Basset Hound

Breed summary


The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog in the hound family.  It is heavier in bone, size considered, than any other breed of dog. Basset Hounds have large pendulous ears, known as leathers, that do not allow air to circulate inside them. In temperament it is mild, never sharp or timid. It is capable of great endurance in the field and is extreme in its devotion.

Image by kyle smith
Image by Apostolos Vamvouras

Health Concerns


Basset hounds are plagued with health issues throughout their lives. The Basset Hound’s short stature is due to the genetic condition osteo-chondrodysplasia. In addition to ear problems, basset hounds may be susceptible to eye issues. Because of their droopy eyes the area under the eyeball can collect dirt and become clogged with a mucus. Because of the Basset’s ears are long and droopy, it’s important to check them frequently to ensure that air circulation hasn’t led to an infection. Shaking the head or scratching at the ears may indicate the need for a vet visit.



The Basset hound needs high-quality dog food, whether manufactured commercially or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate according to the dog’s stage (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, which needs to be checked. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.




Length: Short

Characteristics: Flat

Colors: Any recognized hound color

Overall Grooming Needs: Low




Basset Hounds are very independent, and training the breed can be a challenge. Over the centuries, scent hounds of this type were developed to hunt on their own and to follow a track without distraction. Because of this, they can seem aloof and not interested in following your commands. However, a Basset definitely can be trained—it will just take time, consistency, and persistence. Using treats and early socialization in puppyhood is crucial, and as the Basset matures he and his owner can benefit from continued positive obedience training.



Basset Hounds are not as active as some breeds, but they do require regular, moderate exercise. Usually a daily walk at a moderate pace will fill the bill. Exercise will help to keep the Basset healthy and prevent him from becoming overweight. Since the breed was developed to work in a pack with other dogs, Bassets enjoy canine company on their outings, and the breed can be quite playful. After a walk or play session they’ll typically settle down for a comfortable sleep.


Country of Origin: France

AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 39 of 196

AKC Classification: Hound group

UKC Classification: Scent hounds

Exercise Requirements: Daily walks

Height: Female: 13 inches; Male: 14 inches

Weight: Female: 40-60 lbs; Male: 40-60 lbs

Physical traits: Short-legged, Heavy, Bulky

Personality traits/Temperament: Charming, Patient, Low-Key

Energy Level: Laid back

Tendency to Drool: High

Tendency to Snore: Low

Tendency to Bark: Low

Tendency to Dig: Low

Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years


Fun fact

They’re the second-best sniffers in the canine kingdom. Interestingly, Victoria the basset hound was elected co-mayor of Concord, Ontario, in 2011.