How to Breed Basset Hounds at Home

By Louise Lawson

The Basset Hound is a popular breed of hound in many countries around the world. Easily recognizable by its long body, short stature and long hanging ears, the Basset has been owned by kings and peasants for centuries. Basset Hounds are generally good-natured, loving dogs that are very intelligent and adapt well to most living situations. Breeding Basset Hounds can be a laborious process, but a litter of healthy Basset puppies can warm even the sternest of hearts.

How to Breed Basset Hounds at Home

Schedule an appointment to have your female examined by your veterinarian. Due to the long, low structure of the Basset Hound, genetic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia and luxating patellas are common in the breed. Your vet will give her a thorough physical to make sure she is free of any genetic conditions and in optimal breeding condition.

Select an appropriate stud dog for your female. You should choose a male who is also free of any transmittable conditions and who is a good specimen of the breed. A good quality Basset Hound will be structurally correct, with a long, firm back, straight, low-set legs and a heavy bone structure. A good Basset will also have an easy, laid-back attitude and be very calm, patient and show interest in her surroundings. The male should also be similar in size to your female to prevent problems with large puppies during birth.

Determine when your female's heat cycle is due. Dogs are typically in heat for approximately three weeks, with her most fertile period occurring around day No. 12. Some females will be receptive outside of this period, but she will most readily accept the male while most fertile.

Place your male and female in a quiet, undisturbed location and allow them to investigate each other. They will explore and sniff each other. If the female is receptive she will allow the male to mount her and mating will occur. Observe them closely and separate them if either dog seems unresponsive to prevent injuries.

Follow up with your veterinarian after mating has occurred to determine if the breeding was successful. Approximately 25 days after breeding, your vet will be able to detect the puppies' heartbeats and confirm pregnancy. An X-ray can be performed after day No. 45 to give you and your vet an accurate count of how many puppies to expect.

Set up your whelping area around 55 days after mating. A typical dog pregnancy lasts 63 days, so preparing your whelping area a few days in advance will allow your girl to nest and make the box comfortable. Pad the bed with clean towels or blankets and a few of her favorite toys to make her as comfortable as possible.

Take your female's temperature twice a day in the week leading up to her due date. A dog's normal temperature is around 101 degrees, and that will drop by a degree or two within 24 hours of labor. Write your findings down so that you can help pinpoint when her contractions will begin. You will notice her abdominal muscles being to tighten and loosen as her contractions start. At first they will be sporadic and spaced far apart, but as labor progresses they will become more frequent and come in steady increments just as human contractions do.

Observe your girl closely as her labor beings, but do not disturb her. She will begin panting, pacing and circling as her contractions start, and her abdomen will appear stretched and tight. The first puppy should appear within an hour of the beginning of labor, with remaining puppies coming within 30 minutes of each other. Due to the long backs and close-set hips of their structure, Basset Hounds can have difficulty giving birth naturally, so call your vet if more than a half hour passes between puppies.

Watch your female and her new puppies closely after birth. Basset pups are small and can get chilled easily, so place them on a heating pad or turn a heat lamp on them to keep them warm. Make sure the puppies are nursing well and that your female resumes normal eating and drinking habits to produce enough milk for the litter. Handle the puppies as little as possible to allow them time to bond and to give your female plenty of time to get to know her new family.