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rec.pets.dogs: Basset Hounds Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/bassets
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Last-modified: 25 Jan 2001

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It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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                               Basset Hounds

   This FAQ was compiled by Judy Trenck ( with the help
   of Judi Kinnear and Mary Louise Chipman. Sources for this FAQ include
   but are not limited to the following:
     * Handout "All About the Basset Hound", a pamphlet distributed by
       the Potomac Basset Hound Club Inc. (original source - Basset Hound
       Club of America, Inc.)
     * Section from a book on Breed Specific health problems. Basset
       Hound information was written by Margaret W. Walton & Calvin Moon
     * Article on paneosteitis that appeared in the Bugler and was
       written by Marge Skolnik.
     * Letter and Grant Proposal, "Clinical and Radiographic Evaluation
       of Immature Basset Hounds with Forelimb Lameness" from M. Joy
       Weinstein, V.M.D., Assistant Professor, Surgery Section,
       Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
     * AKC Dog Book
     * BHCA Membership Directory
   If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments you'd like to make
   regarding this FAQ, you can email Judy Trenck at
     * Some dated reference updates and additions by David L.
       Hendrickson, 8/22/95.
     * Noses-L information updated by CTM, 9/95
     * Online resources added by CTM, 10/95
     * Online resources updated, 11/95, CTM
     * Added Basset mailing list, 12/95, CTM
     * Added email contact point, and updated addresses, 7/96, CTM
     * Updated online resources & links, 11/96, CTM
     * Assorted minor corrections, 2/98, CTM
   This file is Copyright 1995 by Judy Trenck.
Table of Contents

     * What was the Basset Hound's original purpose?
     * Does the Basset Hound make a good pet?
     * How big is the adult Basset Hound and how should they look?
     * What is the Basset Hound's temperament?
     * Do Bassets have any strange habits?
     * How much does a Basset Hound eat?
     * Are Basset Hounds healthy dogs?
     * How much does a Basset Hound cost?
     * What can I expect in my older Basset?
     * Are Bassets hard to breed?
     * Are Bassets hard to housetrain?
     * Can the Basset Hound swim?
     * What about colors? Are red and whites rare, therefore worth more?
       What about the "blue" Basset?
     * Are there Basset Hound rescue organizations?
     * Are there any "email" lists on Internet for Bassets?
     * What other online resources are there?
     * What is the AKC Basset Hound breed standard?
     * Where can I find out more about Basset Hounds, breeders, and
          + National Club (USA)
          + Local Basset Hound Breed Clubs
          + Canadian Basset Hound Clubs
          + Magazines on Bassets
          + Books
What was the Basset Hound's original purpose?

   Basset Hounds are descended from the old St. Hubert hounds. Used to
   trail and drive game away, the Basset has had such famous admirers as
   King Edward VII and Shakespeare. The Basset was bred for hunting small
   game. The Basset's long ears were developed to stir up and hold the
   scent for their strong nose to smell. The folds of skin under the
   chin, called the dewlap, help trap and hold the scent. Wrinkles about
   the head and face also aid in holding the scent. Their large feet make
   them steady and the heavy bones make them sturdy. With their short
   legs they are ideal for slow trailing which allows hunters to follow
   on foot. The Basset is used primarily to hunt rabbit although they
   were first used on other small game such as pheasant.
Does the Basset Hound make a good pet?

   YES! The Basset Hound is one of the best dogs available for a family
   to love. They are extremely tolerant and love everyone in the family
   equally. They are a very gentle, sweet, loyal and affectionate breed,
   although they are quite stubborn at times. They get along well with
   other pets of various species. They are not an aggressive watchdog but
   will learn to give a deep bark as a warning if praised when sounding
   off. Otherwise, they will accept visitors with a sniff and return to a
   favorite corner. The Basset Hound is a versatile pet who will play
   with children, make a skilled hunter, and sit by their owner's side
   during quiet times.
How big is the adult Basset Hound and how should they look?

   The male Basset Hound at maturity usually weighs between 55 and 75
   pounds, and stands 12-, to not more than 15-inches tall at the
   shoulder. They are a big dog on short legs. The female is usually
   about 10 pounds lighter and 1-inch or so shorter than the male. Make
   no mistake, the Basset grows to be a good size dog, weighing more than
   most people expect, due to his heavy bone. As a young dog they need a
   consistent, firm, (but not harsh) hand so they will learn not to jump
   on people. They are not lap dogs, even though they may think so. The
   Basset has a large, well proportioned head, sad, droopy eyes with a
   prominent haw; and long, low-set ears and loose facial skin and
   dewlap. A muscular neck and shoulders arch above a powerful chest, and
   the stubby legs are tipped with huge paws. His low-slung,
   loose-skinned, body is accented by a tail carried gaily in an upswept
What is the Basset Hound's temperament?

