Are you ready to rock and roll with a droopy, dopey, and delightful hound dog? Then you might want to check out the Basset Hound. This breed is one of the most famous and adorable hound dogs in the world, thanks to its unique features and personality. Basset Hounds are medium-sized dogs with short legs, iconic long ears, wrinkled skin, and a powerful nose. They are incredible trackers and have a heritage of hunting small game in France and Belgium. In this article, we will give you all the information you need to know about the Basset Hound dog breed, including its history, characteristics, care tips, health problems, and more. And don’t worry about your blue suede shoes – they might chew them up, but they’ll still love you tender.
|Basset, Hush Puppy
|Short, smooth, dense
|Black, tan, white, lemon, red, mahogany, tricolor
|Solid, bicolor, tricolor, blanket, saddle
|40 to 65 pounds
|Up to 15 inches at the shoulder
|12 to 13 years
|France and Belgium
|39th most popular dog breed in the US according to the AKC
History of the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is believed to have originated from the St. Hubert Hound, a large and heavy scent hound that was bred by monks in the Abbey of St. Hubert in France in the 6th century. The St. Hubert Hound was later crossed with other French hounds to produce smaller, shorter-legged dogs that were suitable for hunting on foot. The word “basset” comes from the French word “bas,” meaning “low,” and the suffix “-et,” meaning “rather.” Thus, the Basset Hound literally means “rather low hound.”
The aristocracy mainly used the Basset Hound for hunting hares, rabbits, and deer in France and Belgium. They were prized for their ability to follow a scent trail for long distances and over rough terrain. They were also known for their loud and melodious voice, which helped hunters locate them in the field. The Basset Hound was one of six recognized basset-type breeds in France, along with the Basset Artésien Normand, the Basset Bleu de Gascogne, the Basset Fauve de Bretagne, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen, and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen.
The Basset Hound was introduced to England in the late 19th century by Sir Everett Millais, who imported a pair of Bassets from France and exhibited them at a dog show in 1875. The breed quickly gained popularity among British hunters and dog lovers, who admired its unique appearance and temperament. The first Basset Hound club was formed in England in 1883, and the first breed standard was written in 1887. The breed was also recognized by the Kennel Club in 1887.
The Basset Hound came to America in the early 20th century, where it was also used for hunting and as a show dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1916. The Basset Hound became more popular after World War II when it appeared in several movies and television shows, such as “The Thin Man,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Lassie,” and “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The breed also had some famous owners, such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, George Washington, and Dwight Eisenhower.
Today, the Basset Hound is one of the most popular hound breeds in the world. It ranks 39th among 197 breeds in terms of AKC breed popularity ranking as of 2020. They are still used for hunting in some areas but are mostly companion and family dogs now.
Characteristics of the Basset Hound
What do Basset Hounds look like?
The Basset Hound is a medium-sized dog that stands no higher than 15 inches at the shoulder but weighs between 40 to 65 pounds. It has a heavy bone structure, powerful legs, and massive paws, giving it strength and stamina. It has a long body that is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a large head with a domed skull and a pronounced occiput. It has a long muzzle with a black nose that has large nostrils. It has dark brown or hazel eyes that have a sad or gentle expression. It has long ears that hang low and reach beyond the tip of the nose when pulled forward. It has loose skin that forms wrinkles on the head and neck. It has a long tail that is carried high with a slight curve.
The Basset Hound has a short and smooth coat that comes in various combinations of black, brown, tan, white, lemon, mahogany, and red colors. Some common patterns are tricolor (black, tan, and white), bicolor (any two colors), and lemon and white. Some Bassets may also have markings such as white markings, ticked, black markings, or black mask.
The Basset Hound has a charming, patient, and low-key personality. It is affectionate with its family members but not overly demonstrative. It is friendly with other dogs, cats, children, and even strangers, as long as it is well-socialized from an early age. It is playful and curious but also calm and relaxed at home. It loves to snooze on the couch or bed but also enjoys going for walks or playing outdoors. It is intelligent but also stubborn and independent. It can be difficult to train, as it tends to follow its nose rather than commands. It can also be vocal, barking, or howling when excited or bored. It needs consistent and positive reinforcement to learn good manners and obedience.
Caring for a Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are not high-maintenance dogs, but they still require some regular care to keep them healthy and happy.
