Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds

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Breed Notes

The Basset Hound is a French breed first mentioned in print in 1585. He was imported to England in the 1800s and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886. He has been described as having the head and bone of a Bloodhound, coloring of a Foxhound, and legs of a Dachshund. This body structure enables him to be used to trail rabbits, hares and other game that can be trailed on foot or taken to ground.
The Basset is gentle in disposition and devoted to master and family. He has a deep, baritone musical voice that is loved by hunters but not always by neighbors in an urban setting. Although normally placid, he has surprising agility and energy on the hunt. He is an independent dog by nature so needs discipline training in order to be an ideal housepet. He also needs a lot of exercise to avoid obesity.
The Basset Hound's head is large and well proportioned. The skull is well-domed with a pronounced protuberance of the occipital bone on top. The length from this bone to the eye is the same as from the eye to the end of the muzzle. The muzzle is deep and heavy with a scissors or even bite. The skin over the head hangs loosely with distinct wrinkles on the forehead. There is a well defined fold of skin under the jaw called the dewlap. The neck is powerful and of good length. The eyes are soft, sad and slightly sunken with the inner lining of the lower lid (called the haw) being visible. The ears are long, low set and hang down along the neck. The chest is deep with a prominent sternum. The legs are short, powerful, and heavy in bone with wrinkled skin. The paws are massive and heavy with well rounded feet that point slightly outward in order to balance the width of the shoulders. The body is long with a straight, level topline. The hind legs are parallel and not cowhocked or bowed. The tail is not docked and is carried gaily. The coat is hard, smooth and short. The skin is loose and elastic. Any hound coat color is acceptable. Acceptable height is fourteen inches or less. Weight is between forty five and sixty pounds. of Port Jervis, NY writes:

Very stubborn, smart and cute.
I've only had my Basset for a few weeks now, he is almost four months old. The big mistake I made was getting him from a pet shop instead of a good breeder, but he was so cute I couldn't resist. He chews on everything that he can get his jaws on, whether it be his toys, the chair, dirt, or even our skin. He is doing pretty good on housetraining, but everytime he goes on the floor and I clean it up, he gets unbelievably hyper and starts barking at me..He bites our hands rather hard and punishment just doesn't seem to work, he just barks and barks and tries to bite us. I think it's because he was probably taken from his mother too early.
He started responding to his name right away, and already knows what "come" means. He does pull on the leash in the yard, but he is well behaved on walks. He also cries when we leave him in his pen when we are gone, even if we are right next to the pen, he cries to come out. I think my little pup does have really good potential, though.. I will work with him as long as it takes. of U.S. writes:

Cute, friendly, lovable, sweet.
I have owned a wonderful Basset Hound for a couple of years. He is so cute and the whole town loves him. He does the cutest and funniest things. He is obedient and loves people. The only thing that makes me upset sometimes with him is that he is afraid of the camera so I have a hard time taking pictures of him. A lot of people think that this breed drouls a lot but this is not true. of Chicago, IL writes:

An unexpected wonder.
After two of our beloved cats passed away over the course of less than a month, we decided we had to have another pet. The local vet's office referred us to a family looking for a good home for a Basset Hound puppy. I had no idea if I wanted a Basset or not, but our vet assured me these dogs make wonderful housepets, and he was "free to a good home," as the owners were unable to care for him. I took her advice and went to meet this adorable tri-color four-month-old - and I knew right off I had to take him home. And what a joy he is! After only one evening, he fit right in with my two children, our older black Lab, and our kitty. The previous owners had done very little in the way of training, but after only a day I had him on a potty routine and he has not had an accident indoors since. I know Bassetts can be difficult to housebreak, but this one was not. Perhaps it was just pure luck, but he seems very eager to please and enjoys simple praise as well as an occasional treat. He is very playful, will fetch a toy and return it to us, and absolutely LOVES to take long walks with his new family and dog companion. The two dogs will even play together with no coaxing from us. He is quiet and attentive, only barks when the older dog barks, and follows me around the house without getting underfoot. From the first night with us slept through the night, right between us on our bed. He does snore a bit when deeply asleep, so he and my husband make a great nightly concert! Seriously though, I would highly recommend this dog breed to anyone who wants a great housepet, a wonderful companion for children and adults alike, and many, many happy moments of snuggles and cuddles from a truly loving animal.

