BH - NEW OWNERS GUIDE

THE NEW OWNERS GUIDE TO THE BASSET HOUND – PLEASE STUDY CAREFULLY!!

This document will provide you with more information regarding basset hound care, nature, health issues etc. If you don’t find answers to all your questions regarding the breed, you are welcome to contact us.

HISTORY
Basset hounds are Scent Hounds and fall under the Hound group. The Basset Hound is an old breed which originated in France in the 15th century. They are even mentioned by Shakespeare. They were bred as rabbit hunters, being dwarfed to make them slower and more manageable for hunters on foot. The word “Basset” comes from the French word “dwarfed” or “low-set”.  They were prized for their extremely good sense of smell and for following a scent with great persistence.
The controlled breeding of the short haired basset began in France in the year 1870. From the existing Bassets, Count Le Couteulx of Canteleu fixed a utilitarian type with straight front legs known as the Chien d'Artois, whereas Mr. Louis Lane developed a more spectacular type, with crooked front legs, known as the Basset Normand. These were bred together to create the original Basset Art├ęsien Normand.
French bassets were being imported into England at least as early as the 1870s. While some of these dogs were certainly Basset Art├ęsien Normands, by the 1880s line breeding had thrown back to a different heavier type. Everett Millais', who is considered to be the father of the modern Basset Hound, bred one such dog, Nicholas, to a Bloodhound bitch named Inoculation through artificial insemination in order to create a heavier basset in England in the 1890s. The litter was delivered by cesarean section, and the surviving pups were refined with French and English bassets. The first breed standard for what is now known as the Basset Hound was made in Great Britain at the end of 19th century. This standard was updated in 2010. Even though the Basset hound of today is a far cry from the Basset hound of yesteryear, the persistent side of the breed must always be remembered as it still dominates the breed.


CHARACTER
You must be warned!! The loving, sweet nature of the Basset hound makes them the perfect family companion. There's an old saying that if you have one, you will always want one more!! Basset hounds are pack animals which are good-tempered, affectionate and loyal. They are very sociable, loving the company of both humans and other animals.  A Basset hound regards his owners as members of the pack and it is natural for him to try and work his way up in the pecking order, hoping to become the leader.  This is tried out in various ways, and part of their charm for many is in their “convenient deafness”. They usually don’t take “no” for an answer the first time, being very persistent, especially when they are up to mischief! This is especially true of dog hounds and owners should always be firm with the puppy – if you give in to those appealing eyes when he misbehaves you will have a hard job later on. On the other hand, Basset Hounds are a quite sensitive breed and any heavy handedness should be avoided. If treated too harshly he may become very timid or wilful but in a normal considerate home is a loyal and devoted companion. If your hound does try to dominate try some of the following:   Don’t allow him to sit on the furniture or sleep in your bed, always walk through a door first, always eat your meals first, before feeding him, don’t give tit bits at the table, only give him a treat when he has done what you ask. Always correct undesirable behaviour immediately! 

AT HOME
Though Bassets look very appealing and are easy to cuddle when very young.  You must remember that they grow into large adult dogs.  Some can weigh up to 40kg’s! In adulthood they will require a walk frequently.  They will not be comfortable in a flat without a garden as they require a fair amount of space. Without a certain amount of space, he will get bored and get into mischief.  Basset Hounds are the no.2 scent hound in the world, you must make sure that your yard is secure and that your Basset can’t get out, he will follow any scent that is picked up and may wonder off. Basset Hounds are not usually destructive, and as long as there is a bone or something to chew, he will leave your furniture/sprinklers alone. IMPORTANT: They are pack hounds and can become destructive and naughty if left alone for too long periods at a time.  Being alone can also trigger some howling incidents. If you work during daytime, it is advisable to get a companion for your puppy – human or animal. 

SOCIALIZING AND PLAY
The young Basset should be introduced to as many experiences in the outside world as soon as possible, without overtiring him.  Meeting lots of people is important and a play with you every day is a must. During play you can begin to establish the trusting relationship of years to come and gently establish your domination position.  In play don’t encourage him to get rough and wild as what is fun in a small puppy is not as fun in an adult.  Give your puppy a box with plenty of toys to play with, especially things to chew!! This will save the furniture and sprinklers when the puppy is teething.  Suitable toys are hard rubber rings, good sized balls, old plastic bottles, old slippers and most of the various bones and chews available from your pet shop.  Make sure from the start that your puppy allows you to take any toys and chews away from him, handle any anti-social behaviour immediately. Males tend to be dominant, it is advised to neuter your male at a very young age, to minimize the risk of dominance.

