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breed
breed

Basset Hound

avatarAlanna Mallory, BS, LVT, VTS (SAIM)

Height15"
Weight40 - 65 lbs
TypeHound
Life Expectancy10 - 12 years
Area of OriginFrance

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Basset Hound is a centuries-old, medium-sized hound dog that was originally bred to trail rabbits, deer, and other game. They have a distinctively deep and loud voice, which is helpful when hunt or scaring off intruders. Their slow pace and low-to-the-ground body allows them to sneak up on game without spooking them. Basset Hounds are well known for their endearing, droopy face with sad eyes and leisurely stride. They have been used in popular culture as the face of Hush Puppies shoes and the cartoon characters "Droopy Dog" and "Fred Basset." However, don't be fooled by their gloomy appearance, because this breed is highly intelligent with a nose that can out-sniff any dog aside from the Bloodhound. They are gentle and friendly, making them an excellent companion for children. They have a low-maintenance haircoat and are generally a laidback dog, unless they are on the hunt. The Basset Hound tends to be stubborn, and has a nose that will easily distract them, so training can be difficult unless you find a way to use their extraordinary scenting abilities to your advantage.

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Basset Hounds From?

The word “basset” first appeared in a hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585, accompanied by an illustration of a Basset Hound. The French word bas, meaning “low thing” or “dwarf,” is where the hound got its name. French friars bred various strains of French hounds to produce a dog that was shorter and slower, making them easier to follow on foot. French royals were known to be hunting enthusiasts, so it is no surprise that the Basset made its way into their kennels.

By the mid-19th century, there were two large breeders of Basset Hounds in France. One of them being Count Le Couteulx, who developed a tri-colored hound with a distinctive facial expression. Two of Count Le Couteulx’s Bassets were imported to England by Lord Galway in 1866, but the breed did not gain popularity until much later. In 1874, Sir Everett Millais imported a French hound, Model, to England. Millais’ continued breeding program of the Basset Hound, which added more Bloodhound to the breed, is what has given him the title of “father of the breed” in the UK. Millais exhibited his first Basset in an English dog show in 1875. Basset Hounds were also owned by Queen Alexandra in the early 1880s.

After the American Revolution, George Washington was given a Basset Hound by Marquis de Lafayette. In 1883-4, Americans began importing Basset Hounds from England, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1885. The Basset Hound has grown in popularity since the 1920s, with a puppy making its cover debut on Time magazine in 1928. The breed was also featured on The People’s Choice (an American sitcom in the 1950s), the English comic “Fred Basset,” and advertising for Hush Puppies shoes.

Where Are Basset Hounds From?

The word “basset” first appeared in a hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585, accompanied by an illustration of a Basset Hound. The French word bas, meaning “low thing” or “dwarf,” is where the hound got its name. French friars bred various strains of French hounds to produce a dog that was shorter and slower, making them easier to follow on foot. French royals were known to be hunting enthusiasts, so it is no surprise that the Basset made its way into their kennels.

By the mid-19th century, there were two large breeders of Basset Hounds in France. One of them being Count Le Couteulx, who developed a tri-colored hound with a distinctive facial expression. Two of Count Le Couteulx’s Bassets were imported to England by Lord Galway in 1866, but the breed did not gain popularity until much later. In 1874, Sir Everett Millais imported a French hound, Model, to England. Millais’ continued breeding program of the Basset Hound, which added more Bloodhound to the breed, is what has given him the title of “father of the breed” in the UK. Millais exhibited his first Basset in an English dog show in 1875. Basset Hounds were also owned by Queen Alexandra in the early 1880s.

After the American Revolution, George Washington was given a Basset Hound by Marquis de Lafayette. In 1883-4, Americans began importing Basset Hounds from England, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1885. The Basset Hound has grown in popularity since the 1920s, with a puppy making its cover debut on Time magazine in 1928. The breed was also featured on The People’s Choice (an American sitcom in the 1950s), the English comic “Fred Basset,” and advertising for Hush Puppies shoes.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does a Basset Hound Need?

The Basset Hound requires a diet built for their age and breed. Because they are slow-moving creatures, they have a tendency to become overweight. Monitoring their caloric intake and limiting treats will help prevent obesity.

Caring for a Basset Hound

What Kind of Diet Does a Basset Hound Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Basset Hound Need?

Are Basset Hounds Healthy Dogs?

When Should I Start Training My Basset Hound?

How Much Exercise Does a Basset Hound Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Basset Hound Need?

The Basset Hound requires a diet built for their age and breed. Because they are slow-moving creatures, they have a tendency to become overweight. Monitoring their caloric intake and limiting treats will help prevent obesity.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Basset Hound?

Basset Hounds stand up to 15″ and weigh 40 – 65 pounds. They have a sturdy, low-slung body, with crooked legs and short haircoat. Their wrinkled brow, sad eyes, and long ears are distinctive characteristics of the breed.

The Basset Hound has a large, dome-shaped head with a long muzzle and dark nose. The skin on the face is loose, creating a signature wrinkle over the brow. Their eyes are slightly sunken and sad, and their velvety ears are long and set low on the skull.

The Basset Hound body is set low to help them keep their nose to the ground when tracking a scent.

Yes, the Basset Hound tail is long and in line with the spine. As with other hound breeds, it is carried upward and has a coarse underside.

The Basset Hound is deep chested with the elbows positioned close to the chest. Their leg bones are dense and curved. The skin on their forelimbs is loose and wrinkly, and their paws are very large.

Basset Hounds are found in a variety of combinations and mixtures of black, white, brown, tan, lemon, mahogany, and red. They have a short, smooth haircoat with saggy skin.

Basset Hound hindquarters resemble the forequarters. Their bones are dense and parallel. Dewclaws are typically removed.

Basset Hound Facts

1

Marilyn Monroe was a Basset Hound enthusiast, and adored her pet hound Hugo.

2

The Basset Hound's long, floppy ears help lift scents off of the ground, improving their hunting abilities.

3

William Shakespeare referenced the Basset Hound in A Midsummer Night's Dream, describing their characteristic crooked legs, long ears, slow pace, and musical bark.

Other Breeds to Explore

Choosing a Bloodhound
Dachshund
Beagle

References

  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.
  • Basset Hound Dog Breed Information. American Kennel Club, 2020.
  • AIS/PennHIP FAQ. ANTECH Imaging Services, 2016.
  • What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. 2020.
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. American College of Veterinary Surgeons. 2020.

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