Interested in learning about the Basset Hound breed?
This detailed profile is the perfect place to start.
Although each and every dog is a unique individual, this profile provides a general idea of what to expect from a Basset Hound in terms of behavior, size, health and care, and personality.
Basset Hound Breed Overview
The Basset Hound is a friendly, mild mannered dog that can be a great companion for an individual or family. Originally bred to hunt in packs, today he’s a versatile dog that excels in many areas.
A Family Pet
As a pet he has a gentle, loving, and laid back nature and is friendly with just about everyone. Given proper attention and companionship, he can develop into an extremely loyal dog and is capable of developing a bond with each member of the family. Additionally, a trained Basset Hound is usually very good with children and enjoys other family pets.
Due to his hunting heritage, he has an independent streak (or a stubborn side, as some refer to it). As a result, he can be somewhat harder to train than other breeds. It takes time, patience, and persistence to train a Basset Hound. But, the effort is well worth it because a well-behaved Basset is a great companion for a compatible individual or family.
A Hunting Dog
If you take a Basset Hound out to a public area such as a park, his distinctive look attracts many admirers that stop to say hi and pet him. But, almost everything about the Basset Hound’s look actually serves a purpose.
With French origins dating back many centuries, the Basset Hound’s original purpose was hunting small game, usually within a pack. Because he’s low to the ground, quite long, and has large paws, he has the sturdiness to follow a ground scent in difficult terrain through thick brush. With powerful legs and shoulders and a strong neck, he has the endurance to slowly and persistently track a scent with his head to the ground for long periods of time. His nose is second only to the Bloodhound and it is believed that his long, velvety ears help to capture a scent and bring it towards his nose. Do not forget to clean Basset Hounds ears!
Can today’s Basset Hound hunt?
Of course he can! He still maintains the inherent traits and characteristics that made him a popular hunting dog centuries ago.
What Else Can the Basset Hound Breed Do?
With advanced training beyond basic obedience training, an owner can enjoy many activities with his Basset Hound including field trials, conformation, tracking, and obedience trials. With his friendly and mild-mannered personality, a Basset Hound can even become a therapy dog.
Size: Medium or Large?
The Basset Hound is medium in size with short legs, a long back, and long floppy ears. He’s heavier in bone than any other dog of his size and may weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Because he’s heavy, some prefer to describe the Basset as a large dog, not medium. He’s actually longer than he is tall with a shoulder height that’s usually not more than 14 to 15 inches.
The Basset Hound has a short, smooth, dense coat with lots of loose, elastic skin. He tends to shed most of the year at a medium to high rate depending upon the season.
Basset Hounds are either tri-colored or bi-colored and there are many Basset Hound colors and color combinations.
While the Basset Hound breed is considered to be a low maintenance type of dog, routine grooming is necessary to maintain excellent health.
First, it’s important to keep his loose, elastic skin clean and dry. A weekly brushing session helps to maintain healthy skin and will also minimize shedding. Bathe as needed.
His long ears need to be inspected and cleaned to keep them free from dirt and debris. Weekly ear care is important to prevent ear infections and other ear problems.
His nails need to be trimmed and kept short to prevent problems with his feet.
And finally, his teeth need to be brushed routinely, i.e. weekly or as recommended by a veterinarian, to prevent oral disease.
The Basset’s activity level is low compared to other breeds. He has a laid back, easy going nature, and is not overly demanding. But, he is also a social dog that enjoys daily interaction and attention from family members.
While a Basset Hound is perfectly happy to sleep the day away, he is not a lazy dog. He actually enjoys activities such as long walks, playtime, and romping around outside (in a fenced area or under supervision, of course).
Usually, Basset Hound breed profiles describe exercise needs as medium or moderate. But, what does this actually mean?
I’d say that a daily walk or two is usually sufficient. This doesn’t mean a 30 second walk down the street and then back in the house. It means enough of a walk so that your dog’s exercise needs are met. The Basset also benefits from playing around in the back yard, as long as it’s a fenced yard.
Exercise is important because Bassets have a tendency to become obese as they get older. But since they have a low activity level and laid back nature, one may conclude that the Basset doesn’t need or even want to exercise. But this is not true. To maintain good health, regular exercise is required. Of course, one must be careful not to overdo it with Basset puppies and young Bassets that are still growing to avoid causing damage to developing bones and muscles.
If you miss a few days of exercise due to bad weather or because of a busy schedule, your Basset will be just fine. He won’t be bouncing off the walls or tearing your house apart. But keep in mind, regular exercise is good for him.
Barking / Noise level
A trained, happy Basset is usually a pretty quiet dog. But of course like all dogs, Bassets do bark. The Basset has a loud, baying type of bark and he can also howl quite loudly.
Barking usually is not a problem with a Basset that receives enough exercise and an adequate level of attention from his owner and family members.
I’ve found, that my Basset barks mostly when he gets excited, during rough play, and sometimes when he wants attention and isn’t getting it. But, for the most part he’s a quiet dog.
Believe it or not a Basset may also whine to tell you that he wants something or to tell you that he doesn’t want to do something. For example, sometimes my Basset whines when I get down on the floor with my face really close to his and tell him to give me a kiss. If he’s not interested in doing it, he’ll let me know by letting out a little whine and groan. On other occasions if I give him the down command to tell him to lie down, he’ll actually lie down and at the same time, he lets out a big whine to tell me that he’s not happy about it. He can be very dramatic at times and has quite a personality.
A healthy Basset Hound may live 10 to 14 years with an average life expectancy of 12 years.
For the most part, the Basset Hound breed is considered to be quite healthy when compared to other breeds. But, like all purebred dogs, there are some genetic disorders to which this breed is susceptible. The Basset Hound Club of America encourages responsible breeding and recommends that breeders screen for the more common genetic disorders known to affect the breed.
While the Basset Hound is trainable, he is also more difficult to train than some other breeds. Training a Basset Hound takes time, patience, persistence, and creativity.
While a Basset doesn’t like to upset his owner or be scolded, he’s more interested in pleasing himself than his owner. He’s independent. When he finds an interesting scent, he seems to have tunnel-vision as he totally ignores his owner’s commands. If he’s outside and finds a nice spot to lie in the sun, he may ignore you, as he looks right at you, when you command him to come or he’ll take his time in obeying your command.
Some simply believe that the Basset Hound breed is not intelligent. But this is not true! For centuries Bassets were bred to work independently of their handlers to persistently follow a scent without distraction. Much of the breeds behavior and personality stems from its hunting heritage.
Living Space Needs
A Basset Hound can adapt to living in the city, the suburbs, or the country. He can be just as happy living in an apartment as opposed to a large house as long as his exercise and attention needs are met.
When outside, the Basset Hound should be on a leash or confined in a yard with a fence. If not, he may wander off and get lost due to his strong desire to follow his nose. Worse yet, he may get hit by a car if he follows a scent into a busy road. For his own protection, keep him on a leash or in a fenced yard when outside.
The Basset Hound Breed Standard
The Basset Hound is a purebred dog recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Basset Hound Breed Standard is a written document that describes the ideal Basset Hound in terms of how it should look, move, and behave. The standard was accepted and approved by the AKC in 1964.
Responsible breeders strive to produce dogs that conform to the Basset Hound breed standard.
Basset Hound Breed – Final Thoughts…
Hopefully, this Basset Hound breed profile has given you a good idea of what to expect from this friendly and adorable dog. Given the right environment, proper training and a compatible owner, a Basset can thrive as a devoted, loving, and well-behaved pet for a family or an individual.
Check out this informative and fun video about the Basset Hound from Animal Planet: