Basset Hound: Breed Info, Pictures and Facts

Basset Hound: Breed Info, Pictures and Facts

You can’t have missed the adorable hush puppy dog with their distinctive short legs and sad eyes – but did you know that this is a Basset Hound and that they make remarkably good pets? This even-tempered breed is great with kids and other pets but there are some less desirable traits that you need to look out for and you should choose your breeder with care. Here’s our guide with all the latest Bassett hounds info you could need to help you decide if this is the pooch for you.

Breed Overview

Here’s the low down on the Basset Hound dog breed including Basset Hound size, weight, height and life span supplied by the American Kennel Club. They belong to the Hound dog group of breeds that also includes the Blood Hound.

Dog Breed GroupLife expectancyWeight – adult BassetHeight – adult Basset Exercise requirement
Hound12 – 13 years40-65 poundsAround 14 inches to 15 inchesMedium

group of dogs basset hound sitting on the road

History of the Basset Hound

According to the American Kennel Club, the Basset Hound was originally bred in France. Their name is derived from the French word bas meaning low which is very suitable for this short legged breed.

It is thought that they were bred by friars as a scenting hound by crossing older breeds. The Basset Hound’s long ears and short legs all helped with their scenting ability. They also had the exercise stamina to follow their human masters over long distances when tracking deer and rabbits. They have a long history of being a popular breed amongst the French aristocracy who valued their ability to pick up on a scent when they were out hunting.

Few More Words About Basset Hounds

To sum up the Basset in a few words – they are basically a low maintenance dog with a short coat that is easy to groom but sheds a lot. They have a life span of around 12- 13 years and are generally in good health although they are prone to obesity.

They don’t require a huge amount of exercise but can be a challenge to train thanks to their stubborn streak. However, they are intelligent and with patience and perseverance (and a few tasty treats) they will get the hang of it.

Hound Dog Breed Appearance

These dogs have a distinctive appearance. The stand-out Basset Hound characteristics are a stocky build, short legs and very long ears!


Bassets are a medium-sized dog. On average, you can expect these dogs to weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. However, they are short in stature and even a full grown Basset Hound adult dog will only reach up to 15 inches in height due to their short legs.

General build

The Basset is a short legged and heavy-boned dog. They have a large but well-proportioned head and a long, straight back. Their chest is deep and they have a long tail that should not be docked. They have a very full and well-rounded hind-quarters and their hind feet point straight ahead.

Their long ears are a distinctive feature – very low and long set. If you draw them forward, they will easily cover the end of the dog’s nose. They have a lovely velvety feel and hang in loose folds but the ends can curl slightly inward.


Bassets have a hard-textured and smooth coat. It is dense enough to protect them in bad weather but is shorter than that of some other hunting breeds. They have a loose and elastic skin, especially around the face. This gives them a wrinkled appearance around the brow and a sad look that owners find very appealing.

Most Bassets have the classic tri-color pattern with a combination of black, white and tan. However, they can also have red patches on a white background which is known as the open red and white color. You may also see a closed red and white coat color (which is a solid red but with white feet and a white tail), or lemon, white or grey.

Interesting Facts

Bassets are unique and fascinating dogs. Here are five fun facts about the Basset Hound dog breed that you probably didn’t know.

  • Basset hounds have a low boredom threshold and need lots of things to keep them occupied.
  • This breed loves to wander off! You may want to keep your Basset Hound on a leash just in case they find a scent to follow.
  • This breed has some serious nose power! It is thought that they are second only to the Blood Hound when it comes to detecting a scent.
  • Their appearance characteristics are all about their sense of smell. Those long floppy ears are there to waft odors towards the nose and the skin wrinkles are there to keep the odor close to the face. Years of breeding have turned them into fantastic sniffing machines!
  • The Basset Hound has large jowls (also useful for sniffing) and this causes them to drool more than some other dogs. It is perfectly natural but if you notice it has increased lately you should mention it to your vet.

Beautiful Basset Hound purebred dog

Basset Hound Temperament

Basset hounds have medium energy levels and a laid back personality – which makes them an ideal family companion. They are gentle and friendly and get on with children of all ages. They are a robust breed and can usually cope with games with older children. This breed is also very sociable with other animals and strangers as long as you socialize them from a young age. They are very affectionate dogs and will enjoy sneaking onto your lap for a cuddle.

Their laid back personality can often lead people to ask are basset hounds lazy? In fact, it would be better to describe them as calm. They also have a tendency to eat too much and this can lead to obesity. This prevents them from moving around a lot and can make them appear lazy. You can easily keep them entertained with a few ball games and one walk a day. However, they are not great swimmers so it is best to keep them out of the water.

