Basset hound

A short-legged breed of dogs in the hound family. It is an affectionate and cheerful pet with long ears and sad expression in its eyes.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 18—29 kg
male: 18—29 kg
female: 33—38 cm
male: 33—38 cm
require average time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
4—8 puppies
United Kingdom
in 19 century
Life span
Life span:
11—13 years


It is a stereotype that Basset Hounds are calm animals. Despite having sad appearance, they are cheerful and dexterous. These pets were bred for hunting, but now, they are mostly kept for family life. They are interested in everything that happens around. These dogs like calmly laying on the couch, but not all day long. Basset Hounds enjoy participating in family activities and following all family members. Meanwhile, they know how not to be intrusive.

Interaction with people is important for Basset Hounds. You cannot leave these pets alone for a long time. Isolation can badly affect their psyche. However, despite being very attached to people, these dogs like having their own space. They are proud dogs. Tolerating rudeness and injustice is not about dogs of this breed. If a Basset Hound created a mess — it means someone offended it.

Basset Hounds get on well with other animals, especially with dogs. They might have conflicts with cats sometimes. It depends on personality traits of pets. Basset Hounds like children, even those who they do not know. You can leave a small kid alone with a Basset Hound and not worry about his safety. The pet will play with the child, calmly reacting to his actions. This breed is perfect for people looking for a family pet.


Basset Hounds are smart and stubborn at the same time. Some people say that they are easy to be trained. Others complain about some problems occurring during the training process. Everything depends on how you train the dog. It is crucial to realize that only a person can affect personality of the dog. Remember that the breed was developed for hunting. Basset Hounds are used to making their own decisions. That is why they need a leader who these dogs will listen to.

Pets need to be trained starting from a young age. Right after its purchase, the dog has to accept house rules. It is crucial to let the pet know what is allowed to be done, and what is not. The earlier the pet learns it, the better it is. It is hard to teach an adult Basset Hound how to do something in a different way.

Dog`s socialization should start when it is 2–3 months old. Take it outside so that it gets used to other animals and people. Start from walks lasting 10–15 minutes a day, and make them longer with each new week. Train your pet at the same time. The first command a Basset Hound needs to learn is «come here». It is important for the dog not to run too far away during street walks. Taking their well-developed sense of smell into consideration, these dogs like doing that. Then, work on teaching your pet other commands: «no», «sit down», «stay close», «go to your place» and others. The training process should last no longer than 10–15 minutes every day. The best way of training a dog is playing a game with rewards with it. Basset Hounds like eating, and this fact can be used. If a pet understands that after completing a command, a reward will be waiting for it — it will do everything possible to get a treat.

If your pet resists training, and Basset Hounds can do that, it is crucial not to show aggression. Patience and persistence are key instruments for training a dog. Apart from training a dog yourself, you can take it to a general course of training. 

When it comes to hunting, Basset Hounds were developed for chasing wounded prey, especially rabbits. Short legs make it possible for these dogs to get into bushes. Long ears of these dogs let them hear even quiet sounds while running. Nowadays, Basset Hounds are rarely used for hunting. In order to train your dog for that, you should take it to special courses.


Basset Hounds are of medium size. Their body is long and athletic. Their main characteristics are: long ears, short legs and sad facial expression. According to standard of the breed, Basset Hounds cannot be taller than 36 cm.
Short and shiny, lays closely to the body. It feels soft when it is touched. A thin undercoat is present.
All colors typical for dogs in the hound family are acceptable. The most common ones are: tricolor — black-and-white with red spots; bicolor — red-and-white. 
Big, dome-shaped. Elastic skin creates wrinkles under eyes and eyebrows. 
Oval-shaped, deeply-set. They are of dark brown color. For dogs with lighter coat colors, light-brown eye color is acceptable. 
Very long, hang along the neck, set lower than eyes.
Wide and elongated.
Very short, with strong bones. Front legs are straight. Hind legs are set at an angle of 45 degrees. 
Long, saber-shaped. It rises when the dog moves.

Basic Care

Basset Hounds need medium amount of time to be groomed. Their short hair should be brushed once a week. During the molting period — in spring and fall — two times a week, using a soft rubber brush. Then pet your dog with wet hands to take off left hairs. 

You do not need to give your Basset Hound a bath very often. Once a month will be enough. When hair of pets gets wet, it produces odor. For that reason, a tar dog shampoo is recommended to be used. Then use a hairdryer. Dog`s paws need to be wiped after each walk. Its ears need special attention. While washing the dog, you should cover its ears, so that water does not get in them. Apart from it, they need to be checked and ventilated every day, so that fungus does not develop. Take off dirt using cotton pads, soaked in a special lotion. Wrinkles on the snout need special attention, too. Because Basset Hounds produce a lot of saliva, their wrinkles need to be wiped every day, so that fungus does not develop. Wipe their eyes every day, using cotton pads, soaked in a special lotion. You should clean your pet`s teeth once in 10 days, using a zoo-paste and a special brush. Trim its claws once in 2 weeks.

