He may be best known as the Hush Puppy dog, but the Basset Hound is much more than an advertising icon. With its quiet personality and short stature but noble appearance, the Basset Hound is a popular family companion, as well as a slow but sharp hunting dog.
The name Basset comes from the French word bas, which means low. And Basset Hounds are certainly low to the ground. Despite his large size, the Basset thinks he is a lap dog and will do his best to fit in with you.
Trust the French to have developed such a distinctive breed, with its "jolie" appearance, jolie meaning beautiful-ugly, or unconventionally attractive. The name Basset means "low" and in France it refers to a different height of the hunting dog.
Bassets are probably descended from the St. Hubert Hound, the ancestor of today's bloodhound, and originated when a mutation in the St. Hubert strain produced a short-legged or dwarf hunting dog. Perhaps the dwarf dogs were kept as a curiosity and later deliberately bred when their ability to track rabbits and hares under bushes in dense forests was observed.
The first recorded mention of a Basset Hound was in an illustrated book on hunting, La Venerie, written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585. The illustrations show that the early French Basset Hounds resembled the current Basset Artésien Normand, a breed of dog known in France today.
The gentle Basset is too relaxed to ever be sharply tempered. He gets along with everyone, including children and other animals, and the only thing that really excites him is a good scent. He is calm indoors but alert enough to be an excellent watchdog. Like all hunting dogs, it can be stubborn when it comes to training and responds best to positive methods such as rewarding with food. Bassets are pack dogs and will be unhappy if left alone all day. The company of another dog is helpful.
Chondrodysplasia (short leggedness due to cartilage abnormality)
Hip dysplasia (developmental hip disorder)
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