Name withheld by request of U.S. writes:

Loving, sweet, smelly, and smart (when they want to be).
We have owned Basset Hounds for twenty-plus years. They are absolutely wonderful with children and other dogs! (The only time we've ever had a problem was when we didn't purchase the pet from a reputable breeder. If you have an aggressive Basset ... it isn't the dog's fault.) Bassets don't have a mean bone in their bodies. They do shed! Their ears must be kept clean. Even as complete housedogs, they tend to be a little smelly. They are EXTREMELY SMART about getting "people food." (This is their best trick and the only one that they need only three or four practice sessions to master.) Don't expect them to do other types of tricks unless you plan to do the SAME one every day for a year (and then do reinforcement three to four times a week thereafter). Potty training requires patience and FOOD reinforcement. They have to be kept close at home. They literally "follow their noses" ... unfortunately their noses don't always lead them home. This is a wonderful breed if you have small children; don't mind a little shedding/smell (if you spend ABSOLUTELY NO time in grooming) and just want a companion whose only desire is to be with you. of Indiana writes:

One of the best breeds.
I rescued a Basset four years ago. She was shy when I got her, she wouldn't stray very far from me and stayed away from other people. But now she is my angel and loves people and kids. She is very loyal and loving but has her own way of doing things. Bassets are not the easiest dogs to train, but they make up for it in personality. They are great with kids; there has not been one recorded bite case with Bassets. They do have a few health problems and need exercise daily, but can adapt to any lifestyle. of South Carolina writes:

Great disposition.
I have a two-year-old female Basset Hound. She is friendly to everybody and to other dogs. The Basset is very patient and tolerant of my small puppy. She seems intelligent, but mine is not a great watchdog because she is so friendly. The cutest dog in the world. of Alabama writes:

Difficult to train, smelly, loud.
We owned a Basset for three years, and it was not a positive experience. She chewed on everything in sight, and it did not end with puppyhood. We had a swimming pool, and it was impossible to keep any kind of pool toy or accessory intact. She even stole my prescription sunglasses from the end table one day and proceeded to destroy them. We found it impossible to housetrain her. Even more than that, we couldn't get her to understand that she couldn't do her "business" on the wooden deck or in the pea gravel under the kids' swing set (and yes, there was a large lawn which was largely ignored). She also smelled terrible and barked excessively and so LOUD! Needless to say, she did not work in our family, and we had to give her up. of Barcelona, Spain writes:

Good dogs but difficult.
I own a six-year-old male Basset Hound. As I type, he is slumbering away at my feet, a place where he invariably seems to be no matter where I am in the house. My reasons for reviewing this breed are to advise people who may be thinking of buying a Basset to be prepared for the following: Bassets are large dogs on short legs, do not think that they are little. They are extremely stubborn and will test you regularly. Be careful when feeding. Two smaller meals twice a day are better than one large one. They are prone to bloat or twisting of the stomach, which, if not treated immediately, will kill your dog (this happened to mine last year). Ears need weekly attention and they do shed a lot. Mine sheds all year round no matter how often he is brushed. They need regular excerise to maintain weight control. Do not be fooled into thinking that because your dog likes to sleep he is lazy. My dog goes out four times a day, and enjoys each and every walk. Bassets can be aggresive. Mine detests children and large dogs and will not allow anyone to approach me if I am out for a walk unless I make it clear it's fine. If man-handled he growls with genuine menace. He, however, adores our three cats and loves to lick them if they let him. I find Basssets to be loyal, intelligent dogs, and excellent companions. It is a shame, because of their comical appearance, that people treat them as idiots and ruin an otherwise excellent animal. Treat your dog with respect, be firm, but above all be loving without babying them to death and the rewards are tremendous. of Canada writes:

