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Honest FAQ for Basset Hounds (2022)

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds live for food, are champion beggars, and will steal food from any surface within reach – which includes the kitchen countertop when they stand up on their hind legs.


What kind of temperament and personality does the Basset Hound have?

The most descriptive words that come to my mind regarding Basset Hound temperament and behavior are:

easygoing, amiable, clownish, stubborn, noisy, messy, selective hearing, and above all, driven to follow his nose!

I give you my honest opinions about Basset Hound temperament and personality traits and characteristics – positives AND negatives – in my dog breed review, Basset Hound Temperament and Personality Traits (What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em).

Where did the name Basset Hound come from?

A French scenthound (hunts by scent), the Basset Hound is descended from the Bloodhound. His name comes from the French bas, meaning "low to the ground".

There are actually several Basset breeds in Europe, the healthiest of which have longer, straighter legs than the Basset Hound here in the US. Also much less exaggeration of the head and skin.

What were Basset Hounds used for?

The Basset Hound was bred to hunt in packs, trailing rabbits and baying as they go.

What traits would help Basset Hounds accomplish their work? That's right... powerful nose, loud bay, endurance, persistence, and independent thinking.

How big are Basset Hounds? Height and weight?

About 11-15 inches at the shoulder, and 45-75 pounds. Most people who don't really know Bassets are surprised by just how HEFTY these hounds are when you get up close and personal with them. The dwarfed legs makes a Basset short, yes, but the looong body is thoroughly packed with weight that puts the breed squarely in the MEDIUM category.

What colors do Basset Hounds come in?

Typically some combination of black, brown, and white. Less commonly red and white, or lemon (creamy beige) and white.

Do Basset Hounds come in different "types"?

Yes: show type for the dog show conformation ring, and field type for hunting. However, very few people breed Basset Hounds for hunting anymore. There is a large working Basset pack in England, but other than that, the dog show enthusiasts have so damaged the structure of this breed that a few gallops across a meadow would leave them huffing and puffing. So at least in the US, all the Basset Hounds from reputable breeders are show type.

Do Basset Hounds drool?

Yes!

Do Basset Hounds have a doggy odor?

Yes, Basset Hounds, like most other scenthound breeds, tend to have a distinctive doggy odor.

How much exercise do Basset Hounds need?

Two things to understand about Basset Hounds is that they NEED more exercise than they might WANT... and they always WANT more food than they NEED! Those two things add up to your already chunky Basset Hound turning into an unhealthy blimp.

So you gotta get your Basset Hound outside and moving – long brisk walks and a decent yard to romp around in. Your Basset Hound will love you even more if you get him involved in AKC activities called Scentwork.  and Basset Hound Field Trials.

Do Basset Hounds need a fenced yard?

Definitely. Basset Hounds have wanderlust.Why a fenced yard? and best and worst fences.

Are Basset Hounds easy to train?

Yes and No. Basset Hounds live for food, so they'll sprout wings and fly if they think you'll give them a tiny piece of chicken for it. But as soon as the treats disappear, so does a Basset's hearing, apparently.

Like all scenthounds, Basset Hounds are independent thinkers. They have little desire to please – everything is on a "What's in it for me?" basis. You mustn't fall for a Basset Hound's coy attempts to charm you or play the clown to distract you from correcting him. You must persist with a Basset Hound until he recognizes that HE is the follower in your leader-follower relationship. Then a Basset Hound can be a mellow joy to live with.

Are Basset Hounds easy to housebreak?

Some Basset Hounds housetrain with no issues at all. Others can be a bit... dirty, which will require more time and persistence on your part. Use a crate or pen and don't give in to the temptation to let him loose in the house too soon. Sadly, the vast majority of non-housebroken Bassets were made that way by their owner.

Are Basset Hounds friendly with people?

Most Basset Hounds are friendly, or at least polite, with everyone. Some Bassets are more reserved with strangers, although still polite. And some are a bit timid. Basset Hounds are not aggressive dogs.

