The Basset Hound, a sad-eyed, slow-moving dog, has maintained through the years a popular high level, due to its keenness to the hunt and its docility in the home. Whether the Basset Hound you buy is intended for a household pet or a trailer, this is a breed not to be ignored. Indeed, it is not ignored as the Basset Hound's popularity is ever growing.
|Basset hound (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Serious huntsmen have long been aware of the merits of this most deliberate scent hound, who tracks his quarry with sureness, in his own way and in his own time. Whether he is tracking rabbits, foxes, or pheasants, the Basset Hound can be depended upon to make his way easily through heavy ground cover and give plenty of alerts to the hunter.
If one member of the household is to hunt or train with the Basset, spending a lot of time with him, an unstoppable bond will develop between the two, only the master will receive the same enthusiastic response from the dog. The Basset Hound is an exceptionally loyal dog, and while some may view his ways as being sluggish and stubborn, it may well be that he only reacts with a special intensity for his beloved master. They always bark with that rich vocal tone and sling themselves around when the master returns after being away. As the excitement mounts higher, the Basset will grab a toy and sling it around wanting to get all of the attention.
The Basset Hound has a European origin. The St. Hubert hound was the forerunner of our Basset Hound and many other kinds of scent hounds which appear all over the world. The St. Hubert hound is reported to have been developed bearing that name and located in the French forest region of Ardennes. St. Hubert founded his order during the early years of the sixth century. Legend has it that before he became an abbot, St. Hubert was a happy go lucky, carefree young nobleman, who loved to hunt, and who was miraculously converted one Sunday by seeing a vision of a deer with a cross between its horns.
With a deep love of the hunt, he set out to develop a new strain of hound dog in his kennel at the France-Belgium border and indeed the hounds of St. Hubert was of a very distinct type. All early accounts describe them as being tan and black with long ears, long bodies, heavy heads, and comparatively heavy and short legs. There was also a longer legged, a white variety developed. Both types had wonderfully keen noses and deep voices. The long ears of the breed assisted them, then as now, in their hunting, capturing the scent and forcing it up from the ground toward the dogs' noses. Of course, the original purpose of these hounds was somewhat different than it is today- the superior of a monastery for men who worked to create this breed used the longer-legged strains to hunt wolves and boars, and required a dog of incredible stamina and fearlessness. While these traits are still retained in the conscientiously bred Basset Hounds, the game that is now pursued by the breed is of a less ferocious type-small woods animals such as raccoons.
When St. Hubert bred small-legged one's of the breed, to each other, it was because when they hunted small game, the thick ground cover of the Ardennes required a hunting dog to keep his nose steadily to the ground. In longer-legged dogs, this was a physical impossibility; as the dog's back and neck would no doubt begin to ache if he were stopped for long periods. Thus, as the legs of the Bassets got shorter, so too did they get more crooked until they arrived at the seemingly gnarled, stumpy type we see today.
The temperament of the hounds was described as being gentle, obedient, and mild and that they were not useful for killing the game but only for trailing it. It is now believed that the Basset Hound as we know it today was developed over the years by careful selection and breeding of the short-legged variety, and by the inclusion in the breeding program of "sports" or dogs with very short legs. Many early accounts refer to the Bloodhound and give rise to the idea that somewhere there was a cross between it and the Basset Hound.
The St. Hubert hounds became scattered over various parts of France and were crossed with local types until all the different colors were developed. The name "Basset," was derived from the French and bas, means low set.
The American Kennel Club registered its first Basset Hound in 1885. In 1935, a group of Michigan breeders met at the Detroit dog show and formed the Basset Hound Club of America. In addition to those present, 12 breeders from throughout the country were invited to become charter members. By 1950, a Basset Hound had become a world-famous television star, and "Mr. Morgan," is what he was called, caused the breed to become very popular. Since this time, the adoration of Basset Hounds has grown and the registrations listings put out by the American Kennel Club is proof of this.
Will this breed continue its upward surge and move into say, the top ten? If the past is any indication, we can be assured that our beloved Basset Hound will become ever more prominent on the show circuit, tracking fields, and a spot he readily and lovingly occupies in the family home. I can attest to this because I have two Basset Hounds in my home, a female, black, brown and white named Sally Mae and a male, black, brown and white named Cletus. If I can tell you anything from experience about these dogs, they are the sweetest natured and very loyal dogs! When they get excited or when lazily stretching, they become very vocal, I think sometimes our female can say "Mama". They know how to get their way and they have kept us laughing as they do the craziest things. Our male, Cletus drinks water from the water bowl with his nose propped up on the side. Sally Mae is our professional rester, she loves to eat and sleep, but when awake she demands your attention. We love our Basset Hounds, that is why I have my website and want to learn all about them.