The ancestor of the British Basset Hound was in fact French – bred by monks for hunting purposes. In fact, our name is taken from the French word ‘Bas’ meaning low. Despite commonly assumed to be a mix of Beagle and Dachshund, Bassets as you know us today, were first crossed with Bloodhounds and shown in Britain in 1875. Nowadays, most of us are bred purely for pets or the show ring, although lighter ones are still used in hunting.
What do I look like?
It’s best I tell it you as it is – the bottom line is we’re an indelible mix of beauty and oddity. We’re possibly the most distinctive of all dog breeds – short and long. Very long! And, of course, we have huge pendulous ears. At some stage, you are likely to see us stand on our ears whilst running, causing us to trip over. This is of huge embarrassment to us but will probably induce laughter for you – I can’t think why our misfortune is so funny! Sadly this is a typical hazard, particularly as puppies, when our ear to height ratio is at its lowest. Typically you will also be drawn to our oversized paws and sad eyes. And yet, we have a very elegant gait, almost like that of a slalom skier. As the front half of our body twists, it takes a little time for the back half to catch up! Don’t be deceived though, we’re surprisingly fast and agile runners.
What do I need from you?
We’re stubborn when we want our own way and sensitive when we don’t get it. At other times we can be incredibly generous with our affection. We’re an unpredictable mix of laziness and unabashed energy. Our sad expression masks an inner core of mischief and contentment. We can be incredibly greedy, wolf down our food and take a long time to house train. We’re also one of the few dog breeds that cannot swim, so don’t throw us into a deep river! Breeding with Basset Hounds poses slightly more risk than most breeds – simply because our unusual body shape can present some birthing problems. Therefore make sure you have your vet available should they be needed.
What I will give in return
Here’s the negatives: The Basset Hound coat is smooth, but as a short haired dog we are prone to moult. A prospective Basset Hound owner will also need to be aware that we provide something of an odour. Obviously this can be controlled somewhat with cleaning – but it is still there. If you are incredibly house proud, we’re possibly not for you. Now here’s the positives: We’re a great family pet – loyal and very willing recipients of affection. We’re great in a family environment – it is fairly rare to find an aggressive or dangerous Basset Hound. We’re also kind with other animals. Last but not least, we’ll earn you lots of admiring looks from passers by.
How big will I get?
Typically 13in-15in in height and about 60lb-70lb (28kg-32kg) in weight. Bitches are generally slightly smaller and lighter.
How long should I be around for?
Lifespan is typically 10-12 years.
How big is our litter?
Litter size is unpredictable due to the high risks of breeding with Bassets. All going well though we can have large litters – anything from 8 up to as many as 15!
Disclaimer: the views expressed on this page and any comments below are only a guide to typical traits and views on the breed. Individual circumstance and traits will always vary so we can be in no way responsible for any of the information provided.