Breed Type: Hound
Country of Origin: Great Britain and France
Popular Names: Hush Puppy, Badger Dog, Basset
Height: (At the withers) Males 30 – 38 cm, Females 28 – 36 cm
Weight: Males 25 – 34 kg, Females 20 – 29 kg
Best suited as: Pet, show, or hunting
Lifespan: 13-15 years
This is the most common of all the basset-types. Basset comes from the French word “bas,” (low) and the suffix “-et” which makes the word mean “rather low.”
These are long, low dogs with short wrinkled legs. Their short legs are caused by a form of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. They have large heads with very loose skin that hangs in folds around the face. They have dewlaps and droopy eyes. This can make them look sad and adds to their charm. Their noses are very long and their necks are wider than their heads. Their ears are the longest of all the basset-types. The ears should meet past the nose when held straight out. These long ears help to catch the scent of prey by “stirring up the scent” which then gets caught in the folds of the facial skin and then transmitted to the nose.
Their eyes are dark and soft and add to their appeal since they look so gentle and kind. Their tails are long and curved and held high over their backs. Their feet are large that seem out of proportion with the rest of the body. Their short, smooth water-resistant fur lays flat against the body. They come in red and white, lemon, black and white, mahogany, and tri-colour.
In the 1500s these dogs were called Badger Hunters. They were developed by the Friars of the Abby of St Hubert in France in the 6th century. The intention was to create a smart, slow-moving hound that hunters could use while on foot instead of horseback. They were developed from Bloodhounds and specifically bred to be low-set. The first written mention of these dogs appeared in 1585. They were used to hunt badgers, pheasants, squirrels, rabbits, fox, racoons, wild boar, wolf, and deer. They were favoured by aristocrats and commoners alike.
By the mid-1800s, there were two main breeders in France and they were producing two different types: one with a broader skull, rounder eyes, and shorter ears in a lemon and white colour; and one with narrower skull, softer eye, and tri-coloured. The tri-coloured ones were produced by Count Le Couteulx and were more sought after. Several British breeders imported some of the Bassets to England and began a selective breeding program. In the 1880s the breed finally gained popularity there when Queen Alexandra added some to her royal kennels.
Famous owners of Basset Hounds include George Washington, Napolean, Clint Eastwood, and Marilyn Monroe. Basset Hounds appear in the American television shows Columbo, and the Dukes of Hazzard. Elvis Presley sang “Hound Dog” to a Basset on stage.
They are loyal, affectionate, and active dogs that enjoy living, playing, and working with other dogs and people. They are ideal family companions and love people of all ages. They can be difficult to train due to their independence. Positive reinforcement doesn’t always work with these dogs, since they have a low desire to please their owners. This makes them able to walk all over meek or inexperienced trainers. Ongoing, consistent training works the best.
They have very strong hunting instincts and will take off after a scent no matter how well-trained you think they are, so they must always be kept on leash when in unfenced areas. They are never aggressive with other dogs or animals and actually prefer to have a canine companion if their owners are away a lot. They get bored and lonely quite easily and this can result in destructive behaviour, barking and howling, and other undesirable behaviours.
They are a very vocal breed and will bark or howl to alert you that something is amiss. They may bark when a stranger comes to the home, but will merrily greet that person, so don’t rely on them to be guard dogs. They have a characteristic low murmuring sound they make to get your attention or ask for treats. They become very attached to their owners and will selflessly love all members of the family, especially children. They make great companions for kids of all ages.
Care and Grooming
Basset Hounds have higher-than-normal care and grooming requirements compared to some other breeds. Their long pendant ears get no air flow so extra care must be taken to make sure they are clean and dry at all times. The ears must be cleaned out every couple of days to remove excess wax, dirt, and debris, and to check for signs of irritation and infection. As puppies, they are prone to stepping on, biting, and otherwise injuring their ears since they hang on the ground. Punctures, scratches, and other injuries must be kept clean and dry to avoid infection.
The dog’s wrinkles must also be kept clean and dry. They are susceptible to developing yeast infections, particularly around the mouth where drool gathers. Wipe the area around the mouth with a dry cloth.
Their eyes tend to gather crusty gunk and need to be cleaned with a warm, damp cloth. Their tight coats shed moderately and need to be brushed once a week to keep their coats and skin in good condition. Otherwise, they need their teeth brushed once a week and their nails clipped once a month.
Despite their lazy appearance, they do need quite a bit of exercise. They were bred for endurance, so enjoy long walks. They need about an hour of exercise each day.
Their short legs put them at risk of injury when jumping down from a height, so take care not to allow this. Hip, spine, and leg injuries can be fatal in older dogs, and permanently disfiguring in puppies. As a breed, they live 10 to 12 years, and may suffer from a variety of health concerns. Common health issues include eyelid and eyelash problems, allergies, bloat, intervertebral disk disease, von Willebrand’s disease, back and joint problems, cardiac disease, ear infections, eye infections, skin infections, and glaucoma.
Suitability As A Pet
They make great family pets. They can get along well in any size house as long as they get enough outdoor exercise. They do not make good outside dogs since they crave human attention.
Owners should be moderately active and dedicated to a difficult, ongoing training process.
Basset Hound Organisations in Australia
Basset Hound Club of Victoria Inc
Basset Hound Club of NSW Inc
Secretary – Gayle Tape
Phone – 0414 477986
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Basset Hound Organisations in the UK
Basset Hound Club index
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