Are Basset Hounds good with children?

Yes, most Basset Hounds are good-natured with children.

Are Basset Hounds good with other dogs?

Yes, most Basset Hounds are good-natured with other dogs.

Are Basset Hounds good with cats?

Yes, most Basset Hounds are good-natured with cats.

How much do Basset Hounds shed?

Basset Hounds are heavy shedders. That might surprise you if you thought shorthaired breeds don't shed much. Not true!

Are Basset Hounds hypoallergenic? Good for people with allergies?

If you're allergic to dog dander, no. If you're allergic to canine saliva, no. Basset Hounds are not hypoallergenic dogs at all.

How much grooming do Basset Hounds need?

Just occasional brushing... more often when shedding.

What's a good training schedule for training Basset Hound puppies?

Here's the puppy training schedule I use for Basset Hounds: Puppy Training Schedule.

What behavior problems do Basset Hounds tend to have?

Most commonly, clients come to me with a Basset Hound who is stealing food, baying and howling, jumping on people, digging holes, destructive chewing... did I mention stealing food?

What health problems might Basset Hounds have?

Serious eye diseases. Skin diseases. Chronic ear infections. Orthopedic diseases due to their deformed build. An emergency intestinal syndrome called bloat... overall, this is not a particularly healthy breed.

What breeds are similar to the Basset Hound?

Basset Hound cousins in Europe include the rare Basset Artesien Normand and Basset Bleu de Gascogne.

If you prefer your Bassets shaggy, there is the Basset Fauve de Bretagne (Fawn Brittany Basset), the Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV).

You might also consider the Beagle to be similar to a Basset Hound. Beagles have a similar history and similar uses as a hunting dog, which means a similar temperament and behavior. Beagles are generally good-natured, but stubborn, noisy, messy, and food-oriented.

Where can I buy a Basset Hound puppy?

Show breeder, pet breeder? Read my article.

Where can I adopt an older Basset Hound?

Rescue group or humane society/shelter? Read my article.

I just got a new Basset Hound. Which pages should I read first?

  • Basset Hound Health, which includes my advice on feeding, vaccinations, and daily health care. These pages are very important, because if you start your Basset Hound puppy off on the wrong foot, he will probably experience health problems later on. Starting off right is essential.
  • Training Basset Hounds, which includes my advice on respect training, housebreaking, and socialization. Again, you must start your Basset Hound puppy off on the right foot by teaching him what he needs to know, and you must avoid doing the wrong things with him so that he doesn't develop bad habits that will be much harder to fix later on.

Do male dogs or female dogs make better pets?

Ah, let the debate begin! Honestly, male Basset Hounds have pros and cons, and female Basset Hounds have pros and cons. Visit Male Dogs versus Female Dogs

There's an adorable Basset Hound puppy at the pet shop. The store manager assures me they only buy from responsible breeders. Could this be true?

No responsible Basset Hound breeder would ever place one of their Basset Hound puppies in a pet shop for resale. To find out more about pet shop puppies, visit Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store.

How do I pick the best Basset Hound puppy from a litter?

You can do puppy personality tests. Visit How To Choose a Good Puppy.

What's the best dog food for Basset Hounds?

3 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food.

I have to take my Basset Hound to the vet soon for shots. Which vaccinations does he really need?

The schedule of vaccinations that dogs really need has changed dramatically – but unfortunately most vets are not telling you this, because a good chunk of their income depends on frequent vaccinations. Please don't get any more shots for your Basset Hound until you've read my article on Puppy Shots and Dog Vaccinations.

What are the pros and cons of spaying and neutering my Basset Hound, and when should it be done?

Spaying and neutering are often recommended too early, which can lead to health problems later in life. Visit Spaying Your Female Dog or Neutering Your Male Dog for the straight scoop on the safest (and riskiest) times to spay or neuter.

I have a question about Basset Hounds that I don't see answered on your web site.

It's probably answered in one of my books:

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.