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Basset Hound

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are substantial dogs on short legs. From the scent hound group, this breed was originally used for hunting small game but are now popular as family dogs due to their relaxed and affectionate demeanours.

The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Cannot be left alone
This breed may encounter health problems

Due to their long backs and short legs basset hounds are more likely to suffer from spinal disorders and joint problems as a result of this;
- Intervertebral disc disease: a condition where there is abnormality in the discs which act to cushion the bones in the spine. The discs can dislodge or burst, which puts pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord leading to back pain and weakness or paralysis of the limbs.
- Angular limb deformities: caused by asynchronous growth of a pair of bones, which appear bowed or rotated and may result in pain and lameness.
The breed are also more predisposed to: 
- Hip dysplasia 
- Elbow dysplasia 
- Gastric dilatation volvulus
- Ear infections 
- Skin infections as they have a large amount of skin compared to their body size. This results in skin folds where infection can develop.
- Entropion and/or ectropion which are painful conditions where the eyelids turn inwards or outwards, this happens as a result of excessive skin around the eyes. 
- Glaucoma which is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye builds up.  

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing:
- Eye testing for pectinate ligament abnormality testing to look for signs that a dog is affected by glaucoma. 

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10–12 years
Weight: 18–27kg
Height: 33–38cm
Colours: Their short, smooth coat comes in any hound colour, but is usually tricolour (black, tan and white) or bicolour (lemon and white)
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Hound


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 2/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 4/5
Tricolour basset hound sitting on the grass.


Despite looking morose and serious, the Basset Hound dog breed is sociable, calm, polite and quietly playful. Affectionate with people they know and reserved with others, they love children and get on well with other dogs and with some training, other animals in the home. They are very companionable dogs who hate to be left alone and so always need some company - whether human or canine.

Basset hounds with the owners on the beach.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: France

The Basset Hound originated in France where they were used to hunt rabbit, hare and wild boar, and the name ‘basset’ translates to ‘short’ or ‘low’.

Their history is somewhat accidental coming from short-legged mutations appearing in traditional scent hound breeds. Rather than rejecting these dogs, it became clear that they were useful for hunters who were following dogs on foot rather than horseback and couldn’t move as fast. Often this was because there was heavy cover where horses couldn’t go or else poverty following the French Revolution meant that many people could no longer afford horses.

The Basset Hound came to England in 1866 where it was crossed with the Bloodhound to give a heavier bodied version than the original French dog - and this is the Basset Hound we see today.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Basset Hound has found fame in a variety of unexpected places - including advertising Hush Puppy shoes and also in the cartoon character of Fred Basset.
  • Basset Hounds are the second-best sniffers in the canine world, second only to the Bloodhound.
  • This dog breed has difficulty swimming because of their small legs and dense bodies.
  • Marilyn Monroe had a Basset Hound called Hugo.
  • Their long, floppy ears help to lift scents off the ground right to their nose to help them track things better.

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