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European vs American Basset Hound: The Main Differences (With Pictures)

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

European vs American Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are an iconic dog breed that many people around the world love. But did you know they are classified into two different breeds? Meet both the European and American Basset Hound! Second only to the Bloodhound when it comes to their scenting abilities, these dogs are wrinkly, howling, amazing companions. Originally bred in Belgium and France, these dogs were bred to be low to the ground so they could be the ideal hunting partner. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two breeds, which aren’t many, so you can better decide which Basset should become part of your family.

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Visual Differences

European vs American Basset Hound side by side
Image Credit: (L) andreac77, Shutterstock | (R) Jumpstory

At a Glance

European Basset Hound
  • Average height (adult): Up to 15 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 75 pounds or more
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent and stubborn with a one-track mind
American Basset Hound
  • Average height (adult): Up to 15 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 40–80 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, independent, and easily distracted

European Basset Hound Overview

While the European and American Basset Hound are basically the same dog breed, there are a few physical characteristics that distinguish them from one another. The biggest is their wrinkles. The European Basset Hound has more than the American version. European Bassets are also slightly bigger and have a droopier expression thanks to the added wrinkles.

Two european basset hounds
Image Credit: Jne Valokuvaus, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

The European Basset Hound is regal and aristocratic. At least, that’s the way they look. Inside these stout little bodies is a loving canine with a warm personality. While this breed was once used for hunting, and the prey drive is still intact, Bassets have adjusted well to life as a companion. They are loyal, good with all members of the family, and even get along well with other pets in the home. You’ll find that although a little hefty, these dogs can make any size living area their home.

Exercise

The European Basset Hound loves to lay around, and of course, eat. With this breed being prone to obesity they must stay active. They’ll need at least an hour of activity per day. This can be long walks around the neighborhood, a bit of playtime in the backyard, or even a rousing game of fetch in the house. Without mental stimulation, your European Basset Hound may get into trouble around the home. It’s up to you to ensure their needs are met.

basset hound dog tracks a scent
Image Credit: Images by Dr. Alan Lipkin, Shutterstock

Training

The European Basset Hound isn’t the easiest dog to train. Yes, they are very intelligent dogs, but they are also very stubborn. You’ll also find they have a one-track mind. When training these dogs it’s best to keep sessions short. Treats and positive reinforcement also go a long way when trying to convince a Basset they need to do what you ask.

Health & Care

The European Basset Hound has more wrinkles than the American version so they will require more care. Being prone to skin and ear infections, these dogs will need to be bathed at least every 2 weeks. Special attention should be paid to their wrinkles, folds, and ears between bath times. To avoid painful infections, check your Basset’s wrinkles daily and clean their ears at least twice a week. They should also be brushed once or twice a week to help cut down on any shedding. However, with their short, smooth coats, this isn’t a major issue.

European Basset Hounds also need their daily needs met. If they aren’t, these vocal dogs will let you know. Offer your pooch high-quality dog food but be mindful of overfeeding as they are prone to obesity. They’ll also need access to fresh water, proper exercise, and veterinarian checkups. To stay on top of their dental health, brush their teeth daily using a dog-safe toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush.

Unfortunately, like all purebred dogs, European Basset Hounds may have inherited health problems owners should be aware of. Here’s a look at the most common ailments this breed is known to suffer from.

  • Glaucoma
  • Entropion and ectropion
  • Gastric torsion or bloat
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Patellar luxation at birth
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
european Basset Hound puppies
Image Credit: Anna Tronova, Shutterstock

Suitable for: Anyone with Patience

The European Basset Hound makes a great pet for families, singles, and the elderly. The key with these dogs is having the patience required to train them thanks to their stubborn streak. If you have the time to devote to training, these dogs make great friends that will happily be by your side.

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American Basset Hound Overview

Although it isn’t known when the separation between the European and American Basset Hound took place, we do know there aren’t many differences between the two. While the European Basset is known for having more wrinkles and a slightly larger size when it comes to personality and care, these dogs are identical.

Basset Hound dog
Image Credit: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

Basset Hounds are known for being gentle and friendly. They love their owners but don’t expect them to be overly affectionate. They’ll let you know in their own way. If you have kids in the home, you’re in for a real treat. These dogs do great with children and enjoy playing from time to time. Make sure you have time to spend with your hound, however. If not, you may notice a bit of yowling and barking to let you know they aren’t happy.

Exercise

American Basset Hounds aren’t the most active dogs around. Like their European counterparts, they do require at least an hour of exercise a day. While this can be achieved with walks and playtime, you could consider putting their historic noses to the test. Scent work is a great way to get a bit of activity out of your Basset and have a little fun while you’re at it.

basset hound dogs running on the road
Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

Training

The intelligence of Basset Hounds can’t be denied. However, they aren’t the easiest students when it comes to training. You’ll need to be on top of your game to ensure you keep their attention. Keep your sessions short so your Basset doesn’t get bored. With their love of food, treats are the best way to coax your pooch into taking part. Be mindful of overfeeding, however.

Health & Care

The American Basset Hound doesn’t have as many wrinkles as the European but what they do have requires the same attention. You should check their folds daily and bathe them every 2 weeks. You’ll also need to stay on top of ear cleaning, provide brushing at least twice a week, brush its teeth, and follow your veterinarian’s guidelines for a healthy diet.

Unfortunately, the American Basset Hound suffers from the same inherited health issues as their European counterparts. To stay on top of any issues and provide your pooch with a happy, healthy life, make sure you start veterinarian visits young and continue on the suggested schedule.

Basset Hound Portrait outside in the fall
Image Credit: Victoria Rak, Shutterstock

Suitable for: All Families Open to Proper Care

The American Basset Hound is a great companion to have. Anyone wanting to bring one of these dogs into their home must be prepared to provide the care they need, however. Staying on top of skin and ear care, while being patient during training is a must. If this is you, this could be the perfect addition to your family.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

There are no major differences between the European and American Basset Hound other than a few wrinkles. If you have the patience needed for training and the perseverance to stay on top of their health needs, either of these breeds would be great additions to your home and family.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: (L) TrapezaStudio, Shutterstock | (R) Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

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