Why Do Basset Hounds Have Long Ears?

It can be the cutest scene when you see a small dog running through the park with big, floppy ears. My Basset Hound was running in my backyard one day, and to see their ear flapping through the air as it ran after the ball brought a smile to my face. 

But why do Basset Hounds have Long ears?

Basset Hounds have long ears to catch and hold more scent molecules and direct them to their nose. This improves their sense of smell and helps them track scents better. Additionally, their long ears also help protect their face and eyes while tracking through the bushes. 

What is the purpose of long ears?

Now, of course, the primary function of the ears is like humans; to listen. But they serve another purpose too.

To better understand the purpose of their ears, we must understand why basset hounds were bred. Basset Hounds were primarily bred to track down the scents of wounded games and other small animals like rabbits.

They have one of the most powerful noses in the dog kingdom, and their long ears help amplify their ability to track smells. They act as a funnel to direct odors from the ground to their nose. 

Their long ears also help protect their eyes and face from bushes and low-lying branches while tracking. 

What are the downsides of Basset Hound’s long ears?

The unfortunate reality of a Basset Hound having long ears is they are prone to ear infections. They drop over the ear canal and have hair on the inside, which can trap moisture and debris over time, leading to a severe ear infection. That is why you must regularly check your basset’s ears for any sign of infection. 

The most common ear infection is Otitis Interna, an inflammatory disease that forms in the internal ear canal. It is formed from a buildup of bacteria in the ear, but a fungal infection can also bring it on.

It can be extremely painful for the dog but does not always get seen by the human eye. You must pay attention to your dog to notice if they have any issues related to otitis interna as they may begin to develop a head tilt, be reluctant to chew, or continuously shake their head viciously. 

How do you clean long ears?

Now long ears are necessary for Basset Hound to perform their task as tracking dogs, but they require proper care.

An ear infection is one of the most common health problems in basset hounds. So much clean them regularly with a good ear cleaning solution. 

Here are a few instructions about cleaning your basset hounds ears:

  1. Get some fresh cotton balls and a dog ear-cleaning solution of your choice. 
  2. Inspect the ears firsthand for any signs of infections or redness potentially caused by water from the bath getting in the ears. 
  3. Dampen a cotton ball with the ear solution and clean the ear’s outer edges. Pay attention to any fleas that are within the ear, and make sure to clean the folds and crevices.
  4. The next step is to clean the inner part of the ear. To do this, you will take the ear solution and pour a couple of drops inside the ear. The dog may feel awkward when you pour the drops, so hold them firmly. Gently massage the ear base for 30 seconds to a minute, then clean the dirt that will come out of the ear with a new cotton ball. 
  5. Dry the ear and then move on to the next; follow steps 1-4. 

You can refer to this article for a detailed guide on how to clean your basset hound’s ears.


We often look at dogs and think all their features are cute. We often forget that even though dogs now have become a part of our family, once upon a time, they served an overall purpose to their owner.

So now, when you see the ears flapping through the wind as they run around, they are also flapping the scents around the dog to their nose.

It’s one of those things we do not spend much time thinking about as we just view our dogs as cute pets, but everything on a dog’s body has a purpose, and big, floppy ears are no different.