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One of our friends was looking at buying a Basset but wasn’t sure how much time they had to invest in order to properly look after it, so they called and asked if Basset Hounds were high maintenance dogs.

There’s no doubt that Basset Hounds are one of the higher maintenance dog breeds. They require regular brushing, constant checking of ears for moisture build up and infections. They also tend to shed a lot of hair around the house and furniture especially at specific times of the year.

They often drool a lot due to their jowl position, often have a hound smell (which some people love) and because they are a pack animal are happiest when they are with company (whether that be people or other dogs) so they hate being left alone.

They can be stubborn and will often think long and hard before deciding whether they can be bothered to do what you want them to do.

For all that though, many Basset owners simply adore their dogs for their unique idiosyncrasies, warm personality and lovable nature. They will make you laugh, are a lot smarter than they let on and are great family dogs.

Bassets have a way of making you fall in love with them even though their maintenance needs can be high. Once you have a Basset in your life chances are high you’ll get another one at some stage.

So What Sort of Maintenance is Needed for Basset Hounds?

The maintenance required can be shortlisted down to

  • Bathing
  • Cleaning & brushing
  • Smelling
  • Shedding of hair
  • Allergies
  • Drooling
  • Being left alone
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Inherent physical problems

How Often Should Basset Hounds Be Bathed?

Some dogs need more baths than others depending on their character traits. If they are the type of outdoor dog who loves rolling around on anything and everything then they’ll need a bath every week or so.

Related article: Can a Basset Hound Swim? (And Do They Even Like Water?)

If they’re more of an indoor basset that doesn’t often splash around in the mud or grass then maybe once every month or even every 3 months will be sufficient.

Too frequent bathing can also trigger the Bassets oil glands which can contribute to the “hound smell” that is common to Bassets.

How Often Do Bassets Need To Have Their Coat Brushed?

3 times a week depending on whether it’s the time of year when they shed a lot in which case you will have to brush them every day.

Do they need teeth brushing regularly?

Cleaning your Basset’s teeth can be time consuming

Depending on what they eat and the arrangement of their teeth (spacing and gaps) you may have to brush their teeth every day or at least after every meal.

You can also use Dental Chews which are a great way to keep your Basset’s teeth clean without having to brush them so often which saves a lot of time.

Do Basset Hounds Smell

Bassets can often have a “hound dog” smell about them although it can vary from dog to dog. Various factors can contribute to that smell such as frequent washing which can cause the oil glands to become too active.

Whether the dog is more outdoors and consequently more likely to roll around in things that may cause it to smell and also the climate the dog lives in – hotter, humid climates can cause the sweat glands to be more active.

Yeast Infections can also give out what is commonly called a “Fritos” smell like the popular corn chip. This smell usually emanates from the feet, folds in the skin or the ears.

There is a difference between the normal hound dog smell and yeast infections so a visit to the vet for a check for any skin infections is recommended if you notice a change.

Related article: How Much Should a Basset Hound Puppy Eat?

Do Basset Hounds Shed a Lot?

Basset hounds have a reputation for shedding quite a lot of fur. Although it can be annoying, the shedding of the coat is a normal occurrence and as long as skin irritations or thinning spots aren’t appearing it shouldn’t be a cause of concern.

There are 2 main shedding periods per year (Usually spring and fall). They can also shed hair at other times and this can be managed by a combination of bathing, daily brushing with a fine tooth comb (The Furminator Deshedding Brush or similar seems to be a favorite for many Basset owners) and a healthy diet.

Most Bassets will lose their winter coat in spring so be prepared for an excess of hair everywhere. Oftentimes the amount of hair a Basset can shed can look like it’s enough to make a fur coat!

What Allergies Do Basset Hounds Usually Have

Basset In Grass

Bassets tend to get lots of different allergies. They may be seasonal or continuous depending on the type. If your dog starts to experience allergy symptoms investigating the cause may require some sleuthing work as it could be anything from…

  • Environment
  • Fleas
  • Other animals
  • Dust mites
  • Bedding
  • Food or bones

This is by no means an exhaustive list but they are usually the most likely culprits. Treatments may include benadryl, steroids such as prednisone or prednisone equivalents. Seeking advice from a vet is very important as matching the right treatment for the right allergy is paramount.

How Bad Do Basset Hounds Drool?

Bassets have a unique ability to drool – a lot! There can be a number of reasons why they drool so much but if there is a sudden change in the amount it’s always best to check the mouth and the teeth to make sure there isn’t something stuck there.

