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The charming and easily identifiable Basset Hound is a perennial favorite among dog lovers worldwide. This low-slung and low-key dog might be stubborn at times but is always endearing.
Some Basset Hounds are dignified, but the vast majority are clownish. Almost all are consistently good-natured, friendly, and calm with strangers, children, and other pets.
However, they are not the easiest breed to live with or train. Wanna know why?
This article will discuss Basset Hounds, their history, personality, appearance, and more. If you want to know more about this breed, read on to continue.
Basset Hound History
The Saint Hubert Hound of France was the model for numerous hounds, notably the short-legged Basset Hound. However, the latter is said to have originated from a mutation in the litters of Norman Staghounds, a descendant of the Saint Hubert's Hound.
During the 16th-century, hunters who walk on their feet require a slow-moving dog who could keep up with them. The Basset breed is one of those breeds; thus, they quickly gained their popularity.
However, in the 1800s, England fine-tuned many of the short, bowlegged French hunting dogs and Basset Hounds we know today.
People eventually brought the Basset Hound to the United Kingdom and the United States. And in 1885, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the first Basset Hound, Bouncer's dog.
Time Magazine even featured the breed in 1928 as their cover to promote the 52nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden.
This tale catapulted Basset into a new era of fame. Hush Puppy made them their mascot in the 1960s, cementing their status as house pets.
And from then, Basset Hounds became one of the most coveted dog breeds to have in every family's home.
Basset Hound Hunting Skills
Basset Hounds are dog breeds bred to hunt smaller animals, primarily foxes, badgers, and rabbits.
Their low-set bodies made them perfect for this type of hobby. It allows them to remain hidden in the foliage and avoid alerting the animals to their presence.
Basset Hounds are related to other Scenthounds, such as the Bloodhound. Unlike Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds were for hunting animals like wild boars and deer.
On the other hand, Basset Hounds travels slow yet easy. Unlike other dogs, their body is for endurance rather than speed.
The breed's scenting skill is also remarkable. A Basset Hound's nose is said to be the most accurate among dogs, just second to Bloodhounds.
They also have strong pack hound characteristics and tend to move in groups. When hunting and smelling out their prey, they cooperate very effectively together.
Basset Hound Personality
Despite their appearance, Basset Hounds are dogs developed for endurance and stamina. Their ability to zero in on a smell and follow it for hours made them an excellent choice for hunters.
Though they are still commonly used as pack-hunting dogs, today's Basset Hounds are just as happy with a long stroll followed by a day of lazing around the house.
According to the BHCA's breed guide, Basset Hounds are patient, loyal, and loving dogs. Although raised as pack dogs, they quickly get along with other pets (e.g., dogs and cats) and prefer to be around people at all times.
When socialized with other dogs, they may be somewhat playful. Their mild temperament and all-around friendliness make them ideal for families with children.
However, don't anticipate much from Basset Hounds when it comes to guarding your house. Their friendliness makes them believe that everyone can be their friend, including the random ice cream vendor on the street.
On the other hand, training a Basset Hound may be a time-consuming process. Although these dogs are clever, they are emotionally sensitive too.
Basset Hounds will quickly shut you out once you behave towards them roughly.
Basset Hound Appearance
The Basset Hound is one of the most well-known breeds because of its long droopy face. They have a big domed head with long sorrowful eyes and long wrinkled face, giving the breed the appearance of a sad clown.
Unlike other dogs, their looks are not darling and adorable, but that's what makes them famous.
Basset Hounds are also known for their short legs. They are small and cute, just like the breed itself.
However, don't be fooled by their tiny legs. These dogs are not as “tiny” as you think.
Although they only stand around 15 inches from the ground, Basset Hounds are big canines that weigh up to 65 to 70 pounds. This heavy-boned breed features a large body with short legs, long floppy ears, and a medium-long tail.
A Basset Hound's physical features also make them perfect for work as a scent-tracking hound.
Their skin is flexible and elastic, and it has folds that can catch odors; hence, once they move, their large ears bring these scents from the ground up to their nose. In addition, their big feet and low-slung physique provide them with exceptional stability while moving over uneven terrain.
On the other hand, the Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA) recognizes five primary color patterns:
- Tricolor (black, tan, and white)
- Black and white
- Brown and white
- Red and white
- Lemon and white
Although their coat is short and stiff, it is dense enough to keep them warm for hours in every condition.
Basset Hound Grooming
As I mentioned above, Basset Hounds have a short and stiff coat. However, that doesn't mean that they don't need grooming.
Basset Hounds need to be brushed often, just like other dogs. Brushing allows you to examine their skin for any irritations, remove dead hair, and evenly distribute the natural oils in their coat.
It also helps them from frequent shedding by maintaining your Basset Hound's coat glossy and gorgeous. We recommend using a rubber curry brush to loosen and remove dead hair, followed by a soft bristle brush to smooth down their fur.
On the other hand, some people claim that Basset Hounds have a more pungent odor than other breeds. And this is primarily due to the multiple skin folds in their body.
The spit, food, sweat, or water that gets on their coat gets trapped in their skin folds. Resulting in the dog's pungent odor.
Thus, it's a good idea to wash your dog now and then. Aside from bathing your Basset Hounds, it would be best to clean their mouth with a dog toothbrush to reduce bacteria growth.
Basset Hounds are one of the easiest breeds to groom, so there's no need for them to have a groomer.
However, don't let this stop you from splurging them. If you want to give your Basset Hound the best grooming care, then please do so.
Basset Hound Care
Basset Hounds are one of the most adaptable dogs. They can live in a variety of environments due to their easy-going and mild-tempered nature.
