Five Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Basset Hound
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 about things to consider before bringing your hound home.
Should I Get a Basset Hound? Five Things to Consider
- Basset Hounds shed a lot.
- They have special ears.
- Basset Hounds need exercise.
- Swimming is a challenge.
- They are super vocal.
1. Basset Hounds Shed a Lot
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.
2. They Have Special 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. 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 that work much better and can also relieve the funny smell that the wax leaves behind.
3. Basset Hounds Need 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 leash 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.
4. Swimming Is a Challenge
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 summertime.
You can purchase life jackets for your dog to ensure that they will not drown while enjoying time in the water.
5. 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, but they will also 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.
Would you ever get a very vocal dog?
Should You Get a Basset Hound?
Basset hounds have quite a few idiosyncrasies that some people are not prepared for.
- 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.