According to the American Kennel Club, basset hounds were originally bred in France and Belgium. Their low stature made them ideal for hunting and tromping all over rough terrain—plus their super-accurate noses made them the favorite of hunting-obsessed French aristocrats.
Bassets make a wonderful addition to any family, and though they require some maintenance on your part to stay healthy and happy, they’re more than worth the effort. Need some tips? Here are some things you need to know about basset hounds and how to keep them in tip-top shape.
First of all, the shedding. Though basset hounds tend to have fairly short hair, they still manage to lose some of their fur—all over the furniture.
Though their fur isn’t the type that gets matted or tangled, it does have its own needs, which means that you should spend time brushing their fur every week to keep it healthy—oh, and maybe invest in a reliable vacuum cleaner.
Basset Hound Grooming
As we mentioned above, brushing your basset is of utmost importance—it’s really the only way to help with shedding, and to keep their coast shiny and fabulous (which is essential, of course). Plus, brushing them often gives you a chance to check their skin for any irritations, helps remove dead hair, and distributes the natural oils of your hound’s coat.
Bark Space suggests using a rubber curry brush to initially loosen and remove dead hair, and then follow that with a soft bristle brush to smooth down their coat.
It’s also a good idea to give your pup a bath every once in a while, especially since some people say that basset hounds tend to have more of an odor than some breeds (rude!). But really, bathing them with an appropriate dog shampoo can be an essential part of their grooming routine—just be careful around their eyes and ears.
Beyond The Coat
Speaking of ears, keeping those long ears healthy is something that should be on the top of your list. Not too surprisingly, the long, long ears of the basset hound are particularly sensitive and require some TLC.
For starters, their ears tend to get black wax build-up (which they can’t get rid of themselves), so—lucky you—you need to do it for them!
You can use a warm washcloth or buy special “dog ear” wipes designed just for this situation. You should also look out for smelly ears, which may indicate infection, or other issues that can be hidden under those giant (yet adorable) flaps.
Watch the Paws
You also need to cut your basset hound’s nails on a regular basis, though they do tend to be more sensitive about their paws (and have big, thick nails), so prepare yourself. Select the right kind of trimmer for the job—which can range from scissor-type to guillotine-style cutters, and grinders—and figure out which one your pet is the most comfortable with.
Take extra care when you’re cutting their nails. Trimming the nail too short and hitting the quick (which tends to bleed profusely) is painful, so try to master this skill early on. It’s also a smart idea to start this nail-trimming tradition when your dog is still little so that they’ll be used to the whole ordeal when they’re adults.
Should You Give Basset Hounds a Haircut?
There’s no need! There are some breeds of dogs that simply don’t need haircuts as others do. Not only because their hair doesn’t grow past a certain length, but because trims are unhealthy for the dog.
The only time you should shave or trim a basset is at your vet’s recommendation, usually due to a health issue. This breed can be prone to allergies, so if they scratch enough to wound themselves, it may be in their best interest to shave parts (or all) of their hair to apply topical medication or to regrow hair from scratch.
Basically, your basset hound’s coif is lovely just the way its. Plus, it’s refreshing to have a pup ready to go at a moment’s notice, and doesn’t require a lot of preening and primping, am I right?