The Basset Hound has a short coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. It needs weekly brushing with a soft-bristled brush or a rubber curry comb to remove loose hair and dirt. It also needs occasional bathing with mild dog shampoo to keep its coat clean and shiny. Just don’t bathe them too frequently, as this can dry out their skin and coat.
The Basset Hound’s ears are prone to infections due to their length and shape. They need to be checked weekly for signs of redness, odor, or discharge and cleaned gently with a cotton ball or a soft cloth moistened with an ear cleaner recommended by a veterinarian. They should also be dried thoroughly after bathing or swimming to prevent moisture buildup.
The Basset Hound’s eyes need to be wiped frequently with a soft cloth or a cotton ball moistened with water or an eye cleaner recommended by a veterinarian to remove any dirt or discharge. They should also be checked regularly for signs of irritation or infection.
The Basset Hound is not an overly active dog but needs some exercise to stay fit and healthy. It needs at least one daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate pace to satisfy its physical and mental needs. It also enjoys playing games such as fetch or tug-of-war with its owner or other dogs. However, it should not be overexerted or exposed to extreme heat or cold, as this can cause breathing difficulties or heatstroke.
The Basset Hound should always be kept on a leash or in a fenced area when outdoors, as it can easily wander off following an interesting scent. It should also be trained to come when called from an early age, as it can be stubborn or distracted when on the trail.
The Basset Hound needs a high-quality diet that meets its nutritional needs according to its age, size, activity level, and health condition. It should be fed twice to three times daily with measured portions to prevent overeating or obesity. It should also have access to fresh water at all times.
The Basset Hound is prone to bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists on itself due to gas accumulation. To prevent this from happening, it should not be fed immediately before or after exercise or given large meals at once. It should also not be allowed to gulp down food or water too fast or eat from raised bowls.
The Basset Hound is intelligent but stubborn and independent. Training can be challenging as it tends to follow its nose rather than commands. It needs consistent and positive reinforcement to learn good manners and obedience. It responds well to treats and praise as rewards for good behavior but not harsh or negative methods that can damage its trust or confidence.
The Basset Hound should start socialization and training from an early age to expose it to different people, animals situations, and environments. This will help it develop into a well-adjusted and friendly dog that can cope with various scenarios without fear or aggression.
The Basset Hound should learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down, leave it, and heel. When left alone, crate training prevents accidents or destructive behavior.
The Basset Hound is a friendly and sociable dog that gets along well with other dogs, cats, children, and strangers. However, it still needs early and frequent socialization to expose it to different people, animals, situations, and environments. This will help it develop into a well-adjusted and confident dog that can cope with various scenarios without fear or aggression.
Socialization can be done by taking your Basset Hound to different places such as parks, pet stores, vet clinics, and dog-friendly cafes. You can also enroll it in puppy classes or playgroups where it can interact with other dogs and people under supervision. You can also invite friends and family over to your home and let your Basset Hound meet them in a calm and positive manner.
Fun Facts About Basset Hounds
The Basset Hound is a fascinating dog breed that has many interesting facts and stories associated with it. Here are some examples of Basset Hound trivia that you may not know:
- The Basset Hound has the longest ears of any dog breed. The Guinness World Records lists a Basset Hound named Harbor as having the longest ears ever measured on a dog, with 13.75 inches for the left ear and 13.5 inches for the right ear.
- The Basset Hound was the first dog to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. In 1928, a Basset Hound named Time was chosen as the cover model for the magazine’s issue on dogs. The caption read: “The perfect model – a still life with wrinkles.”
- The Basset Hound was the inspiration for the logo of Hush Puppies shoes. In 1958, a salesman named James Gaylord Muir was visiting a friend who owned a Basset Hound named Yogi. Muir noticed that Yogi’s barking stopped when he was given corn fritters called “hush puppies.” Muir thought that this would be a catchy name and image for his new line of casual shoes, and thus the Hush Puppies brand was born.
- The Basset Hound was the favorite dog of Elvis Presley. The King of Rock and Roll owned several Basset Hounds throughout his life and even occasionally sang to them. One of his most famous Bassets was named Sherlock, who appeared in his movie Live a Little, Love a Little.
