1. Key Characteristics
- AKC Group: Hound
- Height: 13–14 inches
- Weight: Around 70 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 8–13 years
Hounds are often divided into 2 subgroups: scent hounds and sight hounds. Scent hounds rely primarily on their keen sense of smell to track prey, sight hounds on their eyesight. Basset Hounds are scent hounds.
These dogs have powerful, short legs meant to make it easy for a hunter to keep up with them on foot and easy for the dogs to chase game down holes — especially rabbits.
2. Where They Came From
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the first mention of the Basset Hound was in 1585, in an article about hunting. The Friars of the French Abbey of St. Hubert were instrumental in developing the modern tricolored Basset Hound.
The less popular lemon-colored Basset was developed at the same time, but this breed has not gained the same popularity as the tricolored basset because of its tendency for knuckling.
The breed subsequently made its way to England, where it was refined into the modern Basset Hound in the mid-1800s, arriving at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1885.
3. How Friendly Are They?
Basset Hounds make great family pets. Think friendly, affectionate and mellow, with short bursts of energy.
In fact, the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom holds the breed standard temperament as “Placid, never aggressive or timid. Affectionate.”
These dogs are often very stubborn, so the ideal human must be willing to compromise in terms of behavior. You most likely won’t be able to train a Basset Hound to stay off your couch when you aren’t home, but you can train them to stay off the couch while you eat.
The Basset Hound is a perfect dog for people who like comedic behavior, a lot of drool and a great companion dog.
4. Is This the Right Dog for You?
MEDIUM: Bassets require daily exercise and the occasional really long walk to satisfy their need to hunt and track.
It doesn’t matter if you take them to the same park that you’ve been to every week of their life; the Basset will always find something new to smell.
MEDIUM: The amount of grooming depends on how fussy the Basset’s human is about grooming.
These dogs have very short coats and don’t need extensive brushing. However, being low to the ground, they do easily pick up mud on their underbellies. In other words, bathe them regularly.
Bassets are famous for drooling excessively. While this doesn’t cause many grooming issues, you may spend copious amounts of time washing drool off your walls and furniture.
Their ears also get dirty from being dipped into water bowls and then dragged along the ground as the Basset tracks a scent.
MEDIUM: Basset Hounds are prone to orthopedic problems because of their short legs and large bodies.
Obesity is often a problem because they like lying around — that’s why walks are important.
They can also have problems with their eyes; glaucoma is common in older dogs. Some dogs will have a clotting disorder that causes their blood to lack the ability to clot in the event of an injury.
This video stars a sweet Basset Hound — who also drools:
5. How to Adopt One
Please check rescues and adoption resources first. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters.
Start by trying Pets Adviser’s adoptable pet search.