If you live in an area where toads are common, Bassets will often have a habit of licking them and the toxins they pick up in the mouth can often be a cause of excess drooling.

Older Bassets often have worn or missing teeth which can also contribute to excessive drooling.

Can Basset Hounds Be Left Alone?

Bassets, as with all hound breeds, need & love company and in general don’t like to be left alone for long lengths of time. This is especially true for Basset puppies up to 4 months who need feeding 3 to 4 times a day, need house-training and guidance from their owners.

Some people decide that getting another canine companion for their Basset will help with the loneliness which, to some extent, it can. However another dog keeping your Basset company while you are away cannot feed and house-train them.

Anyone thinking of getting a Basset Hound needs to understand that you will need to ensure they aren’t left alone for more than 3 or 4 hours max..and even then that can be considered too long depending on the dog and how old they are.

Are Basset Hounds Hypoallergenic

Bassets do have a tendency to shed a lot of hair so you wouldn’t describe them as being hypoallergenic.

You will find that because of the shedding of hair and the fact that most of it will appear on furniture & other areas where humans will come in contact with it, Bassets are not a good choice for people who have allergies.

Basset Hound Feet Problems

Sometimes Bassets have what is known as “walrus feet” or “ballerina feet” where the front toes tend to point outwards instead of straight out. This condition can evolve over time as the dog gets older.

As the dog’s weight increases the feet can turn out in an effort to support the extra weight. This is especially true for Basset puppies who still haven’t developed an adequate bone structure. This is one of the reasons why keeping your Basset puppy’s weight under control can be beneficial to their growth as well as their health.

It usually has no impact on the dogs movement and no maintenance is required but in rare cases it can lead to problems with arthritis.

Basset Ear Maintenance

As with all dogs with large floppy ears Bassets can often develop ear problems. This is due to the ears hanging down over the ear canal and blocking or restricting the airflow.

These canals tend to attract moisture and because the air flow to the canal is limited the moisture can build up to the point where infections or other problems can occur.

Basset ears must be checked daily for build up and odor and cleaned with a cotton tip applicator.

Basset Hound Nail Clipping Needs

Basset Hound nails need to be clipped on a weekly basis. It’s a good idea as soon as you buy a Basset to get them used to having their feet touched. Bassets tend to not like having their nails clipped or even someone touching their feet in some cases so getting them used to the routine is helpful – for you and the dog.

Are Basset Hounds Hard To Train

Bassets are notoriously disinterested in being trained – especially using conventional methods. Even if you teach them things they will often not do it unless there’s something on offer for them.

Rewarding your Basset and using encouragement works much better than harsh words or discipline if you want them to do anything. They are not great dogs for pleasing their owners, they would rather please themselves.

Try to find treats that they love, even if it’s human food and use that as a basic method of training.

Other Related Questions

Are Basset Hounds Good With Kids

Basset’s love kids but buying a Basset when you have very young children is not recommended. Some Basset rescue services even have rules where they won’t let families adopt a Basset out if the kids are under 6 years old.

The reason is that Basset Hound spines are long and can easily be hurt by little children deciding to ride them..especially if it’s a puppy whose bone structure is still growing and developing.

Assuming your kids are older than 6 or 7, Bassets make wonderful pets for kids to grow up with.

Are They Good With Cats, Other Dogs or Animals?

Bassets can be very sociable with cats but (as with all dog and cat breeds) it can often depend on the personality of each as to whether they get along or keep their distance from one another.

Many Basset owners get another dog to help keep their Basset company when the owners are out. Bassets don’t particularly like being alone so having another dog (or cat) to play with keeps them occupied when your not there.

Having another dog is also great for when you go on walks. Bassets can easily get distracted by everything they come across when you’re out walking them and will often repeatedly stop to investigate.

Another dog walking with you can keep the Basset more focused on trying to keep up if they see the other dog keeping pace with you.

As for other types of animals, common sense should be applied. Bassets are bred to hunt so buying a bunny as company for the dog or as another pet for the kids might not end up well for the bunny.

Further Education On The Basset Hound

For those who are interested in the technical side of the Basset Hound breed here’s a link to a dog judge guide video which explains what they look for in judging a Basset Hound. It’s a detailed video that  goes for around 50 mins but I found that it’s the first 10 mins or so that gives a great background on this breed of dog, it’s strengths and weaknesses and it’s history.