Basset Hound Breed Information
Basset Hounds are gentle, placid dogs who tend to get along with everyone and every situation if they’re well-socialised. They do well in family environments thanks to their sweet nature and ability to get along so well with children.
Basset Hounds are very social and so enjoy the company of their owners for most of the day. They best suit a family home where there is always someone around and lots of opportunities to be with people.
Common health problems in Basset Hounds
Basset Hounds are prone to certain health problems, many caused by being bred for their appearance over health. Often, Breed Clubs will also be able to provide advice on what tests your breed may need and where to get these done. Make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by these upsetting conditions.
Basset Hounds are amongst a group of breeds classed as ‘Category Three’ by The Kennel Club. 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 now cause them health problems. For Basset Hounds, this refers to their excess skin and ear length, both of which can lead to skin fold dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) or hair loss/scarring from dermatitis and their deep body which can drag against the ground, as well as problems with an incorrect bite or becoming overweight.
If you want to minimise the risk of your dog getting problems due to exaggerated features, read our advice on choosing a pedigree dog.
Some of the health conditions Basset Hounds may develop include:
- Elbow dysplasia – where the elbow joint that doesn’t fit together perfectly, which will eventually lead to arthritis. Before breeding, dogs should be screened by x-rays through the BVA/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – where a dog’s tummy bloats and twists around on itself, which can be fatal.
- Intervertebral degenerative disc disease (IVDD) – also known as a slipped disc, which can lead to back pain and paralysis.
- Skin infections (especially caused by Malasezzia, a type of yeast infection).
- Eye problems including Primary Open Angle Glaucoma – where fluid builds up inside the eye, causing pain and potentially blindness. As this condition can be inherited, breeding dogs should be screened every year.
Caring for your Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are fairly easy going dogs, once they grow out of their boisterous puppy ways. They enjoy spending lots of time with their family both in and outdoors, so it’s best for owners to have a secure garden they can roam around in as well as getting out with them for daily walks.
Basset Hounds and barking
Basset Hounds are known for being vocal and love to ‘sing’, howl and bark. How much your Basset Hound vocalises will be down to their individual personality, but you might need to pick a different breed if you’re looking for a quiet dog! If your dog is barking due to distress or you want to try to reduce the amount of barking, we recommend seeking the advice of an accredited behaviourist, though be aware that you can never completely stop a dog from barking.
Training and socialisation
Be aware that Basset Hounds can be very independent, especially when it comes to training. Because of this, it’s important to start positive, reward-based training early and keep a consistent approach throughout their lives.
Be sure to socialise your Basset Hound from a young age with other people and dogs once they are fully vaccinated. This will help them develop their easy going personalities and grow into great family pets.
Although Basset Hounds are generally well-behaved when left alone, they love company. You should never leave your dog alone for any longer than four hours as this could make them stressed and affect their wellbeing.
They might not look like the most active breed, but Basset Hounds really enjoy exercise. A secure garden is a must and be careful there’s no way for them to escape in case they catch the scent of something.
Your Basset Hound will need a minimum of an hour of exercise a day. This should include walks, playtime and training.
Remember that Basset Hounds are scent dogs, so when walking them have a firm grip on their lead in case they catch a whiff of something interesting. Play lots of scent games with then on top of their daily exercise to give them a chance to exercise their natural instincts and keep their brains active too.
Although Basset Hounds shed, it’s not as much as some dogs and their coats are fairly low maintenance. A weekly brush should be enough to help you keep on top of dead hairs. However, because they have lots of excess skin, you’ll need to check the folds in their skin every day, keeping them clean and dry so they don’t get moist, sore and infected.
You’ll also need to keep an eye on your Basset Hound’s ears to make sure they don’t get dirty and infected. Make sure to keep them clean and watch out for any signs of infection. Speak to your vet if your Basset is prone to ear infections to see if cleaning them regularly could help prevent these. Remember that cleaning too often, or too forcefully, can also lead to problems.
Basset Hounds and children
Basset Hounds are generally very tolerant and so should get along with children very well. This makes them an ideal family pet. As with all dogs, you should always keep an eye on them with smaller children, as they can accidentally knock them over. You should always teach children how to approach and play with dogs with care and kindness, to prevent any issues. Always supervise children and vulnerable people with your Basset Hound and make sure you can recognise the signs of unhappiness or anxiety in your dog to help avoid any conflicts.
Basset Hounds and other pets
Well-socialised Basset Hounds will usually be fine around other dogs. They are known for their easy-going nature so don’t usually make a fuss over other dogs.
