With their droopy eyes, long ears and short stature, basset hounds can sometimes look like sad, old men. In truth, they are active, affectionate and loyal, and because of their pack nature, get along well with people and other pets, making them an ideal family companion. Bassets will welcome rumpus playing with children, but will sit quietly on the lap of an adult when it's time to relax for the evening. Basset Hounds may bark to sound an alert that someone is nearing the home, but once they greet a guest, will quietly return to their favorite sun-bathing spot on the floor.
Basset hounds need exercise. Not as much as a larger-breed dog, but they are prone to weight problems if they do not get enough outside activity. Their short stature is misleading – a basset hound can weigh as much as 60 pounds, so they do need plenty of time to stretch their legs every day. A family home with a yard to run and play in is ideal for a this breed, but apartment dwellers who are committed to walking their dog regularly and visiting a dog park for play ,can raise a healthy, happy Basset as well.
Training a Basset can be a challenge. Some consider this a sign of low intelligence, but the truth is they are highly intelligent and independent, making them resistant to obedience. This independent nature can make them immune to discipline, and their lack of a desire to please people makes positive reinforcement training difficult. Basset hounds love to eat, so training with treats and a lot of patience will yield the best results. They will walk all over a meek trainer, so a confident nature is important when training a basset hound.
Bassets are hunting dogs with a keen sense of smell. If a basset picks up a scent, he will tune everything else out while he tracks the smell and will not respond to his owner's desperate attempts to call him home. For this reason, it is best to keep basset hounds on a leash or in a fenced-in area.
Basset Hounds are often referred to as “clown” dogs. They do their own thing, in their own time, and this can often lead to humorous interactions. They are not aggressive to people or other dogs, and despite their desire for independence, are truly pack animals who love the company of others.
Bassets bark and howl when they are bored. Before leaving a Basset Hound for a long period of time, owners should be sure to exercise their dog to tire him out, and leave him with plenty of chew toys and activities while gone. Bassets will also bark and howl when they sense something is wrong, and often during thunder storms.
Despite the challenges of training a Basset Hound, with a gentle hand and a little bit of patience this breed makes an ideal pet for families of all sizes and ages.