A wonderfully gentle and happy breed, the Basset is an intelligent and hard working scent hound. Trailing rabbits and such and indeed ﬂ ushing and retrieving if called upon to do so, his standard requires a no nonsense all weather coat and must be hard, smooth and short.
Thought to come from the French term for “low thing“, the Basset was considered an “easy keeper” as his coat generally does not require excessive maintenance or grooming. Throw that one at a Basset exhibitor and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that they do have to spend the time on their dog just the same as everyone else. Each breed seems to create their own needs.
However it is true that prior to a show the work is not as onerous as the heavier coated or longer coated breeds - the Basset owner’s tasks lie in between the shows.
The word is that there are a lot of sensitive skins on these dogs. Some lines perhaps more than others but it is generally the most asked question of all - what do I use for a sensitive skin? Well, when in doubt I guess they just avoid excessive bathing or too often, not wanting the dog to itch and scratch and as the Basset is a scent hound he does produce his own unique aroma. I hesitate to linger on this subject but it is an issue for a lot of Basset owners.
So, use Plush Puppy Sensitive Skin Shampoo diluted 3:1 (ie 3 parts water to one part shampoo) until the condition begins to clear and then dilute further down to as much as 10:1. Repeat at the stronger concentration whenever the condition reappears. It is often a number of reasons, and one cannot dismiss the misuse of disinfectant in the kennel - they can be harsh and this is a low set dog who tends to get a lot of the irritation around his feet making me suspect this as a cause. Diet is also one to consider too. This is a dog who has a few wrinkles here and there and humidity and environmental issues can be a bother to this dog. Keep on top of it before it becomes an issue.
You can alternate the Sensitive Skin Shampoo with the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which is a great shampoo for shine. Good on all the colours of the Basset - use at 5:1 for shows and dilute down as much as 10:1 for maintenance.
Don’t use conditioner on the Basset as this will soften the coat. I prefer to oil this coat with the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tbspn to 1 gallon/4.2 litres water to keep the coat texture but maintain the moisture and condition. This is so nice on the coat and skin. Work it well through - slosh it on! Don’t rinse off - leave it in the coat and allow it do it’s work. It is primarily Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula Oil and other organic niceties so all good stuff for optimal coat and skin condition. Use the oil also undiluted onto the elbows and hocks to prevent dry elbows and calluses.
There are several areas to focus on with the Basset between shows too. His long low set ears need strict cleaning. Some favour alcohol based cleanser and others don’t - we ﬁ nd an alcohol solution from a vet worksbest. The secret to keeping good healthy ears is regularity in your cleaning as this breed will often shake their ears causing haematomas. Use a snood if the ears are clean and he is still disposed to shaking his head. Snoods are not a bad idea at dinner time too.
His nails tend to be bigger and stronger than ten bears and they just hate having them done and I have seen some end up like the ones Flo-Jo sported and it’s then a case of almost having to bring out the hedge clippers. Start them off young and if the dog acts up, cover his head - like a horse with blinkers! My sister uses a sock on her Pugs but the Basset head being larger of course, you could as someone laughingly told me, use a pillow case with some kibble in the bottom and he’ll stick his head in for you! We did laugh about that as Bassets are notoriously keen on their food. I suggested a pair of panties or something just to cover his head - it seems to work for us.
Now as the Basset tends to be wilful and stubborn in most cases I recommend keeping a collar on him so as to be able to grab him when you need to - however, collars tend to cut the coats unless you use one of the new beaut Plush Puppy Coat Saver Collars that we have been using for years. This is a variation of the old sled racing collars the mushers use and work brilliantly being the only one we will keep on our top show dogs permanently. When travelling I need to be able to hook that leash on immediately when transferring dogs from the trailer and crates and my Siberians are escapologists with no recall. I must keep a collar on them and hence the adaptation of this design to suit our needs and now made available to everyone. They come in several sizes from XXXS - XL and have several other features besides the coat saving quality.
The Basset’s all weather coat doesn’t need styling products when blow drying except for when he is out of coat but I do insist you blow dry. This has the advantage of removing all dead hair that even the most rigorous brushing and grooming mitts just don’t seem to ﬁ nd and helps to roll the coat avoiding that dreaded moth eaten appearance short coats tend to get when shedding. A good strong force of cool air from a dryer such as an Oldﬁ eld or Liberty turbo type dryer does a good job. When shedding the coat should be sprayed with Plush Puppy Quick Fix Spray prior to drying to give some light texture and help give some appearance of more coat - this is naturally sourced and contains milk fats for the added body to bulk out the coat a bit.
For show day don’t forget to use the Plush Puppy Coverup Cream on those elbows and white muzzles or areas that need some white cover. Apply with a barely damp piece of kitchen sponge and dab sparingly, layer upon layer allowing a few seconds between each application rather than one heavy blob. Apply a light dusting of loose chalk or block chalk to the area and leave to dry - then blow dry to remove excess or brush. You can apply with a toothbrush or a nail brush if you really want to work it well into slightly longer hair but the Basset has a short coat and the sponge works well on this.
Now a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust to the edge of the brush (Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush) and work through against the growth of the coat along the topline, chest and rear. This gives a hint of shimmer and shine without artiﬁ ce if done judiciously. A quick spritz of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb ﬁ nishing spray for that low level gleam of health and vigour and not to be outdone, Plush Puppy Odour Muncher to get him smelling divine and remove any low level odours acquired since bath time. Plush Puppy Wonder Wash is also a Godsend when showing this breed for last minute hiccups in the hit and miss department when doing his toilet or just travel dramas. Spray, foam up with the hands and towel off for instant clean.
This tenacious hound is ready for the ring - he can power around that ring despite those shorter legs and moves with a great deal of co-ordination and purpose. He looks fabulous and his engaging personality and quick intelligence makes him a delightful and exciting pick for any judge. I just wish there were more of them around the rings as their affectionate and appealing dispositions make them a wonderful and worthy competitor.