   Basset Hounds have gentle dispositions. They were bred to be pack dogs
   and to get along with each other. This makes the male as friendly,
   mild, and easy to live with as the female. Males are not as aggressive
   as some other breeds of dogs, and they are usually not as prone to
   "marking" their territory unless there is an unneutered male around.
Do Bassets have any strange habits?

   Some Basset Hounds have a tendency to howl when left alone for long
   periods of time. They will also wander away from home if not kept in a
   (securely locked) fenced area. The Basset is so good with kids, and
   often found in homes with children, great care MUST be taken to assure
   that gates cannot accidentally be left open when the kids enter and
   leave the fenced area. When a good scent reaches their nose, there is
   no telling where they will end up, and unfortunately, the Basset is
   not good at finding the way home. A responsible owner keeps his Basset
   as safe from harm as he would any other cherished pet.
   A Basset with its large deep flews also tends to be more slobbery than
   other breeds. Some individual Bassets are "drier mouthed" than others,
   but as a whole the breed is a "wet mouthed" breed. To the prospective
   Basset owner, this means that that the dog will drool quite a bit, and
   tend to make a mess while drinking. If you are a fastidious
   housekeeper, and have an aversion to dog drool on your floors (and
   occasionally your walls), then the Basset Hound is probably not the
   breed for you. This is an important point, because one of the major
   reasons that Bassets are given up for rescue or adoption is that "the
   dog drools too much". Time and again those involved in Basset rescue
   hear this same old story. So get out your slobber rag if you want a
How much does a Basset Hound eat?

   Adult Basset Hounds generally eat between 2 and 4 cups of food per
   day. (Many dog food labels have you over-feeding your dogs.) Bassets
   often have a tendency to get fat, partly because their sad look lends
   their owners to "take pity on them" and give them more food than they
   require. Overeating is dangerous to all dogs. Puppies, depending on
   their age, will eat from two to four meals per day in proportion to
   their size. You should avoid feeding your Basset fad foods; feed a
   well-balanced, name brand dry food supplemented with a quality canned
   food and/or other supplements. Many canine nutrition experts feel that
   vitamin supplements are not needed when using a top quality name-brand
   dog food. If a vitamin is used, care must be takne to avoid
   over-supplementing. Check with your veterinarian to see what is best
   for your dog. Store or generic brand dogs foods should not be used. A
   pregnant female Basset gradually requires more food and a supplement
   as recommended by your veterinarian.
Are Basset Hounds hard to groom?

   The Basset Hound does not need fussy coat care due to his hard, short
   coat which repels dirt and water rather well. However, they should be
   brushed weekly to remove any loose hair and dirt. Bassets do not shed
   very much if brushed regularly. The Basset Hound needs a bath only
   four to six times a year because a good rubdown with a coarse cloth or
   a hounds glove will remove a great deal of dirt and bring a shine to
   the coat.
   Regular grooming helps create a bond between owner and pet. Wipe out
   the insides of the ears once a week. The Basset's heavy ear leather
   prevents loss of moisture from inside the ear, and, if it is not
   cleaned out with a cotton ball and a solution recommended by your
   veterinarian, odor and/or infection can result. Clean the outside of
   the ears also because they often drape in food and water dishes and
   pick up dirt from the ground. Trim the nails every 1-3 weeks to allow
   the dog to walk correctly on his feet and properly support his heavy
   weight. Puppies need more frequent clipping than the adult. Should you
   hear the nails clicking on the floor, they need to be cut. Have your
   veterinarian or breeder show you how to properly clip your dog's
   nails. Clean your Basset's teeth with a soft toothbrush and
   water/doggie toothpaste to prevent plaque buildup. You may want the
   veterinarian to show you the proper procedure for anal gland care as
   another means of keeping your dog odor-free and comfortable.
Are Basset Hounds healthy dogs?

