Basset Hound Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
Not a tall dog, no more than 38cm, the Basset Hound is nevertheless very substantial and can weigh up to 60lbs or more. He has terrific bone and substance and needs careful rearing as a puppy if he is not to suffer from problems later in life, particularly with his front and back. Generally they are tri-colour (black, white and tan) but are also lemon and white, though all hound colours are permissible. The skin gives the appearance of being slightly loose, particularly around the head and forelegs.
Like all the Basset breeds, the Basset Hound originated in France (the name derives from bas, meaning low). It is believed that they were bred by monks in the Middle Ages to hunt in heavy cover. They hunted in packs and are still capable of covering considerable distance once they get a scent; they are not fast movers but move very steadily and with great purpose.
In 1866 a pair of Basset Hounds were imported into England and they became a great favourite of the aristocracy; Lords Galway and Onslow were instrumental in developing the Basset and a breed type, separate from the French hounds was established. Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, was an enthusiast and in 1909 one of her dogs won at Crufts. Early dog shows were very much an interest of the upper classes. The Basset Hound Club, one of the very earliest Dog Clubs was formed in 1883 to further the interests of breed.
As mentioned earlier, the greatest care must be taken with the Basset Hound during his growing period. Advice should be taken from the breeder with regard to feeding and care if you hope to have a healthy and long-lived adult. Never let him jump out of the back of a car and avoid stairs if possible; vets are seeing more and more young dogs with arthritis in the front legs as a result of repeated concussion through jumping out of hatchbacks and 4WD (SUV) vehicles. Training to a ramp at an early age would be very helpful for them. As they get older their diet and fitness should be watched carefully; overweight and poor muscle tone put a considerable strain on the long back.
The Basset coat is simplicity itself; a bristle brush to freshen up the coat and a rub with a chamois leather to give it a shine. Adding a little boiled linseed to the feed will make the coat really gleam.
As with all hounds, garden security is essential; once they get on a scent they are in a world of their own, oblivious to everything including traffic. Clearly, care must be taking when exercising to find a safe location. As a housedog he is very easy; affectionate and easy going he is as placid as his expression suggests. He does have a deep, ringing bark which is more than enough to warn off any unwelcome callers.
Rescue and Re-homing
Basset Hound Welfare has a network of support for hounds across the country. However, you should still contact your breeder first to give her an opportunity to advise and help.