The Basset Hound is a dog with a peculiar physical appearance, especially short and robust in relation to its large and size in general, which makes them a popular breed and easy to recognize for all the novice breeders and even for people with low knowledge about dog breeds. It has an extremely developed sense of smell because it is a hound. It is generally useful for deer, hare and fox hunting, among other animals like the pheasant.
The Basset is of French origin and it dates back to the final stages of the XIX century, when an English dog was crossed with a Blood Hound. Actually, the name ‘Basset’ is derived from the French word ‘bas’, meaning “low”. It has always been known as a hunting dog and not only for small animals because there were periods of time when it was used for hound and wild boar hunting, but it is not associated with companion dogs.
Like most breeds, there are many versions on its origin, although the most accepted one is the one which places it as the direct descendant from the St Hubert’s Hound (tracking dog bred by the monks of the St Hubert’s monastery in XVI). Hubert was a noble keen on hunting; he became a Christian and it was beatified by becoming the master of hunters. The Basset was bred from these hound specimens of a powerful body, a little slow and with short paws. They had an excellent sense of smell and their ears worked as a fan, which made the floor’s smell go directly to the dog’s nose.
Height bitch: 28~36 cm / Height male: 30~38 cm
Weight bitch: 23~29 kg / Weight male: 20~27 kg
The Basset Hound is a hound of strong physique and slow movements. It has characteristically short paws in relation to its body, and long ears. Its skin is wrinkled on the forehead and around the snout. The tail is long and strong. It has a short and smooth coat.
These dogs’ height is between 33 and 38 cm (to the withers); they have short hair, and although most of them have tricolored coats (black, white and tan); it is frequent to find double-colored specimens (white and tan or black and tan). It is common also to find white specimens with red markings or with red paws. Some may be gray too. Occasionally, there can be long-haired specimens, although is not a valuable characteristic according to the breed’s standard.
Its short height is tricky because these dogs are very large and can reach things other short dogs can’t.
The Basset Hound is calm, affectionate, quiet and friendly. It is not very fast neither bright, and because of its great sense of smell with its hunting instinct, it does not follow orders easily. Its voice is deep and melodic. This dog is placid and affectionate. It does not show itself as an aggressive dog, but it can protect furiously the children in its charge.
The coat needs to be brushed frequently. This breed tends to eat repeatedly, so the owner must pay attention to its diet to avoid overweight; but they do not have to refuse them food because it also tends to suffer gastritis (at least two light meals a day, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon). The long ears are prone to infections because they are dragged all the time, so they must be cleaned superficially frequently with a wet cloth or with cotton. While doing this, the owner must be careful to avoid liquids getting inside the ear. This process is also applied to its belly and legs.
It is important to keep in mind how heavy and large are these dogs if you want to lift a Basset, and so it has to be done carefully so it does no harm to it. The easiest way to do this is putting both arms in between its legs, and then lifts it by the abdomen. This way, the pet will not suffer.
Moreover, the bath must take place every two weeks and the flea’s appearance must be controlled with special preparations.
In comparison with other breeds, they tend to be very healthy dogs, but sometimes they may endure illnesses like glaucoma and conjunctivitis. It is also necessary to avoid the dog to go up or down the stairs frequently, or jumping and standing repeatedly, because it may suffer spine problems, like vertebral disc prolapses. It is common for it to have hepatic seizures, and that is why its diet has to be balanced.
You can download the FCI (International Cinological Federation) standard at the following link: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/163g06-en.pdf