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the search for a dog
Basset hound standing in short cut grass in a field.

Breed overview

  • Breed group – Hound Group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height – 11 to 15 inches
  • Weight – 40 to 65 pounds
  • Coat length & texture – Short and smooth
  • Coat color – There are 19 breed standard and non-standard colors, including black, white, brown, red, lemon, and mahogany combinations. They may also have black, white, or ticked markings or a black mask.
  • Exercise needs – Moderate
  • Intelligence – Moderate intelligence
  • Barking – Frequent
  • Life span – 12 to 13 years
  • Temperament – Easy-going, patient, and loving
  • Hypoallergenic – No
  • Origin – France and Belgium

Basset hound fun facts

  • Basset hounds have dwarfism. These large dogs with little legs are the result of a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia
  • Those little legs serve a purpose. Their short legs keep them close to the ground, making it easy to track scents while hunting. 
  • They make excellent Mayors. Victoria, the basset hound, was elected co-mayor of Concord, Ontario, in 2011. She held the office with a serious-looking Great Dane named Nelson.
Basset hound looking over a log in a cleared forest.

Basset hound temperament and characteristics

The basset hound was bred for hunting small game. However, when they’re not trailing rabbits or squirrels in the yard, these dogs are laid-back pals who often love kids and are steadfastly loyal to their owners. Adaptable, affectionate, and all-around low-key, these dogs are a great choice for new pet owners. Despite their protesting, bassets do best with moderate exercise and mental stimulation like puzzles or slow feeders. 

Basset hounds are people and pack-oriented, so they usually respond well to strangers and get along well with other pets. However, like any breed, it’s a good idea to train and socialize your pet early to keep them on their best behavior.

Common basset hound health problems

Basset hounds, like all breeds, are prone to certain health conditions. This doesn’t mean that every basset hound will develop health problems, but it’s best to be informed about common issues they may experience to keep your pup happy and healthy. 

  • Ear infections. Those long, floppy ears can pick up dirt and debris, which ends up trapped in the ear canal. Check and clean your basset’s ears weekly to help prevent infection. 
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). Also known as bloat or gastric torsion, this life-threatening condition is more common in deep-chested breeds like bassets. It’s best to split your dog’s food into 2-3 smaller meals per day. Contact your vet immediately if you notice a bloated belly, excessive drooling, or gagging without throwing up.
  • Hip Dysplasia. Many factors, including genetics, environment, and diet may contribute to this hip joint deformity. 
  • Back problems. Basset hounds are especially prone to back problems . It may be due to genetics, certain movements, or jumping on or off furniture. Signs include an inability to stand on the rear legs, paralysis, and sometimes loss of bowel and bladder control. Dog ramps are an excellent way to keep your pet from getting injured.

Cost of caring for basset hound

Basset hound puppies often cost between $450 to $1400 from a reputable breeder. However, if you’d rather adopt a pup in need, you can visit your local animal shelters or check out rescue organizations dedicated to this loving breed. 

The first year with your new pal is incredibly exciting, but there are several costs you’ll need to keep in mind. Aside from the cost of the dog itself, you’ll need to consider vaccinations, routine checkups, microchipping, food, toys, a bed, flea and tick medications, heartworm prevention, and anything else your pet may need, which can add up to about $2,600 in the first year. However, after that first year, the price drops to about $1,400, excluding any unexpected medical procedures. Pet health insurance or a pet savings account are great ways to reduce any out-of-pocket expenses. They provide the greatest benefit to owners who sign their pets up early in life.

History of the basset hound

Basset hounds were originally bred in France and Belgium. The word “basset” comes from the French word “bas,” meaning “rather low.” This breed of dog is thought to descend from the St. Hubert hound, the ancestor of the Bloodhound. The first bassets were most likely the result of a mutation from the St. Hubert strain, which produced a hound with such short legs. This breed was first popular with the French aristocrats, but after the French Revolution, they became hunting dogs for commoners who needed a dog they could follow on foot. Since this breed was designed for stamina rather than speed, it was an excellent choice for hunters who didn’t have access to horses. 

