Breed in Brief
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Size: No taller than 14 in; 40 to 60 lbs
Longevity: 11 to 13 years
Exercise: Calm; low energy
The Basset Hound originated in France (bas in French means low-set) in the mid-1500s. The Basset was developed by friars of the French Abbey of St. Hubert. They wanted a slower-moving hound who could be followed by men on foot. For centuries, the Basset was used to track and hunt rabbits, hare, and deer, as well as any other game that could be trailed on foot.
The Basset Hound is a large dog, of heavy bone, with short legs. She should stand no taller than 14 inches at the shoulder, and most weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. She is powerful and has great stamina, able to work in the field day after day. The head is large, with very long ears and dark, soft eyes. The chest is deep, the body is long, and the tail is carried gaily in hound fashion. The skin is loose, while the coat is short and may be any hound color.
The Basset’s coat is not difficult to groom; it may be brushed with a soft bristle brush twice a week to loosen dead hair. The ears should be cleaned at least twice a week also, as the heavy ears can get dirty.
A young, healthy Basset will have plenty of energy to go for walks or to play. Unfortunately, the breed is prone to obesity, and as a Basset gets heavier, she also gets lazier. Bassets need exercise. A good walk morning and evening is great, but a play session midday is also good.
Although training can be a challenge, Bassets can participate in some canine sports, including tracking and therapy dog work.
Bassets are one of the most amiable breeds. They are good with children, other dogs, and other pets, although Basset puppies can be rowdy and must be taught to be gentle with children. Bassets do not like to be alone, however; if they must be left alone, having another dog for companionship is a good idea. Bassets can bark and bay, which can cause neighborhood problems. The breed has some health issues, including obesity, back problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, and bloat.