Despite being small in size, Basset Hounds grow up very fast. Before they turn 3,5 years old, their baby teeth fall out. Meanwhile, these pets are prone to obesity. That is why their diet has to be well-balanced. It is recommended to feed Basset Hounds with natural products. Such ingredients can be given to the dog: not greasy meat — beef, rabbit meat and turkey; offals; grains — buckwheat, rice and wheat porridge; fat free dairy products — cottage cheese, kefir and baked milk; vegetables (apart from legumes and potatoes). Additionally, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D can be added to the diet. When the dog eats, it is better to tie its ears with a hairband. A puppy under the age of 3 months needs to eat 5 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times a day, under 1 year — 3 times a day, then — twice a day (in the morning and in the evening, preferably at the same time). If you choose to feed your dog with dry food — it needs to be of premium quality. 

Basset Hounds can live both inside and outside. It would be more comfortable for them to stay inside, close to the owner. However, pets can live in an aviary without any problems, too. It needs to be warm, though, so that the dog does not get cold in chilly weather. Street walks are important for Basset Hounds. They need to be walked twice a day, preferably for 60 minutes. It is crucial for these pets to do physical exercises not to gain extra weight.

Health and Illnesses

Basset Hounds can live up to 13 years if treated well. Because of their physiology, these pets mostly suffer from acquired, rather than from congenital, disorders.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary health issue that affects dogs of a lot of breeds. It develops because of incorrect formation of the acetabulum. The acetabulum is connected with the femoral bone: its head is located in there. However, because acetabulum becomes flat, head of the femoral bone gets dislocated and starts rubbing against the joint. As a result, it gets destroyed with time. It is impossible to cure dysplasia.

Panosteitis is a long bone condition that leads to limping. This disorder is often thought to be hip dysplasia. However, they are two different disorders. Dysplasia cannot be cured, but panosteitis either disappears itself, or can be medically cured. Most often, the disease is diagnosed in puppies that are between 5 to 12 months old. It can last from 2 weeks to 2 years, having no affection on joints and structure of the bone. 

Von Willebrand disease is a hereditary health problem that disrupts blood clotting. Because of it, often bleeding occurs. 95% of dog breeds are affected by this disorder. Its symptoms include: bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and blood in the urine. Less often, dog`s claws bleed when they are getting trimmed. The disorder can be medically cured.

Abdominal bloating is a common disorder that leads to accumulation of gas in pet`s stomach. It leads to increased size of dog`s stomach, which starts pushing on other organs, blocking blood flow. As a result, the pet might die. Most often, abdominal bloating develops because of malnutrition. That is why it is crucial not to overfeed your pet and not to walk your dog right after it ate. It is better to wait for 1,5–2 hours.

Intervertebral disc disease develops because of degeneration of intervertebral discs in vertebrae. These discs are responsible for mobility of the spine. They consist of a gel-like zone — the nucleus pulposus. When structure of the disc gets deformed, it gets dislocated into the spinal canal and stars pushing on the spinal chord. It causes pain. The disorder can be of 5 types:

  1. A pet feels pain.
  2. The pet feels pain and weakness in hind legs.
  3. It can feel hind legs, but cannot control them.
  4. Pet`s hind legs stop functioning, but pain can still be felt.
  5. The pet is paralyzed.

Treatment depends on the stage of the disorder. That is why it is crucial to control your dog`s level of activity. If it starts limping or moving little, it is better to take it to a vet.

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa. It can either be inherited, or develop because of taking incorrect care of the dog. Its symptoms include: sneezing, nasal mucus and shortness of breath. The disorder can be cured with drugs and therapies.

Basset Hounds might also suffer from deafness, fungus on paws, otitis and obesity.

History of the Breed

Basset Hounds are British dogs, but their initial homeland was France. These pets were mentioned by French historians back in the Middle Ages. They described these pets as short Norman hounds. Laconian dogs were believed to be their ancestors. They were used for hunting in burrows and searching for truffles. It is thought that the gene of short legs appeared as a result of a random mutation.

17th century is believed to be the start of popularization of the breed. French people were breeding Basset Hounds for different purposes: hunting for burrowing animals, pheasants and for family life. Apart from rising of popularity on Basset Hounds, the need for dogs of the hound family was also noticeable. By the end of the 18th century, French dog breeders developed 12 lines of the breed. They differed not only in appearance, but also in working skills. 

These pets appeared in England at the beginning of the 19th century. Local dog owners started crossbreeding them with Bloodhounds. It affected appearance of Norman Basset Hounds. Their body got covered with wrinkles, and ears became longer. In 1863, dogs of this breed were called Basset Hounds, and they participated in a show in Paris. Later, English and French dog owners united and started breeding their pets. In 1895, they established the standard of the breed. It was changed only in 2010.