The Basset Hound Dog Breed

Written By: Lindsay Giguiere

Editor: Julie Zawadzki

Dog Breeds
felicitails breed guide about the basset hound dog breed, breed traits, breed standards, felicitails founded by lindsay giguiere

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With their unmistakable appearance and endearing droopy eyes, the Basset Hound is a breed that captures hearts with both its charm and personality. Renowned for their exceptional sense of smell and gentle disposition, Basset Hounds are a popular choice among dog enthusiasts.

Did You Know these Facts about the Basset Hound?

  • Basset Hounds possess an incredible sense of smell, thanks to their olfactory receptors, which are some of the most developed in the canine world. This ability makes them exceptional candidates for various scent-related tasks, including search and rescue missions.

  • The Basset Hound's origins can be traced back to France, where they were developed for hunting small game like rabbits and hares. Their name, "Basset," derives from the French word "bas," which means "low" or "short," perfectly describing their characteristic short legs.

  • Aside from their low-set legs, Basset Hounds are also known for their elongated ears, which help funnel scents towards their nose. These features make them not only adorable but also incredibly functional in their hunting and tracking roles.

  • Despite their hunting heritage, Basset Hounds are renowned for their laid-back and easygoing nature. While they enjoy a good sniffing adventure, they're equally content with lounging around the house and being part of the family's daily activities.

  • The Basset Hound gained quite a bit of fame as the co-star of the cartoon character "Droopy," known for his slow, deadpan humor. This portrayal has only added to the breed's popularity and iconic image.

The Basset Hound holds a steady #36 position in the popularity ranks of the AKC's list of dog breeds. Their unique appearance, gentle demeanor, and remarkable sense of smell have garnered them a loyal following among dog lovers worldwide.

felicitails breed guide about the basset hound dog breed, breed traits, breed standards, felicitails founded by lindsay giguiere
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Traits of the Basset Hound Breed

Overall Personality. Basset Hounds are known for their friendly, affectionate, and mild-mannered personalities. Their calm and patient nature makes them excellent companions for families, seniors, and individuals living in various settings.

Family Life. Basset Hounds often thrive in family environments, enjoying interactions with children and other pets. While they may have a stubborn streak, their loving disposition makes them well-suited for households seeking a loyal and gentle furry friend.

Physical Appearance. Basset Hounds sport a distinctive appearance with their elongated bodies, droopy eyes, and velvety ears. Their coat comes in a variety of colors and combinations, including tricolor (black, white, and brown) or bicolored (lemon and white). Their short coat is relatively easy to maintain.

Sociability. These dogs are sociable and usually get along well with people and other animals. Their friendly approach often makes them popular participants at dog parks and social gatherings.

Average Sizes & Life Expectancy

  • Height: 13 to 15 inches tall (33 to 38 cm)
  • Weight: 40 to 65 pounds (18 to 29.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: Around 10 to 12 years

Detailed Description of the Basset Hound Breed

The Basset Hound is a breed that combines distinctive physical features, an amiable disposition, and an illustrious history. With their endearing droopy eyes, elongated ears, and low-set bodies, Basset Hounds are instantly recognizable and deeply adored by dog enthusiasts around the world.

Appearance. The Basset Hound's unique appearance is a result of careful breeding for their hunting abilities. Their long, heavy bodies rest atop short, sturdy legs, giving them a low-slung and somewhat comical appearance. One of their most notable features is their velvety ears, which can sometimes touch the ground, serving as excellent scent funnels. 

These dogs come in a variety of coat colors and patterns, with tricolor and bicolored combinations being the most common. Their coat is dense and short, making grooming relatively straightforward. While they may not require extensive grooming, regular ear cleaning is essential to prevent infections due to their droopy ears.

Personality. Basset Hounds are renowned for their gentle and amiable temperament. They possess a calm and patient nature, making them well-suited for households with children, seniors, and other pets. While they are generally laid-back, they do have a stubborn streak, which can sometimes pose challenges during training. 

Their strong sense of smell, inherited from their hunting ancestry, can lead them to follow their noses with great determination. This trait can make off-leash outings a bit tricky, as they can become absorbed in tracking scents. Nevertheless, their loving and affectionate nature makes them wonderful companions for those seeking a loyal and devoted furry friend.

Adaptability. Basset Hounds are adaptable dogs that can thrive in various living environments, from apartments to larger homes. Despite their size, they are relatively low-energy dogs and are content with moderate exercise. Regular walks and playtime are essential to keep them physically and mentally engaged, but they are just as happy to spend time lounging indoors. 