- The Basset Hound was involved in a miracle rescue. In 1984, a Basset Hound named Honey helped save her owner from a bear attack in Alaska. Honey ran to a nearby road and barked until she attracted the attention of a passing motorist, who followed her back to the scene and scared off the bear. Honey’s owner survived with severe injuries but credited Honey for saving his life.
Common Health Issues With Basset Hounds
The Basset Hound is generally healthy, but like any other breed, it is prone to health problems. Some of these problems are inherited, while environmental factors or lifestyle choices cause others. It is important to be aware of these problems and their signs so you can seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Hip and elbow dysplasia are common joint problems that affect the Basset Hound. They are caused by abnormal development or degeneration of the hip or elbow joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, lameness, and reduced mobility. They can also lead to arthritis and osteoarthritis in later life.
Hip and elbow dysplasia are mostly inherited, but they can also be influenced by factors such as weight, diet, exercise, and trauma. They can be diagnosed by physical examination and x-rays. Treatment options include pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, supplements, weight management, physical therapy, and surgery.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is another joint problem that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by a cartilage defect covering the end of the bones in the joints. The cartilage becomes too thick or cracks, causing pain, inflammation, and reduced movement. OCD usually affects the shoulder, elbow, knee, or hock joints.
OCD is mostly inherited but can also be triggered by rapid growth, overfeeding, trauma, or excessive exercise. It can be diagnosed by physical examination and x-rays. Treatment options include rest, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, supplements, weight management, physical therapy, and surgery.
Thrombopathia is a bleeding disorder that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by a defect in the platelets that are responsible for clotting blood. The platelets do not function properly or are too few in number, causing excessive bleeding from minor injuries or surgeries. Thrombopathia is inherited and can be diagnosed by blood tests. Treatment options include blood transfusions, plasma transfusions, or medications that stimulate platelet production.
Wobbler syndrome is a neurological disorder that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by spinal cord compression or nerve roots in the neck due to degeneration or malformation of the intervertebral discs. This causes weakness, instability, and wobbling of the hind legs. Wobbler syndrome is mostly inherited but can also be caused by trauma, infection, or inflammation. Physical examination, x-rays, or MRI can diagnose it. Treatment options include pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, surgery, or physical therapy.
Seborrhea is a skin condition that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by the overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that lubricates the skin and hair. Sebum accumulates on the skin’s surface, causing greasy, flaky, or scaly skin. Seborrhea can also cause itching, inflammation, and infection. Seborrhea can be primary or secondary. Primary seborrhea is inherited and has no underlying cause. Secondary seborrhea is caused by other factors such as allergies, parasites, hormonal imbalances, or immune disorders. It can be diagnosed by skin scraping, cytology, or biopsy. Treatment options include medicated shampoos, topical creams, oral drugs, or dietary supplements.
Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)
Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a spinal condition that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by degeneration or rupture of the intervertebral discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae. The discs lose their elasticity and become brittle or herniated, pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This causes pain, numbness, weakness, paralysis, or loss of bladder or bowel control IVDD can be acute or chronic. Acute IVDD occurs suddenly due to trauma or injury. Chronic IVDD occurs gradually due to aging or wear and tear. It can be diagnosed by physical examination, x-rays, or MRI Treatment options include pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, surgery, or physical therapy.
Gastric torsion or bloat is a life-threatening condition that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by the twisting of the stomach on itself due to gas accumulation. This prevents gas from escaping and cuts off the blood supply to the stomach and other organs. Gastric torsion can cause shock, collapse, and death within hours if not treated immediately.
Gastric torsion can be triggered by eating too fast, eating too much, exercising before or after eating, drinking too much water, or stress. It can be diagnosed by physical examination and x-rays. Treatment options include emergency surgery to untwist the stomach and prevent recurrence.
Entropion is an eye condition that affects the Basset Hound. It is caused by inward rolling of the eyelids due to genetic factors or trauma. This causes irritation, inflammation, and ulceration of the cornea due to contact with eyelashes or hair. Entropion can cause pain, tearing, redness, and impaired vision. It can be diagnosed by physical examination and fluorescein stain test. Treatment options include eye drops, ointment, or surgery to correct the eyelid position.
