Meet The Breed
History and Origin:
The basset type originated in France, and is descended from the 6th century hounds belonging to St Hubert of Belgium, which through breeding at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hubert eventually became what is known as the St Hubert's Hound around 1000AD. St Hubert's original hounds are descended from the Laconian (Spartas) Hound, one of four groups of dogs discerned from Greek representations and descriptions. These scent hounds were described as large, slow, ‘short-legged and deep mouthed’ dogs with a small head, straight nose, upright ears and long neck, and either tan with white markings or black with tan markings. Laconian Hounds were reputed to not give up the scent until they found their prey. They eventually found their way to Constantinople, and from there to Europe.
Basset Hounds have been featured in popular culture many times. Some artists, such as director Mamoru Oshii and webcomic artist Scott Kurtz regularly feature their pet Bassets in their work.
On February 27 1928, Time magazine featured a basset hound on the front cover. The accompanying story was about the 52nd annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden as if observed by the basset hound puppy.
Many cartoon dogs are based on the Basset, such as Tex Avery's Droopy, with several Bassets appearing in animated Disney films. Syndicated comic strip Fred Basset has been a regular feature in newspapers since 1963. There is a Basset Hound character in the Smokey and the Bandit movie series.
In the early days of television, Elvis Presley famously sang “Hound Dog” to a basset hound named Sherlock on The Steve Allen Show on July 1, 1956. Lassie had a Basset friend named Pokey early in the Lassie television series. Other famous TV Basset's are the wisecracking Cleo from The People's Choice, Columbo's dog Dog, and the sheriff's dog Flash in The Dukes of Hazzard.
Basset Hounds are often used as advertising logos. The logo for Hush Puppies brand shoes prominently features a Basset Hound whose real name is Jason. Basset hounds are occasionally referred to as “hush puppies”.
The Basset Hound is a short, relatively heavy dog. The head is large and well proportioned with a rounded skull. The muzzle is deep and heavy with the size being greater than the width at the brow. The brown eyes have a soft, sad look to them and are slightly sunken with a prominent haw. The darkly pigmented lips have loose hanging flews and the dewlap is very pronounced. The skin hangs loose like elastic and falls in folds on the head. The velvety ears are set low and extremely long hanging towards the ground. The large teeth meet in either a scissors or even bite. The chest is very deep extending in front of the front legs. The dogs hindquarters are very full and round. The paws are big. The dewclaws may be removed. The coat is dense, short, hard and shiny. There are no rules concerning color, but it is usually black, tan, white, red, white with chestnut or with sand-colored markings.
The Basset hound will do okay in an apartment. They are very inactive indoors but outdoors they will run for hours in play if given the chance. They will do okay without a yard, but should be given plenty of opportunities to run and play to keep it healthy and trim.
To keep the Basset Hound healthy, it should be given plenty of exercise, including a long daily walk to keep the dog mentally stable, but discourage it from jumping and stressing the front legs. This breed will run and play by the hour when given the chance. Because of their keen noses they tend to roam when they pick up a scent. Take care when off lead that the dog is in a safe area. When they pick up a trail they may not even hear you calling them back as their complete focus will be on finding the critter at the other end.