The Basset Hound

The internet’s most practical guide to your favorite dog breed

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*Learn more about the breed below and some of the products recommended by our team of experts, which include veterinarians, explosive detection dog handlers and the dog obsessed.

Basset Hound Overview

Basset Hounds are among one of the most beloved breeds in the United States. They originated in France, where they were bred for hunting small game, such as rabbits. Their short legs allow them to stay close to the ground, and they use their powerful sense of smell to sniff out whatever it is they are hunting.

While Bassets were originally intended for hunting, their laid-back, sweet, and patient personalities, coupled with their adorable looks (those droopy ears and puppy dog eyes are quite irresistible) have made the Basset one of the most popular dogs in the United States. Many families keep Bassets as pets, as they do well with people of all ages and other animals. They’ve been featured in pop culture for years. Elvis Presley sang his iconic song, “Hound Dog” to a lackadaisical Basset named Sherlock on The Steve Allen Show and Flash, a Basset Hound, played the role of the sheriff’s dog on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Basset Hound Food and Health

Veterinarians recommend feeding Basset Hounds premium quality dog food, with the main ingredient being real animal protein. The amount of food a Basset should eat will depend on his age, size, and activity level. For an average-sized healthy adult who is moderately active, between 1.5 and 2.5 cups of either dry kibble or canned food daily is suggested. Puppies and highly active dogs, such as those who are used for hunting in the woods of Virginia and North Carolina, should be fed more; however, older Bassets who live a more sedentary lifestyle should be fed less.

Whatever your Bassets age or lifestyle, it’s important to note that these dogs like to eat, and as such, they can become obese. In order to ensure your dog remains in good health, measure out his food and feed him twice daily (divide the recommended amount mentioned above by two) instead of leaving food out all day.

There are several commercial dog foods that are ideal for Bassets, including formulas for puppies, such as Buffalo Wilderness Mountain Grain Free dog food, and formulas for adult dogs like CANIDAE’s Grain Free Adult Dog Food.

Basset Hounds are genetically predisposed to certain health conditions, including cherry eye, hip dysplasia, ear infections, thrombopathia, glaucoma, and allergies, to name a few. Bassets that live active lifestyles, like those who hunt, are also more apt to sustain injuries. As such, investing in pet insurance for your Basset is a wise idea, as it can save you from having to pay high veterinarian bills out of your own pocket. There are several reputable companies that offer pet insurance at affordable rates, including Nationwide, Geico, and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. The ASPCA also offers pet coverage.

Leashes and Collars for your Basset Hound

A collar and leash are must-have accessories for a Basset Hound. Collars ensure that identification information can be displayed, and leashes are used for safe walking.

For your Basset’s collar, the most important thing is to make sure that it fits properly. To figure out what size collar your dog will need, measure his neck and choose a collar that will have a loose, yet snug fit. In other words, it shouldn’t be so loose that he can slip out of it, yet it shouldn’t be so tight that it will dig into his neck. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. An average-sized adult Basset should fit into a 20 inch collar. Adjustable collars that will ensure an ideal fit and those that are made of nylon or leather are recommended. These materials are both durable and comfortable. There are many different types of collars available, including behavior modification collars like PetSafe’s Citronella collar, and the Dogtra ARC remote training collar. However, speak to your veterinarian prior to using a behavior modification collar.

Many people prefer to use a harness with their Basset Hounds. These dogs have a lot of loose skin around their necks and a harness can prevent unnecessary rubbing and irritation around the neck. If you do opt to use a harness, make sure that it fits your dog securely. Harnesses that feature padding, such as the Chais Choice Outdoor Adventure Harness and Rabbitgoo Harness will ensure the comfort of your pup.

For a lead, choose one that will allow your Basset to roam a bit. Longer leads work well with these dogs, as they enjoy sniffing and they are very obedient. However, choose a lead based on your Basset’s disposition and lifestyle. For example, if he is a hunter, a longer lead made of nylon or rope is ideal; however, if he has obedience issues, you might want to consider a shorter lead made of leather, such as the Fairwin Leather dog leash.

Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Basset Hounds

You should consider purchasing a crate for your Basset. Crates are great training tools, especially for house breaking. They also provide a safe location for them to sleep, mimicking the feeling of a den, and they can be used for transporting your dog, as well.

When selecting a crate for your Basset, make sure that he has the right amount of space. He should be able to stand up and turn around without hitting the sides of the crate; however, you don’t want there to be too much space. If you have a puppy, you can either invest in a new crate as he grows, or you can purchase a crate that features a divider that can be moved to adjust the size, such as Midwest Homes double-door folding crate and Carlson’s single door crate. If you have more than one dog and they will be crated together, consider the size of each dog and ensure there’s enough room for each one.

For bedding, opt for something that’s soft, durable, and roomy. Bassets usually like to spread out while they sleep, so a pillow or cushion bed would work well. An orthopedic dog bed, like the Brindle Memory Foam Orthopedic Bed, is a good choice for Bassets who are suffering from hip dysplasia. If your basset sleeps outside, a breathable outdoor cot, like this elevated pet cot, is a wise choice. If he sleeps outside in cold temperatures, you might want to consider a heated dog bed.

If your dog will spend a lot of time outside, make sure you provide him with the proper shelter with a dog house. When choosing a dog house, keep the climate where you live in mind. For instance, if you live in an area where the temperatures are extreme, such as Oklahoma, a dog house that features air conditioning and heat is ideal.

Basset Hound Toys

Though Bassets are pretty laid back, they do like to play. Also, playing is important for much-needed exercise. There are several types of toys that these dogs will enjoy. For example, rope toys, such as these options for aggressive chewers and other rope toys are excellent choices, as they allow these dogs to use their powerful sense of smell to locate and remove the treats.

Rope toys are also great for use with Basset Hounds. They can use ropes for playing more intense games, like tug-of-war, or they can simply use them to chew on. Plush squeak toys are also a good pick for these dogs, and there are so many options to choose from. When selecting plush toys, it’s important to note that you should consider the material. Toys made of more durable material will last a lot longer. Some great options include the ever-popular Kong Wubba and the durable toys in this puppy pack.

Grooming Insights for Basset Hound owners

Bassets have short hair, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t require grooming. While their coat doesn’t require excessive care, you should still brush them once a week. Doing so will remove any dead hair and will promote healthier skin.

Bathing is also important for these dogs. Full baths aren’t needed on a regular basis, unless your dog is extremely active. When bathing, choose a hypoallergenic shampoo, as this breed tends to have sensitive skin. However, while they may not require regular bathing, it’s important to clean their eyes and ears at least once a week.

The skin around a Basset’s eyes is droopy, which means they are prone to irritation and infections. Check your dog’s eyes and cleanse them with clean, damp cloth, as needed. Their droopy ears are also prone to infection, as they can collect dirt easily and don’t allow for good circulation. Clean your dog’s ears once a week with cotton balls or a clean, damp cloth, to remove any dirt buildup.

Flea and tick prevention is important for a Basset Hound. This is particularly true if you live in areas where fleas and ticks tend to be problematic, such as Long Island and other areas in the Northeast United States.

Basset Hound Accessories

There are dozens of pet accessories on the market, and some of them can be beneficial for Bassets. For instance, a dog whistle can be used for both training and calling your dog.

Other products to consider using with Basset Hounds include cooling vests, which are ideal for dogs who hunt or live in hot locations, and foot protection, especially for medium sized dog breeds who walk on rugged terrain and in cold temperatures.

Base the accessories you use with your Basset on his lifestyle and needs. With the right care and products, your Basset Hound will live a very happy and healthy life.