The Basset Hound is a short-legged breed of dog of the hound family, as well as one of six recognized Basset breeds in France. The Basset is a scent hound that was originally bred for the purpose of hunting hare. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound.
This breed, like its ancestor the Bloodhound, has a hanging skin structure, which causes the face to occasionally look sad; this, for many people, adds to the breed’s charm.
The dewlap, seen as the loose, elastic skin around the neck, and the trailing ears which along with the Bloodhound are the longest of any breed, help trap the scent of what they are tracking. Its neck is wider than its head. This, combined with the loose skin around its face and neck means that flat collars can easily be pulled off. The looseness of the skin results in the Basset’s characteristic facial wrinkles.
The Basset’s skull is characterized by its large dolichocephalic nose, which is second only to the Bloodhound in scenting ability and number of olfactoryreceptorcells.The first mention of a “basset” dog appeared in La Venerie, an illustrated hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585. The dogs in Fouilloux’s text were used to hunt foxes and badgers.
It is believed that the Basset type originated as a mutation in the litters of Norman Staghounds, a descendant of the St Hubert’s Hound. These precursors were most likely bred back to the St. Hubert’s Hound, among other derivative French hounds. Until after the French Revolution around the year 1789, hunting from horseback was the preserve of kings, large aristocratic families and of the country squires, and for this reason short-legged dogs were highly valued for hunting on foot.
French basset hounds were being imported into England at least as early as the 1870s. While some of these dogs were certainly Basset ArtésienNormands, by the 1880s linebreeding had thrown back to a different heavier type.
Everett Millais, who is considered to be the father of the modern Basset Hound, bred one such dog, Nicholas, to a Bloodhound bitch named Inoculation through artificial insemination in order to create a heavier basset in England in the 1890s. The litter was delivered by caesarean section, and the surviving pups were refined with French and English bassets. The first breed standard for what is now known as the Basset Hound was made in Great Britain at the end of 19th century.
It is mild but not timid; very affectionate with its master and friendly with children. It can be a bit stubborn with meek owners and needs a firm, confident, and consistent owner who displays natural authority over the dog.
Dogs need to know the rules of the house and have the humans stick to them. Bassets like to do tricks for food. They have a deep musical bark. Housebreaking is difficult, but they do well with patient, gentle training. With proper training, they are obedient, but when they pick up an interesting smell, it’s sometimes hard to get their attention, as they like to follow their noses and may not even hear you calling them back. Only allow your Basset off lead in safe areas.