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A photo collage of three basset hounds

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Basset hound dog breed profile

Basset hounds’ floppy ears, facial folds and shorter bodies help them sniff scents better.

Whether your dog is a purebred basset hound or a basset hound mix, learning about the breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a basset hound and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Basset hounds likely won’t need a lot of exercise and will prefer to lead a slower lifestyle. However, you might see some pep in their step while doing one of their favorite activities: smelling things. Did you know that their physical features help them do this task better? 

Basset hounds' history

Basset hounds were originally intended to be hunting companions because of their keen sense of smell, aided by their long floppy ears that flush scents back to their noses, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says. But did you know that even their facial wrinkles help them track by trapping scents? 

How big are basset hounds?

While these pups might only be around 15 inches tall, they’re a longer breed (usually up to 35 inches!). You can expect basset hounds to weigh somewhere between 40 to 65 pounds, Dr. Singler explains. Because of their size, they might not make the best apartment dogs and would benefit from ample space to spread out. 

Basset hound temperament

Basset hounds are relatively mellow compared to other hound dogs. However, they need regular, moderate exercise to keep them in shape. 

These pups are independent, aloof and a bit stubborn so training a basset hound requires patience, persistence and consistency. It’s best to work on training and socializing basset hound puppies while they’re young to ensure they become well-rounded adults.

Training can help with basset hounds’ baying, a unique, deep and loud bark that likely won’t be your neighbor’s favorite sound. And even though they’re an independent breed, they generally won’t need to be taught their manners. Basset hounds are incredibly loyal to their people and are usually friendly with other pets. 

“Most basset hounds are even-tempered and do well with children, although a small percentage can have aggressive tendencies,” Dr. Singler adds. “Some start digging if they’re bored for too long.”

RELATED: Pomsky dog breed profile

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What health issues do basset hounds face?

Being short, long and large comes with a few potential health issues. Basset hounds are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, ear infections (because of their droopiness) and angular limb deformities.

“Angular limb deformities are characteristic of chondrodystrophic breeds like the basset hound, who have disproportionately short legs due to a genetic abnormality that causes the growth plates in their legs to close prematurely,” Dr. Singler explains. 

Unfortunately, angular limb deformities can cause extra stress and trauma to basset hounds’ joints and treatment options aren’t common for this condition, Dr. Singler shares. 

Obesity, which is common in basset hounds because of their lack of activity due to the way their bones are formed, can also cause more strain on their joints. This extra stress can lead to arthritis and pain, so it’s important to keep your dog at a healthy weight, Dr. Singler adds. 

Basset hound rescue

Are you interested in adopting a basset hound, basset hound mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo. 

Photos by Toni Tan and Lauren McConachie on Unsplash

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