Basset Hounds: A Laid-Back and Friendly Breed
The Basset Hound is one of the friendliest and most laid-back bloodhound breeds in the world. With their short legs and long bodies, this Anglo-French breed is unmistakable. In this article, we’ll tell you all about Basset Hounds.
A brief history of the Basset Hound
The Basset Hound gets its name from the old Gallic word, meaning, “small”. This “small hound” is a noble breed, and a descendant of the bloodhound or the St. Hubert Hound. St. Hubert was a nobleman who greatly enjoyed hunting, and became the patron saint of hunters and dogs.
The Basset Hound originally came about by crossing short-legged hounds with the Basset Artésien Normand. Because of their superior tracking skills, France began to export Basset Hounds to nobility across Europe in the 19th Century.
Lord Galway imported a pair of Basset Hounds to England in 1866. Basset and Belle came from the well-respected breeder, the Count of le Coutulex. The pair had five puppies, thus giving birth to the first English Basset Hounds in history.
He continued to breed them until 1872, when he sold the entire pack of Basset Hounds to Lord Onslow. While it might have originally come from France, people often consider the Basset Hound to be a British breed.
Basset Hounds: characteristics
The most distinctive features of the Basset Hound’s appearance are its long body (which measures approximately 15″), unusually short legs, and coat color (black, tan and white). Their long ears are another of their most noticeable characteristics, and can even reach down to the floor. They have wrinkles around the head and face, which gives them a rather doleful expression.
With their thick, stocky frame, you could be forgiven for thinking that these dogs are overweight. But although they might move slowly, they are not in the least bit clumsy. Because their bodies are so long, when they stand up on their hind legs, they can actually reach far higher than other dogs of the same height.
Basset Hounds are well-known for their great strength and endurance and can track prey across difficult terrain. They weigh approximately 66 lbs and live up to around 12 years.
This breed is really versatile, and they can be used for all sorts of things. They are primarily used as hunting dogs, especially for hunting hare and rabbits, as well as pheasants and grouse. However, these affectionate dogs also make perfect pets for people with small children.
Basset Hounds: behavior and temperament
With their sad, almost mournful expression and their long, dangling ears, these dogs get everything they want. They adapt well to most households, and have a fairly high tolerance level, so they are the perfect playmates for young children.
Basset Hounds generally get on well with other dogs, and even with cats. They make good guard dogs, and have a deep, sonorous bark. Obviously, however, they’ll never be quite as adept as breeds such as Dobermans or Shetland Sheepdogs.
While they can be a little stubborn, these dogs are laid back and friendly. Loyal, loving and playful, Basset Hounds prefer a good meal and a long nap to a long walk in the park. As a result, you might find they need a little encouragement to get them to do exercise, and prevent them from putting on weight. It’s important to stick to the daily recommended amount of food.
Because they can be stubborn and don’t always follow orders, they are often considered an unintelligent breed. However, this isn’t the case. They can track, have great confidence in their abilities, and can make decisions independently. These hunting dogs have strong natural instincts which means they will chase and sniff everything.
The most common health problems associated with this breed (aside from obesity) are conjunctivitis and glaucoma. If they climb stairs or jump too often, they can also develop spinal problems and herniated discs.
Their ears also need additional care, to help keep them clean. Their shape and size mean they can get dirty easily, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria and humidity in their ears.
So, if you’re thinking about adopting a dog, why not adopt a Basset Hound? These dogs are so beautiful, that even Shakespeare couldn’t resist mentioning them in his work: “Their heads are hung with ears that sweep away the morning dew. Crook-knee’d, and dew-lapped like Thessalian bulls; slow in pursuit, but match’d in mouth like bells“.