   The Basset Hound claims excellent health. He is not prone to many
   hereditary weaknesses that are present in some other breeds. Many of
   the Basset's health problems can be attributed to his owner because he
   allowed his dog to become overweight, possibly resulting in aggravated
   arthritis, back problems, or heart trouble. Physical fitness is as
   important to the Basset as it is to humans. The Basset Hound enjoys
   running and leading an active life. Dogs raised in areas of the
   country where they can participate in the popular sport of field
   trialing can enjoy particularly good health. The Basset is an
   endurance dog.
   All breeds can carry genetic disorders or hereditary faults. The
   following list includes some of the problems that can develop in
  Von Willebrand's Disease
   A hereditary disorder appearing in some Bassets is Von Willebrand's
   disease, a platelet disorder resulting in mild to moderately severe
   bleeding and a prolonged bleeding time. Careful pedigree analysis and
   blood testing have reduced the incidence of this disease by reputable
   The Basset is one of the breeds predisposed to glaucoma.
   Like many other breeds with a deep chest, the Basset is susceptible to
   gastric dilatation with torsion of the stomach (bloat). This can be a
   problem regardless of age. Torsion or bloat is considered an emergency
   and action must be taken immediately.
   Paneosteitis is an elusive ailment occasionally seen in young Bassets.
   It is also known as wandering or transient lameness. Attacks are
   usually brought on by stress and aggravated by activity, and up to
   now, the cause and the cure are unknown. This mysterious disease
   causes sudden lameness, but its greatest potential danger may lie in
   false diagnosis, resulting in unnecessary surgery. A puppy will
   typically outgrow it by the age of two with no long term problems. It
   can be quite minor, or so bad that the dog will not put any weight on
   the leg. Symptoms may be confused with "elbow displasia", "hip
   displasia", "patellar luxation" and other more serious disorders. The
   most definite way to diagnose paneosteitis is radiographically. Even
   with this, signs can be quite minimal and easily missed. As to
   treatment, no cure was found in experimental tests and the only
   helpful thing found was relief for pain (aspirin, cortisone, etc.)
   However, using these, the dog tends to exercise more and thereby
   aggravate the condition. Note again: A GREAT MANY VETS ARE UNAWARE OF
   In diagnosing the cause of a Basset's lameness, a radiograph of the
   forelimbs may indicate a condition called elbow incongruity. (Elbow
   incongruity is a poor fit between the 3 bones which comprise the elbow
   joint.) Studies to date indicate that elbow incongruity is normal in
   the Basset and is not the cause of the lameness. It is also suspected
   that many of the previously mentioned unnecessary (panosteitis)
   surgeries have been performed on Basset Pups just because radiographs
   that were taken showed elbow incongruity. A study on forelimb lameness
   in the Basset is currently underway at the School of Veterinary
   Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. As previously mentioned they
   have determined that elbow incongruity occurs in the Basset but
   suspect that incongruity rarely causes the lameness. During the course
   of the study, conservative therapy will be recommended for all cases
   in which panosteitis appears to be the cause of the lameness. In cases
   with severe growth deformities or elbow pain associated with elbow
   incongruity, surgery may be recommended. If your Basset develops
   lameness and is diagnosed with an "elbow problem", discuss with your
   veterinarian the possibility of panosteitis.
   Some Bassets may have allergies to grasses. Hanging t heir head close
   to the ground for long periods of time will further aggravate it. If
   an allergy is diagnosed, a veterinarian can prescribe a mild eye
   ointment or other appropriate treatment.
   The long drooping ear predisposes the Basset to otitis externa,
   (smelly yucky ears). This is easily prevented if ear cleaning is done
   regularly,such as when nails are clipped. Check with your veterinarian
   for an ear wash, or make a preventative cleaning mix of 50% isopropyl
   alcohol and 50% white vinegar.
   Due to the Basset's large paws, they are prone to interdigital cysts,
   abscesses and fungus infections between the digits (toes).
   As a puppy, the Basset should never be given too much exercise because
   of the heavy boned front. Care must also be taken to protect the front
   when jumping off anything, stairs, tables, etc.
How much does a Basset Hound cost?

   A purebred, pet quality Basset Hound puppy from a reputable breeder
   may cost between $350-$700, depending on the part of the country. The
   price for a puppy with show (or breeding) potential will start
   appreciably higher. Prices of individual puppys vary according to
   quality (show or field potential), age, geographic region, and
   availability. The puppy should have been checked by a veterinarian and
   given appropriate inoculations based on its age. Inoculations for
   rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, kennel cough, and
   parvovirus are all necessary. A conscientious breeder will have a
   complete record of all puppy illnesses, tretements, and inoculations.
   Beware of a breeder who sells a puppy without all the necessary shots
   or proper AKC registration information. Also beware of the breeder
   that wants to sell a puppy prior to 8 weeks. In many areas it is
   against the law to sell or transport a puppy younger than this age.
   Pet stores tend to change the highest prices for puppies. The source
   of these puppies is usually a puppy mill, whose sole motive is
   breeding for profit, not temperament, type, or health. Buyer Beware!
What can I expect in my older Basset?

