Basset Hound

...nose down, bum up!

Like all hounds, Bassets are driven by their strong sense of smell. They are a medium sized dog in height, but in reality, they are large dogs on very short legs! Originating in France, Bassets became resident in England in the 15th century, but didn't really appear in Australia until the 1950s.

Bassets are excellent trackers and will usually be nose to the ground following an interesting scent. For this reason they must have a secure backyard or they will escape to follow their nose. They must also be walked on lead at all times as they have no road sense and very selective hearing if they are following a scent trail.

Exercise is important. Bassets may appear lethargic and happy to lie around the house, but their large frame on short legs makes them particularly prone to a range of bone and joint disorders so exercise is vital to their healthy mobility. So is a good quality, well controlled diet.

Like all hounds, they will sniff out food wherever they are and they don't mind if it's rotting! They will happily lick your plates, the baby's face and snatch food from the hands of the unsuspecting - especially children. They also slobber and fart a lot! It is extremely important that you ensure your Basset Hound's diet is strictly controlled by you, so you will need to establish yourself as the Leader of the Pack.

Speaking of packs, remember that Basset Hounds are pack animals and hate being left alone. It is better to have more than one animal so that your Bassett always has company. They get on well with cats as well as other dogs. If you do leave them, they will quickly become destructive.

Training a Basset is demanding. They are slow to learn, sharing with the Beagle the title of 'Hardest Dog to Train'. Be patient. Your Basset will reward you with extraordinary affection, friendliness to all, a love of children and amazing companionship. Bassets will talk to you, bay and sing.

Bassets live for 10 - 12 years and don't require much grooming. They are profuse shedders, so you might want to brush out the dead hair. More attention must be paid to they long, droopy ears. You will need to keep their ears clean and dry to prevent potentially fatal ear infections. Bassets often droop their ears in their food, tread on them and even bite them by accident. Spend some time every day on ear care and cleaning.

Also give them a hand! Their short stumpy legs are not designed for jumping up and jumping will put extra strain on their hips and knees. Build up your muscles and lift them into the car!

If you take good care of your Basset you won't be disappointed!

<ul> <li>Medium sized but heavy dog</li> <li>Very affectionate </li> <li>Friendly to everyone</li> <li>Needs a companion pet if left alone</li> <li>Very slow to train</li> <li>Prone to bone, joint and ear problems</li> </ul>