The Basset Hound is a medium-sized domesticated dog with short, muscular legs and a pair of long drooping ears. Basset Hounds are very long in the body. In fact, they are longer than they are tall and their legs have the thickest bones of any dog of this size.
The Basset Hound is related to the Bloodhound. They are equipped with a short and smooth coat, with rolling loose skin and big floppy ears.
Basset Hounds have been around for many years with mentions of the breed stretching back to the 16th Century. First developed in France for as a curiosity, the breed was very popular with the aristocracy. Although short, the Basset Hound would allow its owner to follow close behind on foot, removing the need for poorer hunters to own a horse.
The Basset Hound is a very independent breed, showing more interest in pleasing itself rather than striving for the affections of its owner. Training can be a chore with the breed and it’s common that instructions will be acknowledged at the dog’s own pace or simply ignored. They have a great reputation for getting on well with other animals around the house, however, even cats.
Like a number of shorter breeds, bred especially for their stout stature, the Basset Hound can experience problems with its joints and back in later life. They are also prone to gaining a lot of weight, especially if spoilt. Regular exercise is a must for this dog.
Because the Basset Hound was developed to hunt small game like rabbits they can often be a handful while taking them on walks. If let off the lead, Basset Hounds will tend to chase other small dogs or wild animals, sometimes even cars.
The average Basset Hound will measure between 30 to 38cm and a healthy example should weigh between 18 to 27kgs. Basset Hounds will live to the age of between 11 and 12 years.
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Basset Hounds have a wonderful reputation for a placid, calm and largely good-natured disposition. Of a hunting background, the Basset Hound is very loyal dog, often well-behaved and peaceful when cohabitating with other pets.
They are known for their fierce independence, however, and their stubbornness can often lead to difficulties around training and everyday discipline. While Basset hounds will often just suit themselves rather than obey commands, they’re not trying to displease their owner. The breed is very sensitive to its owner’s mood and if good training, routine and discipline standards are in place, Basset Hounds will excel.
A close relative of the Bloodhound, the Basset Hound can become easily distracted by interesting scents and ignore everything else. It’s important for the owner to be patient as the breed are naturally inquisitive and following smells is a great way for Basset Hounds to get the mental stimulation they need.
Basset Hounds are very affectionate with children. They are very calm and peaceful dogs and show a great deal of patience and tolerance when being played with. Small children should be supervised, however, as the Basset Hound will not stand for any abuse.
Although training an independent dog, if approached correctly the task is very achievable. It’s a common belief that the Basset Hound isn’t as intelligent as other breeds, but this simply isn’t the case. Good clear instructions, consistent discipline and a training regime in an area free of distraction is the best thing you can do for your Basset Hound.
Be careful when taking this breed for walks in public. Because of their hunting background, when let off the lead Basset Hounds will tend to wander; following their nose, tracking and even chasing small animals.
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It’s believed that the Basset Hound is a direct descendent of the St. Hubert Hound, the ancestor of the Bloodhound.
Basset Hounds, basset meaning ‘low’, come from France. Their short and stocky physique was developed primarily for the aristocracy as a companion dog and later for hunting. They were a popular hunting breed for those who could not afford to hunt on horseback as the Basset Hound could be followed on foot.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the Basset Hound came to England with Lord Galway however he didn’t show the dog and the breed remained quite unknown in Britain.
In 1874 Sir Everett Millais introduced his Basset Hound to England and began to promote the breed to his countrymen. He is considered to be the real ‘father of the Basset Hound’ among British breeders and fanciers.
The American Kennel Club registered its first Basset Hounds in 1885 and it is widely believed that the breed had probably been introduced to the colonies long before this time. In 1928 Time Magazine featured a Basset Hound on its cover and the breed began to see a lot more interest from breeders and the general public alike. The 1960s saw Hush Puppy Shoes incorporate the Basset Hound into its brand and the breed became even more recognisable in a short period of time.
Considering its rather underwhelming beginnings abroad, the Basset Hound is today a very popular breed, especially in the United States. It is currently ranked as the 28th most popular breed of dog of the 155 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club.