Basset Hound breed dogs are substantial dogs on short legs ('Basset' comes from the French word 'bas', meaning 'low'). The short, smooth coat comes in any hound colour, but is usually tricolour (black, tan and white) or bicolour (lemon and white). Adult Bassets stand at 33-38cm and weigh from 18 to 27kg.
The Basset Hound dog breed originated in France in the 1500s and were bred by medieval monks to hunt in heavy cover. However, it was in the British Isles in the latter half of the 19th century that the breed fully blossomed. A pair of hounds of the Marquis de Tournon were imported to Lord Galway of England in 1866 and then a litter bred from them went to Lord Onslow, who proceeded to develop an exceptional pack by crossing with further imports from the Coultreux pack from Normandy. Soon this importation was stopped and the British version of the Basset dog breed was developed in its own right.
Despite looking morose and serious, the Basset Hound dog breed is sociable, calm and playful. Affectionate with people, they love children and get on well with other dogs and household animals. They are friendly towards strangers, but if they sense danger they will bark loudly. They must have company so if they are to be left alone, it is better for them to have a canine companion.
The most common health problems seen in the Bassett Hound are related to their body shape. They are prone to spinal disorders and abnormal joint development, particularly of the elbows, and obesity can make these disorders more problematic. They are also predisposed to ear and skin infections, as well as various eye conditions and so should be regularly assessed for these.
About an hour's daily exercise is needed. Basset Hounds can tend to be lazy if given half a chance, but they do need exercise to ensure they do not put on too much weight, which can cause back problems in later life. During the rapid growth periods, however, exercise must be limited as joint complications may occur. Because of the length of their bodies, Bassets should not be allowed to go up and down stairs until they are 18 months old.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food. The deep-chested Basset is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
The short, smooth coat requires little grooming – a quick brush over once a week is all that is usually required. Clean the folds of the skin when necessary and regularly check their long ears to ensure you spot problems early.