Basset Hound

Basset Hound

13 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Basset Hounds: What are they?

  • The origin of the Basset Hound can be traced back to 16th century France, where they were bred as part of a programme to produce excellent tracking dogs that could stay close and low to the ground and remain undetected by prey.
  • Known to be a bit of a clown, Basset Hounds are also an exceptionally well-natured and loyal breed.
  • Short legs, droopy eyes, floor length ears, and a very long body add to the breed’s charm.
  • While they have one of the best senses of smell, they are often quite lazy when not on the hunt.
  • Basset hounds are often used in films, ads and cartoons including Droopy the Dog and Fred Basset.
  • They tend to grow up to between 33 and 38cm tall.
  • They weigh between 18 and 29kg.
  • They have a life expectancy of 12-13 years.
Basset Hound  Exercise Needs 3/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Basset Hounds like?

  • They are known to be very loveable, sociable, playful, and patient, but can also have a mind of their own at times.
  • They have big personalities, and love to share their humour with others, and to create close bonds.
  • They are generally great with kids, even young ones, other people and other animals.
  • If they are concerned about danger approaching, they can bark.
  • They are very social, and often do not enjoy being left alone.
Albert, the Basset Hound

What kind of exercise do Basset Hounds need?

  • Basset Hounds need a moderate amount of exercise, up to 1 hour a day, to ensure they stay fit.
  • A good level of exercise can help to make sure they don’t become overweight, which is a typical health problem amongst the breed.
  • They love a play in the garden, but make sure there are no routes of escape as their excellent sense of smell can lead them astray!
  • Entertaining them with games in the garden or the house that involve them using this sense of smell, can help to mentally stimulate them.
Charlie, the Basset Hound

Do Basset Hounds need a lot of grooming?

  • Basset hounds have a dense, smooth, short-haired coat and most of them are tricolour (brown, black and white).  They can sometimes be other colours including red and white.
  • Their coat does not need much grooming, and a regular brush can reduce shedding.
  • They may need cleaning of skin folds to keep these areas clean and dry to prevent infection.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal.  If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Maggie, the Basset Hound

Are Basset Hounds easy to train?

  • They are generally easy to train as long as you have patience with them.
  • They sometimes like to do their own thing, can be a little stubborn and will, on occasion, ignore you, but keeping consistent and patient can really help when training a Basset hound.
  • When training them also make sure to watch how many treats they get as rewards, as they are prone to weight gain.
Roger, the Basset Hound

What do Basset Hounds eat?

  • Adult basset hounds should eat two meals of good quality dog food a day.
  • As puppies, Basset hounds should be on high quality puppy food for about 12 months, before gradually changing them to adult food.  Every food brand, and dog is different though so speaking to your food supplier or vet can help to find the best plan for your pup.
  • Basset hounds are a bit notorious for being overweight, so be very careful with the amounts of food they get, and make sure treats only account for a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake.
  • Make sure not to walk, play or go into the car immediately after a meal, as they are at risk from getting twisted stomachs (GDVs).

Are Basset Hounds healthy?

Basset hounds are generally healthy but their stature and extra skin can lead to issues. There are also, like any breed, some conditions Basset hounds are more prone to than others:

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint
  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease - when a disc (the cushions between spinal vertebrae) slips out of place, and this can lead to spinal pain and paralysis
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) - an inflammatory condition where cartilage detaches from the bone and can enter into the joint cavity and cause discomfort


  • Ear infections - the ear canal, and sometimes the ears flaps have an overgrowth of bacteria, yeast etc. which can cause signs including irritation, inflammation, smell and thickening of the ear canal tissue


  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Skin Infections - this is when areas of the skin can have overgrowth of bacteria, yeast etc, causing inflammation and irritation to the skin, and the infection can also spread elsewhere.

Always make sure to have your dog insured, so you don’t get caught out with any unexpected vet bills.

This list is by no means comprehensive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Basset Hound or if you want to discuss further if a Basset Hound is right for you, consult with your vet.

Our vet top tip

“Make sure your Basset hound is used to you touching their feet and ears at a young age, as they are quite prone as adults to need treatment of these areas. They tend to be much more relaxed if they are familiar with these areas being handled”

BorrowMyDoggy loves Basset Hounds

BorrowMyDoggy has 1070 Basset Hound members

The most popular name for a Basset Hound on BorrowMyDoggy is Bella.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

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