Basset Hound Care


How easy is it to train a Basset Hound?

Training Basset dogs can be a challenge! Inexperienced dog owners may run into problems with this. You will need a lot of patience to persuade your dog to do what you want as they have a strong stubborn steak. You need to remember that they have been bred to hunt on their own and be independent. The only way around this is to convince them that they want to do it – using food as bribery.

Despite being stubborn, they are an intelligent dog and with perseverance you can train them to obey simple commands. They have a very laid-back character and without the reward of food, they simply cannot be bothered to perform tricks. Having said that, some have done well in agility and obedience competitions.

What kind of training and socialization does a Basset Hound need?

Socialization training is important for all dogs, even those with an easy-going temperament like the Basset. They are usually friendly towards other humans (including children) and animals but it is best to expose them to lots of different social situations when they are puppies.

Are Basset Hounds hard to potty train?

Potty training can be an issue with Bassets. Their stubborn nature can mean that they do not always agree to co-operate with you! You need to adopt gentle and positive training methods. Bassets are emotionally sensitive dogs and if you start shouting at them they are likely to shut down and training will go backwards instead of forwards. Be prepared for this to take a long time and arm yourself with plenty of delicious treats!


So, how much should Basset Hounds eat a day? This is an important consideration from a financial and health point of view.

These dogs need a high quality dog food that is either purchased or prepared at home. If you decide to make your own dog food, get some advice from your vet first. Bassets can be greedy dogs so make sure that you work out exactly how much food they should have to calculate the size of their meals. These dogs have a tendency to put on weight. When they pile on the pounds, they can develop health conditions and diseases that are common in overweight dogs including joint issues. If you suspect that your Basset needs to lose a few pounds, have a chat with your vet.

Bassets can also suffer from an embarrassing intestinal problem – flatulence. If this problem starts to bother you, have a chat with your vet about how a change in diet could help.

The Basset Hound dog breed is one of the dog breeds that are prone to bloat. This is a very serious health issue and requires immediate medical attention. You can reduce the chances of it occurring by feeding your pet two or three smaller meals a day instead of one large one. Also, don’t exercise your Basset for at least an hour after they have eaten.

Find out more about Dog Food for Flatulence here.

Do Basset Hounds drink a lot of water?

Some Bassets are very big drinkers. They need a constant supply of fresh water. When the weather is hot or when they have been exercising, they may drink even more. If you notice that your dog is drinking water too quickly, you could try to slow things down by providing a water fountain instead of a bowl.

Bassets have a lot of loose skin around their mouths which means that they tend to make a lot of mess when they are drinking. With this dog, there will be quite a lot of cleaning up to do!

The loose skin also causes Bassets to drool a lot. Some owners have no problem with this but other people find it off-putting. Sadly, this is the main reason that families give when they put a Basset up for adoption.

If you want a neat and tidy dog breed Basset hounds are probably not the dog for you!


Because the Basset coat is short, it is quite easy to take care of. However, it does need regular grooming.

How do you groom a Basset Hound dog?

To keep your dog’s coat in the best health and looking great, you should groom them at least once a week. Use a soft brush or a shedding tool and brush the coat in the direction of growth. Regular coat grooming also has the same effect as a body massage and is great for skin care.

Because this breed is so low to the ground, it can cause a problem with their ear care. Their ears are likely to drag on or near the ground when they are out hunting or exercising. Their ears can pick up a lot of dirt and debris and extra care is needed when cleaning them.

They are one of the dog breeds that are prone to ear infections because air cannot circulate in the inner ear because of their shape. This provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. You should clean the inside of the ears once a week at least. Your vet can advise you on the best product to use for this. For the outside of the ears, use a soft cloth to remove dirt. You will also have to use a soft, damp cloth to wipe inside the facial wrinkles. It is very important that you dry them out thoroughly afterwards.

You may also like our articles on the Best Dog Ear Cleaners, Best Dog Shedding Brush, and Best Brushes for Short Hair Dogs.

Do basset hounds shed a lot?

Bassets are hunting dogs and as with other hunting breeds they do shed a lot. You can reduce shedding problems to a certain extent with regular grooming and a healthy diet but it cannot eliminated. Sometimes, increased or excessive shedding can be a sign of a health issue so if you are concerned you should speak to your vet.

How often should you bathe Basset Hounds?

