Basset Hound

The History of the Basset Hound: From Hunting Companion to Beloved Pet

The Basset Hound possesses unique long ears and sorrowful eyes, representing a breed with a deep-rooted history and firm adherence to tradition. This dog was initially bred in France for the specific purpose of hunting small game. The animal’s exceptional olfactory abilities and compact size made it well-suited for navigating thick vegetation without relying on a horse. 

Basset Hound

This dog breed has evolved from a skilled hunting partner to a cherished family member, valued for its calm nature and unwavering loyalty. Today, the Hound is widely admired for its historical hunting background and its unique place in the hearts of families worldwide. This narrative delves into the transformation of the Hound from a utilitarian hunting instrument to a beloved emblem of companionship.


This dog breed can be traced back to pre-revolutionary France, where it was developed from the St. Hubert’s Hound, a breed known for its exceptional tracking abilities. The unique design of this creature, with its short legs and long body, made it perfectly suited for chasing down prey in challenging landscapes, enabling hunters to keep up on foot. With an olfactory prowess that rivals the Bloodhound, this creature is a master at tracking down rabbits and hares, relying on its sharp sense of smell to pursue scent trails diligently.

The name “Basset” is derived from the French word “bas,” which means low. This emphasizes its unique appearance, which is well-suited for its hunting purpose. In the 19th century, this breed gained popularity among French aristocrats who admired its hunting skills and ability to navigate challenging terrains with little guidance. 

As breeding progressed, different types of hounds emerged, each specifically suited to different hunting requirements. The Basset Hound we know today was shaped by these developments, making it a beloved choice for hunters and pet enthusiasts around the globe.

The Basset Hound as a Hunting Dog

Thanks to its short, sturdy legs and impressive scent-tracking abilities, the Hound is well-equipped for hunting small game, such as rabbits. The elongated ears of this creature aid in directing scents toward its olfactory receptors, thereby optimizing its ability to track scents. This dog is known for its slower hunting style, as it relies on its exceptional sense of smell. This unique ability allows hunters to keep up with the Hound on foot without the need for horses.

The Basset Hound as a Hunting Dog

Bassets were commonly employed in groups, which improved their capacity to trap prey by working together and emitting deep, expressive baying sounds. Although their role in hunting has diminished, their hunting characteristics, such as endurance, tenacity, and scenting ability, are still highly regarded and have helped maintain the breed’s popularity over time.

Transitioning to a Family Pet

With the decline in hunting’s popularity and the shift in lifestyles, the Hound effortlessly transitioned from a hunting companion to a cherished family member. There was a shift in the demand for hunting dogs, which was influenced by social and economic changes. Their amiable disposition and unique appearance made them an attractive choice as a companion rather than a hunting dog.

Transitioning to a Family Pet

These dogs are well-known for their calm and laid-back nature, making them a great choice for families. They are very patient and can easily adapt to different living environments, whether it’s a flat or a house with a garden. They are excellent pets for households with children or other animals due to their calm demeanor and moderate energy levels.

They are highly valued for their unwavering devotion and warm-heartedness. They greatly enjoy participating in family activities and can often trail their owners throughout the house. Their distinctive appearance and occasional amusing antics endear them to many people. While they may exhibit some stubbornness, their intelligence, and desire to please make them highly trainable using consistent and positive techniques, which makes them a great choice for even novice pet owners.

The Basset Hound in the Present Era

Today, Hounds are easily recognized by their distinct physical features, such as long ears, droopy eyes, and short, stout builds. These characteristics are highlighted in breed standards set by major kennel clubs. These guidelines ensure that the breed’s traditional traits are maintained while accommodating a more domestic way of life. These dogs are adored for their kind and amiable demeanor, which has made them popular in dog shows and as family pets.

The Basset Hound in the Present Era

It is important for breeders to carefully consider the health of Hounds, as they are susceptible to conditions such as hip dysplasia, bloat, and ear infections. Responsible breeding practices prioritize reducing health risks by carefully selecting breeding pairs and conducting thorough health testing, ultimately enhancing the breed’s overall health.

These dogs continue to be a beloved breed, often seen in various media and advertisements, ensuring that they remain visible and cherished by the public. Contemporary breeding methods now emphasize the well-being and disposition of dogs, as pet owners increasingly value their furry companions’ overall quality of life.


What Is the History of the Basset Hound?

The Hound originates in France, tracing back to the 16th century. It is believed to have descended from the St. Hubert’s Hound. 

How Do Hounds Hunt?

Tracking ground scents was a breeze for them, making finding small prey a piece of cake. Plus, their compact size made it convenient for people to keep up with the hunt on foot.

Do Hounds Love Their Owners?

They are known for their calm and playful nature, always ready to shower their owners affectionately. These animals have a distinct appearance with their characteristic floppy ears, droopy faces, and short legs.

Is a Basset Hound a Good Pet?

They thrive in family settings due to their gentle disposition and knack for forming strong bonds with children. These dogs thrive on social interaction and truly cherish the companionship of their owners throughout the day. 

What Did Basset Hounds Hunt?

These dogs were initially bred to hunt small game, specifically rabbits and hares. This was made possible by their remarkable sense of smell and skill in tracking scents even in thick underbrush.


The Basset Hound’s remarkable transition from a hunting companion in the forests of France to a cherished family pet across the globe is a true testament to its incredible adaptability and timeless appeal. These dogs were initially bred for their exceptional tracking skills, but they have effortlessly become beloved pets, adored for their distinctive looks and friendly nature.

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