Are you looking for the differences between European vs American basset hound? The European basset hound breed is a rarity in the US, primarily because of the strict terms that qualify the dog as such. For one, their direct ancestors and the parents themselves must come from, well, Europe.

The same goes for the American basset hound. But does the citizenship of your basset hound critical concerning its temperament and personality? What makes it different from the American version of the breed? If you are thinking about keeping one but are not sure if you should get the European or the American basset hound, may this article help you out with the differences between the European vs American basset hound?

Also read: Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Reputable Breeder

The Basset Hound Nationality

Before we discuss the fundamental differences between the two, let us first take a look at how the separation of citizenship came to be. How did the European emerge? When did they finally say that the pooch is American? Was it the howl accent?

Early Civilizations

Most historians believe that the European basset came from an ancient line of short-legged dogs found in the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

There is evidence that these dogs are ideal companions of the Egyptians in their daily life, as seen in the engravings they discovered.

Archaeologists also found mummified remains of short-legged dogs in a Dog Catacomb (Yes, they have one!) in the village of Saqqara, Egypt.

The process of mummification is intricate, time-consuming, and expensive, commonly reserved for the noble and the wealthy.

European vs American Basset Hound

Thus, the fact that these creatures were given the sacred burial shows how important these creatures are in their lives. There is also some evidence of scent hounds in ancient Greece and Rome, although it is not clear if these dogs have short legs which is a distinct characteristic of both country’s basset.

Belgian Bites

The modern-day basset hound can be traced back to Belgium, to a guy named St. Hubert. He bred these creatures in the Benedictine Abbey in 1000 AD. The hounds he used came from the Laconian or Spartan hound, a type of scent hound that originated from Ancient Greece.

See the connection? These hounds, called St. Hubert’s Hound back then, eventually bred and spread throughout Constantinople and Europe. Simply put, ALL basset hounds, whether the American or European basset, has European origins. Yes, that includes your American pooch.

A Friend of The French

Eventually, St. Hubert’s Hounds reached the shores of France. According to historians, the modern-day European basset could have come from a breeding defect that was detected in Norman Staghound litters. Norman Staghounds came from the St. Hubert’s hounds. They say that, unlike the standard bloodhound puppies, the litters produced short-legged ones.

However, because of their unconventionally attractive appearance, the breeders decided to keep them. In time, their distinct short legs earned them the title, “basset,” from the French word “bas,” meaning low. You can read more on this category on the Fuzzy Rescue website as well.

The European basset became popular among French commoners after the spark of the French revolution. Because they could not afford hunting on horseback, the European basset hound is the next best thing. Humans can still be fast enough to follow them (thanks to their short legs) as they hunt for food.

English Bulk Order

Lord Galway, upon developing a fascination with the European basset, decided to import a pair on his way back to England in 1886. The parents produced a litter composed of five pups, but he still kept them hidden for unknown reasons. It was only in 1874, when Sir Everett Malays brought Model, a European basset hound from France, to England, that the breed became known.

Aside from promoting the European basset, he created a breeding program in his kennel with the help of George Krehl and Lord Onslow who are European basset breeders as well. Because of his active efforts in promoting the breed, people called him the “Father of the Basset Hound” in England.”

The European basset hound became even more popular when Alexandra, Princess of Wales, grew fascinated with it and began keeping a few in the royal kennels. The Kennel Club in England started accepting the breed in 1882. Two years later, they formed the English Basset Hound Club.

Arrival on American Soil

How did these European basset come to our shores, you say? The exact origins are unknown, unfortunately. But some speculate that immigrants already transported a few of the European basset hounds during colonial times. But records show that the earliest European basset came around the first half of the 20th century. The first one that the American Kennel Club recognized as a European basset hound named Bouncer in 1885. The club finally honored the breed in 1916.

The transition from the European basset to the American one was also unknown. There is minimal research available as to how the European basset hound became an American breed. Hopefully, by creating a comparison between the two, we can take an educated guess.

American & European Basset Hound Puppies For Sale

Basset Hound puppy near Atlanta

Critical Differences Between American And European Basset

The European vs American basset hound, both have very distinct differences regarding their outward look.