   Given good care, the Basset can lead a very active 10 years and be
   active as a stud dog up to 12 years. (AKC will not register puppies
   sired by a dog over 12 years of age without written permission of AKC
   and certification from a veterinarian.) Bassets enjoy their food in
   old age and, if allowed, become fat and lazy. The Basset is an easy
   keeper and a steady hound and usually lives 8 to 12 years, although
   there are many that live beyond, to 14,15,16 or even up to 17 years.
Are Bassets hard to breed?

   YES! Once determining that your dog of bitch is worthy of being bred
   (be sure to read the breeding FAQs) the owner of the dog must be
   prepared to provide the following.
     * A safe, secure, clean area to keep the visiting bitch to be bred
       (the bitch always goes to the dog). Can you provide this?
     * Bassets do not "free" breed and need to be personally handled/
       supervised throughout the entire act of breeding. Are you willing
       to do this? Two Bassets left together is a room will only result
       in two tired, frustrated, unbred dogs.
     * Your male will probably start "marking" (peeing) his territory in
       your home. :-(
     * Your male may become more aggressive perhaps to you, and your
   REMEMBER: If you have never had ice cream, you will never miss it.
   SPAY and/or NEUTER.
Are Bassets hard to housetrain?

   No harder than any other breed, you MUST be consistent.
Can the Basset Hound swim?

   Only with a great deal of difficulty. With 2/3 of the Basset's weight
   in the front, and with such short legs, they can swim only very short
   distances, and with great difficulty. If you must go boating with a
   Basset be certain, you have provided a life preserver for him or other
   suitable floatation device. Extra care must be taken around swimming
   pools, and the Basset should never be left, unsupervised in a pool
   area. Should your Basset be prone to falling in, get him to swim to
   the stairs, so that he will learn the way out.
What about colors? Are red and whites rare, therefore worth more? What about
the "blue" Basset?

   HA, HA, HA, - Only to the uninformed. The value of a Basset should not
   be based on its color or markings. The tri-color is the most common,
   followed by the red & white. Tri's at times can appear to be black and
   white, but on closer inspection, a touch of brown usually can be
   found. Red & whites can be almost completely white with just a few
   spots of tan, or they can be a deep mahogany color with only a small
   amount of white. Most come somewhere in between. There are also lemon
   & whites. A true lemon is rarely seen. Their markings are mostly white
   that fades into areas of very, very light tan. To tell if it is a true
   lemon, the puppy, at birth is totally white with no hint of tan. The
   light tan color develops as they mature. It should also be noted that
   the color and coverage of the marking of the puppy you get at 10-12
   weeks will change as they mature. Every once in a while, you will hear
   of someone advertising the "rare" blue Basset (actually it is gray).
   The standard states "any recognizable hound color is acceptable", and
   blue is a recognized color in some other hound breeds, so it's not
   illegal - but it is VERY undesirable. It is a recessive trait
   resulting in genetically inherited disorders associated with this
   color, i.e. periscoping intestines, skin allergies and food allergies.
   Be wary of breeders selling these "blue" bassets. A reputable breeder
   would not involve themselves in purposely breeding inferior quality.
Are there Basset Hound rescue organizations?

   There are many local Basset Hound rescue groups, check the Rescue
   FAQs, part 1, or if you do not find one in your area contact:
   B. H. CARES, Inc.
   Greg Gilbert, Chairman: 1865 Bairds Cove, Charleston, SC 29414;
   Additional Basset Rescue organizations in the United States can be
   found on the Daily Drool web page. Included in this list are BHCare
   chapters, and other Basset rescue organizations that are not chapters.
Are there any "E-mail" lists on the Internet for Bassets?

   BASSET-L is an email list for the Basset fancier. To join the list,
   send email to In the body of the
   message, include the single line:
   subscribe BASSET-L yourfirstname yourlastname
   There is also NOSES-L for the general scent hound fancier. To join the
   list, send email to In the body of the
   message, include the single line:
   subscribe NOSES-L yourfirstname yourlastname
   Daily Drool is a smaller list for Basset Owners. Membership is
   limited, so you may have to wait to get on. To subscribe, use the
What other online resources are there?

   Check the following web pages:
       The Basset Hound Club of America, kept by BHCA.
       Cyberhound!, kept by H. Nadelman, former webmaster for BHCA.
What is the AKC Basset Hound breed standard?

   A standard is a written picture of the ideal dog in any breed approved
   by the American Kennel Club. It describes the characteristics that set
   one breed apart from the others.
   The present Standard for Basset Hounds was accepted by the American
   Kennel Club in early 1964. Revisions have been made, as recommended by
   the Basset Hound Club of America, Inc., to clarify the old standard
   and to make stronger the emphasis on the utility of the breed.
Where can I find out more about Basset Hounds, breeders, and breeding?

