The origin of the Basset Hound was as a hunting dog whose natural prey is the hare. He likes nothing better than putting his nose to the ground and following a scent. He has a loud, deep bark but is usually friendly nevertheless. He has a short coat which needs weekly grooming. Like all dogs the Basset needs daily exercise. It is best to avoid the extreme type which can cause welfare problems.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 7.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS74.15
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- The Basset is a weighty dog with short legs, and this does impede his movement.
- His skin is rather wrinkled which can lead to infections (skinfold dermatitis)
- His ears are long, often getting in the way when he wants to put nose to ground and follow a scent.
- Due to his chondrodystrophy and disproportionately long back, intervertebral disc disease can be a problem.
- Curved limb bones can occur due to Osteochondroplasia (dwarfism)
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat) (stomach fills with air and twists) life threatening if not given urgent veterinary treatment
- Hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joints causing pain and lameness): score should be as low as possible
- Elbow dysplasia (abnormal development of the elbow joint causing pain and lameness): ideally 0:0
- Eye Scheme: Primary glaucoma / Goniodysgenesis (G) (annual testing) (predisposes dogs to a painful and sight-threatening disease)
Identified by the UK Kennel Club as part of their Breed Health and Conservation Plan
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Immunodeficiency (SCID)
- Thrombopathia (disorder of blood platelets causing bleeding)
- Lafora’s disease (a type of epilepsy)
- Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) (painful and leads to blindness)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (malignant skin tumor); nasal carcinoma; trichoepithelioma
- Gastric torsion (twisting of stomach and/or intestine)
- Eye Disease: Entropian/Ectropian, keratitis, glaucoma
- Malassezia dermatitis
- Intervertebral disc disease (spinal disease)
- Heart Disease
- Dystocia: breeding problems
- Haemophilia A
- Urolithiasis (stones in urine)
- Panosteitis (painful bone inflammation)
- Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: