I can’t believe I haven’t covered the Basset Hound as the breed of the week yet. Today we remedy that. This low-slung hound dog is the focus of our Friday.
As y’all might know, I’ve been clandestinely meeting with a big boy named Elvis, a Basset Hound who doesn’t get nearly enough exercise. Bassets need to run, being hounds, being dogs. Their long, heavy bodies store up energy and fat, ready to burn it off in a hunt. Elvis does not hunt. His daddy has been in the middle of a long, drawn-out legal battle for a couple of years, so Elvis has the run of his small back yard and that’s it. It’s not abuse, y’all. It’s just his life right now. It will change sometime soon. But for now, this is how it is. But how should life be for a Basset Hound?
Let’s start with what makes a Basset Hound tick. What kind of dog is the Basset, exactly? Here’s what the AKC site has to say about the breed:
Instantly recognizable due to its big, heavy body, short legs and long ears, the Basset Hound has proven itself to be a multi-purpose dog that excels in conformation, obedience, tracking, field trialing and pack hunting. The breed is known for its strong hunting instinct and, if given the opportunity, will chase or follow a scent willingly. Because of its gentle, non-confrontational nature, the Basset can be used for hunting in packs or alone. The Basset can be any hound color, which includes combinations of black, tan, white, red and other colors.
Hound is in the name, so we know that it has hunting skills. The Basset Hound is a scent hound, not a sight hound, like the Greyhound. Bassets are heavy dogs by nature, with big paws and bones, but short legs, keeping them low to the ground and close to the scent.
A short list of Basset Hound characteristics:
- Short and stocky, but long bodied
- Long, silky ears
- Baying howl
- Sad eyes and droopy jowls
- Rather like a Beagle in markings and colors, but a bigger, heavier dog
- Sweet, gentle, peaceful
- Shed constantly
So what are the pros and cons of owning this hound dog? Let’s begin with the pros:
- According to Dog Breed Info, there are few health problems, and even those can be averted with proper feeding and exercise routines
- A decent life span, up to twelve years
- Sweet, gentle family dog – great with kids
- Not overly active indoors
- Great multi-platform dogs – conformation, hunting, obedience, etc.
- Easy and quick to groom
- Shedding – they shed ALL THE TIME – I brush Elvis every day I’m there, and there’s always a TON of tiny hairs everywhere
- Scent – this dog picks up a scent and disappears, being so focused it won’t hear you call – you can’t let the dog off leash in open spaces unless you’re hunting with it
- Weight gain is a real and serious issue, too much putting great stress on their bones and spine
That’s all I can come up with. This easy going hound is a delightful pet. But a cautionary tale – a friend of mine had a Basset Hound in high school ,and she loved to take long walks – it was the 80’s and we walked everywhere, all the time – with her dog. She would take her Radio Flyer wagon when they’d walk, because the dog would sit down half way through the walk and refuse to go any further. She’d have to pull him home in the wagon. I tell you that to say, the Basset isn’t necessarily a fan of exercise, so know that going in, start it young with the walking, keep it from getting too big. But love your dog.
As always, I appreciate any feedback about your experience with your own Basset Hound. I know I’m missing pieces of this puzzle and would love to hear from you. And treats for Bassets? I’m going to recommend the lower calorie chews – things like bones and hooves, maybe a Lamb Lung Puff or two. Let’s not go overboard in bulking up the Basset. 🙂
Until I write again …