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Things You Always Wanted to Know About a Basset
Hound but Didn't Know Who to Ask
Hound Roots: Mention of a
long, low dog comes down to us through the centuries beginning about 2000 B.C.,
through carvings on an Egyptian monument. Perhaps he followed the Roman
Conquest into France. In 6th century France we find mention of a long, low dog
called the St. Hubert Hound. By the 1700's Basset Hounds were being used
extensively throughout France in the hunting of small game by hunters on foot.
It is believed George Washington was given a pair as a gift during this time.
Bassets were exported to England from France in the 1800s, becoming well
established. In more recent times imports to the United States, mainly from
England, helped further the breed.
The Basset Hound is a short-legged dog, heavier in bone, size considered, than
any other breed. His movement is deliberate, though not clumsy. His temperament
is mild, his devotion extreme. His scenting ability, second only to that of the
Bloodhound, has made him an exceptional hunting dog. His long ears, facial
wrinkles, deep muzzle, and dewlaps help trap and hold scent. Sturdy legs and
loose skin help him track game through thorny brambles and difficult terrain. His
voice is thrilling to hear. There is only one standard by which Basset Hounds
Bassets have easygoing temperaments; making males as well as females excellent
pets. They are strong-willed and
intelligent, using these traits to their advantage. They are willing dogs as
long as what you wish of them is what they intended to do in the first place.
Otherwise, you may begin to think he has a hearing problem. Patience,
lots of praise, tenderness, and perseverance (plus a treat) work wonders. Basset
Hounds do not take well to harsh treatment. Often just the tone of your voice is
all that is needed in the way of correction.
Basset Hounds love to be loved, and need to be part of a family. If
left alone for any length of time during the day, then consider another dog or a
cat to keep him company. Bassets make loving companions and excellent family
dogs. They do not require a large yard or high fence, but their hunting instinct
can get them into serious trouble unless they are confined in a fenced yard.
Hounds tend to shed hair year-round, but frequent brushing will eliminate most
of the problem. Ears need weekly cleaning, and nails should be trimmed twice a
month. A weekly shampoo with flea shampoo may be necessary if fleas are a
problem in your area. Inoculations for distemper/leptospirosis/hepatitis/kennel
cough, parvo, and rabies should be routinely given. Consult your veterinarian
for scheduling these and any others that may be needed in your area.
Bleeding Disorders: Two inherited bleeding disorders affect our breed, namely
Hereditary Thrombopathia, and Von Willebrand's Disease. Since an affected dog
may not show any outward sign of his/her condition, we urge anyone contemplating
breeding their Basset to have it tested, as these bleeding disorders can be
passed to some or all of its offspring. Since symptoms, such as excessive
bleeding, could also be caused by other trauma, a veterinarian should always be
are one of the breeds in which glaucoma occurs and can even be inherited. Simply
put, glaucoma is increased pressure in the eye. The pressure buildup is caused
by excessive accumulation of fluid. Basset Hounds also may develop
keratoconjunctivitis, a condition commonly called dry eye. They do not produce
adequate tears to keep the eye lubricated and nourished. A veterinarian or
veterinary ophthalmologist should be consulted any time an owner detects any
changes or problems in or near the eyes.
These are tips for caring for your basset
hound's basic needs. Some are general dog care items and others are specific to
basset hounds. This guide is not all inclusive/
nor does it address specific needs for
individual dogs. We recommend that all dog owners keep in contact with their
breeder and have a well-qualified veterinarian to whom they take their dogs
1. Vaccinations: All dogs need to have booster shots EVERY YEAR. This will generally include a DA2PP+CVK-LCI (Distemper, Adenovirus type 2, Parainfluenza, Coronavirus/ and both Leptospirosis). Puppies younger than 16 weeks should have this shot every two weeks. This shot offers protection against several dog diseases that are VERY expensive to treat if not deadly to you dog. Some of these can be contracted by contact with infected soil or excrement brought home on your shoes, hands, clothes etc. so even dogs which do not go out of the home should be inoculated Rabies shots should be given after 16 weeks/ again at one year and every three years thereafter. Depending on your dog's activities and the area you live in your veterinarian may suggest a Lime disease and Kennel Cough vaccine as well as other preventative medications.
2. Heart Worm:
This silent killer is on the rise countrywide. Dogs with heartworm have little
chance of survival unless it is caught in the early stages. A dog MUST test
clear before the administering of the preventive medication. Check with your
veterinarian for the testing and medication procedure.
Dogs can get several types of intestinal parasites. Hookworms and roundworms
are sometimes passed from mother's milk/
or can be gotten from infected soil contact. Tapeworms are frequent in dogs that
have or have had fleas. We recommend that you consult your veterinarian
instead of trying to use medications found in grocery stores.
