Do your ears hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? If the basset hound had a theme song, it would be this one.
But that’s not all they have going for them. Once you tear your gaze away from those long, velvety ears, you’ll find plenty more to love about this humble hound. With melancholy eyes, a rub-worthy belly, and an inspiring loyalty that calls to mind the glory days of tracking rabbits, the basset has earned its #35 spot on the “Most Popular Breeds” list.1
After centuries of working as a hunting companion, the basset hound has now (mostly) retired to the floor of the living room. These days, the typical target of the basset’s uncanny nose is that slice of ham on the counter…
Also Known As…
Basset. Hush puppy. Bassy, Lil legs, the roly-poly rascal. “Who knew a dog could step on its own ears?”
What Is The History Of The Basset Hound?
The origins of this low-slung hound stretch back to sixth-century France, where the basset’s ancestors helped aristocrats track and hunt hares on their wooded estates.2 Even the breed’s name is distinctly French: bas means “low,” and -et is a diminutive suffix (which is a fancy way of saying “now it’s even smaller”). Put it all together, and you have “the low little hound.”
It’s a name (and descriptor) that the basset hound used to its advantage. With its teeny short legs and impressive stamina, the basset hound puppy became a pro at scurrying through the dense, low-hanging brush to drive small game out into the open. It’s no wonder the legends say basset hounds were bred by St. Hubert, the patron saint of the hunt.2
Indeed, every one of the basset hound’s features is for sniffing out animals. Interestingly enough, even those dangling ears aren’t for improved listening—they’re for smelling. Like furry fans, the basset’s ears stir up the scent on the ground, making it easier than ever for the hound to hunt down a hurried hare.2
While packs of bassets still participate in hunts in the French and English countryside, most enjoy the luxury life of a family pet. And you know what? They’ve earned it.
How Big Do Basset Hounds Get?
Height: 11–15 inches
Weight: 40–70 pounds
How Long Do Basset Hounds (Generally) Live?
Basset hounds are a hardy bunch with a reasonably long lifespan. On average, you as a basset hound owner can expect a basset to live 10–13 years—similar in length to other stocky, mid-sized breeds like the English bulldog.
What Is A Basset Hound’s Temperament & Personality Like?
Did a millennium of hunting bunnies make the basset hound a bloodthirsty terror? Not in the slightest.
At home, bassets are revered for their calm, pleasant disposition. Bring a friend around to meet your new hush puppy, and the post-visit text message is likely to include words like “sweet,” “extroverted,” and “beautiful, perfect angel.”
Once you bring your basset hound into the great outdoors (its natural element), you might see a different side of your canine companion. As if paying homage to those hare-hunting days, bassets can become a little more vocal and protective when out for a walk. But don’t think your easy-going friend has disappeared—chances are, they’ll still excitedly march up to everyone you meet.
Are Basset Hounds Good With Kids? Cats? Dogs?
With their leisurely pace and mild manners, it should be no surprise that the basset hound puppy is a crowd-pleaser—regardless of the age or species of the crowd.
Kids and bassets are like two peas in a pod; aside from the pug, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more caring, careful canine for your kiddos.
Cats and bassets also seem to get along quite well. Perhaps they see a kindred spirit in one another—both animals tend to be chill, independent, and a tad stubborn.
And the good news train keeps a-rolling: basset hounds have no trouble with other dogs, either. After all, they worked in packs. At worst, they’ll be uninterested in another canine; at best, they’ll have a new playmate for life. Still, you should always supervise first encounters between your basset puppy and a furry friend.
Do Basset Hounds Need A Lot Of Exercise?
Bassets are playful, but they’re not particularly high-energy. A 30–60 minute daily walk is usually enough to satisfy your basset hound’s exercise needs.
Post-walk, don’t be surprised if your hound hunkers down on their bed. Who doesn’t feel like a nap after a workout?
Are Basset Hounds Hard To Train?
Basset hounds can be notoriously stubborn (the term “independent thinker” gets thrown around a lot), but they’re far from a lost cause when it comes to training. With some firm instructions and plenty of patience, you can turn your headstrong hound into an excellent listener. In fact, bassets are often high performers in obedience-dependent contests like rally and agility.3
As always, the sooner you start training, the better. You might find an early obedience class to be well worth it.
Do Basset Hounds Have Health Issues?
Unfortunately, all dog breeds have breed-specific health issues. For the basset hound, these potential problems include:4
- Skin issues – Because of their droopy, elasticky skin, bassets are prone to a range of skin problems like infections, inflammation (skin fold dermatitis), and road rash from dragging on the ground.
