The Basset is a hound endowed with an incredible sense of smell, which he puts to good use on collective hunting expeditions by his master’s side. Very sociable, he can cohabitate with other animals and actually needs to feel surrounded to be fully content. A short-legged dog, he is none the less active, very enduring, and leaves nothing to be desired compared to his fellow hound-type dogs.
Key facts about the Basset Hound
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Calm Hunter
Origins and history
He hails from the ‘Basset artésien normand’ (Norman Artesian Basset) which was imported from France to England mid last century, before being crossbred with the Bloodhound- this gave birth to specimens similar to the current breed, but smaller. The last stage in the breed’s development was carried out by the Americans, who took the breed ‘under their wing’ and fashioned a companion dog out of the former hunting dog. After a certain period during which the United States claimed ‘paternity’ over the Basset Hound breed, its official birthplace was (rightfully) reassigned to England by dog experts in 1987, and adopted the British official standards only.
Group 6 - Scent hounds and related breeds
Section 1 : Scent hounds
Physical characteristics of the Basset Hound
Female : Between 13 and 15 in
Male : Between 13 and 15 in
Female : Between 55 and 66 lb
Male : Between 55 and 66 lb
The Basset Hound is often tricolored (black, white and tan) but can also be bicolored (lemon and white). Any Hound colour is accepted.
Type of coat
The coat is short.
The coat is smooth and close-lying. It should be neither long, soft nor fringed.
The eyes are dark but can go up to a lighter brown in individuals with a lighter coat colour.
The Basset Hound is a truly unique dog: he has short legs which nevertheless have the sturdiest bone structure (in relation to body size) of all the breeds. The frame is sticky and elongated. The head is long but proportionately built, the stop is moderately pronounced. The muzzle is deep and heavy, the lips are pendant. The eyes are very soft and ‘sad-looking’, which renders his gaze irresistibly endearing. The tail, always jovially wagging about, is what truly reflects his character, as he is in fact very cheerful.
Good to know
Nowadays, he is predominantly a companion dog, and is much more widespread in the United States than in Europe, where there is a false perception that flat-dwelling dogs should be small. In reality, the Basset Hound (who is by no means small despite his short legs) is much more calm, still and easy to live with in a flat than most ‘toy’ breeds.
The breed’s official standard describes him as an affectionate dog, and it is indeed true that the Basset is very attached to his family, and loves spending time with them. He needs to fully feel part of their lives to be completely at peace.
In spite of his ‘detached’ and sad demeanour, the Basset Hound loves to play and is always ready to frolic around, be it with his fellow dogs or with children.
Tireless when he hunts, the Basset Hound is an otherwise calm and composed dog when at home, making him a very pleasant housemate.
Somewhat stubborn, this dog is nevertheless gifted with quite a few capacities (in both his hunter and companion roles), and takes great pleasure in using them to please his family.
The Basset Hound is a very good scent hound, particularly in a pack, and is despite his appearance very enduring and tenacious at hunting. He is endowed with a very refined sense of smell, and can follow trails for hours on end without showing so much as a trace of fatigue.
Unfortunately, this breed is not as esteemed in the hunting world as it should be, since not many work-destined lineages are being bred these days.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Basset Hound is very sociable - just as much with his fellow dogs, as with other animals and with humans, which he loves to interact with as long as he is being respected. He is neither aggressive nor wary, even with people he doesn’t know - he welcomes the latter with just as much enthusiasm as long as they seem well-intentioned.
Though very attached to his social group, this dog is first and foremost an adventurer, always in search of a good trail.
Behaviour of the Basset Hound
If he has had enough exercise and all of his needs have been met, this scent hound will have no problem spending a few hours alone at home, especially if he has some occupational toys at his disposal.
Be careful, however, as he does in general consistently require human contact - it is therefore not an option to leave him alone for a whole day, without any outings or social interactions.
Easy to train / obedience
Somewhat stubborn, the Basset Hound pup requires precocious, positive, firm and coherent training. Some boundaries and rules of conduct must be implemented as soon as possible to prevent him from developing any bad habits.
As soon as a mutually trusting relationship is established, the Basset’s calm and easygoing nature will greatly facilitate the training process and actually render working with him remarkably pleasant.
According to the official standard, the Basset Hound’s voice is deep and melodic.