Basset Hounds

a Basset Hound sitting and looking to their side.

Are you looking for a new family pet? If so, the Basset Hound may be the perfect choice for you!

Basset Hounds are a medium-sized breed of dog that originated in France. They have short legs and long bodies, giving them an unmistakable look. Their ears are long and droopy, and their eyes are large and expressive.

Basset Hounds are often called “clowns in the cloak of a philosopher,” and it’s easy to see why. Moving their short legs along at a slower speed than just about any other breed, these dogs are known for their friendly, sweet disposition and silly antics, which can sometimes even include chasing their own tails. 

Basset Hounds are known for their friendly and loyal personalities. They love to be around people and get along well with children and other pets. They are also very intelligent, making them easy to train.

Basset Hounds have dark brown eyes and hanging, droopy lips, giving them an expression of permanent sorrow. Unfortunately that’s the look they have but they’re really sweet and friendly dogs.

Basset Hounds were originally bred to hunt rabbits and hares, and they still retain their hunting instincts. However, they are also excellent companions for people that enjoy walking and hiking. They are a great watch dog, but they still need plenty of exercise.

Basset hounds are a favorite of many families, and for good reason. They have a beautiful, friendly face, and make great companions for both children and adults. But what else makes this breed so great? Let’s take a quick look at some of the many reasons why family pets are so popular with the Basset Hound breed.

Basset Hounds are extremely smart and trainable. They are also very social and love to spend time with their family. They are also very loving and gentle towards children.

Basset Hounds are very playful and eager to please. They are very protective of their families, and will alert their owners if someone enters their territory.

Basset Hounds have a moderate energy level, so they don’t need a lot of exercise. However, they do enjoy going for walks or playing in the yard. They also like to sniff around and explore, so it’s important to keep them on a leash when outside.

Basset Hounds are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They don’t need to be bathed often, but they do need regular brushing and nail trims. They also shed moderately throughout the year, so you may want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner!

Basset Hounds are a great choice for first-time dog owners. They’re easy to train and don’t require a lot of exercise or grooming. They’re very loyal and loving companions that will bring joy to your family for years to come!

Basset Hound Information

  • Average Height: up to 15 inches 
  • Average Weight: 40 to 65 pounds
  • Average Length: 16 to 21 inches
  • Coat Type: Short
  • Coat Appearance: Smooth and hard-textured
  • Coat Colors: Tri-color (white, red and tan); Tan and Red with spots.
  • Grooming Needs: Regular
  • Shedding: Low
  • Brushing Requirements: Once a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: Moderate
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: With early socialization and training, yes!
  • Safe with Children: Totally
  • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Depends
  • Training: They are stubborn and difficult to train
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar luxation, Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), Wobble Syndrome and eye-related diseases
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 13 years

Physical Appearance of Basset Hounds

a Basset Hound briskly walking through the grass

Basset Hounds are medium-sized dogs with short legs. Because of a dwarfism condition called achondroplasia their body sits low to the ground. Though they tend to have a height of around 21 inches, these dogs can weigh between 50 to 60 pounds. They have heavy bones and a muscular body which is why they weigh so much.

Bassets have a large head with a long snout. The skin on their face is loose and very wrinkly above their brow. Their ears are long, usually more than 6” and set low on their head. The ears have a velvet texture with the tips of the ears slightly turned inwards. Their tail is long, points up and the last two to six inches of the tip is white.

Basset Hounds have a short coat that is hard and smooth. The skin on their body is loose and elastic. Their coat can be one of several colors, the most common being a tri-color pattern of white, tan and black. Other common color patterns include a white coat with red spots; a solid red coat with white on their feet and tail; and a lemon and white coat.

Temperament of Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds have a friendly and pleasant temperament. They have been raised as pack members, so they love to be around their family and get along well with other pets. Bassets are social and tend to get along with strangers as well. Their friendly personality is why they don’t make good watchdogs.

These dogs are known for being lazy which is a major reason why they often become overweight.

They are curious and love to follow interesting scents. Their breed has been bred to stay focused on following a scent. If they’re focused on a scent it might be difficult to have them listen to you. When you take them out for walks they should be kept on a leash. Without a leash, they may run off following a scent they found.

Bassets are calm but sometimes can be loud. They produce a howling rather than a barking sound. They usually bark when they want your attention.

Training a Basset Hound

a close up of a Basset Hounds nose as they sit in a field of flowers

Like most hounds, Basset Hounds are stubborn and independent and that can make it difficult to train them. For centuries these dogs have been hunting on their own which has made them somewhat independent. Their lack of dependence may make it difficult for them to follow your commands. Patience and commitment will be needed to train them.

