The Basset Hound is sometimes said to be half a dog in height, but twice a dog in length. With its wrinkled forehead and long, drooping ears, the breed is hard to resist. Cleo, the Basset Hound television star, charmed millions of Americans with her low-slung profile. Advertisers took advantage of the breed's appealingly lugubrious expression when they used a Basset-one of Cleo's relatives-to launch the 'Hush Puppies' line of casual shoes.
Affectionate and gentle, extremely devoted, the Basset Hound makes a good, calm pet that never expends energy unnecessarily. It is serene and well-behaved. It never jumps up on the laps of guests, for instance. Instead, it approaches them inconspicuously, sniffs politely, then returns to its place. On the other hand, behind the guise of a solemn and melancholy old judge lurks a sporting temperament. Young or old, this is definitely not a sedentary dog. It needs to use up its energy. The back garden is not sufficient for exercising a Basset-fields are what it requires.
The Basset Hound is first and foremost a hunting- dog, one well qualified to follow a trail over difficult terrain, especially when the quarry is hare. Despite its bulk, it can maneuver through thickets with surprising agility. And its nose is nearly as accurate as the Bloodhound's. Endowed with exceptional physical stamina and perseverance, it is a formidable and relentless foe of the deer, hare, or rabbits it trails.
Origin of Basset Hound
According to some authorities, the Basset Hound descends from ancient, extinct French hunting. dogs, perhaps the Basset d'Artois, or the low-set Saint Hubert . The Basset Hounds may have been dwarfs among normal litters of either breed that were retained as curiosities, though subsequently bred to develop a pure strain. Others ascribe oriental origins to the Basset Hound-it may have been brought to Europe from Constantineople during the Crusades. In any case, the Basset is truly an oddity as a universally known hunting hound in that it is neither British nor American in origin. The first Bassets in England were named Basset and Balle, bought by Lord Galway in 1866 from the Comte de To urnon. A subsequent breeder, Sir Everett Millais, added the Bloodhound strain to his Basset stock to create a distinctively British breed-a dog that is longer in the head than its Continental counterpart.
Characteristics of Basset Hound
General appearance: disproportionately short legs and heavy bones for its height. Of considerable substance, while well balanced. Smooth, free action with the forelegs extending well forward and the hind legs thrusting backwards powerfully.
Height: no more than 35.6 cm (14 in.). Under Canadian standards, not specified.
Weight: under F.C.I. standards, 23 kg (51 Ib). Elsewhere, not specified.
Head: broad and well proportioned. Skull narrow and dome-shaped, of good length, the occiput prominent. Loose skin, falling in deep folds above the eyebrows when the head is lowered. Dark nose, preferably black, with large, wide-open nostrils. Muzzle deep, heavy, not pointed. Teeth large, solid, and regular; scissor bite. Dark lips; flews of the upper lip overlap the lower.
Eyes: brown to hazel, lozenge-shaped. Set in slightly, with some haw showing.
Ears: extremely long, narrow, set low. When drawn forward, they extend to the nose tip. Velvety. Hanging in loose folds, curling slightly inward, set far back at the base of the skull.
Neck : strong, of good length, well arched. Pronounced dewlap.
Body: long, smooth ribs carried far back; well rounded and sprung. Level back. Deep brisket. Prominent sternum. Shoulders well back and strong, but not heavy. When seen from behind, croup and legs appear heavily muscled for a round, barrel-like shape.
Tail: well set on, not docked, tapering. Carried high and sabre-fashion over the back when in action.
Forequarters: legs short, solid, very heavy. Wrinkled skin between knees and feet. Loose elbows, well muscled, standing out well.
Hindquarters: Hocks low, turning neither in nor out. Stifles well bent. Dew-claws may be removed. Thighs full of muscle.
Feet: thick and solid. Heavy, well-rounded pads.
Coat: short, smooth, dense, free from feathering. Skin loose and elastic. Wrinkles of skin between knee and foot.
Color: any hound color generally black, white, and tan or lemon and white.
Faults: flat ears, set high. Cow hocks, straight hocks, or weak hocks. Roach back. Stiff shoulders, narrow front. Out at elbows. Flat ribs. Long coat. Showing too much leg. Razor back. Slackness of loin. Ears too short. Stiff movement. Dragging toes. Snipy muzzle. Underdeveloped flews. Knuckling over.
Practical information about Basset Hound
Because the Basset Hound is constantly sniffing the ground, it can easily pick up parasites, bacteria, and certain viral diseases. Regular stool analysis by a veterinarian is necessary. Do not leave dangerous objects within a pup's reach, as it will swallow anything put in front of it. The ears are quite delicate and must be examined regularly; clean them with a cotton swab, dry or dipped in a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide. Special deep, narrow dishes, available in pet stores, are advisable for a Basset so that its ears will not fall into the food. Primarily a hunting-dog, this hound needs a great deal of exercise and is not content confined indoors.