The Basset Hound – Information, Facts and Personality Traits – A Guide to the Adorable Breed

The Bassett Hound

Basset Hounds are an adorable breed of dog that has been popular for centuries. They are known for their long ears, short legs, and sweet nature. Originating in France and Great Britain, Basset Hounds are a dog breed that has captured many’s hearts. In this guide, we will provide all the information you need to know about owning a Basset Hound, including its weight, colors, coat, and life expectancy.

Basset Hounds have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and typically weigh between 20-29 kg for females and 25-34 kg for males. They come in various colors, including black & brown, tri-color, lemon & white, black & white, white & chocolate, and red & white. Their coat is smooth, short, and close, making them low-maintenance dogs. Basset Hounds typically have a litter size of 6-8 puppies, making them a popular breed for breeding.

To help you easily understand the key characteristics of the Basset Hound breed, here is a summary of the information in a table.

Life Expectancy 10 – 12 years
Weight Female: 20–29 kg, Male: 25–34 kg
Origin France, Great Britain
Colors Black & Brown, Tri-color, Lemon & White, Black & White, White & Chocolate, Red & White
Hypoallergenic No
Coat Smooth, short, and close
Litter Size 6–8 puppies

Whether you are a first-time dog owner or have experience with dogs, owning a Basset Hound can be a rewarding experience. Read on to learn more about this lovable breed and what it takes to provide them with a happy and healthy home.

A Brief History of the Basset Hound Breed

The Basset Hound is a beloved breed of dog with a rich history that dates back centuries. Here are some key facts about the breed:

  • The Basset Hound is a short-legged dog breed in the hound family. They have a distinctive appearance with long ears, droopy eyes, and short legs that make them easily recognizable.
  • The Basset Hound was originally bred in France in the late 16th century for hunting hares. Their short legs and a strong sense of smell made them well-suited for hunting in dense underbrush.
  • The Basset Hound’s sense of smell is second only to the Bloodhound’s, making them excellent trackers and hunters. They are often used in law enforcement for search and rescue operations.
  • Basset Hounds are one of six recognized “basset”-type breeds in France. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning ‘low,’ with the attenuating suffix -et—together meaning ‘rather low.’
  • The Basset Hound’s popularity grew in the 19th century, particularly in Great Britain where they were crossbred with Bloodhounds to create a superior tracking dog. They were also imported to the United States during this time.
  • Today, the Basset Hound is a popular breed for families due to their friendly and laid-back personality. They are also still used for hunting in some parts of the world.

To further illustrate the history of the Basset Hound breed, here is a table summarizing some key events:

Year Event
Late 16th century Basset Hounds bred in France for hunting hare
19th century Basset Hounds crossbred with Bloodhounds in Great Britain to create a superior tracking dog; imported to the United States
20th century Basset Hounds become popular family pets

Despite their long history, the Basset Hound remains a beloved breed today for their loyalty, affectionate nature, and distinctive appearance.

The appearance of the Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are a distinctive breed of dog with unique physical features. Here is what you need to know about their appearance:

  • Bassets are large, short, solid, and long dogs with curved sabre tails held high over their long backs. An adult dog typically weighs between 20 and 35 kilograms (44 and 77 lb).
  • The breed is heavier-boned than any other relative to its size, with a hanging skin structure that causes their faces to have a sad look.
  • Basset Hounds have a dewlap, which is the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and trailing ears that are among the longest of any breed. These features, along with their ancestor, the Bloodhound, help trap the scent of what they are tracking.
  • Their necks are wider than their heads, which, combined with the loose skin around their face and neck, means that flat collars can easily be pulled off.
  • The Basset’s skull is characterized by its large long nose, which is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability and the number of olfactory receptor cells.
  • The Basset’s short legs are due to a form of dwarfism. Despite their short stature, they are surprisingly long and can reach things on table tops that other dogs of similar heights cannot.
  • Due to their heavy weight and short legs, Basset Hounds cannot hold themselves above water for long when swimming and should always be closely supervised.

