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Owning a Basset Hound

It's Not for Everyone

If you've decided that you're ready for dog owner responsibilities and are considering various breeds, then you may be wondering if you're compatible with the Basset Hound.

To help you decide whether or not this breed is for you, here are my top reasons why owning a Basset Hound is not for everyone.

1. You don't want to deal with drool or slobber

Basset Hounds drool, sometimes profusely, and they may slobber when drinking and eating. I have read that this is sometimes a reason why Basset Hounds are relinquished to rescue organizations.

They don't drool all the time or at least my Basset doesn't. My Basset drools on warmer days during walks and sometimes he shakes his head and the drool gets wrapped around his nose. He may also start drooling when the family is eating dinner as he sits patiently waiting for a morsel to drop. Additionally, he'll drool while he's anxiously waiting for a treat or while his dinner is being prepared. So while he doesn't drool all the time, he does drool.

Be pre-warned, this breed drools and at times is wet mouthed. If you are interested in owning a Basset Hound then, make sure you're willing to deal with drooling before getting one.

2. You want a small dog

If you want a small and cuddly lap dog, then owning a Basset Hound is not for you.

The Basset is not a small dog! He's actually a medium sized dog; some would say a large dog. Never the less, he is a heavy dog with short legs and a long back. Full grown, the Basset usually weighs between 40 and 80 pounds. As a very young puppy, you'll be able to pick him up and cuddle him. But, he'll quickly outgrow this stage.

3. You want a yard dog

If your dog's home will be the backyard, i.e. not inside your home, then owning a Basset Hound is not for you. Bassets are very sociable animals and they need companionship. Kept outside all the time, a Basset most likely will be lonely and definitely will not be a happy dog. The end result could be a constant barker.

4. You don't want a lot of dog hair in the house

Basset Hound's shed all year long and the hair will end up in your house. During cooler months, my Basset sheds at a moderate rate. During warmer months, he seems to shed more. A weekly brushing session helps to limit hair. But, hair still ends up in the house.

If you're really fussy about keeping your floors and house clean, then you may be better off with a breed that sheds more lightly.

5. You want a guard dog

My Basset Hound is usually the first one to know that someone is coming to the door and sometimes he warns me with a loud, baying bark. But, he's also friendly to everyone and enthusiastically welcomes strangers.

Due to his mild mannered and friendly personality, the Basset Hound does not make a very good guard dog. If you want a dog for protection, then owning a Basset Hound is not for you.

6. You prefer a dog that's easily trained

Hound dogs were bred to hunt independently of their handlers. Independent breeds are usually more difficult to train than dogs that were bred to work more closely with their handlers.

While a Basset Hound is definitely trainable, it'll take time, patience, and persistence. Training classes are recommended for novice owners. Additionally, advice from an experienced breeder is very helpful. If you don't think that you have the persistence to follow through with training, then perhaps a breed that's more easily trained is more suitable for you.

7. You'll leave your dog near a swimming pool unsupervised

If you want a dog that can be left unsupervised in a fenced yard with a pool, then I would say don't get a Basset Hound. Why? Because while Basset Hounds can swim, they are not very good at it. Since they carry two-thirds of their weight in front and have short legs, swimming is not a natural sport for them.

A friend once told me a story about someone that left his dog outside in his swimming pool area. Unfortunately when he arrived home, he found that the dog had drowned in the pool. He never taught his dog how to get out of the pool, i.e. the location of the stairs, and sadly he lost his dog. This is something that could happen to a Basset Hound.

If you have a pool and do get a Basset Hound, make sure that you teach him how to get out of the pool to avoid such an unfortunate event. Additionally, provide proper supervision when he's around the pool or any other body of water.

8. You want a long distance runner

Basset Hounds were bred for endurance and slow, deliberate scent tracking. They were not bred for speed and long distance running. If you enjoy the sport of running and want to share it with your dog, then there are other breeds that are more suitable to this type of activity.

9. You want a high jumping, Frisbee playing type of dog

Basset Hounds are athletic dogs and they excel at and enjoy many activities. But, because of his heavy, low-set build, and long back, don't expect a Basset to excel at activities that involve really high jumping.

The Basset is by no means fragile. But, he is prone to spinal injuries. Care must be taken throughout his life to protect his back. For example, my Basset isn't able to jump into my SUV and to prevent him from injuring his back, I don't let him jump out. Instead, I purchased a ramp which he walks up and down when getting in and out of my SUV.

If you want to enjoy Frisbee kinds of activities with your dog, then owning a Basset Hound is not for you.

Any Concerns About Owning a Basset Hound?

While there are many positives to owning a Basset Hound, there are also many reasons why this breed is not for everyone.

If you have gone through the list of reasons and found one or more of concern, then you and the Basset Hound most likely are not compatible. Keep in mind, it's important to find a breed that is suitable to your personality, lifestyle, needs, and wants.

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My Basset Hound, Hunter

My dog, Hunter!
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