Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Basset Hound

Updated on February 20, 2016
Rosie the Basset Hound
Rosie the Basset Hound | Source

Basset hounds are very loving and gentle dogs. That said, it is important to know what you are getting into with any breed of dog before bringing it home and getting attached to it.

Below is some information on things to consider before bringing your hound home.

Rosie the Basset Hound
Rosie the Basset Hound | Source

Coat

Bassets have a very short coat, so there is no worry about their coat getting matted or tangled.

However this breed does shed a lot, and not just with the fall and spring weather changes either. You are going to want to be prepared for this.

Tips for Managing Fur

Make sure you take time to brush your dog to avoid a lot of fur ending up all over your home. If you have carpets, ensure you have a good vacuum that will collect pet fur.

If your basset still seems to be shedding a lot with weekly brushing, you may want to consider a shedding comb. These come in a variety of styles so make sure you talk to a clerk at the store to get one that is the right size for your dog.

My basset really enjoys the time I spend brushing her and even rolls over for me to get the spots I missed.

Not only will the brushing keep unnecessary dog hair off your floors and furniture, but it will also help keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny.

Rosie the Basset Hound
Rosie the Basset Hound | Source

Ears

Basset hounds' ears, also known as leathers, require specialized attention. They are long and can therefore get caught in things if you're not attentive, and they also require special cleaning.

The insides of the ears can get a lot of black wax built up, which the dogs are unable to remove themselves. For this reason, it is important to inspect your dog's ears and clean out the black waxy build up as often as necessary.

You can use a warm washcloth, however they do make special clean wipes which work much better and can also relieve the funny smell that the wax leaves behind.

Rosie the Basset Hound deciding that we are walking no further without a break!
Rosie the Basset Hound deciding that we are walking no further without a break! | Source

Exercise

Bassets are pretty chill dogs. Mine would sleep all the time if I let her, however she LOVES to go for walks. As a breed, they can have weight issues because of their love of food.

Walking your hound will help ensure that it does not get overweight, preventing back and joint problems as it ages. Don't let their little size fool you. They can enjoy a very long walk if you are up for it. Just be careful because they will flop down when they are tired and won't want to go further.

Bassets can become depressed if they do not get outside and walk. While walking, ensure that you give them a chance to sniff around and enjoy their walk.

Remember that the hound breed originated as hunting dogs. For their own mental stability, they need to get out and "hunt," or at least sniff around during a walk. Just make sure to keep them on a lease unless you have a fenced-in space such as a dog park.

They will follow their noses and will actually block out noise including you calling them, until they find what they are looking for. So to make sure that your hound doesn't take off into the bush after a squirrel, keep it on a leash.

Rosie the Basset Hound doesn't really like the bath either.
Rosie the Basset Hound doesn't really like the bath either. | Source

Around the Water

Due to this dog's unique shape and size, swimming can be a real challenge for the breed.

Many people will toss their dogs in the water and watch them swim. With a basset hound, you will not want to take this approach.

  • They have very short legs, which means they have less propulsion in the water and therefore have more difficulty keeping afloat.
  • They also have a very heavy front half to their bodies which means they can sink easily and have a more difficult time keeping their heads above water.
  • If you have a swimming pool, you will want to take extra precautions. When hounds get into the water, because of their short legs, they will have difficulties getting out even if there are stairs. Make sure that your dog doesn't have access to the pool without direct supervision.

That said, basset hounds can swim. Many enjoy the cool water, especially in the summer time.

You can purchase life jackets for your dog to ensure that they will not drown while enjoying time in water.

Rosie the Basset Hound isn't always barking and talking. Sometimes she takes a nap.
Rosie the Basset Hound isn't always barking and talking. Sometimes she takes a nap. | Source

Would you ever get a very vocal dog?

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They Are Super Vocal

You need to understand basset hounds quite a bit before you get them. They are very vocal dogs.

Everyone knows that they bay and understands that they will bay quite a bit and about all kinds of different things. Some bay for treats, others bay to go outside while others will just bay to get your attention.

If you don't like a vocal dog, do not get a Basset Hound. Part of their charm is that they are vocal dogs.

Not only will they bay, they will talk to you. I know, I know, everyone thinks that their dog talks to them. This is very different, though.

For example, if I ask my Rosie if she wants a treat or a car ride she will whine and cry and bay really low, indicating that yes in fact she does want a treat or a car ride. I find this adorable, others not so much.

Make sure before you get a hound that you spend time with one if possible to ensure that you fully understand how vocal they can be.

Dealing With Neighbors

Even if you are prepared for the noise your dog will make, you have to make sure that any neighbors you have will also be prepared for the excess volume. When I come home after being out, my hound basically goes ballistic.

She runs around and jumps all over the place. She cries and bays as if she is being crushed by an elephant.

Sometimes when I leave my home (this was more at first), she would bay for hours. This is not an exaggeration. One of my friends in my apartment building stated that she bayed for hours for that first time I left.

