These dogs are very good-natured and sociable, and get on well with children, other dogs and cats, making them an ideal family pet. They are essentially a big dog with short legs, and are strong and robust.
Bassets are hound dogs that were bred for hunting, and as such possess an extremely good sense of smell. They can be used singularly to hunt rabbits on foot, or in packs when hunting on horseback. This can be a competitive sport, and depending on the association, is often humane, as the rabbits are merely tracked and not killed. This is a great way to keep a basset fit doing what he enjoys doing most.
As bassets are hunting dogs, with a keen sense of smell, they will put nose to the ground and head off after a scent, oblivious to everything else around them. This often causes them to wander, so a sturdy fence is required in order to contain them in your property. If walking them out of your property, they must be on a lead at all times to prevent them taking off after any scent that they catch a whiff of, as once they are after a scent they will switch off and not hear you calling them to come back.
For dogs that have such awfully long ears, they don’t listen very well, nor do they readily obey commands. They often have a will of their own, and can be quite difficult to train, and as such take a long time to housebreak. They will often gaze at you in bemusement whilst you give instructions, then they will matter-of-factly do the opposite. The only time you are likely to get a positive response is when you have a food reward on offer.
Bassets have a voracious appetite and will readily scoff down anything edible. They are particularly good at stealing food off tables. However, they are notoriously lazy, and as such are prone to obesity and associated health problems. As they are not the most energetic dogs around, they will not readily play frisbee or chase a ball. So if you are the sporty type and are looking for active dog then a basset would probably not be best for you.
Not only do bassets love their sleep, but they tend to snore a lot. They are also prone to flatulence, they give off a strong body odor, and are inclined to shed a lot of hair, even though they are a short haired breed. They also tend to slobber a lot.
And if that’s not enough to put anyone off owning a basset, they are extremely vocal dogs, and the worlds greatest howlers, which can steadily drive you, and your neighbors, mad.
But that said, the basset is a comical, jovial natured dog with a great disposition, making it a wonderful children’s pet that is full of character.