- Bone and joint issues – Some bassets can experience a luxating patella, elbow dysplasia (an arthritic rubbing of the joints), or intervertebral degenerative disc disease (IVDD—a slipped spinal disc that can cause pain and paralysis).
- Eye problems – Issues include “cherry eye” and primary open-angle glaucoma (a fluid buildup in the eye that can lead to blindness).
- Bloat – Known scientifically as gastric dilation volvulus (GVD), bloat causes the stomach to expand and twist around.
Routine vet visits can help you catch these issues ASAP, so it’s wise to pop into the clinic every six months or so. The quicker you spot a potential problem, the easier (and more affordable) treatment will be.
Do Basset Hounds Need To Be Groomed?
All dogs need to be groomed, including basset hounds. You’ll need to:
- Brush their teeth (once a week)
- Clip their nails (once a month)
- Clean around their eyes and ears (once a week)
- Bathe them (every few months, or when needed)
However, if you’re asking about haircuts, bassets don’t need ‘em. These hounds are moderate shedders, so a simple brushing from time to time should suffice. Leave the semi-regular spa days to the no-shed poodle.
How Much Does It Cost To Care For A Basset Hound?
It’s impossible to know exactly how much it’ll cost to add a basset hound to your family, but your average yearly expenses should total around $1500+.
Keep in mind that your first year of ownership will likely have a higher total, as you’ll have to account for adoption fees and all those initial must-have purchases (a dog crate, food and water bowls, etc.).
A full-grown basset will need 1.5–2.5 cups of food per day. Depending on the hound dog food you choose for your canine pal, expect to spend $40–80 per month.
Speaking of delicious meals, did you know BARK makes breed-specific food? You’ll receive vet-approved, nutritionist-formulated dog food right to your door, made with the basset’s needs in mind. Enjoy 25% off and free shipping with the code 25FOOD!
Routine Vet Care (Healthy Dog)
It may seem counterintuitive, but visiting the vet when nothing is wrong is the right way to care for your pup. Catching any health issues early is essential for proper treatment. Think of it this way: a small vet bill here and there will save you from a larger one later.
Included in that bill will usually be the vet fee ($50–80), any necessary vaccines ($20–30 per dose), and heartworm meds ($45). If needed, X-rays, antibiotics, and other medications can bump up the bill by a few hundred bucks.
Preventative Medications For Basset Hounds
Looking for another way to keep those vet bills lower than your basset’s stance? Reach for some preventative medicine. Two options might benefit your basset hound:
- Flea and tick medication – Keep itchy pests at bay with an ointment or special medicated chews ($120/year).
- Glucosamine chondroitin – This supplement can work wonders for any pup prone to elbow or hip dysplasia. Before you drop the $110/year on glucosamine chews, talk to your vet to see if they’re right for your basset.
Basset Hound Grooming
The basset’s smooth, short-haired coat is fairly low maintenance, so an appointment at the groomer should only run you $45–80 (more if you opt for full service with a mani-pedi).
If you prefer to spend quality bathing time with your hound, a DIY grooming kit will save you cash in the long run; it should cost you about $80 to amass the supplies you’ll need.
Toys, Treats, Beds, & Accessories
Some might call toys and treats “extra,” but we—and your basset hound—would beg to differ (emphasis on the beg for your basset).
Regardless of your philosophy on spoiling pets, you’ll want some toys and treats in the house. Stocking up on snacks should run you $70/year, while toys can cost $50–80/year.
Is your basset hound hounding you for some high-quality toys and snacks? Give in to those beautiful black eyes and subscribe to BarkBox. A $23/month subscription brings 2 plush toys, 2 bags of treats, and a scrumptious meaty chew to your front door every month. Crank it up to the Super Chewer box, and you’ll score 2 chew-proof toys, 2 whole bags of treats, and TWO meat chews that your hound dog will go gaga over for only $6 more. If that’s not enough, you can GET YOUR FIRST BOX FREE.
To round out your annual basset budget, don’t forget some of the must-have accessories:
- A cozy dog bed ($35–90)
- A leash ($12–25)
- A collar ($10–20)
- A crate or kennel ($80–150)
- Food and water bowls ($20)
- Nail clippers ($10)
- USA Today. The 50 most popular dog breeds in America. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/life/2021/06/28/the-50-most-popular-dog-breeds-in-america/45134329/
- Basset Hound Club of America. History of the Basset Hound. https://basset-bhca.org/about-bassets/history-of-the-basset-hound/
- Basset Hound Club of America. About the Breed. https://basset-bhca.org/about-bassets/
- The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. Basset Hound. https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/large-dogs/basset-hound