Unveiling the Enigmatic Charm of the Basset Hound

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Basset Hound

Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Fumipets

Unveiling the Enigmatic Charm of the Basset Hound

 
 

The Basset Hound, known for its distinctive appearance and keen sense of smell, is a beloved breed that captures the hearts of many dog enthusiasts. With its long ears, droopy eyes, and unique body structure, the Basset Hound is instantly recognizable.

Originally bred for hunting small game, particularly rabbits, their exceptional scenting abilities make them excellent trackers. Despite their somewhat melancholic expression, Basset Hounds are friendly, affectionate, and social dogs that make wonderful companions for families and individuals alike.

Basset Hound


Basset hounds are well-balanced family dogs that are as content sleeping on a lap as they are tracking a scent trail. They are known for their adorably—and comically—sad, drooping expressions. But don’t let the basset hound’s little size deceive you; this popular breed packs a powerful punch for such a small dog.

The basset hound’s sense of smell is second only to that of his cousin, the bloodhound, thanks to its loose, elastic skin and large, floppy ears, which lift and capture aromas off the ground. The calm, pleasant nature of basset hounds and their predilection for lounging about the home make them wonderful companions for kids. Although this stubborn dog breed is generally simple to care for, it does take a lot of patience.

Appearance

Do not be deceived by the small legs: Large canines, basset hounds may weigh up to 65 pounds and only stand around 15 inches tall. The long-bodied, short-legged, heavy-boned breed features long, silky floppy ears, a cute, melancholy-appearing drooping face, and an alert tail.

They are perfect for use as scent-tracking hounds because of their huge paws and low-slung form, which provide them with outstanding stability for moving across uneven terrain. The short, stiff coat that covers the basset hound’s soft, elastic skin is thick enough to keep him warm for several hours in any weather.

People like the basset hound’s droopy, floppy face, making it one of the breeds with the most widespread recognition. These outfits, however, are not simply intended to make you swoon. Almost every trait of a basset hound’s head is beneficial to the tracking dog: As a result of the skin’s creases, odors are kept near the dog’s nose.

As they move, their large ears droop, carrying odors from the ground to their nose. And their huge, dark eyes that are somewhat sunken and drooping? Okay, they are largely for, you know, charm and vision.

Temperament

Despite how they may seem, basset hounds were developed to have stamina and endurance on the path. They were a popular option for small-game hunters because of their capacity to focus on a smell and follow it for hours on end.

Today’s basset hounds are just as happy taking a long walk and then spending the rest of the day relaxing at home, even if they are still widely employed as pack-hunting dogs.

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These content dogs are just seeking a comfortable location to unwind with their closest friend—you. Scent games are a terrific method to engage your basset hound’s mind and train its finest abilities if you like to be more physically active.

According to the BHCA breed standard, basset hounds are friendly and devoted dogs with even temperaments. They get along well with other animals, including dogs and cats, since they were meant to be pack dogs, and they like to be with people all the time.

When socialized with other dogs, they are capable of becoming rather playful. Since basset hounds believe that everyone is their buddy, don’t expect much from them as a watch or guard dog, making them ideal for homes with young children.

Like any breed, your hound has to be properly socialized from an early age. Additionally, like with other breeds, it’s crucial to educate kids on how to behave around dogs and to constantly watch them while they’re playing with animals.

A basset hound’s training may take some time. They are intelligent, sensitive puppies that won’t react well to harsh treatment, so the key is to be calm, tolerant, and constantly cheerful. 

The owner of The Great Pets Resort, a specialized training facility in Connecticut, Brian Kilcommons, claims that the dogs are not resistant; rather, they are hounds. “If you give someone a path to follow, they can solve any problem. It’s a little bit more challenging when you go a big distance with them. It is possible, but it requires a lot more effort.

The issue I have with the word “stubborn” is that it creates an unfavorable atmosphere for training. Because it’s not their area of expertise, certain tasks will be harder for them to do than others. Their specialty is tracking a smell with their nose to the ground while baying. They won’t take to obedience training right away.

Because basset hounds were developed as pack animals, they get along well with both dogs and cats and like constant companionship.

Living Needs

The sweet basset hound is tolerant of most living conditions. This low-energy breed is content with a daily long stroll followed by plenty of rest and relaxation at home. Although they travel slowly, basset hounds are often single-minded and will leave their current location at the first sniff of a scent without giving it any thought. 

They won’t take off since they are low to the ground and have small legs, according to Kilcommons. They were created, however, to hunt rabbits. When they detect a smell, they suddenly go into automatic mode.

It’s crucial to keep them on a leash or in a yard that is properly fenced. Basset dogs like leisurely strolls and may teach us the importance of taking our time to stop and smell the roses.

Due to their propensity for loneliness, basset hounds often engage in protracted bouts of howling and other unwanted habits. According to the BHCA, keeping your basset hound company will help prevent these tendencies (and make your neighbors happy). 

Basset dogs shouldn’t have to climb many stairs because of their size and structure. To avoid significant health problems, they should always be moved into and off of furniture, as well as into and out of automobiles.

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Basset hounds are excellent dogs for a variety of lifestyles overall. They will be more than pleased to remain by your side if you can give regular walks and diligent, persistent positive reinforcement-based training.

You may want to think again about getting a basset hound if you routinely go on extended trips. Before committing to any dog, it’s crucial to take your lifestyle into account. To determine whether the basset hound breed is a suitable match for you, discuss expectations with a breeder or rescue organization.

Care

The short coat of the basset hound requires little care and is simple to maintain, although weekly brushing will keep shedding to a minimum. The eyes and creases of your basset hound’s face should also be cleansed of any dirt several times each week, and they should also have frequent baths to maintain healthy skin and lessen their sometimes pungent hound odor.

Regular brushing is a fantastic opportunity to examine your pet’s coat shine (dull hair may indicate that he is not getting enough nutrients in his food), nail length, and ear and dental health.

The nails of a basset dog should be cut regularly; if you can hear them tapping on the floor, they are too long. The Basset Hound Club of America advises cleaning a basset hound’s teeth twice a week using canine toothpaste that has been particularly designed for use on dogs. Even if you can keep your dog healthy at home, you should still take him to the vet on a regular basis. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Basset dogs’ ears need additional weekly attention because of their long, floppy form, which may hinder adequate airflow and cause infections. According to Kilcommons, “Those ears are built to trap scents.” They are mud flaps as well.

A basset that has been running in the field would likely return with various debris lodged in its ears from dragging along the ground. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to correctly examine and care for your basset hound’s ears.

Because Basset Hounds’ eyes are prone to gathering dirt, it’s critical to regularly clean the area surrounding their eyes to avoid avoidable health problems.

On the trail, this breed’s attention span is unmatched, yet it vanishes as obedience training starts. Basset hounds may be stubborn, which makes them more difficult to teach.

They weren’t developed to follow people around and pay attention to them. They were raised to track scents with their noses to the ground and without making any noise, said Kilcommons. That is the genius of them.

They are predisposed to do that. With this breed, you need to make training fun for everyone involved if you want to see development. Get some food and toys, sit down, and start playing. The nose suddenly starts to rise off the floor.

Health

A basset hound may live for 12 to 15 years. The basset hound is susceptible to several health issues, like other breeds. Breeders should do a full ophthalmology examination and test for thrombophilia, according to the Basset Hound Club of America. The group advises extra testing for conditions including glaucoma, hypothyroidism, bleeding problems, luxating patella, and elbow and hip dysplasia.

Although not every basset hound may have major health problems, it’s vital to be aware of these hazards when thinking about this breed. All dogs should be bought from trustworthy breeders who will show you the dog’s parents and siblings. When adopting a basset hound, get the rescue’s complete health history.

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According to the BHCA, basset hounds are prone to obesity because they are often lazy. It’s crucial to feed basset hounds in the right amounts (speak to your doctor about the finest diet for your particular dog) and to maintain an exercise routine that includes one lengthy walk per day. Additionally susceptible to infection are their droopy ears. For regular and routine ear checks, adhere to your veterinarian’s recommendations.

History

It has long been a tradition for packs to hunt small animals with basset hounds, yet many people think their very existence is a fluke. The dog is said to be descended from the famous St. Hubert hounds, who are also the progenitors of modern bloodhounds and was created when a DNA mutation resulted in a shrunk hound, according to the BHCA.

The short-legged breed, perhaps unintentionally, proved efficient for following small game—mostly rabbits—through low, dense vegetation.

The breed was well-liked by the French nobility, who devoted a lot of time to trail hunting. The breed grew increasingly prevalent after the French Revolution. In colonial times, these sluggish dogs probably traveled from England to the United States. In 1885, the American Kennel Club recognized them as the tenth breed.

Through print and film, the devoted basset hound has won hearts all throughout the United States. The 52nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden was the subject of a cover story in Time magazine that year, presented solely through the eyes of a basset hound puppy.

The 1960s Hush Puppy shoe advertisements featuring the jowly dog gave the breed more exposure. The dog of choice for Snowman in the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit and for Flash, Sheriff Rosco Coltrane’s sidekick, in the ’79–’85 series “The Dukes of Hazzard” was a basset hound. In France and England today, basset hounds are still the go-to pack breed for hunting small game.


Q&A: Exploring the Basset Hound

 

 

What is the history behind the Basset Hound’s unique appearance?

The Basset Hound’s unique features, such as its long ears and droopy eyes, are a result of selective breeding for specific hunting traits. Their low-slung body and short legs were developed to allow them to scent and track game close to the ground.

Are Basset Hounds good with children and other pets?

Yes, Basset Hounds are generally known for their gentle and patient nature, making them good companions for families with children and other pets. However, as with any breed, proper socialization from an early age is essential.

Do Basset Hounds require a lot of exercise?

Basset Hounds have a moderate activity level. While they enjoy walks and playtime, they are not high-energy dogs. Regular exercise is important to prevent obesity and keep them mentally stimulated, but overexertion should be avoided due to their unique body structure.

How do I groom a Basset Hound’s ears?

The Basset Hound’s long ears require regular attention to prevent ear infections. Gently clean their ears with a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner and cotton ball, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal. Regular cleaning and keeping the ears dry can help prevent issues.

Are Basset Hounds easy to train?

Basset Hounds have a reputation for being stubborn and independent, which can sometimes make training a challenge. They are driven by their noses, so using positive reinforcement and treats can help motivate them during training sessions. Patience, consistency, and short training sessions work best with this breed.

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