Big floppy ears and huge, innocent-looking eyes make it hard to say no to a basset hound. This lovable breed of dog has plenty to offer owners as a household pet. However, prospective owners should research the health and behavioral problems common to bassets before deciding to make one their pet. Bassets are prone to a few congenital issues and some that might come develop later in life.
Bassets are generally loyal and friendly towards people, but they can develop undesirable personality traits if they aren't treated properly by their owner. While physically abusing a dog is never the right decision, going too easy on a basset can create problems, too. If you let your basset get away with whatever he wants, like giving him treats whenever he begs, then your hound will consider himself the dominant pack member of the household, according to the Daily Drool website. This mentality is accompanied by an attitude shift that makes the dog more likely to be overly persistent or even aggressive toward humans.
Bassets are notoriously stubborn compared with other breeds. While this trait can be endearing at times, it is a nuisance when attempting to adjust a basset's behaviors. They key to potty-training your basset or teaching him any other specific behaviors is to be patient and consistent. Teach your hound to come, sit and react to other basic commands by giving him a treat every single time you give the verbal signal. Keep the pattern as consistent as possible during the weeks or months it takes to train him to respond immediately. It is a good idea to reward him occasionally even after the training period is over to reinforce the behavior.
Basset hounds are genetically prone to eye problems that stem from glaucoma, which is caused by internal pressure against eye tissue and nerves. The basset breed is particularly vulnerable to the hereditary form of this condition, called primary glaucoma, according to Golden Gate Basset Rescue. Glaucoma can permanently cripple the dog's vision after he suffers for months or years in severe pain. The problem may impact only one eye at first, but hounds with hereditary glaucoma tend to develop it in both eyes eventually. Bassets can also suffer from the nonhereditary form of glaucoma caused by a misalignment in the ocular tissue.
Other Health Concerns
Glaucoma isn't the basset's only hereditary health problem. The basset is one of several breeds that suffer from Von Willebrand's Disease, which hinders normal blood clotting. Bassets with Von Willebrand's bleed excessively from otherwise minor injuries, which can be alarming for their owners. Bassets occasionally have stomach and bone problems, including gastric torsion, joint growth disorder and kneecap displacement.
- basset hound image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com