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Basset Hound

 

Basset Hound

 

General Description:

Generally loving, somewhat independent, fun-loving dogs who are great pack animals and will happily accept you as part of their pack. Adopters must have a fenced yard or willingness to always walk the Basset on-lead. Usually happier with another dog or a cat for companionship if the people in the house work outside the home. Bassets are not an outside dog.

 

Size:

Generally 12-14 inches in height. Weight can be quite variable, depending on “style” but males vary between 45 and 65 pounds, females between 35-55 pounds.

 

Color:

Two major colors: tri-color and red-and-white. Within each of these a lot of variation about color placement, amount of white, amount of ticking or “freckles” and depth of color. The only problematic color is the “blue” Basset, which can be associated with auto-immune and other congenital defects.

 

Energy Level:

Moderate, and probably more than most people expect from Bassets. These are hunting dogs, who can, if in good condition, hunt a full day in the field with enthusiasm. Youngsters especially can be quite active.

 

Life expectancy:

10-12 years.

 

Children:

Generally good with children, but as with all dogs, a great deal is dependent on early socialization. Puppies are not recommended for families with children under six, because they mature so much more quickly than children, and can be dominant to children when the puppy reaches adolescence.

 

Other animals:

Generally a pack dog, preferring the company of other dogs to being alone. Generally good to excellent with cats, but again, early exposure helps.

 

Abilities:

Bassets were bred to hunt rabbits and small game. They are a scent hound, and their scenting ability is second only to Bloodhounds. This explains a lot of their behavior and needs. Primary among the needs are a fenced yard, and walks on lead ONLY. Bassets can and do put their noses to the ground and track closely on whatever is interesting to them. This means they will literally not hear you when you call to them to come back. Leads are your friend.

 

Shedding/Grooming:

Bassets shed pretty much year round. They do not generally “blow coat”, and if your Basset does, you should seek veterinary care because this is not normal. However, constant shedding is a fact of Basset life. Drooling is also a fact of life. A favorite competition among Basset owners is marking the height of drool marks on the wall. Bassets are hounds, and have a slightly oily coat. They do have a slight hound scent. In general, this is not a dog for fastidious households. Please, rethink that white upholstery.

 

Health:

The major health threats for Bassets include: intervertebral disc disease which can lead to paralysis of the rear legs, glaucoma leading to blindness/loss of eye, bloat (a life-threatening emergency), thyroid disease, and bleeding disorders.

 

Best with:

Owners who want a solid, easygoing companion and are themselves fairly easygoing. Bassets are mostly interested in pleasing themselves. They are not motivated to do a job unless it makes them happy, and are generally a headstrong breed. That’s all the bad stuff – on the good side, they are also humorous, affectionate, and fun to live with.

 

Not for:

People who are attached to the idea that they will give directions and their dogs will follow them. People who want to throw balls (the Basset will wonder why they threw it, if they wanted it back). People who are really fastidious. People who think that Bassets are a “small dog”. People who want a “dog in the yard” – Bassets are pretty attached to their creature comforts, which include living in the house.

 

Pros:

Affectionate, but not generally clingy, with their families. Most Bassets are not frequently vocal, although when they are, they can be quite impressive. They are dogs who enjoy hanging out with the family, no matter what the family is doing.

 

Cons:

Stubborn. Hound scent. Not able to be trusted off lead if there is something interesting smelling to track (and there always is).

 

Further Information:

The Basset Hound Club of America offers a comprehensive website with information about the Basset Hound. Under “About the Breed”, there’s an excellent series of pages that describe the breed, its origins, care for the Basset, and provides additional resource links. There’s also a good page with links about health problems faced by Bassets as well as by other dogs.
Breed Details

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