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The Freindly Hunter – Basset Hound

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is small to medium sized dog, classified as a hound, which was initially bred for the purpose of using its scent abilities to assist hunters who were searching for rabbits. The Basset Hound is well known for its short stature combined with its long body, as well as its long, droopy ears and its ability to use scent to track.

A brief history of the Basset Hound

It is believed that the Basset Hound was first derived from the Saint Hubert’s Hound, which was bred in the 6th century for the purpose of hunting. The first mention of a “Basset Hound” first appears in a French hunting record written in 1585; historians believe that the Basset first emerged as a mutation among litters of Norman Staghounds, which were actually a descendent of the Saint Hubert hound. In the mid to late 19th century, the Basset Hound became noticeably popular due to its increased popularity among aristocratic hunters, such as Napoleon III, who had statues of his Basset Hounds cast for his rooms at the palace of Versailles.

Characteristics

The Basset Hound was originally bred to hunt. However, they are not merely hunting dogs. They are known to be excellent companions who are friendly both to their owners, other pets, and especially children. They are very loyal and attached to their owners and anyone whom they consider to be family, such as children who are also living in the household. They are social dogs who require attention and affection in addition to regular exercise and grooming. Their hunting tendencies tend to appear when they are getting their daily exercise–leashes are an essential part of walking a Basset Hound, as they may take off after prey at a moment’s notice.

Basset Hounds are prone to several types of infections, including ear infections, eye infections, and yeast infections in the folds near their mouths. It is important for owners to make regular inspections of their eyes, mouths and ears to ensure that they are cleaned and free from infections. Also, because of their short legs and hips, Basset Hounds—especially young puppies or elderly dogs—should not be allowed to jump down from heights. This can lead to serious injuries and potentially the need for euthanasia; an injury sustained by a Basset Hound puppy could potentially affect them for the rest of their life.

Did you know? Trivia

  • The Basset Hound’s low hanging ears are very prone to infection and ear mites; they must be cleaned on a daily basis. There have been cases of Basset Hounds dying from ear infections caused by food and dirt particles building up in their ears, which were not properly cleaned by their owners.
  • The reason for the Basset Hound’s short height is a genetic condition called Osteochondrodysplasia, which is considered to be a type of dwarfism in dogs.
  • Exercise is essential to the health of a Basset Hound; obesity or excess fat can lead to serious complications in these active dogs.

History of Basset Hound

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

The word “Basset” was first mentioned in an early book about hunting written by Fouilloux in the year 1585. This book was also considered as the first illustration of this dog where a woodcutter showing his sportsman friend going out in his charette de chasse accompanied by “badger dogs” giving them advice on dog training for badger hunting.

Basset Hounds are mostly used for trailing rabbits, hare and deer. The Friars from French Abbey of St. Hubert are known to develop the breed by selective breeding from other strains of French Hounds to produce a slow moving dog that can be followed by foot. The word “Basset,” was derived from the French adjective bas, means “dwarf” or “low structure”.

Since hunting was a classic sport in France during the medieval times, small hounds have found their way to the kennels of aristocracy, only to be dispersed with the ever-changing life style brought by the Revolution. However, the basset hounds were not lost. This breed was mentioned again in a sporting book entitled Le Chasseur written by M. Blaze in 1850. During the same year, M. Robert wrote Calibri “The Basset will hunt all animals, even boar and wolf, but he is especially excellent for the chasse a tir (shooting with the aid of hounds) of rabbits and hares.” in his book Chiens de Chasse.

In 1700, Basset Hounds were extensively used throughout France. It is also the same year when George Washington received a pair of this breed as a gift from Lafayette. In 1800, the breed was exported to England and United States.

The Basset Hound was recognized by English Kennel Club in the year 1882, and the English Basset Hound Club was formed two years after. The American Kennel Club followed in 1885, accepting the Basset Hound as a breed. The Basset Hound Club of America was founded in the year 1935, and the breed standard was created in 1964. Today, these dogs are still used for rabbit hunting, but they can also hunt and track anything. The breed’s ubiquitous appearances in magazines, books, movies and mascot for Hush Puppies footwear is a tribute for their continued admiration and popularity.

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