To further illustrate the unique features of the Basset Hound’s appearance, here is a table summarizing the key physical characteristics:

Physical Characteristic Description
Size Large, short, solid, and long dogs with a curved sabre tail held high over their long backs
Dewlap The loose, elastic skin around the neck
Ears Trailing ears that are among the longest of any breed
Nose A large, long nose that is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability and number of olfactory receptor cells
Legs Short legs due to a form of dwarfism
Weight Typically between 20 and 35 kilograms (44 and 77 lb)

Overall, the unique physical characteristics of the Basset Hound make them an instantly recognizable breed with a distinct appearance that adds to their charm.

A typical Basset Hound
A typical Basset Hound

The Coat of a Basset Hound

The coat of a Basset Hound is a defining feature of the breed. Here is what you need to know about their coat:

  • The short-haired coat of a Basset is smooth and soft and sheds constantly. They require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and shiny.
  • Any hound coloration is acceptable, but this varies from country to country. Basset Hounds are usually black, tan, and white tricolors or tan and white bicolor. Tan can vary from reddish-brown and red to lemon. Lemon and white are less common colors, while gray or blue is considered rare and undesirable in the show ring.
  • The source of color is the E Locus (MC1R), which has four alleles: EM, EG, E, and e. The EM, E, and e alleles are present in the Basset Hound breed.
  • Basset Hounds with the E allele can produce both red and black pigments, so this allele is present with the majority of color patterns in Basset Hounds. Red and lemon colors are caused by the e allele of MC1R, which is recessive. Lemon dogs are lighter in color than reds, but the genetic mechanism that dilutes phaeomelanin in this instance is unknown. No black hairs will be present on either red or lemon dogs. If there are any black hairs, the dog is officially a tricolor.
  • Basset Hounds are renowned for their gentle, docile demeanor. The EM allele produces a black mask on the face that may extend up around the eyes and onto the ears. This pattern is most easily seen on mahogany dogs. However, any Basset color pattern may express the EM allele, except for “red and white” or “lemon and white” due to e/e.
  • Many Basset Hounds have a clearly defined white blaze and a white tip to their tail, intended to aid hunters in finding their dogs when tracking through the underbrush.
  • The Basset Hound’s coat is naturally oily and has a distinctive “hound scent,” which is natural to the breed.

Overall, the Basset Hound’s coat is a defining feature of the breed and comes in various colors and patterns. They require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

The Temperament of a Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a beloved breed with a distinctive temperament. Here is what you need to know about their personality:

The Basset Hound is a friendly, outgoing, and playful dog known for tolerating children and other pets. They make excellent family pets and are renowned for their affectionate nature.

One of the defining characteristics of the Basset Hound is its strong sense of smell and its devotion to track, much like the beagle. In addition, they are vocal dogs who love to bark, howl, and bay, mainly when on a scent trail. This makes them excellent hunting dogs and means they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

Despite their affectionate nature, Basset Hounds are also known for being stubborn. They can be challenging to train and require a firm and patient hand. Prospective owners should be prepared to put in the time and effort needed to train a Basset Hound properly.

Overall, the Basset Hound is a beloved breed with a unique personality. They make excellent family pets for those prepared to handle their vocal nature and a stubborn streak. With the proper training and socialization, Basset Hounds could be the perfect loving companion dog for many years.

Are Basset Hounds Good with Children?

Basset Hounds are generally very good with children. Their gentle and patient nature makes them well-suited to life in a family with a child. Basset Hounds are confident and social dogs that are generally born with an affable attitude. They are known for being calm and easy-going, even when children might be noisy or rambunctious.

However, it’s important to remember that all dogs, including Basset Hounds, require proper training and socialization around your child to ensure your child’s and dog’s safety. Basset Hounds that have not received appropriate socialization or have been mistreated may not be as patient or gentle with children.

When introducing a Basset Hound to children, it’s essential to take things slowly and to supervise all interactions closely. For example, teach children to treat the dog respectfully and avoid pulling on their ears or tail. It’s also a good idea to teach children not to approach the dog when eating or sleeping, as this can cause them to become irritable.

With proper socialization and treatment, Basset Hounds can make excellent family pets and are generally very good with children. However, it’s important to remember that all dogs are individuals, and each Basset Hound may have a unique personality and temperament.

Basset Hounds are great with kids
Basset Hounds are great with kids

The Ears of a Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are known for their long, pendulous ears, a defining feature of the breed. However, these ears require special attention and care to keep them healthy.