These dogs tend to get along well with children and other pets, thanks to their friendly and social nature. Their patient demeanor makes them excellent companions for families, and their calm presence can be comforting for seniors seeking companionship.

Care Guidelines. Basset Hounds' care needs are relatively straightforward, focusing primarily on their health and comfort. Regular exercise is important to prevent obesity, which can strain their backs and joints due to their unique body structure. Monitoring their diet and providing appropriate portion sizes is crucial to maintain a healthy weight. 

Ears should be cleaned and checked regularly to prevent infections, as their droopy ears can trap moisture and debris. Routine grooming, including brushing and nail trimming, helps keep their coat and overall appearance in good condition.

Training Strategies. Training a Basset Hound requires patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency. Their stubborn nature can sometimes make them seem uninterested in following commands, but with the right approach, they can be taught various commands and tricks. Early socialization is key to help them develop good manners and get along well with other dogs and people.

Notable in History and Pop Culture. The Basset Hound's history can be traced back to France, where they were bred for hunting small game like rabbits and hares due to their exceptional sense of smell. This history of scent hounding has led to their prominent roles in search and rescue missions as well.

In pop culture, Basset Hounds have made their mark as the iconic cartoon character "Droopy," known for his slow, deadpan humor. Their appearance in various movies, TV shows, and advertisements has only added to their popularity and recognizable image.

In conclusion, Basset Hounds, with their distinctive appearance and lovable personality, hold a special place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts. Their friendly disposition, adaptability, and historical significance make them an excellent choice for families, seniors, and individuals seeking a devoted companion. Whether snuggled up on the couch or exploring the outdoors, the Basset Hound's gentle nature and undeniable charm make them a breed that captures the essence of canine companionship.

What to expect when living with the Basset Hound Breed

Owning a Basset Hound is embarking on a journey with a gentle and affectionate companion that will undoubtedly enrich your life. Their unique personality traits and adaptable nature contribute to a fulfilling ownership experience.

Personality. Basset Hounds are known for their easygoing and friendly personalities. Their laid-back demeanor makes them wonderful additions to households of all types. Their patient and calm nature is particularly suitable for families with children and seniors. However, their stubborn streak might require patient and consistent training efforts. While they may not be the quickest learners, their loyalty and love for their family are second to none.

Ideal Environment. These dogs are adaptable and can thrive in various living environments. While they enjoy outdoor walks and playtime, they are relatively low-energy dogs that don't demand intense exercise. This makes them well-suited for both apartment living and larger homes with yards. Keep in mind that their powerful sense of smell can lead them astray, so having a securely fenced yard or using a leash during walks is essential.

Maintenance Level. Maintaining a Basset Hound's health and appearance is relatively straightforward. Their short coat doesn't require extensive grooming, but regular brushing helps minimize shedding. Pay special attention to their ears; due to their droopy nature, they're prone to ear infections, so keep them clean and dry. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, and dental hygiene should be part of their routine care to prevent dental issues.

Overall Health Expectations and best Health Tests for the Basset Hound Breed

Health Considerations. Basset Hounds, like all breeds, have certain health considerations to be aware of. While they are generally hardy dogs, there are a few conditions they may be more susceptible to:

  • Hip Dysplasia. This hereditary condition affects the hip joint's development and can lead to pain and mobility issues. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk.

  • Ear Infections. Due to their droopy ears, Basset Hounds are prone to ear infections. Regular cleaning and inspection can help prevent this issue.

  • Obesity. Basset Hounds' love for food can sometimes lead to weight gain. Obesity can exacerbate their risk of back and joint problems. A balanced diet and portion control are crucial.

  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat). Like many deep-chested breeds, Basset Hounds can be at risk of bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists. Feeding smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding vigorous exercise after meals can help reduce this risk.

Recommended Health Tests. Hip X-rays can determine the presence of hip dysplasia and help breeders make informed mating decisions.Regular ear cleaning and examination by a veterinarian can help prevent and manage ear infections. Regularly assessing your dog's body condition and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent obesity-related issues.

Best Nutrition, Diet & Supplements for the Basset Hound Breed

Nutrition and Diet. Basset Hounds, like all dogs, benefit from a diet that is balanced and appropriate for their life stage, whether they are a puppy, adult, or senior. A high-quality commercial dog food formulated for their size and activity level is a good foundation. Look for products with real meat as the primary ingredient and minimal fillers. 

Protein is essential, while fat provides energy and supports skin and coat health. Choose a food with a moderate protein content and a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for optimal skin and coat condition. 

Carbohydrates provide energy, and a moderate amount of whole grains and vegetables can be included in their diet. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet can provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Safe options include blueberries, carrots, and green beans.

