Basset Hound: The Ultimate Dog Guide


The Basset Hound, a short-legged breed of the hound family, has a unique history that traces back to France in the 1500s. Originally bred for hunting small game, they’re recognized for their exceptional sense of smell, second only to the Bloodhound. Today, the Basset Hound is primarily a companion dog, beloved for its distinctive droopy-eyed appearance and amiable nature. Its hunting origins, though, still show in its persistence and independent streak. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about the Basset Hound, from its unique characteristics to how to care for this lovable breed.

Attribute Detail
Breed Origin France
Average Lifespan 10 to 12 years
Coat Type Short and dense
Common Colors Tricolor, open-marked patterns
Size Medium
Weight Range 40-65 lbs (Male), 40-60 lbs (Female)
Height at Shoulder Up to 15 inches
Temperament Docile, Tenacious, Friendly, Affectionate, Devoted, Sweet-Natured
Exercise Needs Moderate
Grooming Moderate
Common Health Issues Ear infections, obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye conditions

Characteristics of the Basset Hound


The Basset Hound is immediately recognizable with its long, droopy ears, sad eyes, and short, stout body. They have a dense, short coat that comes in a variety of colors, such as tricolor or open-marked patterns.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Basset Hounds are known for their laid-back temperament and patience, making them great family pets. They’re friendly and get along well with children and other animals.

Lifespan and Health Considerations

Typically, Basset Hounds live between 10 to 12 years. They’re generally healthy but are prone to certain breed-specific health issues that potential owners should be aware of, such as ear infections and obesity.

Understanding the Basset Hound Breed

Breed Standards

The Basset Hound breed standards, set by kennel clubs around the world, emphasize certain physical and behavioral traits. Key attributes include their low-set body, their head’s size and shape, and their affable nature.

Unique Traits and Features

One of the most unique traits of the Basset Hound is its incredible sense of smell. Also, their distinct baying sound, used for alerting hunters in the past, is another characteristic feature.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

Despite their often sleepy or sad appearance, Basset Hounds are not lazy or unhappy. They’re simply calm and patient, enjoying a good balance of exercise and rest.

Adopting or Purchasing a Basset Hound

Finding Reputable Breeders

When looking for a Basset Hound puppy, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the dogs’ health and wellbeing.

Adopting Rescues or Shelters

Adoption is another wonderful way to find a Basset Hound. Many organizations rescue Basset Hounds and give them a second chance at a happy life.

Initial Cost Considerations

Whether you adopt or buy, there are significant costs involved. These include the initial purchase or adoption fee, veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and supplies like a crate, bed, and toys.

Care for Basset Hounds

Dietary Needs

Basset Hounds require a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight. This breed is prone to obesity, so portion control and regular meal times are crucial.

Exercise Requirements

Despite their laid-back nature, Basset Hounds need regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent weight-related health issues.

Grooming and Hygiene

Their short coat is relatively easy to care for, but their ears and wrinkles require special attention to prevent infections. Regular bathing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming are all part of the grooming routine for a Basset Hound.

Training Your Basset Hound

Basic Obedience Training

Training a Basset Hound can be a bit of a challenge due to its independent nature. However, with patience and consistency, they can learn basic commands and obedience.


Socialization from a young age is essential for a Basset Hound. Exposure to different people, animals, and environments will help them grow into well-rounded, confident dogs.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Basset Hounds can be stubborn, which can make training a challenge. Using positive reinforcement methods, like treats and praises, can encourage them to learn and follow commands.

Health and Medical Care for Basset Hounds

Common Health Issues and Genetic Disorders

Basset Hounds are prone to certain health issues, including ear infections, obesity, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye conditions. Regular check-ups with a vet can help detect and treat these conditions early.

Veterinary Care

Routine veterinary care is essential for maintaining a Basset Hound’s health. This includes regular vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and regular dental check-ups.

Importance of Health Insurance for Pets

Given the potential health issues that Basset Hounds can face, having pet insurance can help cover the costs of veterinary care, including routine check-ups and emergency treatments.

Living with a Basset Hound

Suitable Home Environments

While Basset Hounds can adapt to different living situations, they thrive in homes where they have access to a safe outdoor space for sniffing and exploring. They are also quite content in apartments, provided they get enough exercise.

Basset Hounds with Children and Other Pets

Due to their gentle and friendly nature, Basset Hounds get along well with children and other pets. Their patient demeanor makes them a good fit for families of all sizes.

Leisure and Playtime Activities

Basset Hounds enjoy a variety of activities, from leisurely walks to playful games of fetch. Remember, though, they also appreciate downtime and love a good snooze on a comfortable dog bed.

The Aging Basset Hound

Changes in Behavior and Physical Condition

As Basset Hounds age, they may experience changes in behavior and physical condition. They might become less active, gain weight, and face various age-related health issues.

Special Considerations for Senior Basset Hounds

Senior Basset Hounds might require special care, including a diet suited for older dogs, modified exercise routines, and regular vet check-ups to monitor their health.

End-of-Life Care

End-of-life care for a Basset Hound can be a challenging and emotional time. Providing them with a comfortable and peaceful environment, along with proper veterinary care, can help ease this phase of their life.

Traveling with a Basset Hound

Preparation and Considerations

Traveling with a Basset Hound requires some additional planning and preparation. Due to their size and weight, they may not be able to travel in the cabin on flights, meaning road trips might be a more comfortable option. Make sure to pack essentials including their favorite food, toys, a comfortable bed, and any necessary medications.

Behavior During Travel

Basset Hounds are generally calm and relaxed, but the stress of travel can affect them. It’s important to make regular stops on long road trips for bathroom breaks and exercise. Some Basset Hounds may experience motion sickness, so it’s advisable to avoid feeding them immediately before travel.

The Basset Hound as a Service Dog

Capabilities and Suitability

Though not traditionally thought of as service dogs, Basset Hounds can be trained to perform certain tasks to assist individuals with disabilities. Their calm demeanor and desire to please can make them suitable for such roles, although their stubbornness might present some training challenges.

Process of Training

Training a Basset Hound to be a service dog requires time, patience, and often the assistance of a professional trainer. The dog must be trained to perform specific tasks related to the handler’s disability and to behave properly in various public settings.


We’ve covered everything from the history of the Basset Hound, their unique characteristics, how to care for them, and the resources available for owners. Owning a Basset Hound can be a rewarding experience filled with love and companionship. By understanding their needs and providing a caring, supportive environment, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your Basset Hound.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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