Harold and Maude the Bassett Hounds

Harold and Maude were a Hollywood pair,
but as dogs with long ears they still make us stare.

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(in order L to R) Maude and Harold came to our Rocklin Roseville clinic for their shots and were a riot. Notice who well these two demonstrate the Basset characteristics: very short and turned out legs, a copious dewlap, the longest ears in town and the large dolichocephalic nose which houses the astonishing array of olfactory receptors for which Bassets are famous. Basset Hounds are long and low scent hounds bred in France for the purpose of hunting rabbit or hare. (Bas is French for ‘low’) The exceedingly short legs are the intentional result of breeding which has favored the genetic condition of Osteochondroplasia or Achondroplasia which is reduced bone and cartilage growth. Bassets share this trait with the Dachshund breed which, as we know is smaller, equally short and has the characteristic turned out or twisted looking front legs common to both. Short legs not withstanding, the Basset Hound has a superb sense of smell which is second only to that of the Blood Hound. The Basset is essentially a scent processing machine with 215,000,000 more scent receptors than a human and olfactory bulbs which are 40 X the size of those in the human brain! Those comically large ears serve a dual purpose as they not only protect the ear from intrusion of foreign material like burrs and foxtails, but are also instrumental in stirring up and collecting faint scents found on the ground. Basset Hounds make great, if not somewhat noisy, pets.

– Geoffrey Antipa


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