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Breed of the Month: Why We Love Basset Hounds

While we here at PetPlace genuinely adore all canines (mutts included), we recognize that many dog owners are breed loyal. Our “Breed of the Month” series celebrates those iconic dog breeds that have amassed widespread popularity and/or developed a cult following. For January 2016, we feature the basset hound.

They’re the ultimate canine clowns, and proof that God has both good taste and a sense of humor.

Boasting legendarily soulful eyes and floppy ears that feel velvety to the touch, basset hounds have won over the hearts of numerous dog owners over the years. Their adorableness is preceded only by their fun-loving personalities. Bassets represent natural comedians sporting an unusual body shape that serves to complement the everyday hilarity and joy these mild-mannered hounds bring to their human families.

It’s been said that once you go basset, it’s difficult to transition away from these beloved hounds to owning other breeds. Here are seven reasons we adore basset hounds:

1. Unique Appearance

To say basset hounds sport a distinctive look is an understatement. With stubby legs, an elongated torso, loose skin, long ears, and a deceptively sad face, bassets truly stand out among the canine masses. It’s no wonder the likeness of these unique hounds is often featured on greeting cards. Despite their short stature, bassets are extremely sturdy, as their leg bones are the heaviest of any breed. Fittingly, “basset” means “low slung” in French – this breed’s country of origin.

2. Hunting Acumen

Originally bred as a hunting dog, basset hounds have tremendous scent-tracking capabilities, and the second strongest sense of smell in the canine kingdom behind only bloodhounds. Every physical characteristic of a basset serves a hunting purpose: The lengthy ears waft scents towards the nose, the over-sized front paws prove ideal for digging into a rodent hole, and the white-tipped tail enables a hunter to locate his basset amidst thick brush.

3. Easy-Going Temperament

Basset hounds are the epitome of being laid-back. Mild-mannered and gentle, bassets exude a temperament that puts both humans and other pets at ease. They’re social creatures who enjoy being around their family members, yet have no problem enjoying a lazy afternoon at home.

4. Entertainment Value

You can pay big bucks to go see a famous comedian perform…or you can simply observe your basset hound in action. From goofy facial expressions to minor acts of mischief, bassets represent lovable clowns who have the ability to afford their human companions hours upon hours of entertainment with their antics. They also have an innate ability to cheer you up when you’re feeling glum. Anyone who’s ever witnessed basset hounds running or seen the collection of funny basset memes that exist on the Internet has an idea of this breed’s comedic potential.

5. Cuteness Factor

Make no mistake about it – basset hounds are downright adorable. Between their bloodshot eyes and their flop-to-the-floor ears, bassets boast a face that makes most anyone smile. It’s not recommended to interact with a basset within a pet shop or rescue shelter unless you’re truly intent on seeking ownership, as these seductive hounds can prove irresistible. Basset puppies are particularly adorable creatures.

6. Cultural Icons

Not surprisingly, basset hounds have made quite a name for themselves within the entertainment and advertising industries. Among the famous bassets are Flash from television’s The Dukes of Hazzard, Sherlock, the basset to whom Elvis Presley first sang “Hound Dog,” cartoon hounds like Tex Avery’s Droopy, the syndicated comic strip Fred Basset, and Jason, the basset from the Hush Puppies shoe ads.

7. Versatility

Basset hounds have proven adaptable to nearly any situation. They’re small enough to live in an apartment yet large enough to qualify as big dogs. They enjoy moderate exercise yet are also content with being lazy. And they make for loyal, loving family members that generally interact well with young children and other pets alike. If your life tends to be unpredictable and you need to maintain a high degree of versatility, then a basset just may be the ideal canine companion for you.