Basset Hounds' unique characteristics and personality have earned them the nickname the "Clown Prince of The Dog World." But make no mistake, there's a serious purpose behind these dogs. Those long ears that dip into their water bowls and drag mud into the house, those droopy lips, those crooked stumpy legs, and those doleful eyes make Basset Hounds the consummate scenting canine; their low and slow physiques are ideal for the pursuit of small game by hunters on foot.
However, those very qualities—and an amiable, forgiving nature—give them another incredible power—the power to make people smile. You can't help it.
Here are five things these hounds do to put us in a good mood:
- Walking. Running, sniffing, rolling in something disgusting—Basset Hounds can take the most ordinary event and make it entertaining. Even walking is a comedy routine when you get a pack of Bassets together. Rescue groups in the AKC Rescue Network capitalize on this talent to raise money to save members of this breed who have fallen on hard times. There are many fundraisers in which Basset Hounds—sometimes as many as 1,000, often in costume—“waddle for dollars."
Source: Guardian Angel Basset Rescue
- Wearing a top hat. On April 3, 1956, Elvis Presley gave what many aficionados consider his greatest performance of the song, Hound Dog. This appearance made him a must-have attraction for the television variety hours that were so popular in those days. Most were content to have Elvis perform as he would on stage, but TV host Steve Allen wanted the budding rock ’n roll legend to fit into the “comedy fabric,” of this show. And what could be more comedic than having this gyrating sex-symbol singing to a Basset Hound? Years later, Allen wrote: “I asked him to sing ‘Hound Dog’ … dressed in a classy Fred Astaire wardrobe—white tie and tails—and surrounded him with graceful Greek columns and hanging draperies that would have been suitable for Sir Laurence Olivier reciting Shakespeare. For added laughs, I had him sing the number to a sad-faced basset hound that sat on a low column and also wore a little top hat.” Presley would later call the event “the most embarrassing moment of my career.” The Basset Hound, Sherlock, had no comment (in fact, he seemed underwhelmed) but it may not be such a coincidence that right after Presley sang to the dog, he catapulted to world fame.
Serenading. Elvis may have said he was embarrassed to sing to the Basset Hound, but perhaps he was just jealous of the incredible musical talents of his four-legged co-star. Like most scenthounds, Bassets have loud, strong voices, which they use freely, whenever they feel the need to express an opinion.
- Doing a 200-yard dash— or not. The sight of them trying to make time is so ridiculous that there’s even a Tumblr devoted to faces they make as they attempt to hustle. Rapid movement, after all, is not what they were made for. Their purpose is to hunt small game, slowly, accompanying people on foot, which is why they have short powerful legs, heavy bone, low body, and loose, pliant skin that protects them from injury. And of course, there are those long ears, which help trap the scent. It all makes for a brilliant hunting companion, but a terrible sprinter.
- Being puppies. 'Nuff said.
Courtesy Basset Hound Club of America