbits and hare. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of theBloodhound.
Bassets are large, short, solid and long, with curved sabre tails held high over their long backs. Everett Millais, founder of the modern Basset Hound, is quoted as saying “Oh, he’s about 4 feet long and 12 inches high.” in reference to his French basset. An adult dog weighs between 20 and 35 kilograms (44 and 77 lb).
This breed, like its ancestor the Bloodhound, is known for its hanging skin structure, which causes the face to occasionally look sad; this, for many people, adds to the breed’s charm. The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears which along with the Bloodhound are the longest of any breed, help trap the scent of what they are tracking. Its neck is wider than its head. This combined with the loose skin around its face and neck means that flat collars can easily be pulled off. The previous FCI standard described the characteristic skin of the Basset, which resembles its ancestor the Bloodhound as “loose”. This wording has since been updated to “supple and elastic”. The looseness of the skin results in the Basset’s characteristic facial wrinkles. The Basset’s skull is characterised by its largeDolichocephalic nose, which is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability and number of olfactory receptor cells.
The short-haired coat of a Basset is long, smooth and soft, and sheds constantly. Any hound coloration is acceptable, but this varies from country to country. They are usually Black, Tan and White tricolors or Tan and White bicolors. Tan can vary from reddish-brown and Red to Lemon. Lemon and White is less common color. Some Bassets are also classified as gray or blue – this color is considered rare and some consider it undesirable.
They usually have a clearly defined white blaze and a white tip to their tail, intended to aid hunters in finding their dogs when tracking through underbrush. Although the lack thereof is not considered to be a fault or disqualification for showing under the American Kennel Club standing.
The Basset Hound is a friendly, outgoing, and playful dog. They are excellent companions for children because of their patient nature and tolerance. They can be extremely tolerant of children and other pets but, like all dogs, they require time and space to relax.
A common misconception is that Basset Hounds are “stubborn”. In reality, Basset Hounds are extremely food driven and easy to train. Bassets will not respond to punishment-based training, and are therefore described as “stubborn”. The fastest way to get to a Basset’s heart is through his stomach. Keep training fun and interesting, and offer delicious treats to keep them focused on the task at hand, since that nose can distract them very easily.
Bassets are scent hounds. Therefore you cannot expect them to ignore an interesting smell. Unless your basset has a very strong recall, he should be on a leash when out on daily walks to ensure his safety. Even though Bassets are content to sleep most of the day, regular exercise and mental stimulation are necessary for your basset to thrive and stay healthy. A large, fenced backyard and daily walks with opportunity to put their nose to work while on a long lead would be a perfect example of the outdoor and exercise requirements for a basset.
Bassets are known to be a vocal breed. They have a wide range of entertaining sounds and a deep howl.
Basset Hounds have large pendulant ears. (known as “leathers”) that do not allow air to circulate inside them, like other breeds with erect or more open ears. This can result in infections and ear mites if their ears are not kept clean and dry.
In addition to ear problems, basset hounds may be susceptible to eye issues. Because of their droopy eyes, the area under the eyeball will collect dirt and become clogged with a mucus. It is best to wipe their eyes every day with a damp cloth. This helps to lessen the build-up and prevent eye irritation.
Bassets are bred for endurance. They need plenty of exercise and a good diet, free of grains and fillers to avoid potential food allergies and skin conditions. Being overweight leads to paralysis in Bassets.