Hydration is Key. Ensure your Basset Hound always has access to fresh, clean water. Proper hydration is vital for digestion, temperature regulation, and overall vitality.

Supplements. Due to their body structure, Basset Hounds can be prone to joint issues. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can help support joint health and mobility. Omega-3 Fatty Acids support skin and coat health, reduce inflammation, and can be beneficial for overall heart health. 

Basset Hounds' sensitive digestive systems may benefit from digestive enzyme supplements, which can aid in the breakdown of food and nutrient absorption.

Foods to Avoid. High-fat foods can contribute to obesity and digestive upset. Cooked bones can splinter and pose a choking hazard or cause internal damage. Grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, and anything containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener) should be strictly avoided.

Grooming Requirements for the Basset Hound Breed

Maintaining a Basset Hound's appearance and overall hygiene is an important aspect of responsible ownership. While their short coat doesn't require intensive grooming, several key areas need attention to keep them comfortable and healthy.

Coat Maintenance and Shedding. Basset Hounds have a short and dense coat that sheds moderately year-round. Regular brushing with a soft-bristle brush can help minimize shedding and keep their coat looking its best. This also helps distribute natural oils, promoting skin health. During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing can help manage loose fur.

Paw Care and Hygiene. Regularly inspect their paws for debris, dirt, or signs of irritation. Trim their nails as needed to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. If you're not comfortable doing this yourself, a professional groomer or veterinarian can assist.

Ear Care. Their long, droopy ears require special attention. Check their ears weekly for dirt, moisture, or signs of infection. Gently clean the ears with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner to prevent bacterial or fungal growth. Be careful not to insert anything into the ear canal.

Bathing Frequency. Basset Hounds don't require frequent baths unless they get particularly dirty. Over-bathing can strip their coat of natural oils, leading to dry skin. Use a mild dog shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing to prevent skin irritation.

Exercise Required for the Basset Hound Breed

While Basset Hounds have a relaxed demeanor, they still require regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent weight gain. Engaging them in appropriate activities can also satisfy their need for mental stimulation.

Basset Hounds benefit from both leisurely walks and interactive play sessions. Their keen sense of smell can turn a simple walk into an exciting adventure. Puzzle toys and scent-based games can also provide mental enrichment.

Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. This can be broken into multiple short sessions to accommodate their lower energy levels. Be cautious with intense activities, as their heavy bodies and short legs can make them prone to joint strain.

While they enjoy socializing, they can sometimes be oblivious to their surroundings due to their strong sense of smell. Ensure they're in a secure, fenced area during play to prevent them from following a scent and getting lost.

Training Tips for the Basset Hound Breed

Training a Basset Hound requires patience, positive reinforcement, and understanding of their unique personality traits.


  • Use positive reinforcement techniques like treats, praise, and rewards to motivate them.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging to prevent boredom.
  • Be consistent in your commands and expectations to avoid confusion.
  • Socialize them from an early age to ensure they're comfortable with other dogs and people.
  • Use their love for food as a training tool, but monitor portion sizes to prevent overeating.


  • Use harsh training methods or punishment, as they can be sensitive and respond best to positive approaches.
  • Expect immediate results; Basset Hounds can be a bit slow to catch on to commands.
  • Overfeed treats, as Basset Hounds have a tendency to gain weight.

Remember that every dog is an individual, so adapt your training approach to suit your Basset Hound's personality and learning pace. With consistency, patience, and a gentle touch, you can help your Basset Hound become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

The Basset Hound Breed is Suitable For

Basset Hounds are adaptable dogs that can fit well into various types of homes, making them a versatile and cherished companion for many individuals and families.

Basset Hounds can adapt to both smaller apartments and larger homes with yards. While they are content with moderate exercise, regular outdoor walks are essential to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. These dogs have a gentle and patient nature, making them excellent companions for families with children. They tend to get along well with other dogs and pets, thanks to their social disposition. Early socialization is key to ensure they develop positive interactions with other animals.

Their relaxed demeanor makes them a great fit for households seeking a calm and easygoing furry friend. They're content to lounge around indoors, making them suitable for seniors or individuals with less active lifestyles.

The Basset Hound Breed is Not Suitable For

While Basset Hounds can thrive in various environments, there are certain situations that may not be ideal for them.

Basset Hounds are social dogs that thrive on human companionship. They may not do well in homes where they are left alone for extended periods. Neglected or isolated environments can lead to boredom and behavioral issues. While Basset Hounds can adapt to apartment living, they still require regular outdoor walks to maintain their physical and mental well-being. A lack of exercise and mental stimulation can lead to obesity and unhappiness.

