The Basset Hound
Basset Hounds adore people especially children and are great fun to have around your home. When considering a Basset there are several things you should know.
Basset Hounds are a relatively big breed. In fact they can be likened to a "Labrador on short legs". A male can weigh around 30 - 35 kgs so when you consider that they are short legged they certainly are a solid breed with very heavy bone.
It is fortunate that such a large, solid hound should have a placid disposition. They should be outgoing but gentle and loving. They make excellent family pets especially as they adore the attention of children (although there is a limit to the amount of pushing and pulling they will tolerate from very young children). It should be noted that like other breeds, Basset Hounds take eighteen months to three years to fully mature. During this juvenile stage they are full of energy and tend to get up to mischief? You can be sure though that with firm and consistent discipline your puppy will make a well mannered, loved and enjoyed member of the family.
Basset Hounds can be any hound colour - tricolour (black, white, tan), tan and white, red and white or lemon and white. Colour is really just a matter of personal preference.
Basset Hounds are excellent eaters! A puppy needs several feeds per day (breeders will usually give you a diet sheet). It is best to feed a puppy what they are used to and gradually change this to a well balanced quality diet suitable to your situation. A combination of dry food, meat, vegetables and rice is a good example. Never feed chop, chicken or other similar bones as they tend to get stuck half way. Calcium supplement is most important.
One problem that Bassets can get is "Bloat". The risk of this can be diminished by not allowing your Basset to exercise straight after a meal.
The breeder or your vet can advise you on these areas.
You must decide whether you want an inside or an outside dog. A Basset really calls for a happy medium here. They love to come inside a but will manage quite well outside provided they have a cosy draught free kennel and a safe yard to romp in while you are out. They do need companionship and social interaction with you each day.
Your yard should be fully fenced with reliable gates. Bassets (being scent hounds) have very little road sense .... they tend to put their nose to the ground and off they go on their merry way.
Another very important thing to realise is that Bassets drown in swimming pools They can swim but can panic if they can't find their way out of the pool. Being inquisitive dogs they could fall in when trying to get a drink. Nobody wants that.
All dogs should be vaccinated to protect against preventable diseases. Your puppy should not come into contact with outside dogs until advised by your vet or the breeder (usually about 12 weeks after birth). After that your Basset should have an annual booster and check-up. Regular treatment for heartworm, intestinal worms and flees are also strongly advised.
Your Veterinary Surgeon will advise you on the necessary treatments needed.
In comparison to many other breeds, Basset Hounds need relatively little grooming but love to be brushed and pampered somewhat! Toenails should be trimmed regularly. Ears need to be checked for excessive wax and cleaned when necessary. Bassets can be bathed in a mild shampoo (they do tend to have a real doggy odour if not bathed regularly) in fact there is no harm in bathing them weekly if you want. Teeth can be kept free of tartar by giving hard biscuits, marrowbones and dog 'chews' regularly.
Bassets have a slight drooping of the lower eye. Occasionally dust accumulates there and could irritate the eye. Eyes should be checked regularly and any discharge or eye change should be reported to your veterinarian.
Bassets love a daily walk on a lead or a romp in the park but they should be under supervision at all times. At home they should have room to play and gain plenty of natural exercise. Puppies can be overtired by too much exercise so the amount they are walked should be gradually increased as they grow older. Puppies should be discouraged from over rough play and should never be allowed to run down stairs or jump from heights. With older dogs continual exercise on grass tends to weaken their feet so exercise on oil bitumen roads and/or footpaths should be given.
You can teach your Basset the basics of obedience, Bassets are quite intelligent and will respond to basic commands. For example teaching your Basset to "leave" could prevent the harmful ingestion of items such as super balls, chop bones etc. There is nothing worse than a totally unruly uncontrollable spoilt Basset! Remember as they mature they need both firm and consistent trailling to learn acceptable manners. Don't let him rule the roost!
How do I go about getting a Basset Hound Puppy?
The Basset Hound Club maintains a list of people looking for a Basset puppy. When a litter becomes available You are then put in contact with the breeder of that litter.
You can expect to pay between $500 and $700 or more depending oil the background and quality of' the puppy. Occasionally older Bassets are available.
Most breeders are caring and concerned about the type of home their puppy is going to. They will probably ask lots of questions to make sure you understand the requirements of a Basset Hound puppy. Likewise you should ask questions and build up a good relationship with the breeder so that you can feel free to take advantage of the "later sales service" they usually offer. A lot of work and tender loving care will have gone into the making of your new puppy and it is comforting to know that the puppy's new owner is also responsible and caring.
A male or a female?
If you are just going to have one Basset then it is really just a matter of preference. Both males and females are extremely affectionate and make devoted pets.
Bitches will come into season usually every six months. You must be prepared to keep her locked up inside or in a suitable dog proof run for the duration of her heat (3 weeks) unless she is "de-sexed"
Unless you intend to show or breed with your Basset we strongly recommend that they are "de-sexed". This can reduce problems (i.e. pyometra, mid mammary tumours in bitches and prostrate problems in dogs) in later life.
Showing or breeding
If you are thinking of showing or breeding your Basset we suggest that you discuss this with the breeder prior to purchase.