Dog Breeds 101: Basset Hound

Dog Breeds 101 - Basset Hound - WP
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The Basset Hound is a breed of domestic dog that is widely recognized for its relatively short legs, howl, long ears and big nose. Its name is actually derived from “bas” which is a French word for “low”. The only type of dog that can “out-smell” the Basset is the Bloodhound. Thought to bred by French breeders attempting to satisfy American and British interests, the Basset Hound became popular quickly. They were previously used for hunting hares and rabbits. [1]

Though short in size, Basset Hounds are relatively long, solid, and heavy. Their coat is normally smooth, short, soft and it tends to shed frequently. This dog is bred in a variety of colors such as white, tan, black, reddish brown, lemon, blue and gray.

In addition to their appearance, Basset Hounds are world renowned for their docility and gentleness. They are tolerant and patient in nature making wonderful companions for children. Basset Hounds are also known to be playful, outgoing and friendly. [2]

In addition to being well-behaved pets, Basset Hounds are sweet and devoted to their owners. They love to be with their families. The Basset Hound also tend to be extremely accepting of other pets in the house. They hate to be left alone for a long period of time and may become destructive when they feel neglected. Also, like most Hounds, the Basset has a loud howl.

The Basset can be trained to be extremely obedient, but they need consistent positive reinforcement. [3]
They usually follow their master’s instructions with ease; however, if their nose picks up an interesting smell their attention can be quickly redirected. Unique training exercises may be required to counter this.

A Basset Hound may thrive in an apartment, but should be given plenty of opportunities to run and play in order to stay healthy and trim. A piece of advice to potential owners: do not overfeed your Basset, additional weight can burden to their short legs potentially resulting in lameness or paralysis. Normally, they are hearty eaters. Also, they are lazy and calm indoors. Therefore, they tend to gain weight easily frequently leading to obesity.

Although Basset Hounds sleep most of the day, they still need regular physical exercise and mental stimulation in order to stay healthy and fit. A long walk everyday can be a huge help in maintaining their good health.

Basset Hounds have an average lifespan of ten to twelve years.


[1] Joe Stahlkuppe, Basset Hounds (Barron’s Educational Series, 1997).


[3] Terry Albert, Basset Hound: Your Happy Healthy Pet (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

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