Their short coat doesn't provide much insulation against extreme temperatures. In extremely hot or cold climates, special care must be taken to ensure their comfort and safety.

Famous Basset Hound Owners

  • Humphrey Bogart - The legendary actor and his wife, Lauren Bacall, owned a Basset Hound named "Duke." Duke was known for his friendly disposition and was often seen accompanying the couple on walks and outings.


  • David Hockney - The renowned British artist is an avid Basset Hound lover. His Basset Hound named "Stanley" was a frequent subject of his artwork and even appeared in some of his paintings.


  • Dean Koontz - The bestselling author is known for his love of dogs, and he shared his life with a Basset Hound named "Anna." Anna's charming personality and presence often inspired Koontz's writing.

Accomplishments of the Basset Hound Breed

Basset Hounds have made their mark in various fields, showcasing their unique abilities and endearing qualities.

Basset Hounds are renowned for their exceptional sense of smell, making them valuable assets in search and rescue missions. Their ability to track scents has saved lives and aided in finding missing individuals. Basset Hounds have made appearances in literature, film, and television. Their distinctive appearance and lovable personality have made them memorable characters in various media. Notably, they've appeared in movies like "The Fox and the Hound" and "All Dogs Go to Heaven."

They are adaptable companions that can thrive in a variety of homes, from families with children to individuals seeking a laid-back furry friend. Their unique qualities, famous admirers, and notable achievements have solidified their place in both our hearts and popular culture.

felicitails breed guide about the basset hound dog breed, breed traits, breed standards, felicitails founded by lindsay giguiere
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The History of the Basset Hound Breed

The history of the Basset Hound is a fascinating tale that spans centuries, tracing its origins back to ancient hunting breeds and evolving into the beloved companion we know today. The breed's unique appearance and exceptional scenting abilities have cemented its place in history.

Creation and Purpose. The Basset Hound's creation can be attributed to a careful process of selective breeding. In the 16th century, French monks aimed to develop a breed with superior scenting abilities, especially for trailing small game through dense underbrush. They began crossing strains of the St. Hubert Hound, an ancient French breed known for its keen nose, with shorter-legged dogs, likely the Basset Artesien Normand. This deliberate blending led to the emergence of the Basset Hound's distinctive features, including its short stature, long ears, and extraordinary olfactory talents.

The primary purpose of the Basset Hound was to serve as an effective hunting companion. Its low-set body and powerful nose made it well-suited for tracking game through challenging terrains. Their incredible sense of smell enabled them to trail scents left by rabbits, hares, and other small animals, contributing to successful hunts.

Early Roles and Evolution. As hunting practices evolved, the Basset Hound's role transitioned from primarily tracking game to that of a companion animal. The breed's friendly and docile nature made it a hit among French aristocracy in the 19th century, and it eventually gained popularity outside of hunting circles. This transition allowed the Basset Hound to find its way into the hearts and homes of families around the world.

Over the years, the breed has experienced various refinements. Its distinctive traits were further developed through selective breeding, emphasizing its scenting ability, while also nurturing its temperament to become a gentle and sociable companion. The Basset Hound's appearance became more standardized, and it was officially recognized as a breed by kennel clubs.

Changes and Modern Impact. In the modern era, the Basset Hound continues to be celebrated for its unique appearance and amiable personality. Its hunting days have largely given way to a life of companionship, where it thrives as a loyal family member and an endearing presence in many households. Despite its historical role as a hunter, the breed's characteristic traits have adapted seamlessly to modern living, where its low energy levels and affectionate nature make it a cherished pet for families, singles, and seniors alike.

In essence, the journey of the Basset Hound from its humble beginnings as a skilled tracker to its current status as an adored companion showcases its remarkable adaptability and enduring charm. Its history reflects a breed that has not only maintained its exceptional traits but has also evolved to capture the hearts of dog lovers worldwide.

The Basset Hound Breed Standard

The Basset Hound is classified in the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This group includes breeds developed for hunting by scent and sight.

The American Kennel Club's Breed Standard for the Basset Hound outlines the characteristics that define the ideal representation of the breed. This standard includes details about their size, proportion, coat, color, gait, temperament, and more. It serves as a reference for judges in dog shows to evaluate how closely individual dogs match the breed's established standard.

The Basset Hound Club of America is the official national breed club for Basset Hounds. You can learn more about the breed, find resources, and connect with fellow Basset Hound enthusiasts on their website: Basset Hound Club of America

General Appearance

Head, Muzzle, Nose. The Basset Hound's head is notably large and well-proportioned, adorned with loose skin that forms gentle wrinkles, adding to its endearing expression. Its skull is domed, and the forehead features a prominent furrow between the eyes, creating a distinctive feature known as the "rope." The breed's elongated muzzle showcases its remarkable sense of smell. With a well-developed nose in various shades of black or liver, the Basset Hound's olfactory capabilities are second to none. This characteristic is vital to its historical role as a scent hound.