Here’s what you need to know about Basset Hound ears:

Basset Hound ears are large and pendulous, which makes them more prone to infections and ear mites. This is because their ears do not allow air to circulate inside them, unlike other breeds with erect or more open ears. As a result, the inside of the ear can become warm and moist, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.

To avoid infections and ear mites, it’s essential to clean a Basset Hound’s ears frequently. 

Here are some tips for cleaning a Basset Hound’s ears safely:

  • Use a gentle ear-cleaning solution for dogs. You can find these at your local pet store or online.
  • Wet a soft cloth or cotton ball with the solution and gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and ear canal. Avoid inserting the cotton ball or cloth too far into the ear canal.
  • If you notice any redness, swelling, discharge, or a foul odor, contact your veterinarian. These are signs of an infection or ear mites and may require medical treatment.
  • If your Basset Hound swims or gets its ears wet, dry them thoroughly with a soft towel. Moisture can lead to infections.
  • Regular grooming, including trimming hair around the ears, can also help prevent ear infections.

By following these tips, you can keep your Basset Hound’s ears healthy and free from infection. If you notice any signs of infection or ear mites, contact your veterinarian immediately for proper treatment.

The Short Stature of a Basset Hound

The Basset Hound’s short stature is a defining characteristic of the breed, but it’s important to understand the genetic condition that causes it. Here’s what you need to know:

The Genetic Condition

The Basset Hound’s short stature is due to the genetic condition osteochondrodysplasia, which means abnormal growth of both bone and cartilage. This condition is a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, characterized by shortened limbs and a larger head and torso relative to body size. Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Bulldogs are a few dog breeds classified as achondroplastic.

The Height of a Basset Hound

According to the Basset Hound Club of America, the height of a Basset should not exceed 14 inches or 36 cm. This short stature, combined with their long bodies and heavy bones, gives them a distinctive appearance that many love.

Health Concerns

While the short stature of a Basset Hound is a defining characteristic, it can also lead to health concerns. This bone growth abnormality may be a predisposing factor in the development of elbow dysplasia seen in the breed, which leads to arthritis of the elbow joint.

Caring for a Basset Hound’s Short Stature

Because of their short stature, Basset Hounds may have difficulty jumping onto high surfaces or climbing stairs. Owners should know this and provide ramps or steps to help their Basset Hound navigate their environment safely.

Overall, the short stature of a Basset Hound is a defining characteristic of the breed. Still, it’s essential to understand the genetic condition that causes it and the potential health concerns that may arise. With proper care and attention, Basset Hounds can live happy and healthy lives, despite their unique physical characteristics.

Other Health Issues in Basset Hounds

While Basset Hounds are generally healthy dogs, they may be susceptible to certain health issues. Here are some of the most common health concerns to watch for:

Eye Issues

Basset Hounds are prone to several eye conditions, including Cherry Eye. This occurs when the gland in the third eyelid prolapses and becomes visible as a red mass in the corner of the eye. In addition, because of their droopy eyes, the area under the eyeball can collect dirt and become clogged with mucus, leading to eye infections.

Ear Problems

As discussed earlier, Basset Hounds are also prone to ear problems due to their long, pendulous ears. Their ears can collect dirt and moisture, leading to infections and ear mites. It’s essential to clean a Basset Hound’s ears frequently to avoid these issues.

Yeast Infections

Basset Hounds are prone to yeast infections in the folds around the mouth, where drool can collect without thoroughly drying out. This can lead to skin irritation and infection.


Basset Hounds are known for their love of food, and unfortunately, this can lead to obesity if their diet isn’t carefully managed. Overweight Basset Hounds can develop a range of health issues, including bone and joint injuries, gastric dilatation volvulus (also known as bloat), and paralysis.

Caring for a Basset Hound’s Health

To keep your Basset Hound healthy, it’s essential to:

  • Feed them a healthy, balanced diet and monitor their weight carefully.
  • Clean their ears and eyes frequently to avoid infections.
  • Keep their skin folds clean and dry to prevent yeast infections.
  • Provide regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them physically and mentally healthy.
  • Take them to the vet for regular checkups and to address any health concerns as soon as they arise.

Following these tips and watching for potential health issues can help your Basset Hound live a long and healthy life.

