After the French Revolution, this smart-nosed, low-speed breed helped commoners—who often didn't own horses—track down rabbits and other small game on foot. Thus, the Basset Hound was originally a hunting dog for commoners.
The “basset” in Basset Hound means “dwarf” or “low thing” in French, and “low” accurately describes this dog's stature and energy-level. Their laid-back attitudes and patience with small, potentially ear-pulling children make Basset Hounds an ideal breed for families with young ones. However, as with any dog, it's best to supervise small children and discourage rough-play. Bassets are also known to speak their minds and were nominated by Vetstreet veterinarians as one of the 12 most talkative dog breeds.
Originally from France, this medium-sized breed can grow to between 40-60 pounds and lives an average of 12-15 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Hound group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 25
AREA OF ORIGIN France
DATE OF ORIGIN 1500s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION trailing rabbits and hare
TODAY'S FUNCTION trailing rabbits and hare, field trials, basset field trials
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: <14 Weight: 40-60
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: <14 Weight: 40-60
OTHER NAME none
Energy level Low energy
Exercise needs Low
Playfullness Not very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BASSET HOUND'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Basset Hounds are devoted to their chosen people. This dog is smart, friendly, and easygoing, though not exuberantly affectionate. They are good with other dogs and pets, and either indifferent or friendly toward strangers.
WHAT IS BASSET HOUND BEHAVIOR LIKE?
With a Basset Hound in your home, you will always know when someone's at the door. Bassets can be barky and often bay loudly, which is great while you're hunting, but perhaps less than ideal for backyard barbecues. They're not especially protective.
Basset Hounds don't require strenuous workouts, but a daily walk (even if it's just around the block) is important to keep them happy, healthy, and abreast of neighborhood smells.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BASSET HOUND?
Basset Hounds are very easy to train, though they can be stubborn. A methodical approach to training that uses food as rewards will work best with this breed. Their acute sense of smell makes them prone to following their noses, so be sure to work on recall early and often.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BASSET HOUNDS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Basset Hounds' short coat is tight and thick. They are moderate, seasonal shedders with relatively few grooming needs. Their coats are short and relatively low maintenance — an occasional bath should keep them looking sharp. Check, clean, and dry their wrinkles and mouths often.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BASSET HOUNDS HAVE?
This breed is generally healthy. Keep an eye out for signs of hip and elbow dysplasia or kneecap displacement. Some develop glaucoma, hypothyroidism, or blood-clotting disorders, but these are relatively uncommon.
Their low energy means they rely on you to set their activity schedules; make sure they get regular exercise, as Basset Hounds tend toward obesity. Feeding your baby Basset Hound a growth food for large-breed puppies may slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature which may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE BASSET HOUNDS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Basset Hounds among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Basset Hound! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT'S A BASSET HOUND'S BEST DAY?
Breakfast. Exploring a new forest. Snack. More exploration. Lunch. Baying contest at the dog park. Snack. Nap wherever she lays. Huge dinner. Let this puppy sing and eat, though you'll want to avoid feeding her as much as she actually wants.
SHOULD I ADOPT A BASSET HOUND?
They're equally suited for warm and cold climates, so weather needn't be a factor in this decision.
Your Basset Hound is not an ideal training partner while you prep for your next marathon and their vocal approach to life may prove problematic for apartment-living. While their low-key approach to life might make them ideal napping buddies, they're not likely to curl up on your lap. But if your busy lifestyle includes boisterous little folks who need a patient canine companion to plod along beside them on short walks and trips to the park, or if you're looking for a keen scent-hound to hunt small game with, a Basset Hound could be better than best for your home.
Have you decided that a Basset Hound is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.