Table of Contents
Hounds are descended from the old St. Hubert hounds. Used to trail and drive
game away, the Basset has had such famous admirers as King Edward VII and
Shakespeare. The Basset was bred for hunting small game. The Basset's long ears
were developed to stir up and hold the scent for their strong nose to smell. The
folds of skin under the chin, called the dewlap, help trap and hold the scent.
Wrinkles about the head and face also aid in holding the scent. Their large feet
make them steady and the heavy bones make them sturdy. With their short legs
they are ideal for slow trailing which allows hunters to follow on foot. The
Basset is used primarily to hunt rabbit although they were first used on other
small game such as pheasant.
YES! The Basset
Hound is one of the best dogs available for a family to love. They are extremely
tolerant and love everyone in the family equally. They are a very gentle, sweet,
loyal and affectionate breed, although they are quite stubborn at times. They
get along well with other pets of various species. They are not an aggressive
watchdog but will learn to give a deep bark as a warning if praised when
sounding off. Otherwise, they will accept visitors with a sniff and return to a
favorite corner. The Basset Hound is a versatile pet who will play with
children, make a skilled hunter, and sit by their owner's side during quiet
The male Basset Hound at maturity usually weighs between 55 and 75
pounds, and stands 12-, to not more than 15-inches tall at the shoulder. They
are a big dog on short legs. The female is usually about 10 pounds lighter and
1-inch or so shorter than the male. Make no mistake, the Basset grows to be a
good size dog, weighing more than most people expect, due to his heavy bone. As
a young dog they need a consistent, firm, (but not harsh) hand so they will
learn not to jump on people. They are not lap dogs, even though they may think
so. The Basset has a large, well proportioned head, sad, droopy eyes with a
prominent haw; and long, low-set ears and loose facial skin and dewlap. A
muscular neck and shoulders arch above a powerful chest, and the stubby legs are
tipped with huge paws. His low-slung, loose-skinned, body is accented by a tail
carried gaily in an upswept arc.
have gentle dispositions. They were bred to be pack dogs and to get along with
each other. This makes the male as friendly, mild, and easy to live with as the
female. Males are not as aggressive as some other breeds of dogs, and they are
usually not as prone to "marking" their territory unless there is an unneutered
Some Basset Hounds
have a tendency to howl when left alone for long periods of time. They will also
wander away from home if not kept in a (securely locked) fenced area. The Basset
is so good with kids, and often found in homes with children, great care MUST be
taken to assure that gates cannot accidentally be left open when the kids enter
and leave the fenced area. When a good scent reaches their nose, there is no
telling where they will end up, and unfortunately, the Basset is not good at
finding the way home. A responsible owner keeps his Basset as safe from harm as
he would any other cherished pet.
A Basset with its large deep flews
also tends to be more slobbery than other breeds. Some individual Bassets are
"drier mouthed" than others, but as a whole the breed is a "wet mouthed" breed.
To the prospective Basset owner, this means that that the dog will drool quite a
bit, and tend to make a mess while drinking. If you are a fastidious
housekeeper, and have an aversion to dog drool on your floors (and occasionally
your walls), then the Basset Hound is probably not the breed for you. This is an
important point, because one of the major reasons that Bassets are given
up for rescue or adoption is that "the dog drools too much". Time and again
those involved in Basset rescue hear this same old story. So get out your
slobber rag if you want a Basset!
Adult Basset Hounds
generally eat between 2 and 4 cups of food per day. (Many dog food labels have
you over-feeding your dogs.) Bassets often have a tendency to get fat, partly
because their sad look lends their owners to "take pity on them" and give them
more food than they require. Overeating is dangerous to all dogs. Puppies,
depending on their age, will eat from two to four meals per day in proportion to
their size. You should avoid feeding your Basset fad foods; feed a
well-balanced, name brand dry food supplemented with a quality canned food
and/or other supplements. Many canine nutrition experts feel that vitamin
supplements are not needed when using a top quality name-brand dog food. If a
vitamin is used, care must be taken to avoid over-supplementing. Check with your
veterinarian to see what is best for your dog. Store or generic brand dogs foods
should not be used. A pregnant female Basset gradually requires more food and a
supplement as recommended by your veterinarian.
The Basset Hound does
not need fussy coat care due to his hard, short coat which repels dirt and water
rather well. However, they should be brushed weekly to remove any loose hair and
dirt. Bassets do not shed very much if brushed regularly. The Basset Hound needs
a bath only four to six times a year because a good rubdown with a coarse cloth
or a hounds glove will remove a great deal of dirt and bring a shine to the
Regular grooming helps create a bond between owner and pet. Wipe out the
insides of the ears once a week. The Basset's heavy ear leather prevents loss of
moisture from inside the ear, and, if it is not cleaned out with a cotton ball
and a solution recommended by your veterinarian, odor and/or infection can
result. Clean the outside of the ears also because they often drape in food and
water dishes and pick up dirt from the ground. Trim the nails every 1-3 weeks to
allow the dog to walk correctly on his feet and properly support his heavy
weight. Puppies need more frequent clipping than the adult. Should you hear the
nails clicking on the floor, they need to be cut. Have your veterinarian or
breeder show you how to properly clip your dog's nails. Clean your Basset's
teeth with a soft toothbrush and water/doggie toothpaste to prevent plaque
buildup. You may want the veterinarian to show you the proper procedure for anal
gland care as another means of keeping your dog odor-free and comfortable.
