Extremely tolerant, easygoing and affectionate by nature, Basset Hounds are pack hounds that can develop a loving, individualized bond with each family member. A scenting breed initially bred in 16th century France to trail small game, these low-slung dogs have a very distinct appearance with their short legs, sad, droopy eyes and long, velvety ears. The gentle nature of this healthy breed makes Basset Hounds great family pets.
Basset Hounds possess a calm, sweet temperament and love to snuggle with family members, even acting like lap dogs despite their large size. While not aggressive or overly protective guard dogs, Basset Hounds have a deep bark, warning of approaching visitors.
Because Basset Hounds were bred to be pack dogs, they typically get along with other family pets of various species. These tolerant, gentle dogs possess an ideal temperament for kids. Bassets need human companionship, and don't do well when left alone for long periods of time. A family that spends a lot of time away from home should consider getting their Basset a canine companion.
Intelligence and Training
Basset Hounds are an intelligent breed, but their hound dog charm is a cover for a stubborn, independent streak. Because trailing prey requires a certain degree of independence, pleasing you likely won't be your hound's biggest concern. These dogs are highly motivated by food rewards, so always keep a handful of goodies on you during training sessions to reward your dog for performing well. Always keep your Basset on a leash during training sessions. Their scenting instincts frequently take over and these dogs will quickly wander off.
Basset Hounds are prone to obesity, and need at least mild daily exercise and proper measurement of their food to prevent it. You can easily satisfy the activity requirement by playing with your Basset in your backyard or by taking your hound for a short walk around the neighborhood. Keep in mind that Basset Hounds move slowly and deliberately, preferring to go at their own pace. When you take your Basset for a walk, you should be prepared for frequent stops and the incessant slow trailing of tantalizing scents.
Bassets tend to howl when left alone for a long time. These dogs also have a very distinctive, deep, baying bark that many people find endearing, but others find annoying. This means that Basset Hounds might not be the right breed for families wanting a quiet house pet. Basset Hounds require a securely locked, fenced yard, because they will quickly start trailing any enticing scent. While they are great at trailing, they aren't so good at finding their way back home. Owners should also understand that Basset Hounds aren't very good swimmers. Their short legs, combined with a front-heavy body, makes it quite difficult for them to swim even very short distances.