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BellaOnline's Dogs Editor


The Basset Hound

Guest Author - Sandy Moyer

The Basset Hound originated in France centuries ago, a descendant of the St. Hubert Hound or Bloodhound. The breed was developed to hunt small game such as rabbits, opossum, foxes and squirrels. Their extra long ears helped to stir up scents, while deep folds of skin under their chins and wrinkles around their heads and necks trapped and held a scent. Massive feet and sturdy, powerful frames gave these long, low hounds the endurance to follow a scent for long periods of time. Short legs and slower movement made them easy to follow by hunters on foot. The name Basset comes from the French word... "bas"... which means "low" or "dwarf".

Some of the very first Basset Hounds in America may have belonged to George Washington... a gift from the French general, Marquis de Lafayette, after the American Revolutionary War. The first Basset Hounds were exported from France to England in 1866. Bassets were later exported from England to the United States. The breed was first exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1884 was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The Basset Hound Club of America was established in 1935.

Basset Hound Poster
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Today the Basset Hound retains the unique physical characteristics and inherent tacking ability that made the breed so useful as small game hunters for centuries. Although Bassets are still used for rabbit hunting and in field trials, they are truly wonderful family pets. They're calm, affectionate dogs that are great with children and other pets. Basset Hounds are sweet, gentle, loyal companions.

Basset Hounds have very long, velvety ears, and huge feet... with the front feet pointing outward. Bassets are known for their sad, droopy eyes and comical expressions. Their long, tapered, gently curving tails are held high. Coat coloring is any combination of black, brown, tan, or white markings.

Basset Hound Poster

Although Bassets are short dogs, they are definitely not small dogs. Bassets are really quite large, with the average adult Basset Hound weighing 50 to 60 pounds, and some larger Bassets tipping the scales at 70 pounds or more.

Because they are scent hounds with a strong hunting instinct, Basset Hounds will wander if given the chance. Their superior sense of smell is said to be second only to that of the Bloodhound. Bassets need a securely fenced yard where they can safely roam. They must be on a leash when taken for walks.

Bassets have a reputation for being stubborn and sometimes hard to train. They are really very intelligent dogs, but they tend to have an independent nature. Training a Basset requires a great deal of patience, plus consistency and positive reinforcement.

Bassets love attention and must be part of the family. They are very social animals who become sad and lonely when left alone. Welcoming a second dog into the family is often the best solution for working Basset Hound parents.

Basset Hounds also have a reputation for being couch potatoes, and this is generally true with mature Bassets. Young Bassets, however, can be bundles of energy. They will chew and dig and can be just as destructive as other breeds.

Bassets require a moderate amount of exercise. Exercise requirements can usually be met with daily walks or with time to run and play in a fenced yard or fenced area.

Bassets have short, smooth, dense coats that repel dirt, but they do shed. Brushing with a firm bristle brush, at least once a week, will help reduce shedding. Some Basset owners recommend giving baths about once a month for a sweeter smelling hound, but 4 to 6 baths a year are usually sufficient.

Their long heavy ears need special attention. The inside of their ears should be cleaned once a week to prevent infections. See Clean & Healthy Ears for more information about proper ear cleaning. Because their exceptionally long ears often hang in their food dishes and even pick up dirt as they drag along the ground, the bottom of their ears must be washed frequently.

The average life expectancy of a Basset Hound is about 10 to 12 years. Compared to many other breeds, they are exceptionally healthy dogs. The most common health concerns include...

  • Obesity - Great care must be taken to feed a quality diet and maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can lead to serious back problems.
  • Panosteitis - A type of lameness that can occur in Basset Hounds from age 5 months to two years. Since dogs outgrow this disease, it is not considered a serious health problem.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease - This genetic blood disorder can cause moderate to severe bleeding, similar to hemophilia.
  • Bloat - Like other deep-chested breeds, Basset Hounds are prone to this life-threatening condition.
  • Glaucoma - This inherited eye disease can cause severe damage to the eye, including blindness.

    Is a Basset Hound the right dog for you?...
    If you want a high energy dog.... the Basset Hound is probably not a good choice. If you have an active lifestyle and need a jogging buddy or a frequent hiking companion, a Basset will not fit your needs. Although the long, deep bark might deter a would be intruder, Bassets are not aggressive watch dogs. Most Bassets drool and they are not known to be neat eaters. If you can't tolerate doggie slobber, you won't be happy living with a Basset Hound.

    If you have want a friendly, calm, even-tempered dog, consider the Basset Hound. When looking for a new Basset to love, check breed rescue groups first. There are many precious Bassets waiting for new, forever homes. Do not buy a Basset Hound or any other dog from a pet shop, which is essentially the same as buying from a puppy mill. When looking for a Basset puppy, as with all breeds, locate an experienced, reputable breeder. To find a reputable breeder in your area, contact the Basset Hound Club of America or your local kennel club.

    Basset Hound Poster
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    More information about the Basset Hound....

    Clubs & Organizations
  • Basset Hound Club of America
  • AKC Basset Hound Page
  • Basset Hound Club of Canada
  • United Kingdom Kennel Club
  • The Basset Hound Club of Victoria, Australia
  • The Basset Hound Club (UK)
  • American Hunting Basset Association

    Rescue Groups

  • Basset Buddies Rescue
  • Guardian Angel Basset Rescue
  • Basset Hound
  • Basset Rescue Network
  • Tri State Basset Rescue
  • More Basset Hound Rescue Groups (by state)


  • Basset Hounds Online Webring
  • Drool and Droop Basset Hound Ring

    Forums/Discussion Groups

  • Cyberhound Basset Talk
  • Yahoo Group - BassetHounds
  • Informational Sites
  • CyberHound - The Basset Hound Home Page
  • The Daily Drool - for Bassets and Their People
  • Basset Hounds Rated by Owners
  • Basset
  • Just Basset
  • Living with Basset Hounds
  • A Pictorial Representation of the Basset Hound Standard
  • ILuvBassets!
  • BuckBassets
  • Training Your Basset
  • The Basset Hound - A Friend in Low Places
  • Jason's Scrapbook (The Original Hush Puppy)
  • Basset Hound Stamps
  • Basset Hound Video

    Graphics & Pictures

  • Basset Web Graphics
  • Basset Hound Town Photo Gallery

    Basset Hound Books

  • Basset Hound: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet
  • The Basset Hound Owner's Survival Guide
  • Basset Hounds (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)

  • Basset <BR>
Hound sweatshirts and t-shirts

    Click on the picture above for a variety of custom printed Basset Hound T-shirts and sweatshirts from Choice

    Collar & Leash: Basset Hound Get a Basset Hound Leash & Collar Set, a Basset Hound Slate Welcome Sign and many other gifts and accessories for Basset Hound lovers... plush toy Bassets, baseball hats, shirts, keychains, jewelry and much more at Animal Den - The Dog Lovers Gift Shop.

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    Content copyright © 2018 by Sandy Moyer. All rights reserved.
    This content was written by Sandy Moyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bettina Thomas-Smith for details.


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