The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family, as well as one of six recognized Basset breeds in France; furthermore, Bassets are scent hounds that were originally bred for the purpose of hunting rabbits and hare. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning “low”, with the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning “rather low”. Basset Hounds are usually Bicolors or Tricolors of standard hound coloration.
The breed was first presented at a Paris dog show in 1863, and it was there the dog’s popularity began. Its popularity spread to England and feuds soon arose between those who wanted the dog to be more of a show dog, keeping it more as a companion dog, and those who wanted to keep it as a hunting dog. The breed spread to America where breeders started developing a dog which they felt covered both hunting and companion / show traits. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.He may be best known as the Hush Puppy dog, but the Basset Hound is much more than an advertising icon. With his placid personality and short-statured yet noble appearance, the Basset Hound is a popular family companion, as well as a slow-paced but keen hunting dog.
This breed, like its ancestor the Bloodhound, has a hanging skin structure, which causes the face to occasionally look sad; this, for many people, adds to the breed’s charm. The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears which along with the Bloodhound are the longest of any breed, help trap the scent of what they are tracking. Its neck is wider than its head. This, combined with the loose skin around its face and neck means that flat collars can easily be pulled off. The looseness of the skin results in the Basset’s characteristic facial wrinkles. The Basset’s skull is characterized by its large Dolichocephalic nose, which is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability and number of olfactory receptor cells.
The Basset Hound is sweet, gentle, devoted, peaceful and naturally well-behaved. It fits into family life well. Its temperament should always be friendly, and never vicious, moody or harsh, and would only become so if the owners lead the dog to believe he is pack leader over humans. It is mild but not timid; very affectionate with its master and friendly with children. It can be a bit stubborn with meek owners and needs a firm, confident, and consistent owner who displays natural authority over the dog. Dogs need to know the rules of the house and have the humans stick to them. Bassets like to do tricks for food. They have a deep musical bark. Housebreaking is difficult, but they do well with patient, gentle training.