Despite a deliberate, unhurried manner and captivatingly clownish demeanor, the Basset Hound possesses great intelligence and what may often be viewed as stubbornness may more appropriately be attributed to an innate ingenuity.

In fact, the Basset excels at getting his way, from demanding a tasty morsel at the table to hurling his hefty 65 pounds into your lap! His overly long body, short legs and delightful wrinkles become a kaleidoscope of amusing expressions, all cleverly orchestrated to win us over. And win us over he does. Gentle and sociable in nature, the easygoing Basset Hound is loyal to master and family, devoted to children and mild-mannered and friendly towards other animals.

Personality and Physical Traits of the Basset Hound

  • Calm, good-natured and affectionate. Gets along well with people and other dogs and pets.  Good with children.  Loves to be a lap dog. Not a good guard dog.
  • Sensitive and determined nature. A Basset takes punishment and reprimands to heart. Can be conveniently hard of hearing.
  • Pack mentality. A single Basset may not do well left alone for long periods. For working owners, the company of another dog is the next best thing to having you there.
  • A scent hound. The Basset was bred to trail game. His keen nose can lead him into dangerous situations such as the path of a speeding car or an unfenced swimming pool. The Basset is safest in a secure, enclosed area.
  • Relatively low activity level. Healthy, trim Bassets have good energy levels, but they are also content to snooze away the afternoon in a patch of warm sun. Although this laid-back nature makes them desirable house pets, their weight must be kept in check. A daily walk with your Basset is recommended.
  • A large, hefty dog, possessing more bone for its size than any other breed of dog. Although Bassets are low to the ground, they are not small dogs, with most ranging from 45 to 70 pounds. The average person will have a difficult time lifting an adult Basset Hound.
  • A smooth-coated dog. A wash-and-wear dog who may be bathed as needed. Over bathing will strip the natural oil in this hunting hound. Bathe judiciously. Bassets are either tri-colored (a combination of black, white and tan) or red-and-white (a lighter red-and-white may be called lemon-and-white). Coat colors are distributed over the body in no particular pattern.
  • Growing puppies have special needs. Until they are a year old, Basset puppies should not go up and down stairs or be allowed to jump on and off elevated objects such as couches, beds or porches. The joints of this heavy-boned breed are still forming and excessive stress or strain may cause permanent injury. After a year of age, these activities, within reason, are usually not harmful to your Basset.
  • Short legs may mean a needed boost! Many, but not all, sturdy, low-slung Basset Hounds may require assistance getting into a car. The unique, low-stationed Basset does not excel at jumping.
  • Long ears and droopy eyes need cleaning. Nails need trimming. The long ears of a Basset do not allow good circulation of air and can become infected if not kept clean. Owners should clean their dog’s ears once a week. The Basset’s droopy eyes should also be kept clean of debris and nails trimmed once or twice monthly.

Before making the decision to purchase a Basset Hound, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If you have been accustomed to dogs with high energy levels, will you be happy with the calm, even temperament of the Basset Hound?
  • Bassets do not make good jogging companions and are not the best dog with which to have a game of catch. Will the Basset fit your lifestyle expectations?
  • Because of their long ears, low-slung structure and hefty size, Bassets have special needs, including needing their ears cleaned weekly. Will you enjoy meeting these needs?
  • Because they possess a hunting instinct, Bassets tend to roam and should be kept in a secure, fenced area. Are you able to provide this type of environment for your Basset?
  • A single Basset may not do well when left alone for long periods. Will you have the time to give your Basset a great deal of attention and affection?
  • The friendly, easy-going personality of the Basset makes him a poor guard dog. Is this acceptable to you?
  • You understand that a Basset Hound can be an “independent thinker” and are not expecting perfect behavior at all times.

If you have answered yes to the above questions, a Basset Hound may be the right dog for you!

Learn More about the Basset Hound

Want to learn more about the Basset Hound?  Try watching this beautifully narrated presentation that the Basset Hound Club of America uses to help educate judges, members and breeders.  It will help you understand more about this fascinating breed.  This is a large file, please be patient.

What else should I consider before obtaining a Basset Hound?

I understand more about the breed.  What else should I know about picking a Basset Hound as my family dog?  What other factors do I need to think about?  Click below to learn about the other things you might want to consider.