This breed has very short legs and are therefore close to the ground when they are out hunting or exercising. Therefore, they can get very mucky!

If possible, you should try to avoid giving them a bath. Try to remove the dirt with a bristle brush or a coarse cloth. You could even use a special hound Basset glove if you need to. However, if they have rolled in something really disgusting, they will need to have a bath. Use a special dog shampoo that is suited to the pH of dog’s skin so that it does not cause irritation. Some dogs love to have a bath but others hate it so you may need another adult to help you.

Check out some of our dog grooming guides, such as the best dog conditioners, best puppy shampoo, and best dry dog shampoo.

Dental care

Bassets can develop dental disease which is a painful and debilitating condition. To prevent dental and gum disease from developing, you will need to brush your Basset Hound’s teeth at least two or three times a week using a dog toothpaste and a suitable brush. This will prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. If you are able to brush their teeth every day, that is even better! Get your pet used to this at a young age by starting when they are a puppy.

Take a look at our guides on the Best Dog Toothbrushes and Best Dog Dental Spray.

Nail care

Nail care is also important for dogs. You should be able to hear when your dog’s nails are too long as they will tap on hard floor surfaces. To keep your pet’s feet in good condition, they need to be trimmed a couple of times a month. This is also something you should start when your pet is young. At the same time, you can check between their toes for sores.

Head over to our review of the Best Dog Nail Clippers.


All dog breeds have health issues that you need to look out for and Bassets are no different. Here are some particular health issues to look out for in this breed. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or any of the health conditions listed here, you should consult your vet.

Problems with the eyes

Sadly, this breed can develop or inherit several eye conditions that can have a great impact on the quality of the life that dogs can enjoy. They include the following:


Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure inside the eye increases causing pain and even bulging in severe cases. It is usually an inherited condition. Your dog will have pain in their eyes. You may notice that their eyes appear red or watery. Dogs also often squint and rub their eyes.

This is a condition that deteriorates. The pressure in the eyes builds up and dogs can go blind. Dog breeds that are prone to this condition should have an ophthalmologist evaluation.


This is a common condition in older dogs. You will notice that the lenses of the eye become opaque (cloudy) and your dog will gradually lose their sight. Some dogs cope okay with this and don’t seem to be very stressed about it. Sometimes, it is possible to perform surgery to restore the sight.

Cherry eye

This condition is most often seen in younger dogs. Canines have a third eyelid that contains a gland. This gland can get swollen and will look like a red structure in the corner of the eye. It can flare up very quickly in one or both eyes. This condition requires veterinary treatment.

Heart disease

Bassets are one of the dog breeds that can develop heart diseases. They can develop a heart condition that is life-threatening called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The heart becomes very large and thin. It is too weak to pump blood around the body and your pet can start to look weak and tired. Your dog may even collapse and have labored breathing and a cough. It can be treated to a certain extent with medication and dietary supplementation but needs to be diagnosed early.

Joint problems

Patellar luxation

When the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal place, it is called patellar luxation. When this happens, your dog will suddenly pick up their back leg and then instinctively kick their leg out sideways so that it pops back into place.

This will happen repeatedly. For mild cases, only arthritis medication is needed but severe cases require surgery.

Elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia

Dogs can suffer from elbow or hip dysplasia. It is a genetic problem inherited from their parent. The affected joints have not formed correctly and arthritis (inflammation of the joint) will develop. The affected joint will feel stiff and your dog may start to limp. They may eventually find it hard to move around. Medication and surgery are possible treatment options. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to develop this condition.

Ear problems

Bassets are prone to ear infections because their long ears stop air from circulating. This creates the warm and moist conditions that bacteria love. You can help to prevent this by cleaning your Basset’s ears every week. Ask your vet for further advice.

Skin problems

Any breed that has skin folds around the mouth that get moist are prone to a type of skin infection that is called lip-fold pyoderma. The infection can be caused by bacteria or yeast which love these warm and moist conditions. The area will look red and inflamed, will have an unpleasant odor and will be uncomfortable. Topical treatment applied to the skin will usually sort it out but severe cases require surgery.


Bassets can pile on weight if they eat too much and do not get enough exercise. This places them at a higher risk of many health issues and places a lot of strain on their heart, lungs and joints and leads to chronic disease. Learn to avoid those pleading eyes and cut down on the snacks!


A Basset is low to the ground because they have short legs and this can put them closer to parasites such as fleas and ticks. They can also get ear mites and intestinal worms. Some of these parasites are also dangerous to humans as well as causing distress to your dog.