The Basset Hound claims
excellent health. He is not prone to many hereditary weaknesses that are present
in some other breeds. Many of the Basset's health problems can be attributed to
his owner because he allowed his dog to become overweight, possibly resulting in
aggravated arthritis, back problems, or heart trouble. Physical fitness is as
important to the Basset as it is to humans. The Basset Hound enjoys running and
leading an active life. Dogs raised in areas of the country where they can
participate in the popular sport of field trialing can enjoy particularly good
health. The Basset is an endurance dog.
All breeds can carry genetic disorders or hereditary faults. The following
list includes some of the problems that can develop in Bassets.
Von Willebrand's DiseaseA hereditary disorder appearing in some Bassets
is Von Willebrand's disease, a platelet disorder resulting in mild to moderately
severe bleeding and a prolonged bleeding time. Careful pedigree analysis and
blood testing have reduced the incidence of this disease by reputable breeders.
EyesThe Basset is one of the breeds predisposed to glaucoma.
BloatLike many other breeds with a deep chest, the Basset is
susceptible to gastric dilatation with torsion of the stomach (bloat). This can
be a problem regardless of age. Torsion or bloat is considered an emergency and
action must be taken immediately.
PaneosteitisPaneosteitis is an elusive ailment occasionally seen in
young Bassets. It is also known as wandering or transient lameness. Attacks are
usually brought on by stress and aggravated by activity, and up to now, the
cause and the cure are unknown. This mysterious disease causes sudden lameness,
but its greatest potential danger may lie in false diagnosis, resulting in
unnecessary surgery. A puppy will typically outgrow it by the age of two with no
long term problems. It can be quite minor, or so bad that the dog will not put
any weight on the leg. Symptoms may be confused with "elbow displasia", "hip
displasia", "patellar luxation" and other more serious disorders. The most
definite way to diagnose paneosteitis is radiographically. Even with this, signs
can be quite minimal and easily missed. As to treatment, no cure was found in
experimental tests and the only helpful thing found was relief for pain
(aspirin, cortisone, etc.) However, using these, the dog tends to exercise more
and thereby aggravate the condition. Note again: A GREAT MANY VETS ARE
UNAWARE OF THIS DISEASE IN THE BASSET.
In diagnosing the cause of a Basset's lameness, a radiograph of the forelimbs
may indicate a condition called elbow incongruity. (Elbow incongruity is a poor
fit between the 3 bones which comprise the elbow joint.) Studies to date
indicate that elbow incongruity is normal in the Basset and is not the cause of
the lameness. It is also suspected that many of the previously mentioned
unnecessary (panosteitis) surgeries have been performed on Basset Pups just
because radiographs that were taken showed elbow incongruity. A study on
forelimb lameness in the Basset is currently underway at the School of
Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. As previously mentioned they
have determined that elbow incongruity occurs in the Basset but suspect that
incongruity rarely causes the lameness. During the course of the study,
conservative therapy will be recommended for all cases in which panosteitis
appears to be the cause of the lameness. In cases with severe growth deformities
or elbow pain associated with elbow incongruity, surgery may be recommended. If
your Basset develops lameness and is diagnosed with an "elbow problem", discuss
with your veterinarian the possibility of panosteitis.
AllergiesSome Bassets may have allergies to grasses. Hanging t heir
head close to the ground for long periods of time will further aggravate it. If
an allergy is diagnosed, a veterinarian can prescribe a mild eye ointment or
other appropriate treatment.
EarsThe long drooping ear predisposes the Basset to otitis externa,
(smelly yucky ears). This is easily prevented if ear cleaning is done regularly, such
as when nails are clipped. Check with your veterinarian for an
ear wash, or make a preventative cleaning mix of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50%
PawsDue to the Basset's large paws, they are prone to interdigital
cysts, abscesses and fungus infections between the digits (toes).
ExerciseAs a puppy, the Basset should never be given too much exercise
because of the heavy boned front. Care must also be taken to protect the front
when jumping off anything, stairs, tables, etc.
A purebred, pet
quality Basset Hound puppy from a reputable breeder may cost between $350-$700,
depending on the part of the country. The price for a puppy with show (or
breeding) potential will start appreciably higher. Prices of individual puppies vary according to quality (show or field potential), age, geographic region, and
availability. The puppy should have been checked by a veterinarian and given
appropriate inoculations based on its age. Inoculations for rabies, distemper,
leptospirosis, hepatitis, kennel cough, and parvovirus are all necessary. A
conscientious breeder will have a complete record of all puppy illnesses, treatments, and inoculations. Beware of a breeder who sells a puppy without all
the necessary shots or proper AKC registration information. Also beware of the
breeder that wants to sell a puppy prior to 8 weeks. In many areas it is against
the law to sell or transport a puppy younger than this age. Pet stores tend to
change the highest prices for puppies. The source of these puppies is usually a
puppy mill, whose sole motive is breeding for profit, not temperament, type, or
health. Buyer Beware!
