AKC Dog Breeds: Basset Hound

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Hound Group
Height: 12-15 inches   Weight: 25-60  pounds  Color: white with chestnut or sand-colored markings

Basset Hounds are the lovable curmudgeons of the dog world. The Basset Hound breed has captivated the public imagination since the 1920s, appearing on television, cartoons, and even the cover of Time magazine. The dogs make great pets, especially for families with children, even though they are a bit hard to train. Instantly recognizable due to its big, heavy body, short legs and long ears, the Basset Hound has proven itself to be a multi-purpose dog that excels in conformation, obedience, tracking, field trialing and pack hunting. The breed is known for its strong hunting instinct and, if given the opportunity, will chase or follow a scent willingly. Because of its gentle, non-confrontational nature, the Basset can be used for hunting in packs or alone. The Basset can be any hound color, which includes combinations of black, tan, white, red and other colors. The Basset Hound was originally developed in France as a trailer of small game that hunters could follow on foot. Bassets continued to achieve very notable popularity during the reign of Emperor Napoleon, and in 1880 Queen Alexandra kept Basset Hounds in the royal kennels. Marquis de Lafayette brought Basset Hounds, known for their impeccable sense of smell, to the United States as a gift to President George Washington to use in his hunting expeditions.

General Appearance
The head is large, with a rounded skull. The plane of the muzzle is parallel to the top of the skull. The skin is loose-fitted and falls in folds on the head. The velvety ears are very long and should meet beyond the top of the nose. They should fold and not appear flat. The large teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The lips hand down with loose flews. The sad brown eyes should show prominent haw. The expression should be kindly without any harshness. The Basset has a very pronounced dewlap. His chest is very deep and extends in the front of the forelegs. The paws are big and the hindquarters are round. Dewclaws may be removed. The dog's movement should be deliberate, but not clumsy. The coat is short, hard and shiny. Compared to other breeds, the Basset Hound has a much heavier bone that is in total proportion to its physical size. While it is considered a short dog, once a person tries picking them up they will never make the mistake of calling the Basset a small dog simply because they are low to the ground. This heavy weight is what works with the slow-moving attribute of the dog, as it moves forward with sheer determination, focusing on the scent with its nose to the ground.


With such a sweet gentle look on its face, it is no wonder that the Basset Hound's personality is sweet and gentle, with a peaceful demeanor that belies the inner strength of this four-legged hunter and tracker. Because their personality is mild, this breed has become one of the most popular family dogs, known for their extreme tolerance. A naturally well-behaved dog, they are the most easygoing of breeds with a good-natured personality. And with such a mild disposition, many individuals take this as timidness in the breed. But its mild personality causes the breed to be very affectionate with its owner, along with children in the family. Fitting well into any family, it is cordial with family pets, children and other dogs. The only warning regarding families will be the Basset's back as if children attempt to ride on the dog's back, it will do great damage due to the length of the body.


The coat of a Basset Hound is short, heavy, and smooth, with low grooming requirements. A brushing once or twice a week removes any dead dander hair, while keeping the skin circulated. But during heavy shedding cycles, the hair will need to be removed by brushing and bathing. It is important to clean the drooping, long ears of the Basset Hound on a regular basis, otherwise he could end up getting ear infections.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
A major concern with the Bassett Hound is obesity; not only with the weight issue but also because of the strain it puts on the intervertebral disk, forming a disease. Suggestions for tests that need to be done are the eyes and the blood, with an occasional checking for patellar luxation. The Basset Hound has a life expectancy of around 10-12 years.

Activity Level

This is a breed that requires exercise on a regular basis due to their ability to gain weight and be on the rather "lazy side." In fact, it is a mandatory requirement, other than not being able to let the dog off the leash under any circumstances while they are being walked-the Basset will never respond to you while on a dead run after a scent or chasing something that runs. Walking them around the block just is not enough.


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