You can prevent them by using regular flea, tick and worm prevention treatment and remaining vigilant for signs of a parasitic infection.


This breed does not require a huge amount of exercise. They are short legged and therefore have to put a lot of effort in to cover even small distances. You will find that their energy level is not as high as some of the other working breeds such as the Labrador.

Having said that, Basset puppies and adults do need regular exercise – a daily walk at a medium pace will be enough for their short legs. It is best to keep them on a leash. If they do pick up an interesting scent, they can get completely carried away and follow it. This can lead them a long way from you and they can get lost. After their walk, they like nothing better than to settle down for a long sleep.

Adopt Don’t Shop (Rescue Groups)

If you are wondering should I adopt a basset hound, then the answer is yes! This is the responsible way to find your new pet. The rescue center will make you aware of any health problems or behavioral problems that the dog has. They will also offer support for when your new pet is settling into your home.

Sadly, these dogs are often bought by people who do not understand the commitment that is required. Some people are not happy about the drooling that can be a feature of breeds like the Basset Hound. This results in many dogs being put up for adoption.

Start by contacting your local pet rescue center. If you can’t locate it, contact the Basset Hound Club of America or one of their local branches and they will be able to advise.

Reputable Breeders

If you have decided to get a puppy from a breeder, it is important that you choose a reputable one. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are a good place to start. You could also contact the Basset Hound Club of America for a list of recognized breeders. By going to a reputable breeder, you can avoid the heartache of buying a puppy with genetic health conditions and health problems. You can also be confident that they have been bred in a hygienic and caring environment.

How do you pick out a basset hound puppy?

This is a lot more complex that just looking at Basset Hound pictures and choosing the cutest pup! Your pet will have a life span of over 10 years and so this is a big commitment. You should choose your puppy with care.

Look for a pup that is in a good condition. They should be free from any signs of infections such as sniffles, coughs, runny eyes or diarrhea. Try to visit your pup on several different occasions and ask to see the dog Mom and Dad (if possible). Also, ask to see all the health certificates and screening test results.


The price of Basset Hound puppies is variable but expect to pay over $1,000. Pups that have parents with certificates of genetic testing will cost more.

Of course, the price of the pup is just the start. Dogs cost a lot of money to look after. There will be food, crates, beds, toys and veterinary care to pay for. Make sure that you are able to take on this financial burden.


Q: Do basset hounds make good house dogs?

A: The gorgeous Basset Hound is a mild mannered and friendly – they make great pets. They are just the right size to be a house dog and will get on with children and other pets. This is a great breed if you have owned a dog before. However, if you are looking for your first house dog you may find them challenging. They are not that easy to train and, because they have a strong hunting instinct, they have a tendency to wander away from you when they are out for exercise.

Q: Who should get a basset hound dog?

A: A Basset puppy would suit someone with some prior experience in how to care for dogs. This is not a pet that will like to be left alone and can be vocal about it. Their voice has been bred for generations to travel over long distances so it may annoy the neighbors! Therefore, they would suit a family where someone is always at home.

They also need a household that can provide them with regular exercise – they have a medium energy level. If you are very house-proud, you may not be able to cope with the mess that they make when they are drinking and the drooling.

Q: Why do basset hounds cry so much?

A: The reason for the vocal nature of this breed is that they were not bred to be a pet! These dogs were bred to go hunting and would head out on their own following a scent. Once they had found the rabbit or deer or whatever else was producing the scent, they needed a way of alerting their human companion who may be some distance away. Their distinctive bark carries for long distances and these dogs are very happy to use it when they want attention!

Q: Should I get a male or female basset hound?

A: Once you have decided on the breed that you want for a pet, the next decision is whether you want a male or female dog.

The Basset Hound temperament is the same for puppies of both genders so it does not make a huge difference. Female dogs are lighter and if you don’t get them spayed, they will come into season every six months so you will need to be happy to deal with that – especially if there are other dogs in the home.

It is often easier to find a male pup than a female. However, if you don’t specify a gender, a breeder will be able to supply you with a puppy quicker. Both males and females can have varying personalities and temperaments.

Q: Where does the basset hound rank?

A: The American Kennel Club ranks dog breeds in the United States in order of popularity. The most popular dogs are the Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Bulldogs (including French Bulldogs) and Poodles. The list is compiled from their registration statistics. Currently, the Basset Hound ranks in 39th place out of 197 breeds.


  1. Basset Hound, Vetstreet
  2. Basset Hound Traits, VCA
Sharon Parry

Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!

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