Kennel Training

Kennel training works very well with Basset Hounds. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.

Clicker Training

Basset Hounds have a history of being stubborn, especially as puppies. They need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.

If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to help your dog understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.

Obedience Training Classes

Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy.

Early Socialization Training

a Basset Hound standing in the water at the beach

Early socialization is absolutely necessary for Basset Hounds. They need exposure to different sounds, places, people, other dogs, and pets right when they are a puppy. By being exposed to so many things it will help interact more confidently with others and not be so skittish with strangers or other dogs.

Their Compatibility with Children

Bassets are pack members which makes them a great pet for families with children. They are gentle around children and enjoy playing and spending time with them. Bassets are also not very active and don’t get aggressive which means you don’t need to worry about them hurting your children.

Teach your kids the best ways to interact with Basset Hounds. Children should not disturb them when they are eating because they might get bit because your dog thinks their food is being taken away. Until you know how your children and new puppy will react its best to have an adult supervise their interactions. Supervision is the best way to keep accidents from happening.

Best Climate for Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds do not have a long and thick coat to provide them protection from cold weather. Moderate climate is best for them because they can’t handle extreme hot or cold temperatures.

They mostly like to stay indoors but homes with a backyard are great for them.

If you stay in a location that experiences extreme temperatures, keep your dogs inside on these hot or freezing days to keep them from being miserable outside. Keep a watch on your Bassets to see if they are shivering or panting. If it’s freezing out there are sweaters that you can get for your dog that will keep them warm. On hot days outside they need a lot of water and a shaded area they can rest in to keep from overheating.

The Attention a Basset Hound Needs

2 Basset Hounds laying down, 1 of them is sleeping and the other is looking at something

Because Basset Hounds love to live in packs, they need a lot of attention from their family. Avoid leaving them alone for too long because it can make them feel lonely and they can become destructive or start barking. Keeping them with other pets like other dogs or cats can meet some of their socialization needs when people aren’t able to.

They are not as active as other breeds but still need regular exercise. Staying indoors will make them couch potatoes which will likely cause them to put on unwanted weight. Daily exercise is important to keep them healthy. Bassets love to go out for walks, and talking them to the park or on a 20-30 minute walk will make them very happy.

Health Issues

The most common health issues that Bassets have are related to joint problems and digestive disorders.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening condition that affects dogs. It’s caused when the stomach becomes distended with gas, twisting over on itself, and cutting off its own blood supply.

Symptoms of Canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

The most common symptoms of canine Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) include:

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shock

Other signs can include vomiting, appetite loss, and an enlarged abdomen. If left untreated, GDV can be fatal. If you think that your dog has GDV it’s important to get veterinary care immediately.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

a close up of what happens with dilated cardiomyopathy

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart condition that can affect any dog breed. It’s identified by an enlarged heart and weakened contractions, leading to decreased blood flow throughout the body.

DCM is caused by a variety of factors including genetics, nutrition deficiencies, and certain medications. It’s important to note that some breeds are more prone to developing DCM than others. These include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Boxers, and Irish Wolfhounds.

It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of DCM in order to seek prompt treatment if their dog is affected. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the dog’s prognosis and quality of life.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary problem that can make walking, getting up or laying down difficult and painful. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of their thigh bone. The looseness between the hip and leg bone leads to partial or complete dislocation of their hip joint and can cause pain and stiffness. In most cases, medication and exercise restrictions are advised by the vet. Over time the condition may become severe enough that your vet may recommend surgery to correct it.

Patellar Luxation

an image of a dogs kneed that has stitches on it after having surgery to correct patellar luxation

Patellar luxation is another joint problem that dogs can develop. Patellar luxation happens when the knee joint slides in and out of place. This can be painful for some, and may cause lameness or abnormal walking. Dogs with this problem will usually hop or skip a few steps while walking. Patellar luxation can be painful for some but most will be able to live normally even after having this condition. The disease can lead to arthritis. 

Depending upon the severity of the disease, surgery may be required to treat patellar luxation. This problem seems to affect smaller dogs more than larger dogs.


Glaucoma is a painful condition and can lead to blindness if not treated early on. Symptoms include:

  • Watery or red eyes
  • Squinting
  • Discolored cornea
  • Watery discharge
  • Blindness

Pet owners might not notice the pain but the disease can be extremely painful. If you see your dog with any of the above symptoms or with swollen eyes, take them to a vet.


Canine Cataracts are a common eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness. Cataracts occur when the lens in an eye becomes cloudy or opaque, blocking light from passing through to the retina. This can lead to decreased vision, or even complete blindness.

