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The Long, Low Basset Hound

Aug 17, 2007
The Basset Hound's most noticeable features include the long ears, drooping forehead and short legs that seem somewhat out of proportion to the rest of its body. These dogs are excellent at smelling, partly due to their noses but also because of their ears. It seems that the ears actually "catch' scents, giving the Basset Hound a second chance to smell them!

The Basset Hound shares lineage with another breed known for its sniffing ability - the Bloodhound. There are two trains of thought as to how the Basset Hound came to be. Some people think that Bloodhounds and some other breeds were crossed, but breeding was very selective. Only the "dwarf" dogs of every litter were used for further breeding. This isn't to be confused with the "runts." Each additional step in this breeding chain was chosen specifically for its short legs as compared to the rest of its body. Other people think some smaller breeds were introduced into the line to create the current day Basset Hound. Either way, there's no denying that this is a very distinctive dog.

There could very well be a practical reason for the selective inclusion of those short legs. The lumbering gait of the Basset Hound makes them a rather slow canine, which gives the hunter plenty of opportunity to stay with the dog. The fact that these dogs have such an incredible sense of smell allows them to range some distance behind their prey without losing it.

The Basset Hound is usually either black and white or brown (liver) and white, but a mixture of all three colors does occur. Puppies are born with incredibly long ears - much too long for the rest of their bodies. These dogs are comical when they are first learning to run because of the tendency to step on their ears, sometimes to the point of tripping themselves. Basset Hounds have strong ears and these mishaps typically don't cause any damage, though the pup may stop to try to figure out what caused the problem.

The Basset Hound was originally bred as a hunter, but has risen in popularity as a family pet and canine pal. With some breeds, it's possible to point at a particular time when the breed became popular. Sometimes, it's a case of a famous person favoring the breed. In this case, it was the presentation of the Basset Hound at the Paris Dog Show in 1863. It took more than two decades for the breed to become recognized by the AKC, but it has now taken the hearts and attention of breeders, fans and the judges.

The Basset Hound is the epitome of the loyal friend. Though they are still used for hunting dogs, they are probably more popular as family pets. They become extremely devoted to their people in a short period of time, especially if their people are equally devoted. There's no doubt that these gentle dogs are not made for agility trials, but they are lovable companion dogs and able hunters.
About the Author
For more information on Basset Hounds and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Hound Dog Directory
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