Specifications European Basset Hound American Basset Hound
Size 75 pounds at least 45-65 pounds
Skin and Coat Color More wrinkles and skin folds; same color patterns Has a normal amount; same color patterns
Health Problems Same predisposition to basset-hound related diseases Same predisposition to basset-hound related diseases
Feeding Practices None; prone to obesity None; prone to obesity
Grooming Needs Special attention on the extra skin folds Enough needs as other dog breeds
Temperament Same Same
Qualification for Dog Shows Rumored to be more favorable because of droopier appearance Standard qualifications required


The American basset hound can weigh around 45 to 65 pounds. This is lightweight when compared to the European basset. The latter can be as massive as 75 pounds or more if you keep it lazy throughout the day.

Because of their heavyweight appearance compared to the American version, the European basset got the term “gentle giants.” Most owners who owned both versions would not be able to distinguish the two at first.

The European basset hound puppy dwarfs in comparison to the American. But as soon as it reaches around four to six months, the European basset puppy begins its growth spurt. The American basset hound would not be able to catch up.

American Basset Hound

One similarity of both has is their predisposition to obesity. Regardless of the origins, these two are just as likely to steal your food, overeat when bored, and gain weight in the process. That is why you have to be careful when indulging them with food and treats especially during obedience training.

Verdict: The European Basset Hound is bigger and heavier than the American Basset Hound. The difference may not be observed during the puppy stages, though.

Skin And Coat Color

This characteristic would become the most distinct difference between the two, especially if you compare a fully-grown American basset hound to a European basset. First, the European basset has a lot more extra skin which makes its neutral facial expressions sadder and more droopy than the American version.

They have a lot more skin folds in the face, torso, and limbs. This characteristic would not manifest with the European basset puppy. As for the coat color, there is not much of a difference between the American and the European basset puppy. Both came from the same descendants, after all.

The most popular color the American and European hounds have is the tri-color, which is a combination of white, tan, and black. But other coat colors are still acceptable in the breed. The open red and white color is made of a white first coat with red spots, and the closed red and white which is composed of a solid red torso with white extremities and tail, are also common. So is the lemon and white.

You might end up seeing a gray or blue basset hound puppy on sale. In this case, take a step back before buying. Despite the unique coat appearance, the gray color means that the basset hound has a genetic problem. The coat color is also not acceptable in dog shows.

Verdict: The European basset is droopier in appearance due to the higher number of wrinkles and skin folds than the American basset. There is no distinction when it comes to coat color.

Health Problems

When it comes to their health, the European basset puppy is just as predisposed to the health problems that the American basset can have (although some owners who have both types of basset hounds claimed that their European basset experiences more health problems than the American).

The former is just as likely to develop epilepsy, glaucoma (a condition wherein the eye increasingly develops pressure), and bloat. Also, because of their short legs, the American and European basset puppies can also develop patellar luxation at birth, a bone condition wherein the patella or kneecap is not aligned correctly with the thigh bone and calf bone.

If left untreated, the misalignment can progress to arthritis, a debilitating bone ailment. To know if your basset hound puppy has one, be wary of a bowlegged appearance of its legs. Another bone problem that could develop from the short limbs of the American and European puppy is panosteitis.

Experts also call it “transient lameness” since only puppies below two years of age can have them. The American and European hound puppy may outgrow this ailment. The problem is that the ailment is so elusive that veterinarians often misdiagnose it for another bone disease such as patellar luxation or elbow dysplasia.

The misdiagnosis can force your basset puppy to undergo surgery which it may not actually need. If your vet diagnosed you’re less than two-year-old American or European basset puppy with any bone-related disease, ask an orthopedic specialist for animals for a second opinion first before agreeing to any treatment.

Verdict: The European Basset Hound is just as likely to develop basset hound-related diseases as its American counterpart.

Feeding Practices

Just like the health problems, there is not much difference regarding feeding rules between the American and the European basset puppy. However, as mentioned earlier, you have to extra vigilant that your basset hound only eats enough for its growth and development.

Obesity can affect not only its daily activities but also the health of its legs as well. The extra pressure from the weight can further stress the joints of the European and American basset hound which can lead to a host of bone diseases.