Great dogs.
Our Basset is only nine months old, so I do not consider myself an expert, but I do know that we adore his little tri-colored body, from the tip of his oh-so-cold nose that finds a vulnerable place on our naked ankle when we least expect it, to the end of his astoundingly large and expressive tail.
The first thing I really noticed about him is that when we take him anywhere, which is everywhere, we end up making new friends. Some are two-legged, some are four, all are enthusiastic and are met by him with the same level of excitement and friendliness.
Our Basset is quite a bit like others I have read about, although we had very few problems with toilet training. He has a stubborn streak a mile long,and is not overly anxious to please, sometimes even if we are trying to treat him. He loves to run away, but then he has made fast friends with all, and I do mean all, of our neighbours and their pets. If we plan a fifteen-minute walk with him, we are a fool. It will easily stretch to a 45-minute meander, often through terrain that we were foolish enough to follow him through, just because he seemed so darned sure that was the way to go!
He is however, sweet to a fault, suprisingly patient for a pup, a wonderful traveller, long-suffering, remarkably resiliant, slow to anger, a fairly reasonable sleeping companion, adores children, barks little, whines little, shares his food and is ever-so-slowly beginning to come when he is called. He knows "sit, stay, come, roll-over, up, down, go, walk, bath-time, cows, horses, kitty, gotta clean your ears and where is mom, dad and grandma."
In the short time he has graced us with his presence we have formed an affection and respect for our Basset that is immeasurable, and I can only wonder why it is that this breed is so undervalued by sites that rate a dog's intelligence by some silly human scale. I wish that when we began researching dog breeds for the kind we wanted, they had not underplayed the Basset's intelligence. 'Cause he can outthink his people about three ways to Sunday! of England writes:

Basset Hounds take over your life &shyp; you'll never want another breed.
Our was a brilliant guard dog (that deep bark is a great deterrent to burglars), 100 percent loyal, very stubborn; he liked his home comforts (namely the sofa and bed if possible). When we had our first child, our dog was six, from the day we brought him home, the dog was his protector. Later, both our children could play safely in the front garden, with our dog barking if any adult stopped by the gate. I could never go back to any other breed. Bassets take over your life. He got cantankerous and tired as he got older, but I still miss him every day. of Standish, ME writes:

The "sweet" in sweetheart &shyp; Basset Hounds are it.
I have a two-year-old, 45-pound, tri-color female Basset Hound. She is the love of our family. She is intelligent and snuggly, easily one of the best dogs our family has ever had the pleasure of adopting. She loves our cats and even our fourteen-year-old German Shepherd mix male who wasn't all that friendly until we got her. They are now attached at the hip at all times. She was difficult to potty train at first and even now when she is angry at you she has a "premeditated" accident on our bedroom floor, but she hasn't been really that destructive, except the time she pulled the crockpot off the counter and ate the entire roast, we aren't counting that incident because we were able to get a new kitchen floor (minor damage really, the house didn't burn down or anything). All kidding aside (no, she really did that) she loves everyone even when she is begging my husband in the morning to get up and let her out, then falls asleep in his space in bed or when she is asking to go out at the back door and when you get up (finally) she then runs to her treat box as if to say "Oh, while your up!" Even with all those things, we love her with all our heart. She loves to take walks and actually chases a tennis ball (and brings it back to you, I kid you not!). I would recommend a Basset Hound to those with patience, a sense of humor and those who love to have children in the house, Because when she finally falls asleep at 9pm sharp, we smile down at our little angel and threaten the rest of the family not to wake her up or make any noise at all, unless it's to kiss her nose which we can't help doing. I am serious, though, when I say that I love my Basset Hound and wouldn't want to be without one, ever. of Colorado writes:

Cute n' loving.
I love my three-year-old Basset, because she is not aggressive at all, she is good with children, she is the most loving and loyal dog I have ever had, and is so very cute. I highly reccommend this dog.

Name withheld by request of Mississippi writes:

The best friend I have ever had.
We got our Basset seven years ago and I have never regretted it since that great day. We loved him so much that we got another one; she was also a great dog, too. I don't care what people say about their stubborness, they are the best dogs we have ever owned. That is why we have had six Bassett Hounds over the past twenty years. They are great pets for a kid to have, even if they don't play a lot, they are so gentle and caring to people. Now they may not like to sleep on the floor (ours have two couches a bed and some pillows) but other than that they are the best breed of dog I have ever had. of Texas writes:

Bassets own you!
I have owned my Basset for three years now. She is truly the best friend I have ever had. Although stubborn, she has a way to make my worst days turn out to be my best. Bassets have a strong aura about them that I cannot explain in words. Once they look at you with those sad eyes, you just want to melt. I have had many dogs and she is undoubtedly the best breed I have had the pleasure of raising. I strongly recommend this breed to anyone who does not want a highly active dog, but a loving companion.

