Basset Hounds are a popular breed of dog in the US. Many people find their funny little look of a long nose and muzzle, paired with its funny shaped little body, short stature and stubby legs, to be an irresistible look. They hunting dog has been around since the 1600’s and although it is still used for hunting in the US and other countries, its most popular purpose is just to be a pet. There is a lot to know about a Basset if you are considering getting the breed, because this is a breed that differs from the average dog.
For one thing, this is a loud breed of dog; one that likes to talk in the form of baying, which is aloud howl-type of sound. If you aren’t accustomed to it, it can be hard to get used to, or may annoy neighbors, if they are particular about this type of noise. If you think you are familiar with the breed, keep reading to find out seven things that you didn’t know about the Basset Hound.
1. Bassets have the second most powerful canine nose
The Basset Hound has the second most powerful nose of any dog breed, second only to the Blood Hound. They can sniff out just about anything with their powerful canine nose, which was the full purpose of the development of the breed to begin with. They love to hunt for small game; rabbits, squirrels and other animals. They can be used in different organizations for sniffing jobs, due to their ability to sniff out just about anything.
2. Sweet, lovable and loyal
Despite the Basset being a hunting dog, they are not aggressive dog, but are very sweet and lovable. They are also very loyal, which is what is expected of a hunting dog. Hunting dogs tend to be more loyal to their owners due to the fact that they rely on each other while out on a hunting trip. They are typically very good pets for whole families, including children, the elderly, and with other pets. They want to be a part of the family, which they consider their pack, and do not want to be left alone for long periods of time, inside or in a backyard.
3. Brought to US by the French (GW)
The French developed the Basset Hound back in the 1600’s for the purpose of hunting small game. They wanted a dog that they could take with them on hunting trips for getting rabbits, squirrel and other small game. They grew in popularity in France, and once they had gained popularity in their home country, the French decided to bring one to President George Washington as a gift, for his hunting trips. The gift to the president of the US, is the first record of a Basset Hound in the US. Over time, the gained popularity for hunters during that era, and although they soon became recognized as a full breed of dog, the AKC did not recognize them as a full breed until 1885.
4. There’s a purpose behind their long ears
The ears of a Basset are long for a reason, and that is to aid them in their tracking of scents. Bassets use more than just their nose for tracking scents, they use their ears to stir up scents on the ground. When a Basset gets into tracking mode, their heads are low to the ground and their noses are busy sniffing. As they trot along, their ears drag along the ground, kicking up scents that make it into the nasal passage and they process it. Blood Hounds work the same way, using their ears to help kick-up scents from the ground and around them, to detect what they are. Because a Basset’s ears are so long, they must be cleaned regularly. They are prone to wax build-up and other issues, and require wiping them out gently with a warm wash cloth.
5. Feet turn outward
If you have ever really looked at a Basset Hound then you may have noticed that their front feet turn outward, most noticeable when they’re standing still. If you thought it was just the way that particular Basset stood, and was only a trait for that particular dog, that would be incorrect. All Basset Hounds have outward turning front feet and there is a purpose behind it. They have wide shoulders for their short stature, which requires a balance mechanism. That’s where the outward turning feet comes into play. The positioning of their feet helps to keep them stable and balanced as they walk, run and track their hunt.
6. Not really stubborn when it comes to training
Many people have a misconception about Basset Hounds that they are stubborn and hard to train. Basset Hounds are not really stubborn, at least when it comes to training them. Many people just do not realize what the best way is, when it comes to training this breed. Bassets are very much, food-driven dogs and will respond very well to treats and food for reward. If you try to use the punishment-based training method, it will not work because they will not respond. The best way to a Basset’s heart, is through his stomach.
7. They may seem lazy, but they actually crave exercise
Basset Hounds come across as a type of dog that prefers to lay around and sleep all day. Actually, a lot of them do love to sleep and they will, if you let them. One thing about Bassets is that they love their walks, whether they realize it or not. Because they are hunting dogs, it’s in their nature to get outside and go for a walk. If a Basset is left to lay around and just sleep all the time, they will quickly and easily get depressed. This is not good for their mental health, as well as it can impede their physical well being too. Bassets are prone to weight gain, so keep them moving and encourage them to get out and go for a walk. Bassets need to be leashed to walk. Their hunting instincts can easily get them distracted and focused on anything besides staying with you.