HOUSE TRAINING
Remember that young Basset Hound puppies eat a lot of meals each day. Be alert with a young puppy at all times and you can then avoid lots of “incidents”. Take him outside after every meal, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, whenever he wakes from a sleep and after playing.  Give lots of praise and try to use a familiar word such as “Be quick”, “Garden” or “Toilet”. Leave an outside door open as much as possible until he is trustworthy enough to ask.  Putting the puppy in a pen at night can help as well, as he won’t like to soil his bed.  He will then soon learn to do his business outside. It will also help if he is given his last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Usually a puppy can be house trained within a few weeks, some earlier, but it is up to you to be vigilant, keep to a routine as much as possible and also have lots of patience!  Remember if there’s an accident it’s your fault – not the puppies!

EXERCISE
The Basset Hound is a heavily built hound with joints that should not be strained while the puppy is still growing. Up to twelve months a play in the garden or a short five-minute walk on the lead is quite sufficient.  Too much exercise and subsequent jarring may strain growing bones. From about twelve months it is recommended that walks be no longer than 15 minutes, increasing in distance slowly. When fully grown – over eighteen months – you may take him for as many long walks as you want – though he will most probably have more stamina than you. Please remember that Basset Hounds can’t really swim, because of their heavy bodies and short legs. Always keep an eye on your Basset when around a swimming pool. Never let them exercise after a meal, wait at least an hour.  During the first years you should also discourage your puppy from jumping on and off furniture and running up and down stairs.  This advice is very important if you wish to keep your hound as sound as possible – please don’t ignore it, as it can cause back and joint problems later in his life. Also remember not to pick your puppy up by his front legs. Make sure that his body is supported when picking him up.

GENERAL CARE
The short coat of the Basset Hound is easy to manage and a quick brush every week or so is all that is required.  Bassets do tend to shed a lot, especially at the time of seasons changing. Adding a good Omega 3&6 supplement or some coconut oil will help with the shedding as well as brushing your hound on a weekly basis with a slicker brush. This will help to take out all the molting undercoat. They can have a bath when dirty, but this shouldn’t be too often, not more than once a month.  Some Bassets love the mud, but it is surprising how easy it is to brush out after it has dried.
Though the ears are long, they are very easy to care for.  These should be checked weekly and should be cleaned out with cotton wool and warm water at least twice a month. Included is an ear wash recipe, which we have used with success over the years to prevent ear infections. You can also clean the ears with some of the many commercial ear products on the market. Only clean the ear where you can see. Check the ears immediately if your dog is shaking his head often, or if it smells. You might need to take him to the vet if this happens. Dry the ears when wet or if they have been dipped in his food, but you might be lucky and have a Basset that enjoys washing his own ears after eating. If you have two or more in your pack, they will most probably clean each other’s ears after each meal.
Check the nails monthly, especially the dewclaws. If the nails are too long clip back with recommended canine nail clippers. Their nails are very thick and strong; so do invest in the best possible canine clippers you can afford. Clip back to where the small blood vessel ends.  Don’t worry if you accidentally nip the blood vessel and it bleeds.  Press with some cotton wool and it will stop shortly.
Try to keep his teeth clean by making sure he always has something hard to chew on. A weekly scrub with an old toothbrush is also a good idea. It is important to do general care on the young puppy from the very start so that he can get used to it. It is very difficult to get an older dog used to being handled, groomed, get nails clipped etc. Start form a young age!!

