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Basset Hound

basset-houndBreed Group: Hound

Height: no specified height

Weight: 50 to 65 pounds

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

The Basset is a good-natured hound with a pleading gaze that comes in handy when he wants a treat or knows he has broken the rules. Bassets have a reputation for being slow and lazy, but these hunting dogs enjoy long, rambling walks.

Did You Know the Basset Hound is Never in a Hurry?

The Basset Hound takes his name from the French word bas, meaning “low.” Because he was low to the ground, the Basset easily found and followed the scent of its quarry, carried up toward its nose by long ears that swept the ground.

The Basset Hound’s long ears and mournful eyes have so touched our hearts that he is once of those breeds almost as well-known for what he has sold — shoes and washing machines — as for his engaging personality. But those who love him know that behind his “hang dog” expression is the soul of a clown. And while most hounds may be a little too much dog for many people, his short legs slow him down and his easy-going disposition makes him a wonderful family companion. Just make sure you’re one of those people who thinks the classic hound howl is melodious, not cacophonous.

The Basset’s short-legged, long-backed silhouette is one of the most recognizable in the dog world, and he’s one of the most popular of the hounds. His special combination of stubbornness (manifested by selective deafness and an apparent ability to remain deeply asleep with a human being calling his name from four inches away) and sense of humor leaves his owners unsure of whether to be angry or just give up and laugh. Tip: laugh.

Most Basset Hounds come in some combination of white, tan or black, and have dark, expressive eyes, a wrinkled forehead, and long floppy ears. They are large dogs with short legs, weighing from 50 to 70 pounds. They need to be brushed every couple of days to keep the moderate shedding to a minimum. Keep their wrinkles, ears, and the area under their somewhat sagging eyes clean and dry.

The Basset is never really in a hurry to get anywhere, but his long-ago past as a hunting hound sometimes sends him off under fences and out open doors. He’s a poor choice for backyard life, as he’s deeply attached to his human family and will pine and mourn if banished outdoors. More to the point, he’ll howl, loud enough to be heard for miles around.

This sturdy hound loves children and is a wonderful playmate for them, though it’s always best to supervise kids and dogs. He’s also almost always wonderful with other dogs and with cats. In fact, it’s rare for a Basset Hound to have any serious temperament problems, as long as you don’t expect much in the way of obedience.

The Basset Hound’s long back is a weak area, so discourage him from jumping up on couches or on you. And watch his waistline; he can suffer from a number of health problems that will be made much worse by obesity. He loves his food and isn’t too proud to beg for it – or steal it. When he’s older, he might find even a single flight of stairs impossible to manage. Unless you can heft a dog who weighs between 50 and 70 pounds, think twice before bringing a Basset Hound into a home with stairs.

Other Quick Facts About The Basset Hound

  • The Basset’s long ears serve a purpose: they sweep scent from the ground up toward his nose.
  • Bassets need daily brushing because they shed constantly.
  • Bassets have an oily coat that gives the dog a distinctive odor. It’s not something that can be bathed away or perfumed out of existence.
  • Some Bassets slobber and drool.

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