Basset Hound

AKC Hound Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Some sources suggest the Basset Hound may have originated from genetic dwarf dogs present in litters of other types of French hunting hounds. The name comes from the French word bas, meaning “low.” An excellent scenthound, the Basset has been successfully used to hunt deer, fox, rabbit, and game birds. The Basset Hound can hunt in packs or alone. The breed’s low build is particularly useful in dense cover. His slow pace is convenient for hunters on foot and keeps game from being scared out of reach. The Basset’s nose is almost as outstanding as the Bloodhound’s. George Washington might have owned Basset Hounds, given to him by Lafayette after the American Revolution. The breed was first registered with the AKC in 1885.


The Bassett Hound is a short-legged, long-bodied, heavy-boned hound that looks something like a low version of a Bloodhound. The head is large with a rounded skull and pronounced occiput. The plane of the muzzle is parallel to the top of the skull. The skin is loose fitting and falls in folds on the head. The velvety ears are very long and should meet beyond the tip of the nose. They should fold and not appear flat. The large teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The lips hang down with loose flews. The sad brown eyes should show prominent haw. The expression should be kindly without any harshness. The Basset has a very pronounced dewlap. His chest is very deep and extends in front of the forelegs. The topline is straight, and the tail slightly curved and carried gaily. The paws are big and the hindquarters round. Dewclaws may be removed. The dog’s movement should be deliberate, but not clumsy.

Key Facts

  • Height: Up to 15 in.
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 45 to 65 lbs.
  • Availability: Widely available
  • Talents: Hunting and tracking


Tends to put on weight, and is somewhat lazy, so care must be taken to provide exercise and avoid overfeeding. Might follow a scent trail, oblivious to his surroundings. The Basset must have a fenced yard. The long, droopy ears need regular cleaning and attention, as do the skin folds around the mouth. Prone to back problems, skin problems, and eye problems. Bays in a deep voice, especially when lonely. Very good with other pets. There are field lines and show lines, with somewhat different characteristics. The Basset sheds a lot and needs regular brushing. Can have a “houndy” odor, though not all do. The toenails are thick and grow quickly, needing frequent cutting.


Gentle, devoted, and very affectionate. Peaceful and naturally well behaved. Sweet, but can be very willful. Does well with gentle, patient training and positive reinforcement. Basset temperament should always be friendly with never an indication of sharpness or viciousness. Likes doing tricks for food.


  • Children: Excellent with children
  • Friendliness: Loves everyone
  • Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence: Needs people a lot
  • Dominance: Low
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise: Not a barker, but might bay when excited
  • Indoors: Very inactive indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Short coat
  • Shedding: Average shedder
  • Exercise: Needs moderate exercise
  • Jogging: A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments: Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space: Does alright without a yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Basset Hound Breed Standard

Basset Hound Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Basset Hound

Basset Hound Gifts