The Basset Hound is, as its name suggests, one of the scent hound dogs that were specifically bred for hunting hares. They are among the six recognized types of bassets in France.
When it comes to their life expectancy, the average lifespan of a Basset Hound is eight to twelve years. However, some Basset Hounds can live up to seventeen years if given proper care and regular exercise.
Basset Hounds are prone to common health issues found in dogs, such as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), elbow dysplasia, and gastric torsion. But more on that later.
The Basset Hound is a small dog of various colors with a large body, long back and ears, and short legs.
They have a great ability to track and scent the ground for clues of prey, making them ideal hunting companions.
Basset Hounds come second in their ability to track and smell prey, right after the Bloodhound.
In this article, we will provide all you need to know about the lifespan of the Basset Hound dog breed.
On top of that, we will go over the most common health problems and what you can do to make your Basset Hound live longer and happier.
But, before we dive deeper into the subject, let’s learn more about these funny-looking dogs.
More about the breed
Basset Hounds come from as far back as the 1500s when pre-revolutionary French hunters were using low slung, heavy-bodied hounds to trail rabbits.
In fact, the word “bas” is French for “low,” befitting the bassed hound’s stature. The modern Basset Hound comes from French dogs that were bred in the United Kingdom in the late 1800s.
Bassets were picked not only for their outstanding scenting skills but also because hunters could easily keep up with these slow-paced dogs.
Not only were these pups useful in hunting rabbits and hares but also tracking larger wounded game. In the United States, Basset Hounds quickly moved on from hunting dogs to family pets.
Basset Hounds are friendly, laid-back, and easygoing dogs. They tend to get along well with other dogs and pets in general. They are also people-oriented and get along great with children.
These dogs are fairly smart but can be quite hard to train as they can be somewhat stubborn. A firm but patient hand with plenty of creativity is needed to bring out the best in them.
Bassets can be serious barkers, and with their sturdy nails and feet, they can dig for hours! Their hunting urge is still quite strong, and if not safely confined, they tend to go off hunting on their own.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) and its breed standard for these pups, the Basset Hound should possess in marked degree traits that will equip it to follow a trail over and through difficult terrain.
The Basset hound is a short-legged dog, heavier in bone than any other dog breed. And, while its movement is deliberate, it is in no sense clumsy.
In temperament, a Basset is mild, never timid or sharp. Bassets are capable of great endurance in the field and are extreme in their devotion.
The lifespan of a Basset Hound
The Bloodhound is a type of large scent hound in the hound family. They were commonly used for hunting deer and boars into old age. The average life expectancy of Basset Hounds is quite similar to other medium-large-sized dogs.
As we mentioned earlier, the average lifespan of Basset Hounds is eight to twelve years. Most dogs of this breed die due to aging and common health issues such as OCD, elbow dysplasia, and gastric torsion.
Some Basset Hound owners state that their dogs have been with them for up to seventeen years! This is five years more than their average lifespan. So, how is this possible?
Well, many factors come into play when we look at the average lifespan of any dog breed and Basset Hounds as well. Read on, and we will explain all the elements that affect the life expectancy of the Basset Hound dog.
The lifespan of Basset Hounds: factors that determine their life expectancy
Canines are not born to be the same. Some of them live longer while others are with us for a shorter time. The lifespan of dogs depends on many factors.
Let’s go over some of the factors to help you figure out how long your Basset Hound is expected to live.
The lifespan of Basset Hounds can be affected by the following factors:
• Family history
• Nutritional diet
• Regular exercise
• Emotional connection and mental health.
Knowing the history of your Basset Hound puppy is one of the best ways to determine how long your dog will live.
You can find out information about your pup’s parents from the breeder who sold it to you. Generally speaking, a dog will have a pretty similar life expectancy to its parents.
Breeders usually maintain a proper history of their dogs. They can help you out in determining how long your Basset Hound will be with you.
Also, breeders can tell you what genetic disorders run in the dog’s family. This way, you can be prepared for any problems your pup might encounter later in life.
It has been proven time and time again that a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet can help a dog live longer than its average lifespan.
Here we’ll give you the example of “Bramble.” Bramble was one of the oldest Border Collie dogs that ever lived, and he died at the age of 26.
Now, what is fascinating about this is that his owner claims she only gave him a bowl of vegan food in the evening once a day.
This means that Bramble was a purely vegetarian dog. Shocking, isn’t it?
