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Basset Hound

Country/Date of origin: France/1500s

Although the basset family of dogs originated in France, the one Americans know as the Basset was refined in England in the last part of the 19th Century. The scent trailing breed was developed by French nobility to hunt rabbit, hare, deer and other game that could be taken on foot. The shortness of leg and bulky body make the Basset especially useful in dense cover. The amusingly shaped body is really quite efficient at punching into thickets. Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, the breed had an amazing spurt of popularity in the 1950s when it was the darling of the advertising world.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Hound

Breed Club: Basset Hound Club of America

Rescue Club: Rosemary Ryan, Rescue Referral Chairman, [email protected]

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Body Type:

  • A long, low dog
  • The Basset looks as if it has a Bloodhound's head set on a Dachshund's body
  • Height: 13-15 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 40-60 pounds
  • The long, hanging ears are not altered; they help to gather the scent into the nose while tracking
  • Tails are carried above the line of the back and are not altered
  • The Basset's leg bones are the heaviest of any breed


  • Good natured and easy going. Has a great sense of humor
  • Stubborn
  • Not too intelligent; It seems that about 90% of the brain is directly wired to the nose
  • Very difficult to train


  • Short glossy coat lies close to the loose, wrinkled skin
  • Sheds more than most short haired dogs
  • Colors are all hound colors but most commonly seen are combinations of black, tan and white and red and white
  • Minimal grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Relatively healthy breed
  • Ear canker
  • Glaucoma
  • Genetic epilepsy
  • Bloat
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Bas is the French word for low; one look at the Basset and you can see why it carries its name
  • Bassets are said to have the most musical voice in the dog world; the world is treated to their vocal expressions quite often too
  • Bassets used for hunting are higher on the leg and not as stocky as the show and pet Basset; hunters traditionally follow these hare hunters on foot
  • George Washington hunted with a pair of Bassets given to him by Lafayette

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