In 1866, the breed made its way to England, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the basset hound dog started to become popular. While no one knows for sure when the basset was first introduced in the United States, it wasn’t until 1928 that the breed started gaining popularity with Americans. Bassets entered pop culture in a big way in the 1960s, taking part in the advertising campaign for Hush Puppy shoes and the debut of the Fred Basset comic strip. Today, the basset is one of the most well-loved breeds and holds a special place in our hearts with their droopy eyes, floppy ears, and steadfast loyalty.

Dog looking off in the distance while standing on a rock in nature.

Caring for your basset hound

Regardless of breed, caring for a new addition to the family can be overwhelming. From your first trip to the vet and scheduling your pup’s vaccinations to puppy-proofing your home and preparing for teething, there’s a lot to do. Here are some basset hound basics to help you prepare for your new pet.

Exercise 

Basset hounds aren’t the most active dog breed, but they do require moderate exercise like a daily walk or playtime outside with other dogs. Since bassets were originally bred to work in a pack, these dogs enjoy spending time with other pets and can be quite playful if they’re in the mood. While this breed doesn’t need constant exercise, they aren’t the best choice for apartment or condo living due to their size and rather vocal nature. Instead, a loving home with a yard to play in will meet this breed’s needs perfectly.

Keep in mind that Basset hounds with health problems, especially hip dysplasia and cervical intervertebral disc disease, may have exercise restrictions .

 

Basset hound dog walking across an empty field.

Grooming 

While this breed’s short coat doesn’t require a lot of grooming, bassets can shed quite a bit. A good brushing session once a week can help keep that shedding at bay, along with a quality diet and supplements like fish oil. In addition, since this breed is prone to ear infections, it’s best to check and clean their ears weekly, and you will want to make sure you regularly trim their nails, brush their teeth, and give them the occasional  bath to keep their coats clean and shiny. 

Diet and nutrition 

Basset hounds are prone to bloat, which is a potentially fatal condition. While high-quality dog food is sufficient for their health needs, it’s better to feed them two or three smaller meals a day rather than one large meal. Try to limit your basset’s exercise immediately after eating to avoid any digestive issues, and keep an eye out for any bloating, gagging without vomiting, or signs that your pup isn’t doing as well as they should be. On average, these dogs eat about 1.5 to 2.5 cups of food per day, but you’ll need to talk to your vet to determine proper food portioning for your pup’s individual needs.

Training your basset hound

Basset hounds are often incredibly independent, and training can be a challenge. Because the breed was developed to hunt independently and follow a scent trail without distraction, they aren’t always the best listeners. While bassets can definitely be trained, it may take a bit more time, consistency, and persistence than other breeds. These dogs do best when trained from a young age and benefit most from positive obedience training.

Basset hound dog sitting in grass looking up at camera.

Breeds similar to the basset hound

Not quite sure that a basset hound is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar dog breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Bloodhound. This breed has an independent, curious, and determined personality and shares the basset’s incredible tracking abilities. 
  • Dachshund. These small but spunky dogs are brave hunters and curious companions, sharing many physical and personality traits with the basset. 
  • Beagle. This happy-go-lucky breed is an excellent hunting dog and lifelong companion that’s perfect for families.

Frequently asked questions

Are basset hounds good pets?

Basset hounds are incredibly loyal, although they can be a bit stubborn. With regular training, grooming, and care, these dogs are a good choice and often do well with children and other pets. 

Why shouldn’t you get a basset hound?

Basset hounds have their share of health problems. Ear infections, bone and joint problems, and digestive issues are all common with this breed. 

What two dogs made a basset hound?

Basset hounds are believed to come from a mutation that occurred when breeding the St. Hubert’s Hound. 

Do basset hounds bark a lot?

Basset hounds can be quite vocal, often barking or howling from boredom, loneliness, or when alerted to something outside. 

Are basset hounds smart?

Basset hounds are fairly intelligent, but can be stubborn and difficult to train due to their independent nature.