With his laid-back personality and noble bearing, the Basset is a devoted family companion as well as a keen – if slow – hunting dog. Because he was originally bred as a pack dog, he loves being with his family, human and animal. But he’s also very sensitive and doesn’t like being left along for a long time. If he feels you’ve been gone for too long he’ll start howling and destroying things. And be warned: Bassets have a very distinctive baying bark that’s not only loud, but it also travels long distances.
He also has a unique murmuring whine which, combined with that imploring look in his eyes, ensures that he gets a constant supply of treats!
When he’s with you at home, your Basset is docile and lazy, but because he’s a scent hound, if he picks up an interesting smell on his daily walk with you, he’s going to follow it to wherever it takes him, regardless of any dangers to him. His extraordinary sense of smell is second only to a Bloodhound’s.
Because of this propensity to take off after a scent, you’ll need to train him to walk on a least as early as possible, but unless you can persuade him that it’s something that he wants to do, he can be stubborn and difficult to train. But positive and patient training methods, along with tasty treats as rewards, should ensure he pays attention.
Your Basset must live inside with you as he isn’t suited for outdoor living at all. However, because of the loose skin around his mouth he tends to drool a lot, and he’s also unfortunately prone to flatulence, so if you’re a fastidious housekeeper a Bassett might not be for you!
Besides these idiosyncrasies is his build. In reality, he’s a big dog on short legs, these being the result of a form of dwarfism called “Achondroplasia”. He stands at approximately 30 cms at the highest point of his shoulder and weighs 23-30 kgs. Two thirds of his body weight is in his front and this, coupled with his short legs, makes it very difficult for him to swim. He should also never be encouraged to jump because of his stumpy legs.
Your Basset is easy to groom. His short coat repels dirt and water which means he seldom needs a bath. All you need to do is give him a good rubdown with a bristle brush or a coarse cloth. He will shed all year round, but if you brush him weekly this shouldn’t be a problem.
When grooming him, pay attention to his ears. Because air doesn’t circulate well in his inner ear, he will be prone to ear infections. You’ll therefore need to clean his ears and his facial wrinkles at least once a week. Don’t forget to check his paws for sores between his toes.
He’s an even-tempered, relaxed and happy dog, very gentle with children and other family pets. But don’t let his easy-going nature fool you: Bassets remain on the alert all the time so he’s an excellent watchdog too. All round, a Basset is a great companion and the perfect family pet.
In 1928 a Basset Hound appeared on the front cover of Time magazine which boosted his popularity as a pet. Today he is ranked 28th amongst the 155 breeds of dogs registered by the American Kennel Club.