Despite being bred for the “aristocratic” (and brutal) sport of small game-hunting and seeking out other prey, it’s hard to associate that brutality with the cute, chubby, droopy-eyed appearance of any hound, especially the loveable Basset Hound.
These odd-yet-charming and cute creatures aren’t always a great fit for every home (relative to many other breeds), but don’t count them out so quickly! At Boston’s Best Dog Walkers, we know Basset Hounds are a sometimes tricky breed, especially to maintain health-wise, but can bring great joy and companionship into your life. Let us at BBDW give you a few tips on how to do so!
Basset Hounds are friendly – sometimes TOO friendly! Basset Hounds are an emotionally intelligent and social breed (stemming from their close physical work and companionship with humans for centuries). They will be ecstatic to see you come home or bring over a human or canine friend.
Bassett Hounds are great with humans and animals of widely varying ages (especially children!) and sizes. When we have walked Bassett Hounds, they generally will not react negatively to others with physical touch, but if they sometimes do they have another method: their bark!
You will definitely HEAR it from their loud, barking voices. Don’t be afraid – while Basset Hounds can get excited and bark VERY LOUDLY, they are just probably excited to see you or another dog. Basset Hounds are rarely aggressive and while their barks have been reported to scare off home intruders and other unwanted guests, they cannot really hold themselves off physically.
This is one of the reasons they may react to aggressive dogs or other negative stimuli with their intense bark. They have other interesting skills though – their sense of smell is among the best of all dog breeds (from centuries of hunting, which they still do at least in parts of the UK and USA).
They also have a good sense of direction and ability to build cognitive maps – they love to seek out adventure! Basset Hounds don’t need to walk as much as a herding or thin-framed dog, but it is recommended you do for their sense of adventure. If you don’t walk your Bassett Hound regularly it will likely try harder to escape from its home/enclosure to go roam the area.
Bassett Hounds can be stubborn due to their intelligence too – they often don’t want to walk even when you offer, and will soon after try to escape and rummage through your neighborhood. Make sure to keep a good enclosure! Many of our clients with Basset Hounds in the Boston area hire us so they are sure to get a chance to roam around (otherwise, they might try harder to “explore”, without telling you they’re leaving beforehand).
But overall, the most important thing to keep in mind, especially in the long-term when it comes to Basset Hounds, is their general health and sanitation. The droopy flaps of skin, ears, and pudgy feet can be cute but also can collect a lot of filth as the Hound walks around indoors or out. Keep these areas clean at all costs – you are not only preventing mucous and fleas/mites from developing, but more serious infections that can seriously harm or even kill a Basset Hound. Being a (generally) purebred Hound for very specific purposes in its day, Basset Hounds struggle with a myriad of health issues, too many to list in their entirety here. In our experience, most Bassett Hounds we walk or care for at Boston’s Best Dog Walkers have some type of serious health issue by ages six to eight.
Arthritis, bone issues, and obesity (which all make it harder for the Basset Hound to walk and maintain its health) are some oof the most common issues, not to mention glaucoma, spinal issues, and various forms of cancer. Make sure to take your Basset to a vet regularly to catch such issues as early as possible!
But if one can bear with the stubborn nature and piercing bark of the Basset Hound, one will find this breed to be just as loveable and adorable as they naturally appear. We definitely recommend adopting or taking a Basset Hound in if raising a family or just having a pet for yourself. Most importantly, as we know from years of walking and caring for thousands of dogs, Bassett Hound is a great companion if you are willing to make the effort. Just take extra precautions when it comes to its health and stay attentive in general, they will love you all the more for it!