The Bassett Hound is a short-legged, long-bodied, heavy-boned hound that looks something like a low version of a Bloodhound. The head is large with a rounded skull and pronounced occiput. The plane of the muzzle is parallel to the top of the skull. The skin is loose fitting and falls in folds on the head. The velvety ears are very long and should meet beyond the tip of the nose. They should fold and not appear flat. The large teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite. The lips hang down with loose flews. The sad brown eyes should show prominent haw. The expression should be kindly without any harshness. The Basset has a very pronounced dewlap. His chest is very deep and extends in front of the forelegs. The topline is straight, and the tail slightly curved and carried gaily. The paws are big and the hindquarters round. Dewclaws may be removed. The dog's movement should be deliberate, but not clumsy.
Some sources suggest the Basset Hound may have originated from genetic dwarf dogs present in litters of other types of French hunting hounds. The name comes from the French word bas, meaning "low." An excellent scenthound, the Basset has been successfully used to hunt deer, fox, rabbit, and game birds. The Basset Hound can hunt in packs or alone. The breed's low build is particularly useful in dense cover. His slow pace is convenient for hunters on foot and keeps game from being scared out of reach. The Basset's nose is almost as outstanding as the Bloodhound's. George Washington might have owned Basset Hounds, given to him by Lafayette after the American Revolution. The breed was first registered with the AKC in 1885.