They're perfect for first-time dog parents who are still discerning if they can handle a dog or not. This breed is content as long as they have moderate exercise, long hours of rest, and a proper diet.
However, due to their laid-back demeanor, Basset Hounds are susceptible to obesity and other underlying conditions that come with it. That's why you have to keep your Basset Hounds healthy and active.
Speaking of active, did you know that Basset Hounds love to keep their paws hot and about?
Despite their sluggish pace, Basset Hounds are trained historically as hunters due to their incredible ability to track scents. They come in second with Bloodhound as the best tracking dog.
“They're low to the ground, and they have short legs—they're not going to take off,” Kilcommons says. “But they were bred to hunt rabbits. They'll get a scent, and all of a sudden, they're on autopilot.”
Thus, if you can, take your Basset Hounds on a hike at least once a week so they can explore nature freely.
However, during your hikes, don't expect your Basset Hounds to climb over tree trunks. Due to their weight and size, they are prone to accidents and many joint problems such as Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) and Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD).
Consequently, if you have an elevated area in your house (e.g., stairways or porch), you must limit your Basset Hounds from climbing up and down. It would be best if you carry them onto and off these spaces, especially those taller than them.
Basset Hound Health
Compared to other dogs, Basset Hounds are more susceptible to various illnesses and impairments due to several reasons.
However, adequate health screening of Basset Hound parents lowers the likelihood of their offspring inheriting them. Nonetheless, here are some of the common health problems that can happen to a Basset Hound.
#1: Elbow and Hip Dysplasia
Dysplasia is a hereditary disease that affects your dog's elbow and hip joints.
Its symptoms usually show during the dog's developmental stage when one tissue strays from normal development. Thus, as your dogs grow older, they will eventually develop arthritis, leading to osteoarthritis and many more.
According to an OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) study, 15% of 40 Basset Hound dogs had this issue. Although the condition is mainly inherited, other factors can also cause it, such as obesity and lack of physical activity.
In Basset Hounds, the symptoms appear around the age of six months. They include limping, aches, difficulty walking, and insensitivity to any exertion or activity.
Furthermore, they may also have a problem lying down or rising, as well as limb lameness.
To save your Basset Hound from acquiring this disease, always verify the screening report of their parent dogs. A balanced diet and adequate exercise will also prevent them from getting the disease.
Arthritis therapy may be an option, but it is only successful if started early. Surgery happens in severe conditions to save the dog's life.
Although Basset Hounds are hunting dogs trained for stamina, they are notoriously sluggish indoors. They would prefer to lie around rather than undertake many exercises unless they are encouraged to do so.
As a result, they would gain weight, possibly leading to obesity.
Obesity is a progressive condition that demands a proper diet and regular exercise. If not treated appropriately, it would lead to severe illnesses involving heart, digestive, and musculoskeletal issues.
Schedule a consultation with your veterinarian immediately if your Basset Hound suffers from obesity.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is also one of the conditions Basset Hounds suffer from.
It is an inflammatory disorder that causes abnormal cartilage growth at the end of their bone joint. It most often affects the shoulder joint, although it can also impact the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle).
The cause for OCD is yet unknown. However, it is more frequent in dogs that consume an excessive amount of energy and calcium.
Other reasons that may contribute to it include heredity, fast development, trauma, a lack of blood supply, and hormonal issues.
In addition, OCD is more prevalent among male dogs in ages 6 to 9 months.
They initially suffer from frequent limping in the affected limb or legs. As much as possible, these dogs try to avoid bearing weight on the affected limb.
The dog frequently screams in agony when the attending veterinarian pressures the affected area during an orthopedic examination.
Medications are available to relieve the inflammation. But the veterinarian will advise them to undergo surgery when the case is severe.
#4: Glaucoma Disease
Glaucoma is a genetic eye condition that can rapidly lead to a Basset Hound's blindness for one or both eyes.
It primarily occurs when the drainage system of your dog's eye is not functioning correctly. As a result, it will create pressure in the eyes, deteriorating the optic nerves and retina.
The degeneration process causes partial or complete blindness in dogs.
To save your dog, beware of the following symptoms that appear on their eyes:
- corneal bluing;
- swollen or bulging eye;
- watery or teary ducts;
- redness of the blood vessels; and
- signs of vision loss
If your Basset Hound has Glaucoma, they will require annual screening to receive early intervention. However, if your dog's case is severe, they might need surgery to save their sight.
Entropion is a condition in dogs where their eyelids party or entirely bend inwards, irritating the eyes. As a result, it causes excruciating discomfort in dogs, leading to corneal ulcers, perforation, and scar tissues.
Furthermore, Entropion symptoms in dogs are eye scratching, excessive weeping, eyelid spasms, and ocular discharges that contain blood or pus.
If your Basset Hound is diagnosed with Entropion, they will require frequent visits to their veterinarian, as well as surgery in the future.
Assuming you want to add a Basset Hound to your household, I hope this article provided you with all of the knowledge you need.
Adopting a new pet is an extensive choice, and it needs to be studied well, especially if it's your first time being a fur parent.
The Basset Hound is a free-spirited creature with a lot of affection and love to share. This breed may require more attention and patience than others.
They may be little in height, but they have a rich history and proficient hunting skills.
Their devotion, on the other hand, knows no bounds. The Basset Hound is ideal for families with children since they can be kind and tolerant.
The Basset Hound is delighted to assist families with dogs who are searching for canine companionship. If you have the means, open your house to the Basset Hound, and they will fill it with a lot of love.