Hunting with Basset Hounds

The Basset Hound was originally bred for hunting, with a keen nose and short stature suited to small-game hunting on foot. While many Basset Hounds today are kept solely as companion animals, some owners still use their dogs for hunting. 

Here’s what you need to know:

A Variety of Basset Hound for Hunting

A variety of Basset Hound developed purely for hunting by Colonel Morrison was admitted to the Masters of Basset Hounds Association in 1959 via an appendix to the Stud Book. This breed differs from the standard Basset Hound in several ways:

  • Straighter and longer in the leg
  • Shorter ears
  • Larger, more prominent eyes
  • Thinner, more muscular build

These dogs are still used for hunting today, particularly in the United Kingdom and France. They often track small game animals, such as rabbits and hares.

Hunting with Basset Hounds Today

While hunting with Basset Hounds is not as common as it once was, some owners still enjoy this activity with their dogs. If you’re interested in hunting with your Basset Hound, it’s crucial to ensure that your dog is trained correctly and that you follow all hunting regulations in your area.

Remember that not all Basset Hounds have a strong hunting instinct, and some may not be suitable for this activity. If you need clarification on whether your Basset Hound is a good candidate for hunting, speak with a professional trainer or your veterinarian.

Hunting with Basset Hounds can be rewarding for both dog and owner, but it requires careful training and preparation to ensure it’s done safely and ethically.

What are the negatives of Basset Hounds?

Basset Hounds are beloved for their affectionate nature and loyal personalities, but like any breed, they have downsides. One potential negative of Basset Hounds is their stubbornness. While they are independent dogs by nature, their breeding as scent hounds means they may not always listen to commands if they are poorly trained. Being patient and consistent when training a Basset Hound is essential, as this breed can take longer to learn obedience commands than other breeds.

Another potential downside to owning a Basset Hound is its tendency to drool and snore. Their loose lips and jowls can lead to a lot of slobber and drool, which can be messy and unpleasant for some owners. Additionally, their short, stocky build can lead to health issues if they become overweight or don’t get enough exercise.

Finally, Basset Hounds can be prone to health issues like ear infections and obesity. It’s important to stay on top of your Basset Hound’s health needs and take them for regular checkups to catch any potential issues early on.

Overall, while Basset Hounds are wonderful dogs, they do come with their own set of challenges. However, with proper training and care, these issues can be managed effectively, and the joy of having a loving and loyal Basset Hound companion is well worth the effort.

Do Basset Hounds Bark a Lot?

Yes, Basset Hounds are known for their vocal nature and often bark. They use a distinctive, loud, baying-like bark when they are excited, frustrated, or need attention. Some Basset Hounds may also bark to alert their owners of potential danger or unfamiliar noises.

While their barking can be a nuisance to some owners, it’s important to remember that barking is a natural behavior for dogs. Basset Hounds were originally bred as hunting dogs, and barking was an essential part of their job. However, excessive barking can indicate an underlying issue, such as boredom, anxiety, or lack of exercise.

If your Basset Hound is barking excessively, it’s important to identify the root cause and address it appropriately. This may involve providing more exercise and mental stimulation, training and socialization, or working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

It’s also important to note that Basset Hounds can be pretty smelly due to their skin and ears, which can produce a distinct odor. Regular grooming and cleaning can help minimize unpleasant smells, and it’s essential to clean their ears frequently to avoid infections and other health issues.

While Basset Hounds bark quite a lot, this is a natural behavior for the breed. With proper training, socialization, and care, you can manage their barking and enjoy a happy and healthy relationship with your furry companion.

Are Basset Hounds High Maintenance?

Compared to some other breeds, Basset Hounds are relatively low-maintenance dogs. They have a low energy level and are generally slow-moving, although they can become very excited and energetic when they catch the scent of a rabbit or other prey. Their short coat is also easy to care for, requiring occasional brushing to remove loose fur and dirt.

The most time-consuming aspect of caring for a Basset Hound is typically their long, floppy ears. These ears are prone to infection and can collect dirt and debris quickly, so they must be cleaned regularly to keep them healthy and free of infection. Ear cleaning should be done at least once a week and more frequently if your Basset Hound is prone to ear infections.