While we do not know for sure whether or not this is true, there is no reason to doubt it. However, this might be a one-of-a-kind case, and you shouldn’t follow this example without consulting your veterinarian.
You can also check with your veterinarian what human foods are safe for your pooch to eat. For example, foods such as durian, tuna, edamame, artichokes, and papaya can be given to our dogs to supplement their diet.
However, some dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients, so make sure you are on top of your dog’s allergies before introducing any new food into its diet.
Regular, proper, and adequate exercise is one of the most important factors that can influence the Basset Hound lifespan.
Nearly all pets, dogs especially, require some type of exercise or activity to stretch their legs and get their blood flowing to keep them physically and mentally active.
Therefore, it is crucial to take your Basset hound for a walk and exercise them daily.
Make playtime interesting by introducing some scent-based games. After all, Basset Hounds are scent hounds and will excel at any smell-based task you throw at them.
Emotional connection and mental health
Like humans, dogs also need mental stimulation and emotional attachment to live longer.
This is why mental health and emotional connection are two crucial factors in determining the Basset Hound lifespan.
Just imagine feeling alone and unloved. It would suck, wouldn’t it? It would probably make you stressed out or depressed.
Well, the same goes for our canine companions. If it becomes emotionally attached to you and your family, it will push itself to spend more time by your side.
The life expectancy of Basset Hounds: how to improve it
We went over some of the factors that can influence your dog’s lifespan. Now, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to improve it.
Make sure your pup is a good weight
It is important for dogs, especially Basset Hounds, to maintain a proper weight. Weigh your dog frequently and make sure his weight is in a healthy range.
Below is a healthy weight range of a full-grown Basset Hound:
• Male: 51–64 pounds (23–29 kg)
• Female: 44–60 pounds (20–27 kg)
Remember that obesity can be the biggest problem for this breed that shortens their lifespan. Due to their short height and longer backs, these pups suffer from being overweight more than some other dog breeds.
You should aim to provide a balanced, healthy, and nutritious diet to your dog and ensure regular exercise to prevent it from becoming overweight.
Provide high-quality dog food
A healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet is among the most important factors when it comes to improving the lifespan of your Basset Hound.
Try to avoid feeding your pup cheap dog food because it is often made from low-quality ingredients and does not contain sufficient nutrients.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should force your dog to eat dog food that it doesn’t like. Experiment with a few different high-quality foods and see what your pup likes best.
Keep in mind that a healthy diet is perhaps the most important thing your pup should have if you wish to improve its life expectancy.
If you find a food brand that is healthy and nutritious, and your dog gladly munches it up, we recommend sticking with it.
If you think you should replace it with another brand, do so gradually so your pup has time to adjust.
Provide proper health care
Taking proper care of your dog will also enhance its lifespan. Regular visits to the vet are important to catch all the disorders that might affect your dog early on.
Always be careful about your pooch’s health because it can directly influence the amount of time you will have with it. Good dental health can also contribute to a longer lifespan in dogs.
Keeping your dog’s gums and teeth clean will prevent wounds and oral pain. If your dog has sores in its mouth, bacteria and plaque can enter the bloodstream, which can lead to more serious problems.
Are Basset Hounds healthy dogs?
Apart from some health conditions, which we will discuss below, Basset Hounds are generally healthy dogs.
However, every breed has some genetic disorders that they can inherit sooner or later in life, and Basset Hounds are no exception.
Some of the most common health problems a Basset Hound could face are the following:
• Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
• Elbow dysplasia
• Gastric torsion
• Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD)
• Hip dysplasia
• Ear and eye infections
• Intervertebral disc disease
• Luxating patella
• Osteochondritis Dissecans
Osteochondritis dissecans is a rather painful joint disorder more commonly found in large dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers.
However, even small breeds like Bassets can be susceptible to this ailment.
OCD is a condition in which small pieces of cartilage break off and float freely in the joint, and to make matters worse, the cartilage grows continuously and doesn’t die.
This leads to a build-up of fluids around the joint, which causes inflammation, irritation, and swelling of nerves. Because of this painful condition, the growing and free-floating cartilage are called “joint mice.”
Gastric torsion is known by many other names, such as twisted stomach, bloat, or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. There are typically two parts to this disorder.
The first part is the bloating of the stomach. When this happens, the stomach fills up with a mixture of fluid, gases, and froth resulting in a far greater size of the stomach than usual.