Given good care,
the Basset can lead a very active 10 years and be active as a stud dog up to 12
years. (AKC will not register puppies sired by a dog over 12 years of age
without written permission of AKC and certification from a veterinarian.)
Bassets enjoy their food in old age and, if allowed, become fat and lazy. The
Basset is an easy keeper and a steady hound and usually lives 8 to 12 years,
although there are many that live beyond, to 14,15,16 or even up to 17 years.
YES! Once determining that
your dog of bitch is worthy of being bred (be sure to read the breeding FAQs)
the owner of the dog must be prepared to provide the following.
REMEMBER: If you have never had ice cream, you will never miss it.
SPAY and/or NEUTER.
No harder than any other
breed, you MUST be consistent.
Only with a great deal of
difficulty. With 2/3 of the Basset's weight in the front, and with such short
legs, they can swim only very short distances, and with great difficulty. If you
must go boating with a Basset be certain, you have provided a life preserver for
him or other suitable floatation device. Extra care must be taken around
swimming pools, and the Basset should never be left, unsupervised in a pool
area. Should your Basset be prone to falling in, get him to swim to the stairs,
so that he will learn the way out.
HA, HA, HA, - Only to the
uninformed. The value of a Basset should not be based on its color or markings.
The tri-color is the most common, followed by the red & white. Tri's at
times can appear to be black and white, but on closer inspection, a touch of
brown usually can be found. Red & whites can be almost completely white with
just a few spots of tan, or they can be a deep mahogany color with only a small
amount of white. Most come somewhere in between. There are also lemon &
whites. A true lemon is rarely seen. Their markings are mostly white that fades
into areas of very, very light tan. To tell if it is a true lemon, the puppy, at
birth is totally white with no hint of tan. The light tan color develops as they
mature. It should also be noted that the color and coverage of the marking of
the puppy you get at 10-12 weeks will change as they mature. Every once in a
while, you will hear of someone advertising the "rare" blue Basset (actually it
is gray). The standard states "any recognizable hound color is acceptable", and
blue is a recognized color in some other hound breeds, so it's not illegal - but
it is VERY undesirable. It is a recessive trait resulting in genetically
inherited disorders associated with this color, i.e. periscoping intestines,
skin allergies and food allergies. Be wary of breeders selling these "blue"
bassets. A reputable breeder would not involve themselves in purposely breeding
are many local Basset Hound rescue groups, check the Rescue FAQs, part 1, or if
you do not find one in your area contact:
- A safe, secure, clean area to keep the visiting bitch to be bred (the
bitch always goes to the dog). Can you provide this?
- Bassets do not "free" breed and need to be personally handled/ supervised
throughout the entire act of breeding. Are you willing to do this? Two Bassets
left together is a room will only result in two tired, frustrated, unbred
- Your male will probably start "marking" (peeing) his territory in your
- Your male may become more aggressive perhaps to you, and your family.
B. H. CARES,
6770 S. Kit Carson
E. Littleton CO 80122-1218
Additional Basset Rescue organizations in the United States can be found on
the Daily Drool web page. Included in
this list are BHCare chapters, and other Basset rescue organizations that are
is an email list for the Basset fancier. To join the list, send email to
email@example.com. In the body of the message, include the single
subscribe BASSET-L yourfirstname yourlastname
There is also NOSES-L for
the general scent hound fancier. To join the list, send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of the message, include the single
subscribe NOSES-L yourfirstname yourlastname
Daily Drool is a smaller list for
Basset Owners. Membership is limited, so you may have to wait to get on. To
subscribe: send a message to email@example.com. In the subject line, put
"subscribe". In the body of the message, type your first and last name. Then if
you like, add a brief introduction about you and your dog(s).
following web pages:
is a written picture of the ideal dog in any breed approved by the American
Kennel Club. It describes the characteristics that set one breed apart from the
The present Standard for Basset
Hounds was accepted by the American Kennel Club in early 1964. Revisions have
been made, as recommended by the Basset
Hound Club of America, Inc., to clarify the old standard and to make
stronger the emphasis on the utility of the breed.
After making the decision to bring a Basset Hound into your
home and your heart, the next most important decision is where to get your dog.
If you prefer an adult, please check with the rescue groups that are listed in
Section of this FAQ. Puppies should only be purchased from reputable
breeders. To locate a reputable breeder in your area, contact the Basset Hound
Club of America. They have a listing by state of their members at http://www.basset-bhca.org/. You may also
contact the American Kennel club at http://www.akc.org/ for a referral.
Recommended reading on the Basset Hound:
The Basset Hound, An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet by Barbara
Basset Hounds, A Complete Pet Owner's Manual by Joe Stahlkuppe (1997).
The Complete Basset Hound ( or The New Complete Basset Hound)
Try to get the 1st edition - blue hard cover - no longer in print, but is better
than her second (yellow cover) book. by Mercedes Braun
The New Basset Hound by Walton
AKC Video, Breed Standard Series, The Basset Hound
(No longer in print) This is the Basset Hound by Ernest H. Hart
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