Name withheld by request of Fort Collins, CO writes:

Pure love and friendship.
I have a sixteen-year-old, yes sixteen-year-old, Basset that is a wonderful companion. She is stubborn and surprisingly brave. She is completely incapable of biting or hurting anybody friendly, but responds when she doesn't recognize a smell or sound. When my brother brought his four-month-old son home for Christmas, she immediately recognized him as family and would lie by him, I think guarding him, as he lay on a blanket. Great dogs, period. of Lewisville, TX writes:

Most lovable dog on earth.
I have a male Basset eleven months old and a whopping 70 pounds of pure love and devotion. He is spoiled to the core. He wakes me at 5:30am by jumping onto my bed and laying on me, all the while looking in my face and saying, "It's me daddy, do ya wanna get up huh, do ya, ya know ya do and could ya feed me, huh, could ya, daddy?" I absolutely love this dog! My whole family loves him. He is full of energy and loves to go for walks where he can use that big sniffer of his. He is great with all kids and people. Contrary to what some people think, he is not oily and odorous. Just like people, they need a bath on occasion. They require a lot of touchy-feely love and in return will give you back ten times the enjoyment and love. I highly recommend this breed to anyone who wants a low-slung, big loving dog. They do get big so they can unintentionally knock down small children when playing. Hey, it's not their fault, they just love everyone! of St. Louis, MO writes:

Our Basset Hound was very stubborn, very smart and VERY loveable.
We adopted our Basset Hound when she was about 18 months old. She had many bad habits when we got her. She would pull tablecloths off the table and towels off the towel racks. It turned out her former owners would use these types of items to play tug-of-war. She was also only partially housebroken, and would steal food from our plates while we were sitting right there! We were able to finally break her of these bad habits. She remained a food thief all her life but became much less brazen about it. She could open any garbage can that she came across, including the one shut up under the kitchen sink! Despite these shortcomings, she was a wonderful companion, funny and always loveable. She was very gentle and forgiving of rough treatment. As our kids got older and came home after school by themselves she was there to greet them. She had a very loud bark and would scare away anyone who came to the door who did not know her. (These dogs have a VERY loud bark and use it liberally.) As gentle as she was, I'm sure she would have protected any of us if she felt we were threatened. Basset Hounds are not for someone who wants a dog that is eager to please and is easily trained. These dogs are intelligent, clever and interested in following their own noses. It does take an easy-going family, or person, to adapt to these dogs because they are not going to adapt to you.
As far as health care and grooming goes, this dog loved to be combed. She was prone to ear infections and needed her ears cleaned regularly. She also developed skin allergies and cysts which needed to be removed periodically as she got older. She developed lung problems at the age of twelve and we recently had to have the vet put her to sleep. We miss her very much. In summary, I'd say that Basset Hounds are loveable, somewhat selfish dogs that require loveable, unselfish owners. of Texas writes on 8/6/01:

Medium sized dog with EXTRA LARGE personality!
I have had one Bassett Hound for about two years. He is literally my baby. I received him and three of his siblings when they were two weeks old and bottle fed them for six weeks until they were weaned. This was an effort to releive the mother from the strain of nursing so many puppies. During this time, he adopted me. I found that he and I were very much alike. He was a very active dog and very eager to please. However, he was prone to short bouts of stubbornness. The most difficult task was housebreaking. I have been told that this is indicative of the breed. But he and I made it through it all. I personally have had no trouble with him running away. But remember, Bassetts are scent hounds and do have a tendency to follow their nose. When taking them for a walk, they should be controlled. If you do not have the luxury of a dog who responds to voice commands, then please be responsible and keep them on a leash.
He was finally housebroken, HE created a schedule for walks. He wakes me every morning at 5:30 AM to eat breakfast and go for a walk. He is very persistant if I do not rise from bed in a timely manner.
He has been great with other animals and all people. I've never seen him display any aggression. But he was socialized or introduced to people and other animals on a regular basis from an early age. When looking to adopt an adult dog, find out what environment he or she is accustomed to and use your HEAD instead of your HEART to decide if you can provide that environment in your home.
I have had many breeds of dogs since childhood and I have found that I enjoy the personality and characteristics of Bassets more than others. From my heart, I must say, that in having any animal, you must be willing to make a committment to that animal that you will give 100% of your patience. If you are not willing to shed tears, experience heartache, and test your patience, don't get any animal. Don't get an animal because you want a companion, get an animal so you can BE a companion.

