Believe it or not, the long held belief that Bassets are dumb is not true. They don’t waste energy on anything and are easily distracted by scents, but hey, that’s what they are bred for. When you measure dogs according to instinctive intelligence, then Bassets are right up there with the rest of the Einsteins. In fact they rank at 71 on the Dog Intelligence list.
- The Basset Hounds’ height, ears, and wrinkles all contribute to their excellent sense of smell. Their proximity to the ground puts them closer to the scent, their ears funnel the scent molecules in to the nose and their wrinkles trap them, so that the Basset can process all the relevant information.
- The Basset’s name literally means “low-set hound”. Originating in France, the French monks at the abbey of St. Hubert developed the St. Hubert Hound for its powerful sense of smell. Eventually the breed split into the Bloodhound and the Basset. It is a mutation in the basset line which created the short legged dog that we know today. The French word “bas” means low.
- What they lack in height, they make up for in heft. The average height ranges from 28 – 38cm, whereas their weight ranges from 18 to 36kgs.
- Only the Bloodhound beats them for sense of smell. Bassets have over 220 million smell receptors (compared to our measly 5 million), and the portion of their brains responsible for the sense of smell is 40 times bigger than ours.
- Their ears and eyes need to be closely monitored for infection, regular cleaning is important.