What You Should Know Before Adopting a Basset Hound Puppy

Updated on: Jan 23, 2021
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What You Should Know Before Adopting a Basset Hound Puppy

Basset Hounds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds out there. Even if you can’t recall their name immediately, you can very easily describe them – “It’s those short dogs with the long, baggy years, the big snouts, and the sad eyes”.

Unfortunately, it’s that same intuitive description that has led to a lot of misconceptions and myths about the Basset Hound breed. Namely, the idea that Bassets are always “sad” – they’re not!

So, if you’re wondering whether a Basset Hound is the dog for you, here are the main things you might want to know about the breed.

What are the key characteristics that make Basset Hounds special?

Basset Hounds are one of the most unique dog breeds out there. They are a “scent hound” breed, which means that they’ve been bred as forest hunting dogs, intended to track and hunt prey by its scent.

So, are scent hounds different from sighthounds?

Drastically different, yes!

Sighthound breeds like the Greyhound or the Saluki are slender, athletic, and visual animals that rely on their sight to locate, track, and chase prey. These breeds are the best runners in the canine family.

Scent hounds, on the other hand, are usually the worst sprinters among all canines. They rely on their noses to slowly and meticulously track the movements and location of their prey and eventually lead the human hunters to the right spot.

What does this mean for the modern-day Basset Hound owner, however?

The Basset Hound’s origins lead to multiple consequences that a wanna-be Basset Hound owner should be aware of. We’ll list them below but the concise conclusion is that Basset Hounds are low-maintenance, intelligent, social, and adorable pets that most households would be happy to have.

The 7 things you should know before getting a Basset Hound

1. Basset Hounds are food driven

The first and probably most important characteristic of all Basset Hounds is that they are very food driven. This may seem like a redundant statement at first – after all, aren’t all dogs food driven?

Yes and no.

While all dogs love to nom whenever and whatever they can, scent hounds like the Basset Hound breed are especially driven toward anything that smells delicious.

This means several things for you, the current or future Basset Hound owner:

  • Keeping human food out in the open is not a good idea! Whether it’s on the table, the kitchen counter, or in an easily-accessible trash can, if something smells good, your Basset Hound will want to investigate. Fortunately, Basset Hounds are not exactly tall dogs – the standard Basset Hound is no more than 14 inches (36 cm) tall and weighs no more than 50 to 65 pounds (23 to 30 kg). So, if your kitchen counter is high enough and there no chairs nearby, your food might be safe from the reach of your Basset pet. Nevertheless, you should always be aware of a Basset’s nose and food-motivated drive.

  • Training a Basset Hound is best done with the help of tasty treats! While most dog training is usually initiated with treats, scent hounds like the Basset breed are even more motivated by food than other breeds. So, if you want to teach your Basset Hound anything, you’d do well to always have a pack of dog treats in your jacket or handbag (and hang them high so your Basset can’t reach them when you’re not looking!)

2. Bassets are very independent and stubborn

Speaking of training, the next crucial point is that Basset Hounds are definitely not easy to train. Like all scent hounds, this breed is very independent and headstrong.

This may sound like a drawback at first but it’s actually a feature, not a bug. All scent hounds are bred to be stubborn and scent-driven as that’s their job – to ignore everything around them and to follow their nose!

So, while Bassets are quite intelligent, they are still difficult to train. Essentially, Basset Hounds are like cats. It’s very easy to be left with the impression that Basset Hounds don’t understand commands but that’s not the case – they understand perfectly well what you mean when you say “Sit!” or “Roll over!” – they just don’t care.

This isn’t to say that you can’t train a Basset, of course – you most definitely can. You’ll just need a pack of dog treats and learn how to train them properly

3. Basset Hounds are relatively healthy compared to other breeds

One of the best things about Basset Hounds is that they don’t suffer from too many breed-specific or hereditary diseases. They’re not immune to diseases, of course, and there are still some things you’d need to look out for:

  • Dental and gum diseases. The most common problem for Basset Hounds is dental issues which are exacerbated by the breed’s love for dog treats. A Basset is very likely to start developing dental problems as early as 2-years-old. To avoid you should brush your Basset’s teeth at least a couple of times a week, you should pick good-quality treats and dog food, and you should go to routine vet check-ups.

  • Obesity. Thanks to the Basset’s food-driven personality, obesity is also a serious issue. It’s easy to solve, however – just don’t overfeed your Basset.

  • Eye problems. Glaucoma, cataracts, cherry eye, and other eye issues are also significant for this breed.

  • Back problems such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) are relatively common for Basset Hounds.

To avoid these and other health concerns, make sure that you take good care of your Basset’s diet and exercise, you go to routine vet check-ups, and you always demand a health certificate from the Basset’s breeder or shelter when you get your puppy.

4. This breed is surprisingly energetic but doesn’t need too much outdoors exercise

Basset Hounds give off the impression of being slow and lazy dogs. And while they are nowhere as energetic or playful as other breeds, they are not sloths either. A Basset puppy will love to play, wrestle, fetch, run around, and have fun with you and your kids.

And does all this need to happen outside?

Not at all! Bassets are one of those breeds that can fare perfectly well with two short walks outside and spend most of their time playing indoors with their family.

5. Bassets are not guard dogs which makes them great for apartments

Bassets are scent hounds, not guard dogs. So, while you can’t rely on them for home or property protection, you can also rest assured that they won’t bark too much at everything that moves.

That being said, if you don’t socialize your pup well enough, it may still grow to bark at strangers. But, as long as you give your Basset at least a bit of socialization, it should have no problem learning to ignore and welcome outside noises and unfamiliar guests.

6. This breed is the ideal family pet

Basset Hounds are calm, gentle, and social animals. They may not be the most obedient followers of verbal commands but they love their families and are very tolerant toward toddlers, kids, and even other dogs and pets.

Again, a minimal amount of basic socialization is required but as long as that’s the case, your Basset is guaranteed to get along with kids and other pets much better than most other dog breeds.

7. Grooming a Basset Hound is easy but important

Bassets are not the hardest breed to groom and take care of but they still need good weekly maintenance:

  • Brushing your Basset’s coat a couple of times per week will keep the dog’s coat in excellent condition.

  • Keeping the Basset’s elastic and loose skin dry and clean will prevent skin infections.

  • Weekly or bi-weekly baths will also prevent skin and coat issues from occurring.

  • Inspecting and cleaning your Basset’s huge ears is also important to prevent any infections.

  • Brushing your dog’s teeth a couple of times per week is essential for preventing dental and gum problems and the subsequent kidney, liver, heart, and joint problems that can follow.

Who are Basset Hounds “right” for?

Basset Hounds are the perfect dog breed for families with kids or other pets that love spending time at home. Bassets still need a couple of good walks per day but are not as outdoorsy as other breeds and love to play, cuddle, and sleep at home.

Bassets also require a decent amount of grooming and healthcare but are not as sickly as other breeds. So, if you want a pet that you can groom and take care of without worrying too much about health problems – the Basset is a good choice.

How to prepare for getting a Basset Hound?

Prepping for a Basset Hound is extremely easy – they don’t need too much equipment, know-how, high fences, or extra-strong leashes. Just get a nice dog bed, some nice hair brushes, a toothbrush, and a doggie shampoo, stack up on dog toys and dog treats, and you’re ready!