1. The name “basset” means “low”
The French word “bas,” meaning “low,” is where the word “basset” comes from. The suffix -et in French translates to “rather” or “very,” emphasizing how low this breed is to the ground. Breeders intended the short-legged basset hounds to be smaller and lower than typical hounds because their short stature makes them more effective hunting companions when pursuing small game like rabbits.
2. Basset hounds were bred to hunt in packs
Basset hounds were designed not only to hunt small game, but to do it in packs. Through teamwork, basset hounds hunting together in a pack can more easily drive a rabbit or other prey out from cover.
3. Basset hounds’ floppy ears help their scent trailing
Basset hound’s floppy ears also serve a practical purpose. Bassets have one of the best senses of smell of all breeds (second only to bloodhounds), and their ears have a lot to do with it. When a basset hound tracks its prey, its ears sweep the scent up toward the dog’s nose. The loose skin at the basset hound’s throat, aka the dewlap, also helps trap the scent to amplify the dog’s already powerful olfactory ability.
4. Marilyn Monroe owned a basset hound
One of Monroe’s most well-known canines was Hugo, a basset hound who belonged to Monroe and Arthur Miller during their marriage. The dog even appeared in several photos with the couple.
5. Basset hounds are technically dwarves
All basset hounds have achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism in humans and sometimes dogs, that’s characterized by genetically abnormal bone and cartilage growth.
6. Basset hounds are corporate mascots
One of the most iconic basset hounds in pop culture is the logo for Hush Puppies shoes. Early in the brand’s development, a salesman learned that hush puppies, the fried cornball, were named so because hunters fed them to their hounds to keep them quiet. The salesmen connected that etymology and the idiom of “barking dogs” to mean tired, aching feet. The shoes, originally called Lasers, were renamed Hush Puppies.