There are few people that can look at a Basset Hound without finding themselves smiling. This is an outgoing, friendly and incredibly patient dog that is great with kids and people of all ages. Bassets are highly social with other dogs, animals and household pets and rarely, when trained and socialized, become aggressive.
The Basset Hound is a good watchdog and their distinctive baying bark is easy to identify. While they don’t bark without cause they are incredible loud and may be difficult to have in a city or area where neighbors are not dog friendly. Their friendly nature makes them ineffective as guard dogs since their wagging tail quickly gives away their true nature.
Although a shorter dog, usually measuring less than fifteen inches at the shoulder, they can easily weigh up to 65 pounds. Males are larger and heavier than females but both are big boned with solid, muscular legs and a long body. They have a typical hound face and head with a heavy muzzle, hanging flews (lips) and a very loose dewlap. The skin tends to be very loose over the body and may wrinkle over the forehead and along the body when the dog moves, sits or relaxes. The ears are long and pendant and hang well down the neck.
The coat of the Basset Hound is very short and thick and comes in a variety of different colors, with tricolor the most common, but all options are acceptable for show. Typically the dog will have white markings on the chest, paws and the face but it is not required. The feet are large and round with pronounced toenails. The tail is long and tapers to a point, carried low when the dog is not paying attention to anything in particular. When the dog is on a scent trail the tail can be carried higher.
The Basset Hound is a very laid back dog that can be challenging to train because they simply are easily distracted, particularly by interesting scents. They do best when trained for shorter periods of time with lots of rewards, including food treats. They are naturally gifted at tracking and, because of their habit of picking up a trail, should be trained on the leash as soon as possible. They are a wonderful companion dog and rarely show any signs of dog aggression or possessiveness over toys, food or people.
Very inactive indoors, the Basset is happy to find a comfortable place to keep an eye on the family. They love attention and are very tolerant of children of all ages. Not a high energy dog they can be prone to weight gain and need routine exercise to prevent them from becoming overweight. With their long back and short legs obesity is a risk factor for developing a spinal problem that may result in decreased mobility in the hindquarters as pressure builds on the spine.