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Basset Hound:eyes that take your breath away!

If you have seen that cute brand ambassador of Hush Puppies, then I am sure you will never forget those soulful eyes and the long droopy ears. Yes, I am talking about the Basset Hound. ABasset Hound is a dog you can never forget. His soulful eyes, the droopy look, wrinkled face, ears touching the ground, nose sniffing, all make him very special and different. A dog who brings out compassion and love at the same time! Contrary to his sad look, he is a comical dog. He will make you laugh even at the toughest times. He can become that special family member whom your children will love and adore and who will adore your children as well.

“With his guileless disposition, soulful eyes and comical ways, the Basset, is one of the real characters of the dog world. The expression of the Basset would melt even hard-hearted person’s heart. They have an ability to put on a smile on people’s face. Everyday, when I go for the morning walk with my Bassets and my Dachshunds, people stop by and cars slow down, just to get a glimpse of my Bassets and their faces are all lit up. It makes my day!” shares Mr. Padmachandran of Chennai, a proud owner of Basset Hounds.

The general appearance

A Basset Hound is a long, low-slung, heavy-boned scent hound bred for hunting small game, primarily rabbits. His long ears were developed to stir up ground scent for his large nose to smell. The folds of skin under his chin are useful for trapping and holding the scent. His large feet give him steadiness and his heavy bone makes him sturdy.

According to Mr. Padmachandran, “Till about four weeks, the growth of a Basset puppy is quiet symmetrical. The ears of the Basset starts growing at a faster rate between the fourth to the eighth week, as result, they trip over their ears, hence after a while they stick the neck up to avoid falling and while moving in pack they look like the elephants moving around in the movie “The Jungle Book.“ Believe me, it’s a sight to behold!”

The Basset Hound has the head of a bloodhound and the body of a Dachshund. He has a fat body but short legs. His bones are heavier than other breeds of the same size. You will love and laugh to see him move. His movement is humorous and slow, but not clumsy. A lovely and amusing household pet for people with a good sense of humour!

Bassets are considered a medium-sized breed, although a male Basset can weigh (23-29 kg)! Females generally weigh (20-27 kg). The average height of dogs is 12-15 inches while that for females is 11-14 inches.

Temperament

Although the Basset Hound is mild, but sometimes he can be as stubborn as a bull. According to Mr. Padmachandran, “He is mild, never sharp or timid. He is enduring and is extreme in his devotion. He is perhaps best known for the lovable nature which led him to be dubbed ‘the armchair clown’.” Basset Hounds have a very deep bark and have a tendency to howl. Mr. Padmachandran gives a word of caution that in case you are living in an apartment, this could disturb your neighbours, especially the old people. “Given the opportunity, the Basset Hound is a potential wanderer. One sniff at an interesting scent and away he goes, nose to the ground and tail aloft, apparently oblivious to anything or anybody. Because he does have a stubborn streak, the Basset requires firm but sympathetic handling. The Basset is a “big dog on short legs” and he is extremely strong and heavy for his height and should not be considered by owners who want a small dog,” adds Mr. Padmachandran.

The Basset Hound is among the most good-natured and easygoing of breeds. Basset Hounds are quite social. But, they have a laid-back attitude, which makes them look lazy, but they can sweep you off your feet when they get kinky.

Absolutely obedient and devoted to his master, he makes a wonderful family companion. They adore children as much as they are adored by them. They are very tolerant; however, we must be careful that children do not injure them.

“At home, the ?Basset will assume his subtle manner of “ruling the roost.” He refuses to accept the fact that he is a dog by devious methods. He can affect poor hearing when he doesn’t want to obey or pretend to sleep so soundly that you do not have the heart to disturb him. But his alertness miraculously returns if you open the refrigerator door ever so stealthily. He is a built-in babysitter, an ideal family pet. A Basset needs firm convincing that his big, brown eyes will get him nowhere. But first convince yourself of this, if you can. He will do his best to outmanoeuvre you to gain his own way, and he will make you like it. You need only one Basset to fill the house with laughter,” says Mr. Padmachandran.

Upkeep

Bassets are easy to maintain. Regular brushing will keep the shedding to a minimum. Except for ears and drool, the Basset is an easy care pet. His short coat repels dirt and water and needs minimal brushing to remove loose hair and dirt. He needs few baths and appreciates rubdowns with a coarse cloth or glove. According to Ms. Tejinder Sidhu, “One needs to be careful with the ears. Each time they are fed, I put a rubber band and after every meal their faces are cleaned. I even clean his ears after every walk.”

Health

Although he is generally healthy, the Basset is susceptible to ear infections, glaucoma, obesity, gastric torsion etc. His long back predisposes him to disc problems and can cause problems if he is overweight, out of condition, or jumps on and off furniture. Like other deep-chested breeds, Bassets should be fed twice a day throughout their lives to minimize chances of bloat.

They should have a daily walk and a moderate diet to avoid the problems that can come with overweight.

Bring up your Basset with kindness, patience and affection and your world will be a brighter place because of him!

(Inputs by Mr. Padmachandran-Chennai (www.padpranpark.com) and Ms. Tejinder Sidhu – Gurgaon.)