Breed Group: Hounds
Country of Origin: Developed in France and England at the same time
Size: Medium–Large Dwarf – has the weight of a large dog, but is long, heavy built but short
Height: Males 30 to 38cm, Females 28 to 36cm
Weight: Males 27 to 34kg, Females 25-30kg (approximately)
Life Span: 12-15 years
Exercise: Low Medium
Best Suited as: Family Pet, tracking dog
Easily one of the most recognizable dogs as a result of the Fred Basset Hound comic strip, they are a dwarven hound breed created in both France and England more or less at the same time.
They are a friendly docile breed and make excellent family pets, though they have the typical hound dog stubbornness and willfulness.
Curiously the exact history of the Basset hound is not clear. Whilst obviously a scent hound experts are divided as to whether they were created by crossbreeding beagles with bloodhounds all from some other mix. Some experts say they develop naturally mutating either from staghounds St Hubert Hounds in England.
It appears the development occurred Leschly at the same time in both England and France where they were favoured by hunters hunting in territory on foot. Their excellent noses were perfect for tracking the hunters quarry in their short legs meant they couldn’t outstrip the speed of the hunters regardless that they were not riding horses.
They found their way to Australia more than 100 years ago and here they are a popular family pet and there are several State Basset hound organisations such as The Basset Hound Club of Victoria, Australia
A medium to large dog on short legs, they have a long well-muscled body, a deep throaty bark and a large head. Eyes are sad looking, lips are full and ears are pendulous. They have generous amounts of loose skin covering their body and it tends to hang in places such as the throat. The tail is carried upright though not curled over the back like the Spitz Breeds.
Most commonly they are tricolour black tan and white or bicolour tan/lemon and white but many other allowable variations are seen including white, brindle, black, tan and tan and black.
They are generally gentle placid souls their throaty bark can frighten stranger of who they are often wary. They are great with children many owners claiming them to be almost unflappable even in the face of constant torment. They are unflappable and not prone to overexcitement and thus a good dogs to have inside.
As a hound dog they do like company be left alone are less likely to pine than some of the smaller hound dog breeds.
Though they may bark at strangers and intruders they are just as likely to do so with a wag of the tale and a smile on the face and comes seeking a pat so they do not make great guard dogs.
Your Basset hound will generally match your energy level so Basset kept by an older person will be content to sit on the couch for much of the day and go for a daily walk was a Basset hound pet of the family with younger children will gleefully bounce around with them and play for hours.
Once they find a scent of interest they will follow it to lay find the source, whether this source is on this side of a six lane highway or the other. They have poor road sense in a difficult if not impossible to train the come or stay without question on demand so do not let them off leash except in a fenced yard. Always walked them on a lead. This is not a dog that needs to be or should ever be walked by a jogger or someone riding a bike is the strain is likely to damage their back and in any case would be short stature they will not be offered to easily keep up.
As a hound dog that should never be let off lead in a public area for their own safety.
Health and life span
As with all the dwarven short-legged breeds with long backs they are susceptible to shoulder and back injuries such as strained backs and slipped discs. They do make great apartment dogs climbing stairs for too much pressure on their back and can lead to injury. If you are looking for an apartment dog Basset hound might be for you – you just need to have a lift.
At no time in its life should Basset hound be encouraged to jump from height. Care should be taken when lifting them that the entirety of their back is supported.
The generous skinfolds and pendulous ears are harbours for bacteria making their eyes and ears prone to infection to they should be checked and claims regularly. Because of the loose fluid nature of their eyes, they are also genetically susceptible to the conditions of entropion and ectropion both of which can cause irritation and damage to the eyeballs.
As with all large breeds, the major health risk is bloat which can be avoided by ensuring they are fed a high meat low cereal diet and they are not exercised shortly before or for an hour after exercise. They have a tendency to eat more than they need which in all long back breeds is a serious health concern as the extra weight can put pressure on their spines. Don’t be suckers for their forlorn sad-eyed I’m starving face. Overfeeding them will be to their detriment in that sad look will be even sadder if they suffer an injury caused by excessive weight.
It is very important to only buy a Basset hound from a registered breeder and we recommend you view the parents and grandparents of your Basset hound – check their eyes and general health. For a large breed they are very healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years with many individuals surpassing this by two or three years or more.
their short coat needs little attention a brushing every few days will suffice. More important is attention to keeping the eyes and ears clean and dry. As they are not very active be aware that their toenails will grow faster than they can wear them down thus they need clipping every few weeks.
That this suited to an owner or a family that is looking for a companion as opposed to a lapdog (for which they are too large) or a high energy dog(of which they are not). They are very social and will seek out your company for as much of it as you are prepared to give them. As they require only light exercise they are ideal for people with mobility issues such as the elderly.
Most dogs will do better if they have a yard to play in and this is the case with the Basset hound but they are also generally happy as indoor dogs so if you lack a large yard the Basset hound is certainly the breed to consider.