The Basset Hound

It's hard to believe I know, but I've become a real fan of these dogs through the work we do fostering Great Danes!

For a long time I'd believed they were a breed prone to some bad-tempered nipping as well as being generally difficult to manage because of their inclination to do what they wanted rather than what their owner wanted...

What changed my mind - and how was fostering Great Danes involved? Well in March 2009, we were asked to foster Diesel the Great Dane for the . He had been surrendered by his owners through no fault at all of his own, but was seriously stressed finding himself in the Sanctuary, excellent though it is. Fine we said, no problem with that - it's what we do, foster Great Danes. "Ah, said Joy, there's a small catch. Diesel comes with his friend, Neville." Hmm, we said. That's ok, we can probably manage two Great Danes for a while. "Oh no," said Joy, "Neville is a Basset Hound"!!

I was a little apprehensive, so I met Diesel and Neville. Diesel was indeed a very nervous dog who needed a fireside rather than a kennel. Neville on the other hand seemed fairly laid-back and appeared to be taking it all in his stride. When I approached him, he seemed friendly enough. Most importantly, Joy assured me Neville had been fine during his short stay at the Sanctuary, but said they were a truly inseparable pair who just had to stay together no matter what.

So, an hour or so later with the car loaded with their worldly belongings, a good supply of food and the Dynamic Duo themselves, I set off on the journey home. Both dogs settled perfectly in the back of the car and I had an uneventful trip. When I arrived home the pair soon made themselves comfortable, but I was amazed when, less than half an hour after arriving in a strange house with strange people, they cuddled up in front of the fire!

Diesel Dane & Neville Basset

Diesel the Great Dane with his best friend Neville the Basset Hound

Thinking it was a one-off opportunity, I grabbed my mobile phone and caught what I thought would be a rare picture. I need not have bothered. Over the weeks they were with us, this would become a regular sight....!!

So what did I learn about Basset Hounds? First of all, that my longstanding perception of them as "bad-tempered nippers" was completely wrong. Neville was never in the slightest bit aggressive in any way. He would meekly lie on his back while I trimmed his nails. He allowed me to clean his ears - inside and out - without any fuss and was perfectly ok about having his face and eyes cleaned on a daily basis. The poor lad even accepted, without any protest, the indignity of having his whole body, sheath and scrotum included, wiped clean and dry after a walk. Being so close to the ground he usually got quite wet and dirty "underneath" even on the shortest walk.

I was genuinely - and very pleasantly - surprised by his superb temperament. He was friendly, affectionate and placid. Out and about on a walk, he could be safely let off his lead and would come back to a call. Now I understand this particular characteristic is somewhat unusual, but it demonstrated to me that it is possible to train a Basset, contrary to what I'd been led to believe...!

Diesel Dane & Neville Basset

Neville the Basset Hound - "I smell something in the air..."

So, what are my impressions now of Basset Hounds?

Well, my experience has been that they are friendly, affectionate - but not "over the top", easy-going dogs that really like being with people and other dogs. They do, though, need a fair bit of attention to keep them happy and healthy; good & regular exercise, a daily cleaning of face and ears, rubbing down all over to dry them and remove dirt after any exercise, even a "toilet outing" in the garden!

I have to say though that grooming didn't present any problems. Neville seemed to enjoy grooming, whether just a quick rub with a towel or a good long brushing and it was fairly easy to remove dust, dirt and hairs from his coat.

Probably the biggest surprise I had prior to this experience was finding that Bassets are officially classified as a Large breed - and they are actually quite big dogs! In spite of this, and a reputation for being lazy dogs, we found Neville to be quite an active dog who liked his exercise although he liked to take his time over it. We never managed a "quick outing" with him because he would stop to inspect every interesting smell - and there were always millions of them - as well as just stopping every ten minutes or so for a rest!

With his huge floppy ears and drooping jowls so close to the ground, mealtime for Neville was often a fairly messy affair (it was funny though, seeing him trying not to get his ears in the food bowl!), so a wipe of the face and ears after feeding became the norm as did drying his dewlap after drinking.

Diesel Dane & Neville Basset

Neville looking... well, like a good Basset Hound!

Being so close to the ground brought some difficulties for poor Neville though. I found myself looking for "dropped kerbs" when crossing the road with him, especially the higher kerbs, as he was prone to catching the tip of his sheath when stepping down.

All things considered, I'm now a real fan of this breed. In fact I'm surprised there aren't many more of these wonderful dogs around. If you're a Basset owner I would love to hear your opinions so please comment using the link below to the visitors book.

Please visit this page again soon - I'm hoping to be adding new content soon.


17/05/2013 - UPDATE

Well, this page has been on the web some time now and I've had very few comments from Basset Hound owners, breeders or rescue!

If you would like to tell me about your experiences with Bassets, I would love to hear from you. I really want to know if the wonderful Neville was a "one off", or are all Bassets so friendly, easy-going and affectionate dogs? Please let me know - and of course photos of your dog(s) would be greatly appreciated!



I've had the plea for information up on this page for quite a long time now, well over a year, without any response. Until a day or two ago that is, when Laura very kindly took the time to email me and tell me a little bit about her Bassets, Samson and Delilah.

Diesel Dane & Neville Basset

Laura's Basset Hounds Samson and Delilah

(Absolutely brilliant names, I love it!!) Since then I've had several email "chats" with Laura about her experience with Bassets. That's been very, very helpful and I've been able to start finding out a little more about what are the fairly usual breed characteristics and those that were more specific to Neville.

I've not been put off the breed by anything Laura's told me. Quite the reverse in fact, all that I'm learning right now makes me think Bassets might be right for us - and we're right for them too.

If you hadn't guessed already, this is a picture of Samson & Delilah which Laura sent to me and has given her permission for it to be posted here. Thanks for this Laura and also for giving your time "talking" to me about your lovely Hounds! 


02/07/2012 - UPDATE

I was in Mansfield near Nottingham today. Having previously spoken with Heather Storton of Dereheath fame, she and her husband Derek very kindly allowed me to visit. They spent a few hours talking with me about the breed and I was able to meet a lot of beautiful Bassets. Among all the dogs I met there were a good few older Bassets which was very helpful and I was very pleasantly surprised just how fit and active an older Bassets can be. I was also pleased to see just how well all the dogs got on with each other. That's an important consideration for me - having a breed that in general mixes easily and well with other dogs,

So with grateful thanks to Heather and Derek, my Basset education is continuing nicely....


**NEW**  Having just retired from full-time work, I can now offer dog walking, dog sitting and other ways of helping care for your dog during those times when you really need it. Obviously, Basset Hounds are very welcome! Please go to my Dogs at Home pages for more information. (Merseyside area)


Some dog related websites....

Other websites of interest...