Basset Hounds are known for their sad-looking faces and great sense of smell, which is second only to the bloodhound. Many people also know them for their floppy ears, their short legs, and their sometimes stubborn nature, but here are eight facts you may not know about Basset Hounds.
1. Bassets are Descendants of the St. Hubert Hound
Basset Hounds came about in France and were developed by French monks at the abbey of St. Hubert who were looking to develop a breed with a powerful sense of smell. Therefore, the St. Hubert Hound was originally created. Eventually, this breed branched off. While one line became the bloodhound, a mutation in another line of the St. Hubert Hound created a short-legged or dwarf hound, which is now known as the Basset Hound. This breed got its name because of its close proximity to the ground. The French word “bas” means low. Therefore, the name basically means “low-set hound.”
2. Bassets Were Created with Specific Physical Characteristics in Mind
There are many characteristics that make Bassets the ideal dog for their early purpose of hunting. The dog’s thick coat and bulky body protect it from being scratched or otherwise hurt by bushes or other items they may encounter while traveling through the woods following a trail. Their close proximity to the ground makes it easier for them to stay on the trail of whatever animal they are tracking. Their long ears stir up the scent, and the loose skin around the dog’s face helps to trap the scent. While Bassets have great stamina, their short legs do not allow them to travel very fast for long, so their slow speed allowed their early hunting companions to follow the dogs on foot rather than requiring the use of horses.
3. You Can Thank the Basset Hound for Your Hush Puppies Shoes’ Name
The Hush Puppies shoe brand got its inspiration from the hush puppies food. The food received its name because farmers and hunters would throw the Southern cornballs to their barking and howling Basset Hounds to quiet the dogs. In 1958, James Gaylord Muir, the company’s first sales manager, came up with the shoe brand’s name while on a selling trip in the Southeastern United States. He heard the story of the food’s origin. As “barking dogs” were another name for sore feet, Muir said people could, “quiet their barking dogs” with these shoes. The Basset Hound continues to be the shoe brand’s mascot.
4. A Baby Basset Hound Was on the February 27, 1928 Cover of Time Magazine
The February 27, 1928 issue of Time had a picture of a baby Basset Hound. The story inside told about the 52nd Annual Dog Show of the Westminster Kennel Club from the dog’s perspective. After being featured in Time, the popularity of the Basset Hound continued to increase.
5. Assorted Coloring is Acceptable
Unlike some dog breeds, which have strict standards about the dog’s coloring, Basset Hounds come in a variety of color combinations. Although they do come in several color combinations, Basset Hounds are either tri-colored or bi-colored. Tri-colored black, white, and tan are the most common, but other combinations such as black and white, brown and white, or red and white are also examples of accepted Basset Hound color combinations. While it is not the case with all Bassets, many Basset Hound’s tails have a white tip. This makes it easier for hunters to see their dogs when it is tracking in tall grass or other areas where the dog’s short frame otherwise disappears beneath the underbrush.
6. Elvis Presley Sang to a Basset Hound Named Sherlock on Television
While Elvis Presley did not write the song, and he was not the first person to sing it, he is the one best-known for singing “Hound Dog.” During a June 5, 1956 appearance on the Milton Berle Show, Elvis sang the song, dance moves and all. At the time, Elvis’ dance moves were considered by some to be “suggestive and vulgar.” Despite the controversy over his moves, the song was a hit.
Less than a month later, on July 1, Elvis was invited to appear on the Steve Allen Show. This time, he sang “Hound Dog” to a top hat-wearing Basset Hound names Sherlock, who showed no real sign of interest in the singer’s song. Even though Elvis said it was a ridiculous and embarrassing appearance, ratings were high, and he recorded his hit “Hound Dog” the next day.
7. There Are Many Shows with Basset Hound Characters
There are several television shows, both animated and live-action, which have Basset Hounds as characters. A great example from classic television is Flash from “The Dukes of Hazard.” Flash was Sheriff Rosco Coltrane’s dog. Like the stereotypical Basset Hound, Flash lazed around a lot and rarely moved if there was not food involved.
A more modern example of a Basset Hound on Doris from “The Middle.” Although Doris only appears in a few episodes sporadically throughout the series, she is a unique and memorable dog. She wears an oxygen mask, because of emphysema from second-hand smoke. She also has to wear a diaper and be transported around in a wagon. Of course, these are just two examples of Basset Hounds on television.
8. Basset Hounds and Circus Clowns Have a Lot in Common
Okay, maybe that is not really a fact, but the Basset Hounds in this video sure were able to squeeze quite a few dogs into a small space, much like circus clowns squeezing into a tiny car. Plus, both clowns and Basset Hounds are great for a good laugh. The people in charge of Basset Hounds Running, a site dedicated to fun photos and videos of running Bassets, understand this well.