Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Hounds > Basset Hound

Basset Hound

Quick Checklist
with kids
with seniors
with other animals
Training Needs
Grooming Needs
Size: Medium (25 to 60 lbs.)
Lifespan: Medium (8 to 12 years)
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Housepet History:

Basset hounds are a short-legged, long-backed breed in the scent hound family, similar to Bloodhounds, Beagles, and American Foxhounds, who get their name from the French word for "low." Bassets are still used today for hunting rabbits, with a nose only second in superlative to the Bloodhound. Bassets are friendly, lovable family pets good with kids and other animals, and are less energetic in general than their cousins (which also makes them an option as a companion for the elderly). Scent hounds as a group are characterized by sensitive sniffers, deep, loud barks, endurance and stamina over long distances, and long, droopy ears. Even as pets, these dogs are happiest in packs and, when outdoors, will actively seek out a trail to follow--even digging out of your yard to get at one. Basset Hounds are gentle, loving family pets incapable of biting, but will "talk" and use their sad brown eyes to beg for food and affection.

Famous Basset Hounds include: Droopy Dog; Fred from Smokey and the Bandit; Rosebud the Basselope from Bloom County; and Sherlock, to whom Elvis sang "Hound Dog" on live TV in the 60s.

General Care

Basset Hounds are called "captivatingly clownish", intelligent, inquisitive, and good-natured by veteran owners, and are generally low-maintenance pets with few grooming and exercise needs (although they do drool and slobber much like Bloodhounds). Scent hounds in general, however, are difficult to obedience train, and as puppies, Basset Hounds will follow their nose into trouble and will eat anything in sight, often causing frantic and expensive trips to the vet. Patience, calm and gentle consistency must be used when training a Basset Hound, and as a breed they are notoriously difficult to housebreak. Luckily, because of their short legs, they are less of risk off-leash than their cousins the Bloodhound and Beagle, but will need a boost getting up onto laps, furniture, and maybe even into bed! Common health problems include obesity, gastrointestinal issues, and ear infections. Their droopy ears and eyes need to be cleaned often, and their nails need to be trimmed more often than other breeds. Rescue organizations cite frequent barking from separation anxiety as the most common reason Bassets are surrendered.

For more information on Basset Hound ownership and care, check out All Bassets Cherisched (ABC) Basset Hound Rescue.

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