COMMON DISEASES IN BASSET HOUNDS:
Gastric Dilation otherwise known as Bloating: As bloating is a gastrointestinal disease, the nature of the dog’s diet, along with food patterns is said to be one of the potential causes of this disease. One of the reasons you should know about bloating is because it can be fatal to your Basset hound.  What actually happens with this is that dogs will take in too much air, their stomachs will swell and it will rotate.  When this happens it keeps air, food and water trapped in the stomach. If this happens your dog will start to salivate, they may try to vomit without results, their breathing will increase and you will physically see that their stomach is distended. If this happens at any time, take your dog to the vet immediately, wasting time to figure out the causes can cost you your dog’s life. Some of the symptoms of this disease include: restlessness, excessive panting, glassy eyes and a distended abdomen. 
Here are some tips to avoid this disease:  Divide your dog’s food into smaller meals each day, this way they don’t take in as much food at once.  Never over feed your dog. Feeding a partly wet diet can also help to avoid this. Make sure to add a good Probiotic supplement to your dog’s diet on a regular basis to keep his gut healthy. Don’t let them drink too much water directly after a meal, wait about 15 minutes. Keep them away from stressful situations while they are eating and afterwards. Don’t let them do any type of exercise directly after a meal. Feed them foods that don’t cause flatulence. Keep them on the same brand of food for as long as possible, if you do need to switch brands, do so only after the age of one year, and don’t do this all at once, but gradually over a week.

Cherry Eye is caused by a prolapsed tear gland of the third eyelid. The exact cause is unknown. Veterinarians usually recommend surgery to correct the problem or to remove the gland. Correcting of the problem is not always successful and the gland may prolapse again. Removing of the prolapsed gland is usually successful and most dogs recover without any further treatment needed but some dogs may require the use of eye drops after removing the prolapsed tear gland to prevent a “dry eye”. Look out for a red or pink swollen mass protruding from the inner corner of the eye which may be accompanied by a watery or thick discharge. There is nothing that you can do to prevent this condition from occurring but, if it occurs in one eye, monitor the other eye. 

Panosteitis (PANO) is a painful bone disease that causes lameness in Basset Hounds between approximately 6 to 24 months of age.  Most veterinarians don't know about PANO and will often confuse it with Hip or Elbow dysplasia. Basically what happens is that the growth plates are growing at different rates causing growing pains and limping. This common Basset Hound disease can last for a few months or longer. It goes away on its own and once it does, there are few long-term side effects - Surgery is not necessary to correct this disease!! Look out for periods of lameness that may shift from leg to leg. Some do believe that it can be prevented by feeding a low protein diet (for example changing to an adult diet if the pup was on a puppy diet) to prevent the puppy from growing too fast and giving a feed supplement for joints and bones. Recovery from this can be long and time consuming. There are no long term side effects and the puppy will recover completely.  Overall there is no known way of preventing it or predicting it. Crate rest and giving a good joint supplement may help to speed up the recovery.

Obesity: The Basset Hound is one of the breeds that is more prone to becoming overweight. While there are many causes of weight gain, it is usually due to overfeeding. Your dog takes in more calories than he is using. Prevention is important because obesity can lead to other health problems. Let your adult dog do regular exercise, keep treats to a minimum, and monitor your dog’s weight regularly.

Inter vertebral Disc Disease causes a spinal disc(s) to rupture or become herniated (Slipped disc). Basset Hounds are prone to this disease due to their very long back. The exact cause of the disc degeneration is not always known but may be caused by age or trauma from an earlier injury (jumping on and off furniture and running up and down stairs as a young dog). Immediate veterinary care is necessary if you notice one or more of the following signs:  Back pain, arched back, unwilling to turn or lower the head even to get a drink, yelping when handled, petted or lifted, reluctance to climb stairs, walking slowly and carefully, inability to walk or paralysis. To prevent injury to the back, discourage your Basset Hound from jumping on or off the furniture. Keep stair climbing to a minimum.  Never pick your puppy up by his front legs, support his body when picking him up. Keep strenuous exercise to a minimum before the puppy is one-year-old. Do not let your adult Basset Hound become overweight because extra weight increases stress to the spine and increases the probability of this common Basset Hound disease.

Ear Problems: A Basset's long, droopy ears can trap dirt and tend to retain moisture causing it to be prone to ear problems. There are many causes of ear problems including but not limited to bacteria, yeast, allergies, and parasites. A veterinarian can diagnose ear problems and provide appropriate treatment. Inspect your Basset's ears weekly and consult with your veterinarian if you notice some of the following signs: Shakes head or scratches ears a lot, tends to cock head to one side, redness, discharge, or an unusual odour, pain around the ear area. Clean and inspect ears at least twice a month. Clean the ears using cotton wool and warm water only. When you bath your hound, make sure to prevent the dirty water from entering the ear canal by putting a cotton ball in each ear. Included is an Blue ear wash recipe, which we have used with success over the years to prevent ear infections.