   After making the decision to bring a Basset Hound into your home and
   your heart, the next most important decision is where to get your dog.
   If you prefer an adult, please check with the rescue groups that are
   listed in the Rescue Section of this FAQ. Puppies should only be
   purchased from reputable breeders. To locate a reputable breeder in
   your area, contact the Basset Hound Club of America. They have a
   listing by state of their members at You
   may also contact the American Kennel club at for a
  National Club (USA)
   Corresponding Secretary: Janie Dozier, 13219 Holly Tree Lane, Poway CA
   92064; 858-748-7081;
   The Basset Hound Club of America may also be reached by email at
  Local Basset Hound Breed Clubs
   To locate current Club Secretaries, contact Mimi Brandoline (above) or
   the AKC at (212) 696-8200
                             Valle Del Sol BHC
                           Greater San Diego BHC
                             BHC of Sacramento
                         BHC of Southern California
                          Northern California BHC
                               Timberline BHC
                             South Florida BHC
                                Suncoast BHC
                               BHC of Hawaii
                              Ft Dearborn BHC
                              Lincolnland BHC
                           BHC of Central Indiana
                              Kentuckiana BHC
                         BHC of Greater New Orleans
                            BHC of Maryland, Inc
                                Pilgrim BHC
                           BHC of Greater Detroit
                             Looking Glass BHC
                            Western Michigan BHC
                        GTR Minneapolis St Paul BHC
                                 New Jersey
                                Partroon BHC
                                  New York
                            Capital District BHC
                             Maumee Valley BHC
                                BHC of Tulsa
                          BHC of Portland OR, Inc
                             Emerald Empire BHC
                             BCH of Western PA
                            Berkshire Valley BHC
                                Buckeye BHC
                                 Lenape BHC
                            Rancocas Valley BHC
                              Susquehanna BHC
                              Valley Forge BHC
                         BHC of Greater Fort Worth
                           BHC of Greater Houston
                         BHC of Greater San Antonio
                          Dal-Tex BHC (Dallas, TX)
                             Highland Lakes BHA
                    Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C.
                       Potomac Basset Hound Club Inc
                           BHC of Greater Seattle
                               Badgerland BHC
  Canadian Basset Hound Clubs
   Basset Hound Club of Canada
   Dawn-Marie Adams, Secretary
   105 Cove Crescent
   Stoney Creek ON L8E 5A1
   Membership information: $35 (Canadian) for Single, $40 for Family.
   Membership Chair - Pat Nurse,
   Basset Hound Club of British Columbia
   Bonnie Tetlock, Secretary
  Magazines on Bassets
   The Bugler
   PO Box 698
   McMinnville TN 37110
   (Monthly) 1 yr $15.00; First Class - $25.00 per yr; Canada & Mexico
   $30.00; Airmail Overseas & SO. America $70.00 (rates as of July 1995)
   Tally-Ho is the official publication of the Basset Hound Club of
   America, it is sent to all members. The Tallyho is not available by
   subscription anymore.
   Recommended reading on the Basset Hound:
   The Offical Book of the Basset Hound by Robert E. Booth, 1998
   The Basset Hound Owner's Survival Guide by Diane Morgan, 1998.
   The Basset Hound, An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet by Barbara
   Wicklund (1996).
   Basset Hounds, A Complete Pet Owner's Manual by Joe Stahlkuppe (1997).
   The Complete Basset Hound ( or The New Complete Basset Hound) Try to
   get the 1st edition - blue hard cover - no longer in print, but is
   better than her second (yellow cover) book. by Mercedes Braun $16.95
   These books may be purchased thru Doctors Foster & Smith (or any
   bookstore) 1-800-826-7206
   Also see the Country Store section of the BHCA website for additional
   publications from the BHCA. (
   The New Basset Hound by Walton $16.99
   AKC Video, Breed Standard Series, The Basset Hound $35.00
   (No longer in print) This is the Basset Hound by Ernest H. Hart
    Basset Hounds FAQ
    Judy Trenck
    Email contact: Judy Trenck,
                                 Hosted by
                                  K9 WEB 

User Contributions:

Erna Duvenhage

We are the proud new owners of a Basset Puppy named Akela who is nearly 9 weeks old now. We have had her for a week now and most things like house training are going very well. I the only issue at present is the nightly crying. She sleeps in her basket in my daughter's (16 yr old) bathroom. The bathroom is en-suite. She still wakes up every 2-3 hours by crying. She doesn't go to the loo more than once a night as we take her out at regular intervals, but she wakes up my daughter with the crying.

Do you have any good advise for us on this?

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