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The Basset Hound is a chunky, short-legged breed of dog of the hound family, which hunts by scent or sight. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset derives from the French word "bas" meaning "low" or "dwarf".
These dogs are around 33 - 38 cm in height. They have smooth, short-haired coats and are generally tricolour - black, white and tan, red (sometimes called marmalade) and white or less commonly lemon and white. They have long, low-set ears and powerful necks, with much loose skin round their heads which forms wrinkles. Their tails are long and tapering, and stand upright with a curve. The breed is also known for its hanging skin structure which causes the face have a permanent sad look on it; this, for many people, adds to the breed's charm. The loose, elastic skin around the neck is thought to help "catch" the scent of what they are tracking.
Basset Hounds are placid, but tenacious, dogs and companionable, having been bred to hunt in packs. However, they should be trained in recall, as the breed has a strong hunting instinct and will give chase or follow a scent if they get one.
Basset Hounds are an old, aristocratic breed of French lineage. and the first known reference to the breed was in 1585.