About the Basset Hound
What Was the Basset Hound's Original Purpose?
The word "basset" meaning "low-set" was merely a distinction of size in France among several sizes of French hunting breeds. Basset-sized hounds of several hunting breeds were bred as hunting hounds that could be followed on foot. When one variety of "basset" was imported into England the hound breeders developed it into the BASSET HOUND breed that we know today. The basset's long ears are used to stir-up the scent for his strong nose to smell. The folds of skin under the chin, called the dewlap, are to trap and hold the scent. Wrinkles about the head and face also assist in holding the scent. His large feet give him steadiness and the heavy bone makes him sturdy. Loose skin helps him track through thorny brambles and difficult terrain. While these characteristics might make him amusing in appearance, they are all functional. The basset is used primarily for hunting rabbit although he is successful with other small game such as pheasant as well as larger game such as deer.
Does the Basset Hound Make a Good Pet?
The basset is one of the best dogs for a family to love. His tolerance level is extremely high and everyone in the family is loved equally by him. He is not an aggressive watchdog but will learn to give his deep bark as a warning. Otherwise he will accept company with a sniff and return to his favorite corner. Despite their large size, bassets think that they are lap dogs. He will play with children and will demand quite a bit of attention. He definitely makes a good, versatile pet for all the family to love.
How big is an Adult Basset?
The well-bred modern-day male Basset Hound will usually mature at somewhere between 60 - 65 pounds, standing about 14 but not more that 15 inches at the shoulder. The female usually will be expected to mature at approximately 10 pounds lighter and an inch or so shorter at the shoulder. Make no mistake, the basset grows to be a good size dog, weighing more that most people expect due to the heavy bone. It is a large dog on short legs; i.e. a dwarf breed.
What is the Basset Temperament?
Bassets have easygoing temperaments making both males and females excellent pets. They are strong willed and intelligent, using these traits to their advantage. They are willing dogs, as long as what you wish of them is what they intended to do in the first place. Otherwise, you may begin to think your dog has a hearing problem. Patience, lots of praise, tenderness and perseverance (plus a cookie) works wonders.
Do Bassets Have Any Strange Habits?
Some bassets have a tendency to howl when left alone for long periods of time. Also, boredom can lead your basset to your favorite rose bush, your most expensive piece of furniture, etc. Because it is a being a hound, the basset comes with the instinct to put his nose to the ground and sniff. A basset must be fenced in or he will wander away from home. Once a good scent hits their nose, there is no telling where he will end up and unfortunately, bassets are not good at finding their way home and their short legs make them a hazard on the roadway. A responsible owner keeps his basset secure from harm as would be expected for any cherished pet.
How Much Does a Basset Eat?
Adult bassets generally eat between 2 and 4 cups of food per day though this will vary depending on the brand of food. Bassets often have a tendency to become overweight, partly because their sad look leads the owner to give them more food than they require. Overeating is dangerous to a hound. Feed a well-balanced premium dry food supplemented with canned food. Because of their rapid growth rates, as puppies they need a good vitamin. Consult with your veterinarian.
Are Bassets Hard To Groom?
The basset does not need fussy coat care due to his hard, short coat, which repels dirt and water rather well. The basset does shed, however this can be minimized if brushed regularly. A bath is needed only 4 to 6 times a year. Once a week the ears should be wiped cleaned or infection can result from moisture build up in the ear canal. The outside of the ears should also be cleaned periodically as ears will often drape in food and water dishes. Nails are tough and should be trimmed at least every other week.
What Type of Health Problems Are Common in Bassets?
Generally, a basset enjoys excellent health. Ear infections can occur if the owner is not diligent in cleaning his dog's ears on a regular basis. A great deal of trouble is attributed to the owner because he has permitted his hound to get overweight, possibly resulting in arthritis, back problems or heart trouble. Physical fitness is as important to the basset as it is to people. He enjoys running and leading an active life. Inherited problems such as Glaucoma and Thrombopathia should be discussed with the breeder before the purchase of any puppy.
How Much Does a Basset Cost?
The Basset Hound puppy may cost anywhere from $500 on up for a good quality dog. Puppies with show potential will start appreciably higher with the price varying according to quality, age, geographic regions and availability. Regular checkups by a veterinarian as well as inoculations for rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, kennel cough and parvovirus are all necessary. Heartworm preventative is also a must. The cost of the ongoing care can easily run several hundred dollars per year. If you purchase a puppy, please be prepared to make the financial commitment required to raise a happy, healthy puppy.
What about as a Christmas puppy gift?
Most good breeders do not sell puppies during or even around the Christmas holidays. Many puppies purchased at this time end up being returned, resold or abandoned in shelters. Because holidays tend to be busy with people coming and going, this is not a good time to bring a new puppy into your home. A new puppy (or older adopted dog) needs time to rest as well as a consistent, uninterrupted training schedule to be properly housebroken and acclimated to its new home and environment.
Additional holiday hazards include the possibility of puppies ingesting fragile, glass ornaments, tinsel, wrapping ribbon, poisonous holiday plants or chewing on electric light cords. Puppies are often left alone for long periods when owners leave to attend parties or, conversely, may be over handled and stressed to the point of exhaustion when friends and family come to visit. Any of these situations can lead to serious injury (including thousands of dollars in veterinarian bills) and even the death of your new puppy.
Reputable breeders are more than willing to hold your basset puppy until after the Holiday. Remember that getting a new puppy should be a unanimous decision for the entire family. The person for whom you are purchasing a puppy may in fact not want a Basset Hound, or even a new dog! Make the choice together and bring a new puppy or older adopted dog into your home during a time when your household and family are able to give your new friend the care, time and consistent training it needs.