What are Bassets like?
Basset Hounds are sweet-natured, loving, and loyal dogs. They make wonderful pets and are one of the best dogs available for a family to love. They are not an aggressive watchdog, but will give a deep bark as a warning to strangers. They were bred as pack dogs and therefore get along with each other. Males are as friendly and easy to live with as females. Males are usually not prone to "marking" their territory unless there is another unaltered male around.
Bassets have a definite stubborn streak which some people mistake as being "dumb". Bassets are by no means dumb! They are intelligent enough to understand every command given, but may CHOOSE not to obey sometimes. They understand what a person is asking and will do it in their own time. Many owners consider that part of a Basset's charm.
Do Bassets have any strange habits?
Bassets WILL wander away from home if given the opportunity. They must be kept in a secure fenced area. Bassets are great with kids and are found in many homes with children. Parents MUST make sure that gates are not accidentally left open as kids come and go. When a Basset picks up a scent, they put their nose to the ground and go. Bassets are not good at finding their way home, and may end up in a shelter, stolen, or hit in traffic. These dogs require very responsible owners that are willing to put in the extra effort to keep their pet safe from harm.
Bassets tend to drool more than other breeds due to their "loose lips". They tend to make a mess while drinking. If you can't stand a little drool on the floor, then you may want to consider another breed.
Bassets have a tendency to steal anything edible and are often called "Counter Cruisers". It's best to keep food pushed back from the edge of the counter and the garbage in the cabinet under the sink. They are masters of "breaking and entering" to obtain any food left within reach. Of course, if you don't mind sharing they will be all the happier for it.
Are Bassets Hard to Groom?
Bassets have short coats which repel dirt and water. They do however, shed all year round and benefit from a weekly brushing to remove loose hair and dirt. If brushed regularly, a Basset's shedding is kept to a minimum. Some owners prefer to bathe their dog on a weekly basis, others give a bath four to six times a year. The frequency depends on the individual dog's skin type and the tolerance level of the owner.
A basset's long droopy ears prevent moisture from evaporating in the ear and, if not cleaned, odor and/or infection can occur. The ears should be wiped out with a cotton ball and cleansing solution (ask your vet) at least once a week. The outside should also be cleaned due to the ears falling into food dishes while eating and picking up dirt from dragging on the ground.
Nails should be trimmed every 2 weeks (depending on the dog) to allow proper weight support and walking. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, they need to be cut.
Teeth can be cleaned with a SOFT toothbrush and water or doggie toothpaste to prevent plaque build up. This may also be done by the veterinarian.
How Much Does a Basset Eat?
Adults usually eat 2 to 4 cups a day. Be wary of the dog food labels, they often have you over-feeding your dog. Bassets have a tendency to be obese. Overeating is dangerous to all dogs and leads to many health problems. Avoid feeding table food or large amounts of "treats" in addition to regular dog food. A well-balanced, name-brand dry food supplemented with a quality canned food should be fine.
Here are some web sites with more Basset information:
Basset Hound Club of America
American Kennel Club