Basset Hound Dog Breed

Basset Hound Enjoying Outside
  • Other names:
  • Basset
  • Hush Puppy

The basset hound is a short large breed dog most famously known as Hush Puppy dog. The breed is a scent hound and was originally bred for hunting rabbits and other small game. Today the basset hound is still used as a small game hunter, but they are more common as a house dog.

Basset hounds have a short coat and their body has some unique features which help the breed excel with their scent tracking. Characteristics such as heavy wrinkles and long ears help them funnel scents to their nose while their short legs prevent them from out pacing hunters following on foot.

Basset hounds are loyal and somewhat lazy house dogs. They want to be with their family and can develop howling tendencies if left alone for too long. The breed can be stubborn and has a tendency to overeat, but regular training and frequent exercise can solve these issues.

Basset Hound Breed Details

Breed Specs
Purebred10-12 yrs.12-14 in.45-65 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Basset Hound was produced to be not just a scent hound and for hunting, but to be a superior dog in that field. What would for most dog breeds be mutations that would be detrimental to the dog were boons to this canine. While they are outgoing, playful, and friendly, they are not the best dogs for first-time owners or as companion animals. They are extremely headstrong, they can be exceedingly lazy, and the problems caused by their refusal to be easily trained can be vexing.

Below is a list of the good and bad facts and information regarding Basset Hounds:

  • Pros
  • Calm
  • Sweet
  • Gentle
  • Good with kids
  • Fine with other pets
  • Great with other dogs
  • Top-notch tracking dog
  • Loves to be around people
  • Cons
  • Gassiness
  • Drools a lot
  • Sheds heavily
  • Loves digging
  • Difficult to train
  • Can be very loud
  • Tendency to roam far
  • Requires a great amount of grooming
  • Once on a scent, can be difficult to control
  • Has a distinct odor that some may find smelly

Basset Hound Breed Description

The basset hound is likely the shortest large dog breed. Adults can weigh as much as 65 pounds and still be 10-12 inches tall from ground to shoulder. Of course, nearly all of this weight is carried in their elongated bodies which makes it very difficult to pick up a basset hound.

Basset hounds are generally a mild mannered dog breed. They rarely get upset or snappy, which many people say is due to their laziness. They were bred to hunt game with a large pack of other dogs so the basset hound desires companionship and suffers from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. The breed is very friendly and does well with children and other pets.

The basset hound's coat is short, smooth, and waterproof, making it extremely easy to keep clean. However, regardless of how easy the coat is to maintain the breed is so low to the ground that their stomach can come in contact with a large variety of dirty things which may require their owners to bathe them more frequently. The breed does shed year round, but brushing the coat weekly can dramatically help reduce the amount of shed.

Basset Hound Breed History

According to some breed clubs, the Basset Hound origin dates back to the sixth century AD and is one of the breeds that came from the St. Hubert hounds. It is believed to have been from a mutation in a St. Hubert's genes. The modern Basset, however, was developed in the mid- to late-19th century. During that vast period of history, quite a bit happened.

The first known record of a basset-style dog was in the late-16th century. It was found in a book about hunting and authored by Jacques du Fouilloux titled "La Venerie." By the 19th century, the breed was featured frequently in French illustrations.

Basset Hounds were highly valued by commoners in France as they were dogs that were perfect for hunting on foot. (Only royalty and upper class people hunted on horses.) The short legs, deep mouth (for baying), and large ears (to agitate scents) allowed them to easily find and track small game. In time, they became popular with royalty too. In the 1850s, Emperor Napoleon III kept Bassets. By the 1860s, the pooches had come international stars after they were shown in Paris at the first canine exhibition. It was shortly after that, in the 1870s, that semi-modern Basset Hounds were developed.

France was not the only place that Bassets were appreciated as well as developed. By the 1870s, the dogs were being exported to England. The person noted as the founder of the modern Basset was Everett Millais. He produced a much heavier hound using French and English Bassets. It was also in England that the dog's first breed standard was created.

It was not until the 1880s that Bassets made it to America. While the American Kennel Club started registering the dogs in that decade, it was not until 1916 that the AKC recognized the breed.