This bloating usually leads to the second part of the condition, which is torsion. With torsion, the stomach becomes twisted inside the abdomen like a sausage with the exit and entrance closing.
Bloating and torsion can occur both simultaneously or one after the other. The main effect of this disorder is difficulty breathing.
And, in the worst-case scenario, it can lead to the shutting down of vital organs due to the stomach being oversized.
Elbow dysplasia is a condition in which the joints of the dog’s elbow develop abnormally. This is explicitly related to the growth of cartilage and abnormal structures around it.
These abnormalities are called “primary lesions,” which can lead to numerous other joint disorders.
Like elbow dysplasia, this condition also affects the joints, but, in this case, the hips of your pup.
Hip dysplasia can cause arthritis in the joints or lameness due to abnormal bone growth.
Obesity is one of the most common problems found in the Basset Hound breed. Due to their short legs and lengthy structure in the width of the body, these pups tend to gain weight more quickly.
According to a 2018 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), a staggering 56% of pet canines in the United States are overweight.
Obesity itself leads to some severe health concerns for your Basset. If allowed to become overweight, your pup could face arthritis, diabetes, and some heart diseases, which would shorten its overall lifespan.
Von Willebrand’s disease (VWD)
VWD is a genetic disorder caused by a defective or missing von Willebrand factor (VWF). VWF is a clotting protein. It binds the key clotting protein VIII needed for a platelet plug during the clotting process.
The condition is named after the Finnish physician Erik von Willebrand, who was the first to study this disorder in the 1920s.
Entropion is a medical condition related to your dog’s eyes. It happens when a dog’s eyelids roll inwards, and because of this, hairs on the surface of the eyelid rub against the eye’s cornea.
This leads to perforations, corneal ulcers, pain, and the development of pigments on the cornea that interfere with your pooch’s vision.
This is most likely an inherited condition and is rather difficult to diagnose without blood tests. This condition is the result of the Basset Hound’s body not producing enough of the hormones T3 and T4, which control the metabolism.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
IDD is more of a preventive disease caused by age or trauma and is due to the Basset supporting a long spine.
This condition means that a spinal disc has herniated or ruptured in your pup’s back.
Luxating patella is usually an inherited disease. It happens when your pup’s kneecap moves or dislocates from its normal location.
If this occurs, it usually results in a leg that will not return to its proper position.
Ear and eye infections
Adult Bassets are very prone to ear problems because their long ears retain most of the moisture and dirt they accumulate throughout the day. If untreated, the moisture and dirt will cause infections in their floppy ears.
Similarly, Basset Hounds can be susceptible to eye issues due to their droopy eyes. The area under their eyeballs can collect dirt and become filled with mucus.
Dermatitis is normally an inherited condition and, in most cases, is caused by allergies affecting your dog’s skin. This condition is extremely itchy for your pup and may result in redness or bumpy areas if left unchecked.
In worst cases, sores might develop from excessive licking and scratching of the area. Dermatitis can also increase the already high shedding levels in these dogs.
Does breeding play a role in the Basset Hound lifespan?
Yes, breeding plays a major role in a Basset’s lifespan. This is why it is always best to know that your pup comes from an ethical breeder and not one that is just breeding for profit.
Many pet stores today acquire their puppies from puppy mills, and you have no way of knowing what type of issues your new doggy might have when it reaches adulthood.
Ethical and reputable breeders adhere to best practices. This includes deciding not to continue breeding a dog that is known to have specific health issues.
Reputable breeders know their breeding dogs and understand common and inherited diseases and always try to minimize any breeding issues.
The importance of finding a reputable and ethical breeder can make a huge difference in the life expectancy of your Basset Hound.
By knowing their dogs, and the breed overall, these breeders are likely to help you pick up on any issues in the future.
Generally, those that adopt a Basset do not know the background or history of how that particular pup was bred or what type of issues it might have.
In this case, the best thing you can do is be on the lookout for symptoms of the possible conditions we listed above so that you can get your dog treated right away if an issue develops.
Basset Hound lifespan: final thoughts
Basset Hounds might have historically been capable hunting dogs, but today they are known as great family dogs.
This, however, doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their hunting prowess. It just means that people have realized that these doggies can offer so much more.
Now, we’ve seen that many things can influence the Basset Hound lifespan. From hereditary health conditions to how well we take care of them.
As owners, we can only provide them with love, proper care, and lots of kisses and hugs to make their lives with us much more enjoyable!