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France has given the United States several wonderful gifts…the Statue of Liberty, New Orleans, (some say) French Fries and…the Basset Hound! Basset Hounds are said to have originated when a genetic mutation in St. Hubert’s strain of famous hounds produced a dwarfed hound with an exceptional ability to sniff out and expose small prey. But that’s not all Basset Hounds are famous for. With those soulful eyes, big, droopy ears and distinct waddle, the Basset Hound was destined for a place in your heart—and for stardom! In 1928, Time magazine featured a Basset Hound puppy on its cover for a story about the 52nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. In 1943, Droopy debuted, an animated cartoon about a Basset Hound named “Droopy.” In 1958, the Hush Puppies shoe brand was born with a Basset Hound named Jason as its logo. In 1963, the “Fred Basset” comic strip about a male Basset Hound was first published. And in 1980, “Sad Sam” and “Honey,” the adorable, sad-eyed, stuffed Basset Hound-like pups, bounded into children’s home across the world. What an amazing testament to this lovable hunter/house dog!

With its short legs, wrinkled brow, sad eyes, big nose, droopy ears and clownish demeanor, it’s no wonder the Basset Hound is one of the world’s most iconic dog breeds. But form definitely follows function for this charming pup! Originating in 6th-century France, the Basset Hound is thought to be a descendant of the famous hounds of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, who wanted to develop a hound similar to the Bloodhound. Many believe the Basset Hound is the result of a genetic mutation in the St. Hubert strain, which produced a dwarfed hound with an exceptional scenting ability and hunting instinct. The Basset Hound’s low-set form and plodding pace proved useful in driving small prey from dense cover into open terrain for hunters on foot. Its record-setting long ears also drag the ground picking up scents, which the loose skin around its head then captures for tracking purposes. The Basset Hound’s large nose, meanwhile, has nearly 20 million scent receptors compared with our 5 million. That means the Basset Hound can absorb many subtle odors at once, yet zero in on one and follow it through. Now that’s one productive pooch! But Basset Hounds are just as comfortable lounging around the house as they are on the hunt. Loving and laid-back, they make delightful family pets, if you don’t mind a bit of stubbornness, howling and drool!