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:
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments you'd like to
make regarding this FAQ, you can email Judy Trenck at
- 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 DVM.
- 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
This file is Copyright 1995 by Judy Trenck.
- 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
Table of Contents
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.
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.
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 arc.
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
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 Basset!
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.
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
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
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 breeders.
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
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 THIS DISEASE IN THE
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.
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!
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.
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.
REMEMBER: If you have never had ice cream, you will never miss
it. SPAY and/or NEUTER.
No harder than any other breed, you MUST be consistent.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
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.
is an email list for the Basset fancier. To join the list, send
email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. In the body of the message,
include the single line:
subscribe NOSES-L yourfirstname yourlastname
is a smaller list for Basset Owners. Membership is limited,
so you may have to wait to get on. To subscribe, use
the webpage www.dailydrool.com.
Check the following web pages:
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.
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
http://www.akc.org/ for a
13219 Holly Tree Lane,
Poway CA 92064;
The Basset Hound Club of America may also be reached by email at
To locate current Club Secretaries, contact Mimi Brandoline
(above) or the AKC at (212) 696-8200
Basset Hound Club of Canada
Valle Del Sol BHC
Greater San Diego BHC
BHC of Sacramento
BHC of Southern California
Northern California BHC
South Florida BHC
BHC of Hawaii
Ft Dearborn BHC
BHC of Central Indiana
BHC of Greater New Orleans
BHC of Maryland, Inc
BHC of Greater Detroit
Looking Glass BHC
Western Michigan BHC
GTR Minneapolis St Paul BHC
Capital District BHC
Maumee Valley BHC
BHC of Tulsa
BHC of Portland OR, Inc
Emerald Empire BHC
BCH of Western PA
Berkshire Valley BHC
Rancocas Valley 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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basset Hound Club of British Columbia
Bonnie Tetlock, Secretary
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)
Recommended reading on the Basset Hound:
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
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
Also see the Country Store section of the BHCA website for additional
publications from the BHCA. (www.basset-bhca.org)
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
Email contact: Judy Trenck,