There are several causes of cataracts, including genetics, diabetes, trauma, and certain medications.

Cataracts can be a serious condition, but with proper treatment, your dog can regain their vision and live a happy life.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common disease found in dogs with flat backs. It’s a degenerative disease that degrades your dog’s spinal cord and can cause a number of painful mobility issues. IVDD is similar to a ruptured, slipped, bulging or herniated disk in a person. 

This happens when the jelly-like cushion between vertebrae slips, resulting in the disc pressing on the spinal cord. If your dog suddenly has difficulty jumping or moving around, it could be because of IVDD. Sometimes your dog will develop an arched back, cry or refuse to eat due to pain. If that’s the case, you should call your vet. 

Feeding them a moderate amount of food and keeping their weight controlled can help lower the chances that your dog will have this problem.

Wobbler Syndrome

Wobbler syndrome is a neurological disease that occurs when the vertebrae in the neck become narrow. This causes the vertebrae to pinch the spinal cord and adjoining nerves. Wobbler syndrome can prevent signals in their body from being sent to their brain, causing difficulty moving or where they suddenly fall. Medications, exercise programs or surgery can help manage the disease.

Periodontal Disease

Domesticated cats and dogs can get periodontal disease if their oral health is not taken care of. Periodontal disease is a tooth and gum condition that can become serious in a few ways. One of the biggest problems is that this disease can destroy the gums and teeth of your pet if left untreated.

Another major problem if the bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream. Plaque build-up in the mouth can damage the gums and let bacteria enter the bloodstream. If this happens it can cause kidney and liver diseases and narrow their blood vessels which can lead to heart problems.

One of the easiest ways to prevent periodontal disease is to regularly brush your pet’s teeth. More than likely they won’t like it, but regular brushing is the best way you can prevent plaque buildup in your pets mouth.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

a Basset Hound trotting along a sandy beach

Bassets have low grooming needs. They have a short coat that can repel dirt and water, and don’t need to be bathed often. Bathe them only when their fur gets dirty or they start to smell.

They shed moderately throughout the year and should be brushed every week. Use a bristle brush to groom their short coat. A hound glove will also remove a fair amount of fur while you pet them.

Bassets have long ears which can, depending on their length, drag on the ground, causing the ears to get dirty. Their ears should be cleaned once a week, especially the insides with a cleaning solution recommended by your vet. Use a cotton cloth to clean the dirt from the outside area of the ears.

Their facial wrinkles should be cleaned with a damp cloth. Check their teeth for tartar build-up every week. If they are not having their teeth brushed every week at home, schedule a vet visit to get their teeth cleaned every four to six months. Regular cleanings should prevent them from having dental diseases.

Trim their nails once a month. Avoid trimming too much because you can accidentally cut the blood vessels in their nails.

Bassets tend to be stubborn, so grooming should be accompanied by food rewards and treats to make it a positive experience for them.

Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your dog while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.

Feeding A Basset Hound

a pile of colorful dog food

Basset Hounds need 1½ to 2½ cups of dog food every day, split into two meals. Don’t leave food out in the open so your dog can eat it whenever they want. If they don’t eat it all after it is put out, put the food away until the next scheduled feeding time.

Avoid feeding table scraps to your Basset. If you want to feed them people food, consult your vet before giving them any. They are not a large breed and their food needs are minimal. Eating more than what they are supposed to can cause them to put on weight or lead to negative health conditions.

Some Bassets may try to gulp a large amount of food at once, which can potentially cause bloating. To keep this from happening you can get a slow feed bowl for your Basset. The special bowl has multiple domes with partitions that help to slow down how fast they can eat their food.

Bassets also need to be given treats, especially during training. Feed them treats in moderation to keep them from gaining weight.

Related Questions:

Are Blue Basset Hounds Recognized by AKC?

Yes, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes all colors of Basset Hounds but the blue color variation is undesirable as a pet. The blue coloration is associated with genetic problems that can result in the hounds having intestinal diseases, skin or food allergies.

Do Bassets Drool a lot?

Yes, Bassets tend to drool all the time. Drooling is common when they are eating or drinking water. They release saliva to digest the food which accumulates in the flaps of the skin around their mouth. Bassets often shake their heads to get rid of the drool which can create a large mess. If this is a problem, you may not want to get Basset Hound as a pet.

Do Bassets have a Strong Sense of Smell?

Basset Hounds have the second strongest sense of smell amongst dog breeds, second only to Bloodhounds. They also have droopy skin on the face which also helps hold the smell close to their nose.

Do Basset Hounds Swim?

They’re going to struggle to swim because of their unique body type, but it is possible for them to swim.


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Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.