Other Health Problems
Some other health problems that may affect the Basset Hound include:
- Ear infections: Due to their long ears that trap moisture and debris, Basset Hounds are prone to ear infections that cause itching, odor, discharge, and pain. Ear infections can be prevented by regularly cleaning and drying the ears with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner.
- Cherry eye: Due to their droopy eyes that expose the third eyelid gland, Basset Hounds are prone to cherry eye, which causes protrusion of the gland as a red mass on the corner of the eye. Cherry eye can cause irritation, inflammation, infection, and dry eye syndrome. Cherry eye can be treated by surgery to reposition or remove the gland.
- Obesity: Due to their low activity level and tendency to overeat, Basset Hounds are prone to obesity which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and reduced lifespan. Obesity can be prevented by feeding a high-quality diet in appropriate amounts and ensuring regular exercise.
- Hypothyroidism: Due to their slow metabolism and hormonal imbalances, Basset Hounds are prone to hypothyroidism which causes low levels of thyroid hormones that regulate body functions. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, hair loss, dull coat, lack of energy, and skin infections. Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by blood tests and treated by oral medication that replaces thyroid hormones.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Basset Hound
The Basset Hound is a wonderful dog breed for many people, but it may not be suitable for everyone. Before you decide to adopt or buy a Basset Hound, you should consider the pros and cons of owning this breed.
- Loyal: The Basset Hound is a loyal companion that will stick with you through thick and thin. It will always greet you with enthusiasm and love when you come home. It will also protect you from any perceived threats with its loud bark.
- Affectionate: The Basset Hound is an affectionate dog that enjoys cuddling with its family members. It will happily snuggle with you on the couch or bed. It will also give you kisses and nuzzles to show its affection.
- Friendly: The Basset Hound is a friendly dog that gets along well with other dogs, cats, kids, and strangers. It will welcome anyone who visits your home with curiosity and friendliness. It will also enjoy playing with other dogs at parks or playgroups.
- Playful: The Basset Hound is a playful dog that likes to have fun. It will enjoy playing games such as fetch, tug-of-war, chase, and hide-and-seek. It will also entertain you with its silly antics and expressions. It will never fail to make you laugh with its personality.
- Adaptable: The Basset Hound is an adaptable dog that can adjust to different living situations. It can live in apartments, houses, farms, cities, countries, warm or cold climates, and so on. It does not need much space as long as it has a comfortable bed or couch to sleep on. It can also adapt to different owners and lifestyles as long as it receives enough love and attention.
- Stubborn: The Basset Hound is a stubborn dog that can be difficult to train and control. It tends to follow its nose rather than commands and may ignore or resist your instructions. It can also be vocal and bark or howl when it wants something or is bored. It needs consistent and positive reinforcement to learn good manners and obedience.
- Smelly: The Basset Hound is a smelly dog that can stink your home and furniture. It has a strong natural odor that comes from its skin and coat, which can be worsened by seborrhea or ear infections. It also drools a lot, leaving wet spots on your clothes or floor. It needs frequent bathing and ear cleaning to keep its smell under control.
- Prone to health problems: The Basset Hound is prone to various health problems that can affect its quality of life and lifespan. It can suffer from joint problems, skin problems, eye problems, bleeding disorders, spinal problems, bloat, obesity, hypothyroidism, and more. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care are needed to avoid or manage these issues.
Need Basset Hound Name Ideas?
If you have decided to get a Basset Hound, you will need to choose a name for your new furry friend. Here are some ideas for Basset Hound names based on their appearance, personality, history, or popularity.
Names Based on Appearance
The Basset Hound has a unique appearance that can inspire some creative names. Here are some examples:
- Droopy: For a Basset Hound with droopy ears, eyes, and skin.
- Shorty: For a Basset Hound with short legs and stature.
- Wrinkles: For a Basset Hound with wrinkled skin on the face and neck.
- Velvet: For a Basset Hound with velvety ears and coat.
- Spot: For a Basset Hound with spotted markings on the coat.
Names Based on Personality
The Basset Hound has a charming personality that can also inspire some fitting names. Here are some examples:
- Buddy: For a Basset Hound that is loyal and friendly to everyone.
- Snoopy: For a curious Basset Hound that loves to sniff around.
- Happy: For a Basset Hound that is always cheerful and playful.
- Lazy: For a Basset Hound that likes to nap and relax most of the time.
