Basset Hounds are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. These are breeds of dog that have been highlighted as having visible conditions or conformational issues that can cause pain, discomfort or health issues due to exaggerations. This means that these breeds of dog have been bred over many years to look a certain way but that these changes to the way they look have started to cause them health problems.
Basset Hounds are a member of the ‘Hound’ breed group. The Hound group include breeds originally used for hunting either by scent or sight. They require a substantial amount of exercise and are considered to be aloof but trustworthy dogs.
Basset Hounds are very friendly, calm, lovable dogs that get along with everyone, from other household pets to children – as far as personality goes, they really do make great family pets.
Minimal coat care is needed with the Basset Hound. They need grooming just once a week, but their facial wrinkles will need daily cleaning and they will also need regular checks of their long ears.
Possible health problems:
Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems. Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Basset Hounds include:
- Joint disorders – in relation to the size of their bodies, Basset Hounds have quite short legs and can suffer from joint problems such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia – when their joints don’t develop correctly.
- Wobbler Syndrome is a deformity or instability of the bones in the neck which results in the compression of the spinal cord and weakness of the hind legs.
- Back problems – Basset Hounds can suffer from back problems such as degenerative disc disease which can cause back pain and paralysis.
- Ear and skin infections – due to their droopy skin and ears, bacteria can build up both on the skin and cause skin fold pyoderma and also in the ears and cause otitis externa (ear infection)
- Bleeding disorders – Von Willebrand's disease and thrombocytopaenia are bleeding disorders. When a dog with either of these is injured, they will bleed excessively because their blood does not clot. If you are worried your dog could have a bleeding problem you should discuss this with your vet as there are tests available to diagnose these disorders.
- Eye disease – there is a health screen for glaucoma – an increase in pressure within the eye.
- Epilepsy – a condition resulting in recurrent fits
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds.
- Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
- Urolithiasis – stone formation in urine.
- Panosteitis – a painful, inflammatory bone disease.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
Basset Hounds require around an hour of exercise daily, and they like to do this at their own pace. If they get the scent of something, they are even less likely to be hurried along on their walks and will be very focused on keeping their nose to the ground and trailing the scent.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a Basset Hound are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your Basset Hound with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Basset Hounds that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your Basset Hound with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.