Aside from ear cleaning, Basset Hounds require regular exercise and a healthy diet to maintain their weight and overall health. They are prone to obesity, which can lead to various health issues, so monitoring their food intake and providing plenty of opportunities for exercise and play is essential.

While Basset Hounds require some maintenance, they are generally low-maintenance dogs. Regular ear cleaning, exercise, and a healthy diet ensure that your Basset Hound stays happy and healthy for years.

Are Basset Hounds Good to be Left Alone?

Basset Hounds are affectionate and social dogs that thrive on human companionship. They see their human family as their pack and can become quite attached to their owners. As a result, they don’t generally do well when left alone for long periods.

Basset Hounds can experience separation anxiety and distress when left alone for extended periods. They may engage in destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or barking excessively. Some Basset Hounds may also howl or bay loudly, which can be disruptive to neighbors.

If you need to leave your Basset Hound alone for a while, it’s essential to ensure they have plenty of toys and other distractions to keep them occupied. Also, consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker to come and spend time with them during the day.

Basset Hounds are not well-suited to being left alone for long periods. They are social creatures that thrive on human companionship and may experience separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. Therefore, if you’re considering getting a Basset Hound, you must ensure you can provide them with the attention and care they need to thrive.

Are Basset Hounds Hard to House Train?

Potty training a Basset Hound can be challenging but not impossible. These dogs are intelligent but can also be stubborn and highly sensitive, making potty training a bit more complicated than some other breeds.

Basset Hounds respond well to positive, reward-based training methods. They are eager to please their owners and learn best when they feel comfortable and not under a lot of pressure. Consistency is key when training a Basset Hound, and it’s crucial to establish and stick to a routine.

When potty training a Basset Hound, it’s essential to be patient and consistent. Take your dog outside frequently, especially after meals, naps, and playtime. Reward your dog with treats and praise when they go potty outside, and avoid punishing them for accidents inside the house.

One of the challenges of potty training a Basset Hound is their tendency to become distracted by scents and other stimuli. They may also become anxious or overwhelmed if they feel like they’re being watched or under pressure to perform. Therefore, it’s crucial to create a calm, quiet environment for your Basset Hound during potty training and avoid getting frustrated or angry if they have accidents.

While potty training a Basset Hound can be challenging, it’s not impossible. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can successfully train your Basset Hound to go potty outside and avoid accidents inside the house.

With patience you can house train a Basset Hound Puppy to pee outside
With patience you can house train a Basset Hound Puppy to pee outside

Finding Basset Hounds for Adoption in Southern California

Many rescue organizations and shelters specialize in this breed if you’re interested in adopting a Basset Hound in Southern California or the State of California. Adopting a rescued Basset Hound can be a rewarding experience and provide a loving home for a needy dog.

One organization to consider is the Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California. This all-volunteer group is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming Basset Hounds in the Southern California area. They have a thorough adoption process, including an application, a home visit, and a fee. Adopted dogs are spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, and microchipped before entering their new homes.

Another organization to consider is the Golden State Basset Rescue. This volunteer-run group serves all of California and works to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Basset Hounds in need. They also have a thorough adoption process and require potential adopters to fill out an application, provide references, and have a home visit.

Volunteering with these organizations can also be a rewarding experience for those who love Basset Hounds but may not be able to adopt them. Volunteers can help with everything from transportation to fostering dogs in need.

Many resources are available for those interested in adopting or volunteering with Basset Hounds in California. With some research and dedication, you can provide a loving home or support for a needy dog.

Avoid overlooking a mixed breed, such as the Beagle Basset Mix, when looking for a Basset. Many rescue shelters have mixed breeds just waiting for their forever homes.


The Basset Hound is a friendly and affectionate dog known for its keen sense of smell and long, droopy ears. They were initially bred to hunt small game and have a loud, baying bark that they use to communicate with their owners. While Basset Hounds are generally low-energy dogs, they require regular exercise and attention from their owners. They can be prone to specific health issues, including ear infections and obesity, and they don’t do well when left alone for long periods. Basset Hounds can also be stubborn and challenging to potty train, but they respond well to positive, reward-based training methods. Overall, the Basset Hound is a loyal and loving companion well-suited to life in a loving and attentive home.

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