Teeth. The Basset Hound possesses a strong, scissor-like bite. Their teeth, though not typically visible due to their closed mouths, are essential for their original purpose of tracking and holding small game during hunts.

Neck. The breed's neck is sturdy and muscular, blending seamlessly into its body. This feature reflects the Basset Hound's strength and endurance, which were vital traits when trailing game through rough terrains.

Body. With its distinctive silhouette, the Basset Hound's body is low to the ground yet well-built. Its deep chest provides ample lung capacity for scent tracking, while the well-sprung ribs contribute to its robust appearance. Their solid frame underlines their history as a working breed.

Tail. The Basset Hound's tail is set low and tapers gently. It features a slight curve and is carried high enough to maintain the breed's characteristic profile while trailing scents. This tail serves as a vital visual indicator of their commitment during scent tracking.

Coat. Their dense, short coat lies close to the body, offering weather protection and minimizing the risk of snagging on underbrush during hunts. Basset Hounds' coat colors vary, with combinations of white, black, tan, and brown, often presented in distinct patterns.

Size. While the Basset Hound's body is elongated and low, their overall size is medium. They are well-balanced, with a body that's neither too heavy nor too delicate. Their compact size is an asset for navigating tight spaces during tracking.

Gait. The Basset Hound's gait is deliberate and purposeful. Despite their short legs, their movement is smooth and powerful, with a steady rhythm that reflects their endurance and ability to maintain a steady pace during long hunts.

In conclusion, the Basset Hound's appearance is a captivating blend of features designed to excel in its historical role as a scent hound. From its distinctive head with its keen nose to its sturdy body and unique gait, every aspect of this breed's anatomy tells a story of its remarkable capabilities and endearing qualities. Whether in the field or as a beloved companion, the Basset Hound's appearance embodies its history and its enduring place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts.

Reputable Breeders

For those seeking a well-bred Basset Hound, there are reputable breeders who prioritize health, temperament, and the breed's standard. Here are a few notable breeders:

  1. Corkey Basset Hounds

  2. Huggable Bassets

  3.  Mountaineer Basset Hounds

  4.  Charlie Rose & Co Basset Hounds

  5. Basset Hounds of Texas

Top Shelters for Adoption

Adopting a dog can be a rewarding experience. Here are five shelters where you might find a Basset Hound in need of a loving home:

  1. Carolina Basset Hound Rescue

  2. North Texas Basset Hound Rescue

  3. DaphneyLand Basset Rescue

  4. All Bassets Cherished

  5. Belly Rubs Basset Rescue

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about the Basset Hound Breed

Are Basset Hounds good with children and other pets? 

Basset Hounds are known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them excellent companions for children and other pets. However, proper socialization and supervision are essential to ensure positive interactions.

Do Basset Hounds require a lot of exercise?

 While Basset Hounds are not highly energetic, they still need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and mental stimulation. Daily walks and playtime are recommended to keep them content.

Do Basset Hounds shed a lot? 

Yes, Basset Hounds do shed, particularly during shedding seasons. Regular brushing can help manage shedding and keep their coat looking its best.

Are Basset Hounds easy to train? 

Basset Hounds are intelligent but can be independent and stubborn, which may make training a bit challenging. Positive reinforcement training methods that include treats and praise work well to motivate them.

What is the typical lifespan of a Basset Hound?

 Basset Hounds usually live around 10 to 12 years. Providing proper care, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups can contribute to their overall well-being and longevity.

A Final Tip for Bringing a Basset Hound into Your Life

Bringing a Basset Hound into your life means welcoming a loyal and affectionate companion. Their distinct appearance, coupled with their gentle demeanor and unique personality, can add immeasurable joy to your days. Whether you're seeking a loving family member or a laid-back friend, the Basset Hound's charming qualities and adaptability make them an exceptional choice. Be prepared for endless tail wags, affectionate gazes, and memorable moments with this wonderful breed.

Valuable Resources for Your Journey to Parenting a Basset Hound

At Felicitails you will find many wonderful services, supplies and guides for your life ahead with a loving pup at your side.

Hope You Enjoyed The Read!

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Hello, I’m Lindsay!

A warm welcome from Lindsay & Huck (my English Pointer). Hope you enjoy the read and find just what you are looking for when it comes to living your best life with your loved pets.

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