Most people have one or two physical characteristics that they either dislike or obsess over. Some are pre-occupied with their weight. Others don't like their hair color. And still others dislike being short. But for the Basset Hound, being a low set, heavy dog is not an issue.
OK, try to get through this paragraph...
The Basset Hound is a medium to large sized dog that stands on short, curved legs. Its legs are disproportionately short relative to its body size. It is one of more than a dozen modern breeds that are deliberately bred to have a genetic condition known as chondrodysplasia. This condition, a type of dwarfism, causes stunted leg growth in dogs.
Big, heavy dog on short, stubby legs.
Basset Hound height: 14 to 15 inches.
Oh and did I mention, he also has abnormally long ears.
So what's a dog with these characteristics good for...?
First, there are many things that this breed does not do well including swimming, running really, really fast compared to other breeds, jumping up to and down from high places, and walking through high snow in the winter. Difficulties in these activities arise not only from being heavy but also short.
But, there are just as many areas in which the Basset Hound excels and he loves doing these activities with an independent spirit and a single-minded determination once he gets started. The Basset Hound's height does not deter him. He actually has various characteristics and a personality that serve him well in getting just about everything he wants.
1. First, he's a great actor. He's good at appearing, incredibly cute and adorable, sometimes sad. Of course his ultimate goal here is to get more treats (as if he hasn't had enough already) or a belly rub because there's nothing better than getting attention.
2. He's a great pretender. He'll often pretend that he can't hear you, especially when he hears a command that he's not interested in doing. If he's lying outside in the sun and hears you say 'come', he won't move. You'll yell 'come' louder and he still won't move. You'll assume he's sleeping... Basset Hound mission accomplished - more time to lie in the sun. Walk over to get him and he'll use his acting skills on you. "What, you were talking to me?" Then, he'll roll over for a belly rub while wagging his tail and you'll forgive him.
You see, Basset Hound height... not a problem.
3. Next, he's the best at sniffing things out. Of course, the Basset Hound was bred to be a scent tracking, hunting dog. There aren't many dogs that have a better nose than this breed - only the Bloodhound. He really excels in this area and being low to the ground is actually an asset. A Basset Hound can sniff out a dead mouse or bird on the back lawn in no time.
4. He's good at getting into stealth mode. What's that? Well, after a Basset Hound sniffs out a dead mouse, bird, or even some rabbit poop, he'll drop down on top of it and roll all over it with his legs in the air. He has to get that foul scent all over himself - his ears, his back, everywhere. It's especially fun right after getting a bath. He has to mask his scent so he won't be detected when he sneaks up on his prey. But come on... When's the last time he went hunting for his dinner? He gets fed every day.
Basset Hound height... still not a problem.
5. He's sociable and easy going. With a mild mannered personality, he likes being around people and usually gets along with children and other dogs. Take him to a park and a few people will walk by and remark, "Awe... What a cute Beagle!" or "Oh... I love Beagles!" They'll never figure out that he's not a Beagle. Others will stop and pet him because he's just "soooo cute" and he'll happily soak it all up.
6. He's good at challenging others to be creative and patient. Getting a Basset Hound to do something that he has no desire to do can be a big challenge. Try scolding him when he doesn't listen and he'll use his big, sad eyes on you to make you feel guilty (acting skills again). It's not that he doesn't know what 'come' means. Whip out a treat while yelling the command and he'll get to you as fast as he can. It's just that he doesn't want to do it, he wants to do it in his own time, or he's too busy following a luscious scent. A positive adjective to describe this part of his personality is 'independent'.
Basset Hound height... never a problem!
7. Incredibly with a body shaped like his, he's actually sturdy on his feet and able to maneuver quite well. That doesn't mean that he can run really fast and jump up on to a low curb without falling. I've seen my Basset Hound wipe out many times when attempting this sport. But, take him on a trail in the woods on a long leash and you'll see what I mean. (Of course, don't let him off leash or you may loose him.) As you amble along in the woods carefully stepping over fallen trees, pushing branches out of your face, and doing your best to place your feet so you don't fall, he'll be way ahead - sniffing happily, easily getting under low branches and fallen trees with no worries about falling down. He'll be in his element and you won't be able to keep up.
8. He has great endurance too. He's not a couch potato, as some believe. If you try to play fetch with him, he'll most likely go after the ball only a few times and then get sick of it. He's not a retriever. But, he'll be happy and grateful when you take him on a really, really long walk.
So, is the Basset Hound height challenged? On initial observation, some may conclude - yes, definitely a height challenged breed. But hopefully after reading about my various observations during my tenure as a Basset Hound owner, you'll realize... it's not so.
Basset Hound height... it's perfect!
My dog, Hunter!
more photos ...
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