- Howie: For a Basset Hound that likes to howl and bark.
Names Based on History
The Basset Hound has a rich history that can also inspire some interesting names. Here are some examples:
- Fido: For a Basset Hound that is faithful and devoted like the famous dog of Abraham Lincoln.
- Flash: For a Basset Hound that is fast and energetic like the dog from The Dukes of Hazzard.
- Fred: For a Basset Hound that is funny and goofy, like the dog from The Smurfs.
- Hubert: For a Basset Hound that is noble and dignified, like the patron saint of hunters.
- Napoleon: For a Basset Hound that is brave and ambitious like the French emperor.
The Basset Hound is a popular dog breed that has many common names among owners. Here are some examples:
Where to Buy a Basset Hound
If you are ready to bring home a Basset Hound, you will need to find a reputable source that can provide you with a healthy and well-bred puppy or adult dog. You will also need to consider the price, availability, and location of the seller. Here are some options for where to buy a Basset Hound:
Breeders are the most common and reliable source of purebred Basset Hounds. They are dedicated to producing high-quality dogs that meet the breed standards and have good health and temperament. They usually have extensive knowledge and experience with the breed and can provide you with the necessary information and documents about the puppy’s parents, health, pedigree, and registration.
Its important to do your research and find a reputable breeder that follows the code of ethics and best practices of the Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA) or a similar organization in your country. You can use the BHCA breeder referral service or other online directories to find a list of reputable breeders near you. You can also visit dog shows or events where you can meet breeders and their dogs in person.
The average price of a Basset Hound from a reputable breeder ranges from $900 to $1,500, depending on the quality, registration, and location of the breeder. However, some breeders may charge more or less depending on the demand, rarity, or reputation of their dogs.
Rescuing a Basset Hound can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. You can give a second chance to a dog that may have had a rough past and needs a loving home. You can also save money and resources by adopting a dog that is already spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and evaluated for health and temperament. You can also support the rescue’s mission and help other dogs in need.
Find a reputable rescue that specializes in Basset Hounds or hound dogs in general. You can use the BHCA’s rescue referral service or other online directories to find a list of reputable rescues near you. You can also visit adoption events or websites where you can see the available dogs and their profiles.
The average adoption fee for a Basset Hound from a reputable rescue ranges from $200 to $350, depending on the age, condition, and location of the dog. However, some rescues may charge more or less depending on their policies, expenses, or subsidies. You should also factor in the additional costs of transportation, supplies, and donations that the rescue may or may not include in the fee.
I hope this article has given you a comprehensive overview of the Basset Hound dog breed. As you can see, this breed is not for the faint of heart or the nose. It requires a lot of patience, care, and love to thrive and be happy. But if you are willing to accept its flaws and quirks, you will be rewarded with a loyal, affectionate, friendly, playful, and adaptable companion that will make you smile every day. I personally adore this breed and its unique appearance, personality, and history. I think it is one of the most charming and delightful hound dogs in the world. But that’s just my opinion. You have to decide for yourself if this breed is right for you and your lifestyle. And if you do decide to get a Basset Hound, make sure you find a reputable source that can provide you with a healthy and well-bred puppy or adult dog. And don’t forget your blue suede shoes – they might be your Basset Hound’s favorite snack!
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How long do Basset Hounds live?
The average lifespan of a Basset Hound is 12 to 13 years.
Do Basset Hounds shed?
Yes, Basset Hounds shed moderately throughout the year and more heavily during seasonal changes.
Are Basset Hounds good dogs?
Basset Hounds are good dogs for people who are looking for a loyal, affectionate, friendly, playful, and adaptable companion. They are also good with children, other pets, and strangers. However, they are not good dogs for people who are looking for a guard dog, a low-maintenance dog, or a highly obedient dog. They can be stubborn, vocal, smelly, and prone to health problems.
How much are Basset Hounds?
The average price of a Basset Hound from a reputable breeder is $900 to $1,500. The average adoption fee for a Basset Hound from a reputable rescue is $200 to $350.
Can a Basset Hound swim?
No, Basset Hounds are not good swimmers. Their short legs, heavy body, and long ears make it hard for them to stay afloat and swim efficiently. They can also easily get ear infections or drown if they get into deep water. They should always be supervised and wear a life jacket if they are near water.