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Adopt a Basset Hound

Basset Hound Dog Breed

Picture: Kent and Donna Dannen



Area of origin:


Original function:

trailing rabbits and hare

Average size of male:

Ht: <14, Wt: 40-60

Average size of female:

Ht: <14, Wt: 40-60

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Basset Hound Dog Temperament

The Basset Hound is among the most good-natured and easygoing of breeds. He is amiable with dogs, other pets and children, although children must be cautioned not to put strain on his back with their games. He is calm inside, but needs regular exercise to keep fit. He prefers to investigate slowly, and loves to sniff and trail. He is a talented and determined tracker, not easily dissuaded from his course. Because of this, he may get on a trail and follow it until he becomes lost. He tends to be stubborn and slow-moving. He has a loud bay that he uses when excited on the trail.

Basset Hound Dog Care

The Basset needs mild daily exercise, which can be satisfied by walking on leash or playing in the yard. He does best as a house dog with access to a yard. His coat needs only minimal grooming, but his face may need regular cleaning around the mouth and wrinkles. Bassets tend to drool.

Basset Hound Dog Health

Major concerns: foreleg lameness, OCD, entropion, ectropion, otitis
externa, intervertebral disc disease, glaucoma, vWD, CTP, gastric
Minor concerns: foot cysts and infection
Occasionally seen: patellar luxation
Suggested tests: eye, blood
Life span: 8-12 years
Note: Obesity is a problem in the breed, especially because it
contributes to intervertebral disk disease.

Interested in the history of the Basset Hound dog breed?

The first mention of the Basset dog is found in a 16th-century text about badger hunting. Dwarfed short-legged specimens occur in many breeds and have been known since ancient times, but it is difficult to know at what point such dogs were purposefully bred and which ones led to the present Basset Hound. The word basset is derived from the French word bas, which means low thing or dwarf, so that definitive evidence of the breed may be hard to follow. Short-legged dogs were used by the French for hunting at a slower pace, but most of these dogs were dispersed, and their fates undocumented, during the French Revolution. The history becomes clearer after the revolution, when greater numbers of commoners took up hunting, often aided by guns. They needed a dog that they could follow on foot, but that still had great scenting ability and strong, heavy bone in essence, a short-legged version of the pack hounds popular with the aristocracy. Because the basset could not pursue his quarry at speed, the quarry was less likely to be on the run and thus presented an easier target for the gunman. The dogs would hunt all mammals but were especially suited for rabbits and hares. Four different versions of short-legged hounds were created, with the Basset Artesien Normand most closely resembling today's basset. In the late 1800s (and again in 1930), crosses with Bloodhounds were made to increase size; the results were then tempered with subsequent crosses to the Artesien Normand. The first Bassets were brought to England and America in the late 1800s, and interest in the breed grew gradually. By the mid-1900s, the basset's droll expression had won him a place in advertising and entertainment and in the hearts of many families.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Basset Hound Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Basset Hounds ready for adoption:

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