Country of Origin: The Basset Hound (‘Basset’ derives from ‘dwarf’) was bred at St. Hubert’s Abbey in medieval France to trail game. They were bred for sharp noses and short legs to be able to squeeze in under thick foliage, but were not meant to run at fast speeds, so as to prevent them from scaring game away or outrunning human companions. They were especially suited for rabbit hunting. Basset Hounds grew in popularity when Napoleon III kept a few as pets, and became known internationally during the 1863 Paris dog show. They were subsequently brought to America in the late 1800’s. Today, Basset Hounds are a popular pet and remain admired pack hunters. Some American cities, such as Buffalo and New Orleans, have annual Basset Hound-focused festivals and competitions, even crowning King and Queen Bassets. Famous Basset Hounds include comic strip character Fred Basset and the logo for ‘Hush Puppies’ brand shoes.
Size: Basset Hounds have a shoulder height of 28-38 cm (11-15 in) and weigh 23-27 kg (45-65 lbs). They are famous for their deep, emotional brown eyes. The Basset Hound has loose skin over the eyes, very long, low ears, thick bones, and a large, domed skull. Basset Hounds have a slightly curved tail and very large, round feet under strong, wrinkly legs.
Coat: The Basset Hound has short, dense, smooth, shiny hair. Any hound color is acceptable; white with brown and black markings is common (‘tricolor’). Basset Hounds shed constantly.
Character: The Basset Hound is independent but sociable, calm, patient, and playful. Basset Hounds are extremely kind and easygoing. They are very fond of their master and family. The Basset Hound can be a bit stubborn and food is usually near the top of their agenda. They have a deep bark and become single-minded while in pursuit on the trail. It is hard to look in one’s soft, melancholy face without wanting to give it a hug.
Temperament: Basset Hounds are excellent playmates for children and get along great with dogs and other animals. Children should not be allowed to sit on or stress the dog’s back or pull its ears. The Basset Hound is a very social creature and does not like to be left alone. They may tend to drool.
Care: In addition to removing dead hairs with a firm brush when the Basset Hound is shedding, its great big ears must be kept clean to prevent infection. Its toenails should also be trimmed regularly. Obesity in long, short dogs such as Basset Hounds can lead to back and skeletal problems. Basset Hounds are susceptible to GDV (bloat from excessive gas), which requires immediate attention. To avoid obesity and GDV, spread out meals as much as possible and do not overfeed. Basset Hounds live 10-12 years and have litters of 6-10 puppies; large litters occur frequently.
Training: Basset hounds must be trained with consistency and patience. You should make the process active and engaging to keep them interested. Basset Hounds may forget to obey when a snack reward is not present. The Basset Hound is known for being difficult to house break.
Activity: Basset hounds do not require much exercise, but they tend to get excited and energetic once taken outdoors. They should be taken for short walks or allowed to play in the yard. Basset Hounds can live happily in an apartment.
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