Verdict: Both have no special considerations when it comes to feeding. They have a similar predisposition to obesity so you might have to control food portions including the treats.

Grooming Needs

The basic difference between European vs American basset hound is because of the European basset hound has more skin folds than the American basset hound, you need to give it extra care. The hidden flaps can become a breeding ground for bacteria because of the moist environment underneath the folds.

This can lead to skin problems such as ringworm and acne. The extra folds are the reason why the European version is more likely to develop rashes and ear and eye problems. The bacterial growth underneath the droopiness can affect these essential organs.

To lessen the likelihood of bacterial growth, wipe the skin of your European basset hound using a damp washcloth, towel, or sponge daily. Pay attention to the hidden areas in the skin. During the summer, do the wiping twice a day, since the sweat that remains trap in the folds plus the temperature can further increase the chances of bacterial growth.

Apart from the skin folds, there is not much difference between European vs American basset hound when it comes to the grooming practices between the American and the European basset hound.

They need just as much love and care during ear cleaning which, by the way, should be given as much attention as the skin folds since the ears are a common breeding ground of bacteria as well.

As for the bathing, limit it to once every two months or do it if you found your European or American basset hound dirty and smelly after playing under the sun or indoors all day. Brush the fur weekly since American and European basset hounds shed a lot.

Verdict: Special care should be given to the European basset hound since the extra skin folds make them twice as likely to develop skin problems and bacterial infections.

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Does A European Basset Have A Different Temperament Than The American?

Short answer: NO. The European basset hound has the same or close to similar temperaments as their American counterparts. Concerning training, all basset hound owners agree that the breed is difficult to house train. As long as you don’t show enough reason for it to listen to you, it will not do what you ask.

That is until you present it with a sweet, juicy treat. This unfortunate disposition is distinct whether you have an American or European basset hound in your midst. Both Americans and Europeans are gentle and friendly with kids and other pets.

The basset hound is a natural introvert, preferring sleeping and lounging around than play. Having kids around, however, is a different situation. It would happily play with them.

Also, because the European and American basset hounds are pack dogs, they get along well with other dogs and even cats.

Are Both Accepted In Dog Shows?

Perhaps you are wondering if your European basset is allowed to participate in American dog shows. Well, in truth, dog shows do not really check the country where your pooch comes from. As long as it meets the standards set by the club, your European basset hound is just as likely to win as the American basset hound.

Most owners believe that the standards set by most clubs for an ideal basset hound are close to the physical characteristics of a European basset hound. The more droopy the look is, the better. And as previously stated, the European basset definitely has a more wrinkled appearance than its American counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is The Difference Between American And European Basset Hounds?

Ans: There is a distinction to be made between the two. The European Basset is larger and wrinkled, while the American Basset is smaller and wrinkled less.

Q2. How Much Do European Basset Hounds Price?

Ans: Basset puppy prices range from $600 to $1,200 on average, according to respectable breeders. Due to previous competitions won by the pup’s parents, champion bloodlines of the stated breed might cost upwards of $2,000.

Q3. How Much Do Basset Hounds Price In America?

Ans: Basset Hounds range in price from $600 to $800, but full-blooded Basset Hounds can price up to $1,500. Basset hounds are also fairly costly to keep, costing anything from $1,400 to $2,650 per year in training, grooming, food, and medical care.

Q4. What Size Do European And American Basset Hounds Get?

Ans: The following is the maximum size of basset hounds:

  • European basset hounds can reach a maximum size of 75 pounds.

  • American basset hounds can reach a maximum size of 45-65 pounds.

Q5. What Are The Grooming Needs Of The European And American Basset Hounds?

Ans: Grooming needs are as below:

  • Basset hounds are a breed of dog native to Europe. Additional care should be used with the extra skin folds.

  • Basset hounds are a breed of dog native to the United States. There are enough requirements as with other dog breeds.

Bottom Line

Regardless of what country your basset hound originated from, no one can deny that both are just as lovely, compelling, and loyal. Still, the distinct differences regarding size and physical appearance can affect which among the American and European hound you would like to keep at home.