Is a Basset Hound Right for You?
Basset Hound Brief History
The Basset Hound was used in France during the Middle Ages for tracking and hunting rabbits and hare. The dogs were used by hunters on foot because of their excellent scent discrimination abilities. The breed’s name is taken from the French word “bas,” meaning low, and refers to the dog’s short stature; not its ability to track game. The Basset Hound was brought to England in the 1800s where it became one of the more popular dog breeds. Queen Victoria also grew fond of the breed and helped to make them extremely popular among English nobility.
Basset Hound Temperament
The Basset Hound is an alert, lively, gentle and obedient dog breed. They are very friendly with children and will play endlessly with them. Basset Hounds also get along well with other pets including cats if they are socialized early in life. This intelligent breed is fairly easy to train providing they are positive reinforcement based training sessions rather than punishments.
Basset Hounds do tend to drool and snore but that is part of their charm. They will eat almost anything including table scraps and leftovers (it should be noted that this behavior leaves them open prey for housebreaking problems, so it’s best not to give in).
Basset Hound Exercise and Energy Levels
Basset Hounds have a long lifespan ranging from 10 to 13 years. Younger Basset Hounds tend to have a lot of energy and will need daily exercise, but as they age their energy levels drop significantly.
Their short legs make it difficult for them to run around or jog with their owner; however, they do enjoy taking walks and playing in the backyard or indoors.
Without proper exercise, Basset Hounds can become overweight which will cause stress on the joints and heart (similar to other dogs such as Bulldogs). They also gain weight very quickly if they are allowed to eat human food, so it’s best not to give them too many table scraps or leftovers!
Basset Hound Training and Intelligence
Basset Hounds are considered moderately intelligent and are easy to train overall. They learn new behaviors very quickly, especially if the lessons are broken down into very small steps. However, owners must take care when training this breed because of their stubborn nature that can sometimes cause them to ignore commands or choose not to listen at all.
Basset Hound Dogs make good watchdogs as they will bark loudly and ferociously at any trespassers or suspicious activity, but otherwise they tend to be very friendly towards strangers. They make great family dogs because of their playful nature and gentle demeanor (if socialized well).
Basset Hounds are also very sensitive and easy to train when they receive positive reinforcement training.
Basset Hound Health
The Basset Hound is prone to several health problems such as:
- Wobbler syndrome aka cervical spondylomyopathy -a chronic degenerative disorder affecting the vertebrae and intervertebral discs of the neck
- Basset Hound Thrombopathy- an inherited or acquired condition that affects the coagulation of blood platelets
- primary seborrhea-the excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands-main symptoms are usually the formation of scabs or crusting as well as a build-up of fatty oils
- Intervertebral disc disease- soft cartilage discs located between the vertebrae wear out and break-causing compression of the spinal cord
- Eye problems such as glaucoma
Basset Hound Dog Breed Food and Diet
Basset Hounds need high quality dog food with a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins because of their large size.
It’s best to feed them specially formulated dog food that has been made for larger breeds or large breed puppies. Owners should avoid generic brands of dog food because they are usually lower quality and lack the proper balance of nutrients essential for keeping a Basset Hound happy and healthy throughout his life.
Basset hounds also eat quite fast which can cause vomiting if their owners do not remember to slow them down. Some owners will use muffin tins and spread the food out in each of the cups or turn over a stainless steel bowl and put the food in the ring on the underside. There are also slow feeder dog bowls available for this purpose.