It is a common misconception that owning bassets means you’ll be fit from all the walking. Our bassets are the most sedentary animals you’ll meet. Unless there is a strong scent of something worth hunting down or a cyclist that should be chased to provide a neck rub. Basset walking is more akin to a long plod than a brisk walk. Except if you announce “let’s go home” when a basset seems to pick up the pace of almost indecent haste. Even in the company of other dogs who like to run the bassets will do their own thing unless it is to entertain themselves with a spot of canine play bullying.
Our friends have a wonderful labrador, Inca, who until the dark mornings spoiled our routine would be the bassets’ playmate first thing on a Friday morning. After initial squeals of delight there is always serious sniffing to be done until we reach the open grassed area where we can finally set them to run free safely. At first poor Inca was confused and a touch nervous about playing with bassets whose first instinct is to chase and bark, especially Fortnum who tends to shout loudly when he plays making deep barks that are more akin to a seal lion than a dog.
It didn’t take Inca long to work out the barks were not threatening and more importantly that a labrador can outrun bassets, especially if you apply a few sharp turns and changes in direction. A basset is easily fooled and although can run fast it is only in straight lines. The best way to think about a basset on the run is to imagine a full jumbo jet setting off down a runway to take off with the maneuverability of a large oil tanker. It doesn’t take long for them to tire physically tired if not intellectually bored when they will find something new and different to sniff at instead.
At a recent trip to the beach Inca most definitely had the upper hand since she was brave enough to venture in for a paddle and could outrun the incoming tide. Two things that Little Basset in particular hates. As the dogs played as a threesome, Mason soon tired of chasing Inca or seagulls and was happier scavenging amongst the driftwood and all manner of strong smelling and decomposing sea debris in search of something delightful to roll in instead.