Why that funky body style? Are they all loveable?

 

Question:

What are basset hounds good for?

 

Dr. Nichol:

That depends on who’s asking and why. Originally Bassets were bred to hunt rabbits. Their short legs allowed them to get into small places like rabbit holes. They are really tenacious hunters. Once they’re on a scent they are be oblivious to everything-all the while howling their little brains out.

 

But that’s their original purpose. What are they good for in contemporary American culture? I asked Basset owners in my family and others who I know well. They’re good as pillows for toddlers, ball players for kids of all ages, and providers of the unconditional love that make them man’s best friend. That says a lot for a breed which, I must add, enjoys great lifelong health in most cases. But there’s an important caveat to any generalization on pure breeds. We tend to talk of them as though they are all alike. But they’re not like automobiles rolling off an assembly line. There are lots of individual differences between dogs of the same breed. I have known a few Bassets who are biters. There have also been some who bark or slobber to the point of causing their owners to ask: “What are Bassets Hounds good for?” I’ll let you make your own decision. In my life I’ve scarcely met one I didn’t like.