Basset Hounds are among the most companionable and lovable dogs on the planet. Here are ten characteristics of the breed you need to know before bringing a Basset into your life.
1. Bassets seem to love everyone
Itís difficult to imagine a sweeter, gentler or more peaceful dog. An adult basset on a walk in the park will try to make friends with almost everyone. Strangers seem drawn to him, will want to pet and coo over him. Emotionally, he sometimes seems almost human. His temperament is very well suited for a family setting. Heís really good with children and other dogs. He loves to play. Aggression is very rare. Donít expect him to be a guard dog.
2. Sense of Smell
His sense of smell is second only to the bloodhound. Bassets were bred for hunting small game. His nose can lead him into danger. Heís an escape artist and a wanderer. Itís advisable to keep him in an enclosed area and on the leash during walks. Left to his own devices, heíll follow his nose wherever it takes him.
Because of his clown like demeanor, laid back attitude and a streak of stubbornness, there are those who stereotype the basset as dumb. Donít believe it. On the contrary, heís a past master at getting his way. Clownishness, soulfulness and contemplative assessment of any situation are all part of his arsenal to win you over.
4. Puppies & Housebreaking
Admittedly, housebreaking is difficult. If patience is not your long suit, you may want to consider a grown hound from rescue. In housebreaking a basset puppy, gentle tolerance and persistence, with plenty of positive reinforcement, will yield success. During his first year, refrain from allowing him to go down long stairs or jump off couches. His lengthy back is prone to problems during the formative stage if too much stress is applied.
OK, he drools. Some bassets drool more than others. Youíll accept drool, because you just love him to death.
Since heís prone to weight gain and bloat, as is common among all deep-chested breeds, he should be fed reasonable portions only twice a day. Bassets tend to overeat. Remember that theyíre long and low, and excess weight can lead to back injury. At a minimum, a daily walk is a must.
Bassetsí long ears do not provide good air circulation and are prone to infection. Cleaning weekly and application of an ear wash solution from a veterinarian are required. While frequent baths are not necessary, the ears drag in everything and may need scrubbing more often.
8. Care and Maintenance
With the exception of the ears and drool, bassets are easy to keep clean. His short, dense coat repels dirt and water. Bassets do shed, but regular brushing and removal will keep it to a minimum. Bathing about once a month is all thatís needed.
9. Compact Big Dogs
His short stature is deceptive. Most bassets weigh in the range of 50 to 65 pounds. He has more bone for his size than any other breed. Because of his short legs, he may have difficulty jumping into some vehicles.
Bassets are not given to excessive barking. Since he is very much a pack animal, he may howl if left alone for long periods. Heís vocal and often makes a variety of sounds in keeping with his mood, especially when excited about the prospect of a walk or play.
If youíre looking for a gentle companion thatís easy to care for and gets along well with everyone, youíd be hard put to do better than a basset hound. Please consider rescuing a basset. Just do a search for ďbasset rescueĒ on Google to find dogs in your area.
Robert G. Knechtel
Robert G. Knechtel maintains several websites, including PetMedShop.Com and Go60.Com.