The Laid-Back Basset Hound Dog Breed

basset hound dog breed

There is so much to love about the basset hound breed! They are among the most laid-back dog breeds, and their keen senses of smell are second only to the bloodhound. Bassets make wonderful pets because of their easy-going nature and loyalty.

Do Basset Hounds Bark a Lot?

Basset hounds may not make great watchdogs, but they are sure to bark, bay, or howl at just about anything. Sirens, loud noises, playtime, and boredom are a few reasons why basset hounds vocalize like crazy. 

What’s the difference between barking, baying, and howling

Barking is how dogs communicate. So, when dogs howl, whine or bay, they’re saying different things. 

Baying is not like the typical “woof woof” you hear from most dogs. Baying is the sound dogs from the hound group, like basset hounds, make when they’re in packs or hunting. It’s a low, persistent bark that becomes stronger as the dog closes in on their targets, to alert other dogs and hunters that it’s time to round up.  

In addition, basset hounds howl as a way to communicate with other dogs and their humans. A howl is a long drawn out bark; some say the sound is sorrowful and forlorn. Your pet may have a few triggers that cause him to howl. A siren or another howling dog can provoke a howling episode, such as an injury, illness, or separation anxiety. 

How to stop basset hounds from barking and howling

If your basset hound howls in response to a siren or another dog howling, he’ll most likely stop howling when the sound ceases. If your dog’s howling is due to an injury or illness, you should call or visit your vet. Howling while you’re away suggests that your dog suffers from separation anxiety, which is common for basset hounds as they very much need to be near their humans. To reduce or eliminate howling, try these tips:

  • Exercise your basset hound physically and mentally. A tired dog is less likely to bark or howl for any reason for a simple reason: They’re too pooped to care. A basset hound doesn’t require an enormous amount of exercise, but a nice long walk should suffice.
  • Distract your basset hound when he barks. Bassets often act up and bark or howl when they are bored, so if you leave him or her home alone, offer a special treat or toy to occupy him; choose a reward that they get only when you leave.
  • Buffer outside barking triggers. If outside sounds like cars, children playing or delivery services trigger your basset’s barking, use the television or music to drown out noise. You can also close curtains and blinds to remove visual triggers.

Suppose your basset hound barks or howls merely to get your attention. In that case, chances are you have unintentionally reinforced his behavior by giving in to his attention-seeking antics by offering him the food, toy, or your attention. One way to break this habit is to ignore your basset hound when he begins barking or howling for attention. Initially, it’ll be difficult, but you can’t touch him, look at him, or speak to him. That means no reprimanding either. Basset hounds are very sensitive, so any time you raise your voice at your pet, you increase the odds of him barking and howling even more. (Also, think about a dog’s simple mind — when he barks and you yell, he might think you’re simply joining him in the noise.)

On the flip side, reward him when he’s quiet. That means occasionally when you notice him being silent and well-behaved, offer praise and a treat. He will learn that quiet means a reward. With that said, be careful offering too many treats to a basset hound as the breed has issues with obesity.

You must know your dog won’t stop barking or howling overnight. It takes patience, time, and consistency. Proper training also requires that everyone in your household be on the same page to train your dog to stop barking and howling. Otherwise, your efforts are futile. 

Facts About Basset Hounds 

A favorite of dog lovers worldwide, basset hounds rank #39 on the AKC breed popularity list. Basset hounds are easy-going, couch-loving, friendly dogs. They do well with people of all ages, including children, and they are happiest around their families. With a bit of a stubborn streak, basset hounds aren’t always quick to comply with orders. They tend to be diggers and are known to bring in dirt, mud, and grass with their low-to-the-ground bellies and big feet.

Size: Basset hounds can reach up to 15 inches in height and weigh 40 to 65 pounds.

Life expectancy: Basset hounds tend to live 12 to 13 years.

Coat: Basset hounds have a short, smooth coat that is commonly tri-colored (tan, black and white).

AKC group: Basset hounds belong to the AKC hound group.

Are Basset Hounds Easy to Train?

Basset hounds were bred to be low to the ground (hence their short legs) so they could help hunters track their game. That said, they are intelligent and highly independent, so they can be a challenge to train. Don’t let what appears to be aloofness scare you from training this dog breed, because basset hounds are trainable provided you take the time and practice patience and consistency. Early socialization and obedience training in puppyhood help ensure a basset hound is trainable. We also recommend using positive reinforcement training, along with plenty of praise and treats (be careful with giving too many treats as basset hounds can become overweight). 

Do Basset Hounds Need Grooming?

You may think that the basset hound coat’s short, smooth hair doesn’t require much grooming. That isn’t the case, as bassets shed quite extensively and demand regular grooming sessions. Brushing a basset at least once a week with a soft brush or grooming tool will reduce or eliminate loose hair from your clothes, floors, and furniture. The occasional bath can keep this breed’s coat clean and shiny. Regular nail trims are essential to prevent the nails from growing too long and causing your pet pain when he walks or runs.

What If My Breed Is a Basset Hound Mix?

With the general laid-back and mellow temperament of a basset hound, a mix can result in some adorable, lovable dogs. As cute as they are, basset hounds have inherent health problems. One such issue is achondroplastic dwarfism (short legs). The responsible gene is dominant so that it will express itself at some level in a mix. It’s also essential to test for eye issues and thrombopenia (bleeding disorder) before breeding.   

Here are some popular basset hound breed mixes: 

  • Baskimo — basset hound + American Eskimo dog
  • Bassador — basset hound + Labrador retriever
  • Basschshund — basset hound + dachshund
  • Basset Bluetick — basset hound + bluetick coonhound
  • Basset Jack — basset hound + Jack Russell terrier
  • Bassetoodle — basset hound + poodle
  • Bassky — basset hound + Siberian husky
  • Basston — basset hound + Boston terrier
  • Bassugg — basset hound + pug
  • Bowzer — basset hound + miniature schnauzer
  • Bullbasset mastiff — basset hound + bullmastiff
  • Dobie basset — basset hound + Doberman pinscher