With its nose inevitably close to the ground, the Basset Hound is among the finest of the scent hounds. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas meaning “low”.
The sturdy, short-legged hound originated in France in the late 16th century. The thought is that the Basset was bread by French monks for hunting purposes. The shape of its head and the sharpness of its scenting powers suggest a close relationship with the Bloodhound, and it may have arisen through a mutation in that breed, producing dwarfism. Also mentioned in Shakespeare plays, even Elvis Presley sung to one. In the 19th century, Bassets came into their own, being most useful to those hunting on foot. Though slow-moving, they trundle through seemingly impenetrable undergrowth with ease, and can be used for hunting hares, rabbits and pheasants.
Appearances can be misleading. Behind the Basset’s doleful expression lies an exceptionally merry, lively dog, affectionate and good with children and are renowned for their gentle, docile demeanor. Generally obedient, it becomes oblivious to everything when on to a scent.
The Basset’s ponderous gait doesn’t mean that it can do without exercise – for this type of dog exercise is a must, otherwise the dog quickly becomes overweight.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS Basset Hound