Basset Hound


A medium to large sized Basset Hound
Basset Hound Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)11-15in (28-38cm)
Weight40-80lbs (18-36kg)
Hair Colour(s)Tan, white
Lifespan9-12 years
Energy LevelLow
Litter size8-10
Barking Tendency
Exercise requirementsLow
Ease of trainingLow
Suitability for kidsHigh
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftMedium

The Basset Hound is a medium to large sized dog and is quite a distinctive looking breed. The body is like that of a Dachshund, while the head is like that of a Bloodhound. It has a long low body, short crooked legs, a large muzzle, long drooping ears, sad looking brown eyes, a prominent dewlap, and this unhappy look is complimented by loose, folding skin and a doleful expression. The coat is sleek and short, and the colouring combinations includes black, tan, and white, white and tan, and red and white. One famous example of a Basset Hound is the dog from the TV series Columbo, starring Peter Falk.


Basset Hounds are relaxed, friendly and very lovable dogs. They tend to shuffle along at their own pace and enjoy following scents, albeit slowly, and will bark loudly when on such a scent and will stay on it until it is lost. Being mild mannered and even tempered, this breed is ideal for inexperienced dog owners and those with children or other pets. Despite their almost miserable expression, Basset Hounds have a very cheerful disposition and a good sense of humour. They are sociable and affectionate and they make wonderful companions and pets, and tend to be polite and amiable around strangers. With the right approach, Bassets respond well to training but can be very difficult to housebreak. This breed is more than happy to laze in front of the fire, but their tendency to gain weight means they need to be exercised on a regular basis. Compounding this, these dogs love food and will often steal any that they can find.

History & Skills

Basset Hounds originate from Britain and France and were bred for hunting, and in fact their ancestors may have been used to assist hunters as far back as the 1500s. They are a direct descendant of the Bloodhound, something that can be seen in the facial resemblance between the two breeds, and the French word for low to the ground is Bas, hence their name. Bassets were primarily bred to hunt hares and rabbits, although these dogs were able to hunt almost any mammal. Their slow movement was an unlikely advantage in that they were able to lead their masters to any quarry without startling it, making for an easier kill. Their hunting instincts still remain with them, and these days they are still used for trailing hares, rabbits, foxes, pheasants, and opossums, individually or in packs. They also do well in field trials.

Breed Specific Ailments

Basset Hounds tend to live between 9-12 years. Some of the health conditions associated with this breed include luxating patella, PRA, ectropion, entropion, epilepsy, elbow dysplasia, spinal problems, bleeding disorders, glaucoma, vWD, thyroid problems, and ear infections. The Basset's long and heavy body can also weaken its back and legs, and so lameness or paralysis are possible. Bassats should be kept on a lean diet to prevent unneccesary weight gain that may increase the strain on their legs and spine. Eye ailments and foot infections have also been observed in this breed.


Basset Hounds are medium shedders and are suitable for allergy sufferers. They are not difficult to groom because the sleek coat only needs an occasional brushing and wipe down in order to keep it looking glossy and well conditioned. A few minutes with a hard bristle brush is usually enough, and bathing should be carried only only as required. The long and drooping ears should be cleaned on a weekly basis to prevent the risk of ear infections, and the toenails should be trimmed regularly too.

Exercise & Environment

Basset Hounds tend to be very idle when indoors and so they need access to a secure outside area, such as a garden or yard, or moderate daily walks to prevent them from becoming overweight. Any exercise should preferably be mild to prevent excessive strain on the Basset's crooked front legs. It is a good idea to walk them on a leash too because when they pick up a scent trail, they tend to follow it obsessively.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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