Name withheld by rquest of El Dorado, KS writes on 4/24/01:

Best dog I've owned.
We had our first Basset for almost nine years and had rescue her from a humane society with no guarantee that she would live due to her having severe diarrhea and was not eating well. But you would of never guest that after a year. We did found out that she had a corn intolerance. She was very smart but didn't do tricks; she figured out how to open doors, push chairs away from the dining room table to got to the cookies and butter, and she was great at opening Tupperware containers with out leaving teeth marks. She was very popular in the neighborhoods we llived in. There she had the preschoolers come to the door and ask "Can Muffin come out to play." Her favorite activities were going for car rides, going for a walk, playing with kids, and taking naps on the couch. This is the best dog I have ever seen around kids at any age they could do anything to her and she would just take it. they could even give a treat and take it out of her mouth while she is eating it and give back to her. I saw this happen with the same dog biscuit given and taken away from her about 8 times with a four year old and a one year old.

Name withheld by request of Seattle, WA writes on 3/8/01:

Really cute but not a good house pet.
I adopted a 2 year old dog from a family in the neighborhood. She was really cute but I found out that these dogs have a tendency to have oily skin (bad body odor), a desire to follow their noses (run away), and little desire to please (hard to train). This dog also had a food sensitivity to corn products and required a special diet, which was pretty easy to accomodate. This particular dog was not very good with young children either-- she did not like to play and she was very clumsy, always stepping on human feet which would make the kids cry. Basset's also seem to have a fear of things falling on them and get nervous when a child sits near them. And, if you have very young children, at some point, you will have to make a decision to either chase after an escaping dog or watch after your children's safety. The woman at the Basset rescue organization told me that to train a Basset you must first think like a Basset - funny, I thought that dogs were suppose to be companions to humans not vice versa. of Poplar, WI writes on 11/10/00:

A genuine pet.
I own a Bassett Hound and she's my baby. Her name is Askher. (People have asked me "what's your dogs name" and I reply: Well, ask her. Get it? ASK HER (Askher).
She is loved very much and I stongly feel that she understands what you say at times. Once I was talking on the phone and I happend to mention to the person on the phone that I was taking Askher for a walk, and when I was done talking, and as soon as I got off the phone, she was just jumping and looking at the door before I got her walking leash. (She sees the blue leash in my hand, she knows that she's going for a walk or a ride). Its like she will understand what I'm saying or even before I decide to take her for a ride or walk at the last minute with out planning to take her, she seems to know ASAP that she's going somewhere. Sometimes I think she's telapathic. (not for real, but its amazing how she does that). Its like she'll know before I know or even decide to take her with me.
She is a wonderful pet and adds laughter to mine and my husbands home. of Waghram, NC writes on 10/6/00:

Great dog.
The Basset Hound is a great dog because it saved my life. I was in a burnig building and the dog turned into Superman and pulled me out. of Lancaster, PA writes on 3/30/99:

The friendliest, most gentle animal on the planet.
Our Bassetis a true member of our family. How many other dogs can you find snuggled up on the couch with a 7 year old girl, a cat and a bunny rabbit. He loves people .... he won't even bark when someone comes to the door. He welcomes them with a wagging tail and my wife swears he's smilling. He's not lazy nor rambunctous. A true a Basset kind of way. We take him everywhere we go. of Oklahoma writes on 3/30/99:

A loveable darling pal.
We have owned two Bassets in the last ten years. Our Basset is entertaining and oh so much fun to be with. He has a boyishly cute face and can run like the wind! He loves to play with our horses and cattle. They run and play together every day. I would strongly recommend this breed to any family. of the UK writes on 2/5/00:

Loveable, faithfull, naughty - but nice.
You either love them or hate them. I have had six Bassets to date and have three at the moment so I guess i love them. As a school boy i always wanted one it was my ambition to own one someday.
I remember when i was thirteen I was bought a pair of hush puppy shoes by my parents and there was a picture of a Basset on the box thay came in, And that was it for me, I knew I just had to own a Basset one day. The Basset Hound is loveable, soft, and naughty - but nice, Thay like their home comforts. They will get on the sofa and sleep in your bed (if you let them). They will take you for long walks. To take three Basset Hounds for a walk is a bit like organized chaos.

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