4. Coat Grooming:
Basset hounds have a musky odor/ as do all
scent hounds/ because they have oils in their
coat to help keep the loose skin flexible/
and to help the water run off when outdoors. Luckily the basset hound is a
"wash and wear" breed. It can be bathed as often as you wish using a
shampoo intended for dogs (never use human shampoo). If you brush your basset
hound daily it will cut down on the odor and the amount of shed hair you will
find around the house. No trimming is necessary on a basset hound's coat.
Basset hounds need to have their toenails kept
short. Longer nails cause soreness in the toes/
can cause the toes to splay (spread out) or can grow into the pads. To keep your
dog from this discomfort you need to clip the nails near the quick (the pink
area). Ideally this should be done weekly/
but no less than once a month.
Ears/ such as those on a basset hound/
which lay on the side of the head do not get any ail passing by to keep them
dry. This means that the ears become a trap for dirt. Ears need to be cleaned
and wiped out weekly to prevent infection. Please consult your veterinarian or
breeder for recommendations on ear cleaning solutions and how they should be
7. Muzzle and Eye Area:
Dirty faces abound when your nose is on the ground most of the time. Wash your
basset hounds face several times a week. Dogs in multiple dog homes will often
do this to each other but they use their
Ideally they will be brushed daily with a dogtooth paste. They should be brushed
at least weekly and scaling should be done by a veterinarian as needed.
9. Food: A Basset Hound’s growth and general health
depend on the quality of the food they are given. Puppies will often eat
considerably more even when a higher quality/protein food is given to them
because they grow so rapidly. Basset Hounds do well on dry food. Some breeders
recommend that the dry food be moistened with water to prevent choking. Fussy
eaters are not born; they are created. Offer food once or twice a day. If it is
not eaten within 15 minutes take it up and do not offer any again until the next
scheduled feeding time. Do not allow your adult or puppy Basset Hound to become
overweight. Table scraps should not be fed to your dog. They can cause all kinds
of problems including overweight dogs, a dog that begs at the table or scrounges
counter tops and trashcans or the dreaded fussy eater. Besides, most table
scraps do no provide the proper nutritional balance for your dog. Your breeder
and your veterinarian can recommend a food that will be healthy and balanced for
your dog. Remember, you often get what you pay for. This is especially true for
dog food. Poor diet can cause excessive odor and skin problems in Basset Hounds.
Adequate water should always be available to your dog.
Treats: Keep in mind that treats are calories gotten IN ADDITION
TO meals and feeding should be adjusted accordingly. Hard dog biscuits are good
for teeth because the^ can slow plaque build up. There is a lot of controversy
about other kinds of treats. These include rawhide, cow hooves, pig’s ears,
etc. The problem is based on product content, quality control, possible chemical
contamination and choking or splintering possibilities Some dog owners will only
give compressed rawhide treats that come from the US, Canada or England because
these countries have better quality control. Many also will only give treats for
dogs to chew on under close supervision. NEVER give your dog any type of bone
that can splinter (especially chicken, turkey, pork etc.). Basset Hounds are
often fond of fruits and vegetables and they are safe, cheaper, and
non-controversial as well as being relatively low in calories.
Basset Hounds will wander off if they are not on a leash or behind < fence.
They usually do not return if they get loose or are free to roam. They do not
look u] when they are on a scent trail, unaware of all hazards around them.
Basset Hounds will generally go on until they are too exhausted to go on, and
then look around for a free meal. If you want your dog to have more freedom, get
a long lead for walks. A Basset Hound tied to a fence or tree etc. is miserable
and will let your neighbors hear about it. Their outside area should be fenced
with adequate space to run and play. A fence also provides protection from stray
dogs and some wild animals. Shelter for the dog to stay dry and warm is also
important. Protection from the hot sun is a must. An improperly contained Basset
Hound is a rescue dog waiting to happen if it lives through the experience.
Water/Pools/Ponds: Though all dogs need a lot of fresh water to drink and
your Basset Hound will drool, a Basset Hound has difficulty handling any amount
of water larger than a bucket. Built of heavy bone and muscle, they would make
great submarines, but do not have the required gills to survive. Keep a secure
fence between your Basset Hound and any body of water deeper than it can wade
through all year long.
House Time: Basset Hounds love to be with people. All dogs, but
especially Basset Hounds, need daily indoor opportunities with human company.
They desire to overtake all furniture rights but should be somewhat discouraged.
They do make great lap dogs if you have a big lap. The Basset Hound is a dwarf
breed thus care must be given to protect their joints and backs. Stairs,
furniture, bed hopping and other such jarring experience;
Training: Basset Hounds CAN be trained. They were bred for
independent though when hunting so may be slow to respond. This does not mean
they are stubborn, stupid or disrespectful. They are actually thinking things
over. Dogs have a brain and will find ways and looks to try to make things
happen to their best advantage. When deciding what you might allow that cute
Basset Hound to do, remember that what you allow it to do now will last forever.
