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Dogs 101 – BASSET HOUND
Top Dog Facts About the BASSET HOUND
The Basset Hound is a short-legged member of the hound family, originally developed in France to hunt rabbits. The word ‘Basset’ translates roughly to ‘quite low’ or ‘dwarf’ in French. Short-legged hunting dogs had been around for hundreds of years, but the first mention of the modern basset dogs is acknowledged in a 16th century French hunting manual.
Hunting became very popular in France with the availability of guns in the late 1700s, but horses were available only to the very rich. A need was felt for a good hunting dog that would move slow enough for hunters on foot to be able to follow it.
Apart from its short legs, other distinct features of the Basset Hound are its long ears, and hanging skin on the face and around the neck. The maximum height of both males and females is 14 inches, with weight in the range of 45 to 70 pounds. Its bone structure is heavier than that of any other breed of comparable size. The smooth coat has a mix of two or three colors; generally white in combination with black, brown, tan, red or mahogany. Its large muzzle, its wrinkles and its trailing ears – all are believed to aid in capturing its quarry’s scent around the nose.
Grooming: Despite short hair, a Basset Hound tends to shed quite a lot. A weekly brushing session should be able to keep that in check. Its skin folds and its ears can easily trap dirt or germs, so it is important to keep them clean and dry. A bath once in a while is good, but not too frequently as it takes away the coat shine. Nails need to be trimmed and teeth need to be brushed regularly.
Temperament: The Basset Hound is one of the gentlest dogs around. It is very friendly with children, and even really young kids feel completely at ease with one. It gets along very well with other dogs or pets too. Its hunting origins mean that it loves to set off on an investigation, not easily dissuaded from its trail.
Training: It is an intelligent dog, but its stubborn nature makes it a difficult one to train. Food rewards tend to work very well. The breed is prone to obesity, which can cause stress on its short legs, so daily exercise is very important. This can be satisfied with a walk on leash.
Health: The life expectancy of a Basset Hound is from 10 to 12 years. Though generally a healthy breed, its short stature and heavy bone structure make it susceptible to bone injuries. Arthritis, fracture and spinal injury are possible ailments. Its long ears are not good for air-circulation and can get potentially fatal infections, if not cared for regularly. Its droopy eyes and folds around the mouth can also get infected if not cleaned often enough.
Playful and affectionate, the Basset Hound is an easy-going dog, great for a city-apartment or a house in the suburbs. And do not let its comic face fool you – it is a clever dog that lives up to its high pedigree as a hunter.
• Mummified remains of short-legged dogs have been found in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2000 BC.
• The logo of the shoe brand Hush Puppies is a Basset Hound called Jason.
• Basset Hounds are among the most popular screen dogs, featured in films like Spider-Man 2, The Smurfs and An American Werewolf in Paris.
• A Basset Hound puppy joined the list of world leaders, entertainers, sportspersons and other celebs when it was featured on the cover of Time magazine in the February 27, 1928 issue.
Music by Kevin McLeod – Royalty Free