Basset Hound Appearance

Technically speaking, the anatomy of the Basset Hound may sound as a composite of leftover dog parts that together are unbalanced: short, sometimes crooked front legs with big feet, an overly heavy-looking body, and remarkably long ears.

Regardless how the dog was developed, the legs, ears, and dwarfism that occurred remain this canine's best features. (As for why they are the best features is explained in Basset Hound History elsewhere on this page.) Starting with the long, boxy muzzle and big, black nose, the domed skull is made to look all the smaller by the contrast. The large eyes and sad face will pull your heart-strings, and the massive ears may make you laugh. The strong neck connects to a long body which is held up by squat, little legs that end in massive paws. The wrinkly skin is thick, which makes it perfect for protection against brambles and small game. The tail is thick and round, and it could be short and held somewhat straight back, or it may be long and held up like a scimitar.

The Basset's coat is short with dense hair that is water repellent if not nearly waterproof.

Basset Hound Coloring

There are a great many coat colors for the Basset Hound. Most are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and most other large kennel clubs. There are a couple colors that are not recognized and are also rare. In the canine world, "rare" often means "undesired" as far as dog shows, kennel clubs, and breed organizations go).

Most Bassets come in two colors (bi-colored), some come in three (tri-colored), and there are none that are solidly colored. The colors are black, lemon, mahogany, red, tan, and white. There may be lighter or darker shades of some colors, such as golden, brown, chocolate, bronze, and copper. Blue and grey (or gray, or silver) are the rare colors, as is the bi-colored lemon and white coat.

Basset Hound Size

They may be low to the ground but this breed has some heft. The size measurements may not seem right, but these dogs have deep chests and a heavy bone structure. The typical full grown Basset Hound male has a height of 12 to 15 inches. Females stand 11 to 14 inches high. As for weight, males tip the scales at 55 to 75 pounds, and females are a fair amount lighter at 45 to 60 pounds. If you think that you can easily pick up an average size Bassett hound because they are so short, you may want to think again before you try it!

Average Adult Height

12-14 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

45-65 lbs

Basset Hound Variations

Centuries ago, a book called La Venerie made the first known recorded instance of what would become the Basset Hound, and it noted that there were approximately 12 variations of Bassets — including the Basset Hound. (The book is detailed in Basset Hound History elsewhere on this page.) That is no longer the case, however, as some of those varieties have died out, some were integrated into other breeds, and others became identified as separate breeds altogether.

Although rare, the long hair Basset Hound is a varietal that does still occur today. A litter may have one Basset pup with wavy hair that remains past the puppy stage and becomes a long-haired Basset. They may even have a tail that looks like a Golden Retriever and not believed to be a purebred dog, but they are.

If you hear about a Petit Basset, that is a shortened name for an altogether different dog breed: the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, which is French. They are sometimes called wire haired Bassets, and they should not be confused for Basset Hounds because they certainly don't look like them!

As for miniature Basset Hounds, this "breed" is not a breed and is also not a variety of Basset Hound. Mini Bassets are produced by down-breeding teh size of purebred Bassets, and such puppies may be expensive, unhealthy, and, in the long run, tragic. If you see teacup, toy, pocket or other tiny-type Bassets for sale, these may be even worse.

Otherwise, the only other real types regarding Basset Hounds is coat color, and these are discussed in Basset Hound Colors.

Basset Hound Temperament

The Basset Hound temperament is a different type of dog personality. At first glance, the droopy eyes, long face, and massive jowls might indicate sad, lazy, and boring. That is not the case! These are friendly dogs who love to be with people, are devoted, and love to have fun. Sure, they can be extremely stubborn when it comes to doing things they don't want to do or learn, but they don't have aggressive traits. They simply lie down, and they tend to be tenacious in their refusal. Their behavior requires a lot of patience, and you may find that when you get upset over them, they'll still have a calm character.

Basset Hound and Children

When it comes to kids and Basset Hounds, these dogs make good family pets! The breed is known for having a personable temperament and a high tolerance for being touched. They are friendly and playful, and having their ears and tails pulled very rarely sparks aggression. When they are tired of playtime, they tend to simply get away from the kids. They might be a challenge for a baby, for toddlers, and for very small children, however. They are well-known for taking off like a heavy cannonball when they make a beeline along a scent trail. As such, they should be watched when around the tiny ones. And as in all cases, any child who lives with a dog should be taught how to behave as much as a dog is trained to do the same. They should not attempt to ride a Bassett Hound (or any dog!), and it might be tempting due to the dog's low profile.