It is easier to train a thinking dog than to un-train one.
General Appearance — The Basset Hound possesses in marked degree those
characteristics, which equip it admirably to follow a trail over and through
difficult terrain. It is a short-legged dog, heavier in bone, size considered,
than any other breed of dog, and while its movement is deliberate, it is in no
sense clumsy. In temperament it is mild, never sharp or timid. It is capable
of great endurance in the field and is extreme in its devotion.
Head - The head is large and well
proportioned. Its length from occiput to muzzle is greater than the width at
the brow. In over-all appearance the head is of medium width. The skull
is well domed, showing a pronounced occipital protuberance. A broad flat skull
is a fault. The length from nose to stop is approximately the length from stop
to occiput. The sides are flat and free from cheek bumps. Viewed in profile
the top lines of the muzzle and skull are straight and lie in parallel planes,
with a moderately defined stop. The skin over the whole of the head is loose,
falling in distinct wrinkles over the brow when the head is lowered. A dry
head and tight skin are faults. The muzzle is deep, heavy, and free
from snipiness. The nose is darkly pigmented, preferably black, with
large wide-open nostrils. A deep liver-colored nose conforming to the coloring
of the head is permissible but not desirable. The teeth are large,
sound, and regular meeting in either a scissors or even bite. A bite either
overshot or undershot is a serious fault. The lips are darkly pigmented
and are pendulous, falling squarely in front and, toward the back, in loose
hanging flews. The dewlap is very pronounced. The neck is
powerful, of good length, and well arched. The eyes are soft, sad, and
slightly sunken, showing a prominent haw, and in color are brown, dark brown
is preferred. A somewhat lighter-colored eye conforming to the general
coloring of the dog is acceptable but not desirable. Very light or protruding
eyes are faults. The ears are extremely long, low set, and when drawn
forward, fold well over the end of the nose. They are velvety in texture,
hanging in loose folds with the ends curling slightly inward. They are set far
back on the head at the base of the skull and, in repose, appear to be set on
the neck. A high set or flat ear is a serious fault.
Forequarters - The chest is deep and full with
prominent sternum showing clearly in front of the legs. The shoulders
and elbows are set close against the sides of the chest. The distance from the
deepest point of the chest to the ground, while it must be adequate to allow
free movement when working in the field, is not to be more than one-third the
total height at the withers of an adult Basset. The shoulders are well laid
back and powerful. Steepness in shoulder, fiddle fronts, and elbows that are
out, are serious faults. The forelegs are short, powerful, heavy in
bone, with wrinkled skin. Knuckling over of the front legs is a
disqualification. The paw is massive, very heavy with
Body - The
rib structure is long, smooth, and extends well back. The ribs are well
sprung, allowing adequate room for heart and lungs. Flatsidedness and flanged
ribs are faults. The topline is straight, level, and free from any tendency to
sag or roach, which are faults.
Hindquarters - The hindquarters are very full and well rounded, and are
approximately equal to the shoulders in width. They must not appear slack or
light in relation to the over-all depth of the body. The dog stands firmly on
its hind legs showing a well-let-down stifle with no tendency toward a
crouching stance. Viewed from behind, the hind legs are parallel, with the
hocks turning neither in nor out. Cowhocks or bowed legs are serious faults.
The hind feet point straight ahead. Steep, poorly angulated hindquarters are a
serious fault. The dewclaws, if any, may be removed.
Tail - The
tail is not to be docked, and is set in continuation of the spine with but
slight curvature, and carried gaily in hound fashion. The hair on the
underside of the tail is course.
Size - The
height should not exceed 14 inches. Height over 15 inches at the highest point
of the shoulder blades is a disqualification.
Gait — The
Basset Hound moves in a smooth, powerful, and effortless manner. Being a
scenting dog with short legs, it holds its nose low to the ground. Its gait is
absolutely true with perfect coordination between the front and hind legs, and
it moves in a straight line with hind feet following in line with the front
feet, the hocks well bent with no stiffness of action. The front legs do not
paddle, weave, or overlap, and the elbows must lie close to the body. Going
away, the hind legs are parallel.
Coat - The
coat is hard, smooth, and short, with sufficient density to be of use in all
weather. The skin is loose and elastic. A distinctly long coat is a
Color - Any
recognized hound color is acceptable and the distribution of color and
markings is of no importance.
of more than 15 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blades.
Knuckled over front legs.
Distinctly long coat.
Approved January 14, 1964 American Kennel Club (AKC)