Eye problems: Basset hounds can be prone to eye infections as well, but with quick reaction it can be cleared up in no time. Clean your hound’s eyes weekly by wiping with cotton wall moistened in luke warm water. If your hound has got a mucous discharge from the eye, please take him/her to your vet. Your vet will prescribe drops to administer to his/her eyes to help the infection to clear up quickly!

Basset hounds can also suffer from some Genetic diseases like: Elbow Dysplasia, Glaucoma, Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patella and Bleeding disorders like Von Willebrand’s disease. Please make sure that when you buy a puppy from a breeder to ask if the parents or grandparents of the puppy had any of these diseases. It is thus very important to buy your puppy from a reputable breeder which do not breed with hounds that do have these problems!! 

DE WORMING AND INOCULATIONS
Most puppies are born with worms and your hound should be de-wormed regularly. Puppies are de-wormed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks, and should be dewormed every 2-4 months up to one year of age and every six months from one year and older. Puppies get their first inoculation at 6 weeks of age. Follow up inoculations should be given at 10 and 14 weeks, and yearly inoculations from then on. Rabies inoculations should be given any time from 12 weeks with yearly follow ups.  Please make sure that you apply a good tick/flea product at least once a month.

FEEDING
Small puppies start eating soft foods 4 times a day from around 3 weeks. From 6 weeks they should eat 3 small meals a day (soft foods). They can eat dry Puppy food softened (Put small amount in bowl and cover with boiling water, let stand until soft and cooled. Mix and feed. From 10 weeks they eat about a cup and a ¼ of dry pellets with a tablespoon of softened food and sauce added. From around 12 weeks they will be fine to eat dry food with a sauce added. (We always give the dry food with a sauce over it, we believe this prevents our basset hounds from getting bloat – of which we never had a case of). Gradually increase the food as the pup grows older. Feed according to your pups needs and not according to the package recommendations. When the pup is older than 18 months take care not to overfeed him/her. Supply your pup with fresh drinking water at all times. 
If you want to change diets, please do so gradually over the course of a week and not all at once!
If your puppy is fed a good quality balanced diet, there’s usually no need to add any extra vitamins or treats. But we have found that using a good probiotic and joint supplement over their food a couple of times a week are really beneficial.  Always add a good omega oil supplement as well. To keep your puppy in a fantastic healthy condition it is important to have the following on hand: Protexin - for stomach upsets, Mobiflex – to keep his joints in optimal condition, Efazol/Mirracote and/or Coconut oil – to keep his coat in optimal condition. Blue ear solution (recipe included) to keep their ears clean and free from infection.
Always supply him with big bones and toys that are suitable for chewing, especially around 4 months of age, when they lose their puppy teeth. We have found that the BIG Ostrich bones that you find at the VET shops are much safer than smaller bones for them to chew.  Chewing is important for hounds to keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean. 

BREEDING
Basset hounds are one of the most difficult breeds to breed. We sell all our pet puppies with a spay/neuter contract. We do not condone “backyard breeding”. We want to make sure that only the best specimens are used for future breeding, to improve the breed. 
The decision to breed your dog is one that must be considered carefully and researched thoroughly before moving into action. Some people believe that breeding will make their bitch happier or that it is an easy way to make money – you will be surprised at how little you’ll actually make. Unfortunately, indiscriminate breeding only worsens the rampant problem of pet overpopulation, as well as putting a considerable dent in your pocket. As for the bitch the entire process from mating through to whelping is not an easy one and will put your pet under considerable stress. Last, but not least, consider whether or not you have the means to care for an entire litter of pups. Without a reputation in the field, your attempts to sell the pups might be unsuccessful. Be prepared to be available 24/7 for the first 4 weeks. If you are not prepared to put in lots of time, effort, money, sleepless nights, love and attention into rearing the puppies and taking care of the mum, you should not be breeding your Basset.

Feel free to contact us with any more questions that you might have regarding the breed.

The information in this document was compiled by Destiny Basset hounds and may not be copied.


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