When you are not home, you can not stop your dog from barking and baying and this can cause many issues with neighbors who don't want to hear this noise.

For most dog breeds, you can purchase a bark collar. They discipline the dog and teach them not to bark. Unfortunately, they don't actually work for basset hounds because it is in their nature to alert people and make noise.

Also those sonic things that are supposed to keep dogs from barking don't work with them either. So if you live in an apartment or in a home near people who hate noise, this might not be the dog breed for you.

Conclusion

Basset hounds have quite a few idiosyncrasies that some people are not prepared for.

They are:

  • A very vocal dog, not only barking but also whining and other random communication.
  • A dog that could potentially have issues around water and have problems swimming.
  • A dog that needs to be brushed frequently and have their ears cleaned on a regular basis.
  • A dog that needs to get out and walk to avoid issues with depression, but also needs to be leashed while walking.

If you can handle these aspects, you will end up with a dog that will love you unconditionally and be an excellent companion.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Susan Thomas 

      6 months ago

      I have had basset hounds for years, they lose loads of fur, they talk all the time, they tell you if they want water, to go out, want food, if they are upset,and are VERY loud when you return home, But dont bark much. Mine only bark if they think something is really wrong. They howl if very unhappy. They still,and will do anything to get at food.But they are loving kind and love other animals. Having said all this I wont want to be without my Basset for all the world.I love her very much. You can never be lonely with a Basset.Just remember they love you with every bone in their body . So love them back and you will have a wonderful, very funny happy friend.

    • profile image

      Edson 

      15 months ago

      Are they hard to house train?

    • profile image

      Susan Walsh 

      16 months ago

      I use something called "people's paste" when my dog gets a cyst like finding. It dries out the thing and it goes away!

    • profile image

      Liz 

      16 months ago

      My basset NEVER barks at home.. only at the park when she's running around with other dogs :) she'll only whine if she wants me to open a closed door ;P

    • profile image

      Miles 

      17 months ago

      I'd just like to add that bassets are very pack oriented and they howl when they are alone. It's not something I would want to "correct" with a bark collar because that would not solve the underlying problem - your hound feels abandoned and alone.

      The best cure for separation anxiety is a companion. Another basset!

      I wouldn't recommend this breed for someone who will have to leave their hound alone.

    • profile image

      J.A.M. 

      19 months ago

      One more thing to add to this ! Basset Hounds as they get older if you go onto the same walk every first or second day you can let them of their lease

    • profile image

      Hi 

      2 years ago

      I am thinking about getting a Basset hound. I just don't no how to ask my parents since we already have a dog. The thing is that I think he is lonely and needs a fury friend to keep him company when we are gone. Thank you so much for the things that you said, I know so much more about Basset hounds:)

    • profile image

      Dee 

      3 years ago

      We have a 15 year old Bassett that never went in the pool, he fell in today and luckily I was right there, he did swim half of the pool before I got to him but could not get out at the steps....so yes even an older dog can swim. He has been with us since he was a puppy and his favorite thing to do was walk the fence daily and check out the property ( 5 acres) he was an outside dog, now he's inside and enjoying his senior years sleeping most of the day

    • caithness profile image

      Jessie Kuehl 

      4 years ago from Sydenham Ontario

      I rescue my hounds from Basset Rescue and have found that the majority of my hounds get lumps which are worrisome but have always turned out to be fatty cysts. I have had several surgically removed, but most either remain small or break open on their own. If you have this happen to your hound, keep the area VERY clean, squish as much of the goop out of the opening as you can, be careful not to hurt your dog though. I generally give mine a course of antibiotics as well, just to be safe. I used to panic when a new lump developed and have literally spent thousands of dollars at the vet having the lumps investigated, but I have learned that it is a fairly common issue with bassets.

    • MelonieGilchrist profile imageAUTHOR

      Gamrgurl 

      5 years ago

      Thank you so much. Honestly my dogs are super important to me and I think that if you are going to have one, you should know about their special needs :).

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image

      Admiral_Joraxx 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      I see you know your dog pet so well, you are what every pet owner should be, in terms of being a hundred % knowledgeable specially on things like dogs for example which you want to take good care of. You've done a great job on this! Voted up, useful and awesome!=)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      5 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great hub. Thank you for sharing. You have described the basset really well. Years ago friends of mine used to have a Basset. They owned a gas bar and coffee shop. Freddy decided to take on the job of greeter and 'talked' to all the customers. He was a great success at his job and the locals eventually referred to the coffee shop and gasbar as Freddys.

      He was almost seventeen when he passed. Even after two years my friends haven't been able to replace him. When they do it will be another Basset I'm sure.

      voted up and useful

      regards Zsuzsy

    • MelonieGilchrist profile imageAUTHOR

      Gamrgurl 

      5 years ago

      Thank you so much! I honestly didn't know half of this before I adopted mine. I love her and understand she has special needs, wanted to make sure others know what to expect.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is excellent information for people to know before adopting a basset hound. Thanks! Up, useful and interesting and will pin this to my dogs board.

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