Basset Hound originated in France (bas in French means low-set) in the mid-1500s. The Basset Hound was developed by friars of the French Abbey of St. Hubert. They wanted a slower-moving hound who could be followed by men on foot. For centuries, the Basset was used to track and hunt rabbits, hare, and deer, as well as any other game that could be trailed on foot.
The Basset Hound is a large dog, of heavy bone, with short legs. She should stand no taller than 14 inches at the shoulder, and most weigh between 40 and 60 pounds. She is powerful and has great stamina, able to work in the field day after day. The head is large, with very long ears and dark, soft eyes. The chest is deep, the body is long, and the tail is carried gaily in hound fashion. The skin is loose, while the coat is short and may be any hound color.
The Basset Hounds coat is not difficult to groom; it may be brushed with a soft bristle brush twice a week to loosen dead hair. The ears should be cleaned at least twice a week also, as the heavy ears can get dirty. A young, healthy Basset Hound will have plenty of energy to go for walks or to play. Unfortunately, the breed is prone to obesity, and as a Basset Hound gets heavier, she also gets lazier.
Basset Hounds need exercise. A good walk morning and evening is great, but a play session midday is also good. Although training can be a challenge, Basset Hounds can participate in some canine sports, including tracking and therapy dog work. Bassets are one of the most amiable breeds.
They are good with children, other dogs, and other pets, although Basset puppies can be rowdy and must be taught to be gentle with children. Basset Hounds do not like to be alone, however; if they must be left alone, having another dog for companionship is a good idea. Bassets can bark and bay, which can cause neighborhood problems. The breed has some health issues, including obesity, back problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, and bloat.