If they are introduced to another family pet from a young age, Basset Hounds should live with them fine. If not, take care when introducing your Basset Hound to smaller pets. Never leave them unattended with another pet, even if they know them well.
Your Basset Hound’s diet will vary depending on their age and any health conditions they may have. You’ll need to feed them a complete, balanced dog food to keep them slim and healthy. Being overweight can make many of the health problems Basset Hounds are prone to worse, so keeping them in shape is extra important.
Your vet will be able to tell you how much your dog should be eating. You should feed them a good quality, commercially available and complete dog food and it’s usually recommended to split their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog an occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their calories or they can unbalance their diet.
Beware that Basset Hounds can have very healthy appetites and so need plenty of exercise so they don’t gain weight.
You should try to feed your dog at the same time every day to get them into a routine. Remember to leave a gap after eating and before exercising.
The cost of owning a Basset Hound
Having a Basset Hound will cost a minimum of £80 per month after purchase and set-up costs and up to £13,000 across their lifetime.
Costs you’ll need to think about include:
Adopting an adult dog from a rescue centre may be a more cost-effective option, as well as having the added advantage of offering a home to a pet without one – check if the rehoming centre you’re looking at asks for a donation for rehoming.
If instead you’re buying a Basset Hound puppy from a breeder, you’ll need to factor in this cost. Beware unusually cheap puppies as they could come from a puppy farm. If you want to buy a pedigree puppy, we recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder as they have to do extra health tests and meet high standards.
- Puppy vaccines – if you rescue a dog, reputable centres will often vaccinate them for you. Remember that ongoing booster vaccinations will be needed to continue their immunity.
- Neutering – you should usually arrange for your dog to be neutered at around 6 months old, though your vet will be able to advise you exactly when is best. Check prices at your local practice as these will depend on your vet and where you live. Some rescue centres will neuter any dogs they rehome, saving you this cost.
- Equipment – including a collar and tags, lead, harness, dog beds, dog bowls, pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrushes, grooming brushes and toys. Keep in mind that all these will need to be replaced with wear or damage or if your dog outgrows or damages them!
- Preventive healthcare – budget for routine vet visits to help stop your dog getting ill and catch any problems early. They need annual check-ups, vaccinations and regular flea and worming treatments. Check if your vet offers a health care plan as this can help spread the cost throughout the year.
- Vet bills* or pet insurance – if you don’t have pet insurance and your dog needs veterinary treatment for an injury or illness, costs can rapidly mount up. Check what’s covered and what isn’t when comparing policies.
- Accessories – including lots of poo bags, replacing worn toys and grooming accessories, buying doggy toothpaste and any other extras they might need.
- Training – basic training is very important and dogs can benefit from formal classes. Some dogs may have, or develop, behavioural problems which might need professional management.
- Boarding – you may also need to budget for boarding or dog sitting costs if you are planning to go away from home on holiday.
- Dog walkers/day-care – you might consider a professional dog walker to keep your dog happy and healthy if you’re unable to get out with your dog enough yourself, or to look after them during the day if you need to be out for more than four hours.
* It’s always better to plan ahead and budget or get pet insurance in case your pet gets injured or unwell. If you are having difficulty with veterinary costs, you can check if you are eligible for treatment at PDSA here.
If you’re considering pet insurance, our PDSA Pet Insurance could be a great option for you and it’s quick and easy to get a quote online.
- Basset Hounds are famous – the logo for Hush Puppies shoes is a Basset Hound, and one appeared in a live performance of ‘Hound Dog’ with Elvis Presley.
- Marilyn Monroe owned a Basset Hound called Hugo.
- Their name directly relates to their size. The word basset comes from the French word bas which means low or short.
- It’s thought that Basset Hounds were originally bred for hunting, hence their keen sense of smell.
Getting a Basset Hound
Do plenty of research before you think about getting a Basset Hound. Make sure you will be able to give one of these friendly dogs enough care and attention so that they can live a happy, healthy life. Like any dog, they take a lot of hard work so we don’t recommend getting one unless you’re absolutely ready to take on a dog.
There are plenty of rescue centres across the country where you may find a Basset Hound. Breed-specific rescues that specialise in Basset Hounds are out there too. You’ll need to ask any rescue centre about the dog’s history to make sure they will be comfortable in your home. Good rescue centres should let you know of any health and behaviour problems.
If you buy a Basset Hound puppy from a breeder, make sure your puppy will be well socialised and have all necessary health checks and vaccinations. We recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder as they meet higher standards. We’ve put together some advice to help you find a good breeder.