Basset Hound and Other Pets

When it comes to Basset Hounds and other dogs, these pooches get along swell. They are born and bred pack dogs, and when you get a gaggle of Bassets together, they tend to move as a single, unstoppable — and loud! — creature.

But the bigger question you may have is: How do Basset Hounds and cats get along? While the dogs are sure to be good with the cats as well as tolerate a fair amount of fury, the cats may require more time to get used to the Bassets. The dogs are friendly and fine with felines, but they are perpetually curious of new smells. If they start baying, it might upset a cat until the cats get used to that big, booming bark.

As for small furries, they might be tempted to chase after rabbits, hamsters, and the like, so that is something you'll need to be careful of and watch closely.

Basset Hound Photos

Below are pictures of the Basset Hound dog breed.

Basset Hound
Basset Hound
Basset Hound
Basset Hound
Basset Hound
Basset Hound Dog Breed
Black Tan & White Basset Hound
Black White & Brown Basset Hound
White Black And Red Basset Hound
White And Lemon Basset Hound
Black And Brown Basset Hound
White Black & Brown Basset Hound
Basset Hound
Basset Hound Puppy
Basset Hound Enjoying Outside
Basset Hounds Having Fun Outside

Living Requirements

Living with a Basset hound as a pet is not for everyone. They they are heavy dogs, they need plenty of outdoor space, and they are best with other dogs, especially other Basset Hounds. They have boisterous barks, and they can be heard for miles.

These dogs are not at all suited for apartment life. Neighbors will be banging on your door, and the dog will become anxious over time if there is nowhere to get out and get running in wide, open spaces. They aren't often destructive, but if they get onto a strong scent trail, they can break things attempting to follow the smell.

Bassets aren't hypoallergenic. Also, don't think that their short-haired coats means little shedding. The coarse, oily hair of the Basset Hound sheds a lot and tends to stick to everything. Of all the pros and cons, this is probably one of the "hairiest"!

Random Details

As Bassets are so ugly in a cute way, there's not really any such thing as an ugly Basset Hound. There are, however, loads of great, odd, and strange facts and information about this relatively unique breed!

While many of you may remember Droopy Dog from the cartoon series, "Tom & Jerry," you may not have known that the cartoonist, Tex Avery, conceived the character as a cartoon feature that was started in 1943 and ran to 1958.

There were many other many other Basset Hound celebrities. Victoria the Basset was, in 2011, elected to be a co-mayor for the Canadian city of Concord in Ontario. (The other co-mayor was also a dog: a Great Dane named Nelson!) The first U.S. president, George Washington, owned a Bassett Hound. There was a Basset puppy that made the cover of a February, 1928 edition of Time Magazine for that year's National Dog Day. The actress Marilyn Monroe, while married to the playwright Arthur Miller, had a Basset named Hugo.

The Hush Puppies-brand shoe was actually inspired by Bassett Hounds whose owners wanted them to "hush"! Besides being the company's mascot, the dogs actually had fried cornball applied to their paws by hunters. It was, of course, to keep the dogs quiet as they tracked game.

Basset Hound Health

Basset Hounds don't have many health problems, but they do have some that are serious, some that are chronic, and some that are both. The deceptive weight they carry can cause some of these problems, and you will have to work harder to keep a close eye on the parts lower to the ground. Some basic health issues, such as the dysplasia, can cause other problems too, such as back ailments and paw problems.

  • Bloat
  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Panosteiti
  • Cherry Eye
  • Otitis Externa
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Thrombopathia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Eyelid and eyelash problems

The typical Basset Hound has an average life span of 8 to 12 years.

  • Allergies
  • Bloat
  • Cherry Eye
  • Ear Infections
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Glaucoma
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Intervertebral Disk Disease
  • Obesity
  • Panosteitis
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Thrombopathia
  • Von Willebrand's Disease
  • View all 14...

Basset Hound Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Basset Hound as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • United Kennel Club
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • View all 14...