Breed Group: Hound Group
Shoulder Height: 11-15 in.
Weight: 45-75 lb.
Life Span: 10 years
Colors: Black, white, brown, tan, lemon, mahogany, red, blue
- The Basset’s ancestry can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, where short-legged hunting dogs were found mummified in pyramids and other tombs. The breed was not officially introduced until sometime in the 1500s in France.
- It was developed to more easily facilitate foot hunting, which was a necessity following the French Revolution
- The first Bassets were not introduced in Great Britain until 1870. At that point, their popularity exploded, making the breed one of the most recognizable in the world.
The Basset Hound, much like the German Shepherd or the English Bulldog, is one of those breeds that is instantly recognizable. An endearing breed with a long face and stout body, popular culture has pushed the breed to massive heights and it is now one of the most popular dogs on an international level.
This popularity is due to a lot more than just good advertising, though. Basset Hounds have a number of redeeming qualities that make them ideal pets. One of the key qualities is their personality. Basset Hounds are playful and outgoing, perfectly tolerant around strangers both human and canine. They also adore children and have a reputation for being one of the best dogs for babies in the world.
At the same time, though, Bassets are known to be stubborn and they are also extremely vocal, not fearing the consequences of letting loose their distinctive bark.
Short legs and an excess of natural fat does make exercise a necessity for the Basset Hound, though their natural playful streak makes this easier. Bassets are also notorious shedders despite their short coat, so do be ready for regular grooming.
Similar to Dachshunds, the Basset Hound has a long and low body, so various issues can pop up fairly quickly.
- Bassets are known for their overlong ears. However, this distinctive feature also means that air cannot circulate easily, resulting in ear mites as well as canal infections. Puppies also need to be careful about biting them when eating.
- Dwarfism is common in the breed, which in turn leads to osteochondrodysplasia, or an excess of fat tissue around bone and cartilage. If left untreated, this can result in early-onset arthritis.
- This breed is particularly susceptible to obesity.
- Basset Hounds possess distinctive long faces and ears, making them a popular mascot in corporate advertising. The most famous of these hounds would be Jason, the mascot for Hush Puppies. A Basset Hound is also a common presence on Maytag ads.
- Elvis Presley’s hit song “Hound Dog” was inspired by a Basset Hound he had as a child and was subsequently sung to a Basset Hound named Sherlock on The Steve Allen Show in 1956.
- The Emperor Napoleon III kept basset hounds and popularized the breed in France during his reign.
- A Basset Hound named Fred is Cledus’ companion in the two Smokey and the Bandit films. The breed appears in numerous other films ranging from comedy (American Pie 2) to children’s films (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl) and even action films (Spider-Man 2).
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