Sunday, 10 April 2011

Basset Hounds - a request

Oh dear. I have upset the Basset Hounds - or rather their owners.  They think my highlighting the breed in Pedigree Dogs Exposed was unwarranted and that the Basset should not be one of the 15 breeds that, from next year, will be subject to health checks at shows.  It is, they feel, very unfair to be stigmatised this way. And it is, apparently, all my fault.

In fact, the Vice Chair of the Basset Hound Club, Dave Darley, has asked me if I could help undo some of the damage I've done by posting two illustrations to support his (and other breeders') view that the Basset Hound we see in the ring today is "correct".

So here they are.

This first one is from an illustration dated 1880 of some Bassets imported from France.


The second one is an illustration which Dave says shows how the Basset is designed to be a normal dog - just one with short legs:


So where does this leave us?

At an impasse, actually.

I accept that Basset breeders have done a pretty good job of straightening the Queen Anne front legs that were once such a feature of the breed. I also agree that Bassets are a pretty long-lived breed.

But the Comments section on my last Basset blogpost makes it clear that many Basset breeders are in denial about the cost of the conformation they are imposing on this dog in order to meet what they think is the correct template for the breed.

Exposed haws? No, they don't provide little pockets where debris can collect and damage the eye.

Very long ears?  They're needed to channel the scent into the dog's nose (and no matter that all the show Basset ever has to do is find its way to its dinner) and, hey, show me the proof that they damage their ears if they tread on them. 


Dewlap? Yep, that traps the scent, too (well that's what we've always been told)

Loose skin? Needed to protect the dogs from brambles and thorns and, yep, if no hunting pack of Bassets has loose skin it's because they're crossbreeds! 


Skin folds?  Other breeds suffer from yeast and bacterial skin înfections, you know, and we don't accept that it's directly linked to the skin folds - even if the bacterial form is called "skin-fold dermatitis".

Back and joint problems?  Yes, we know the veterinary literature indicates that the breed is prone to both, and particularly arthritis as they age, but it's nothing to do with their short legs, long backs and enormous weight for their size.

The point is that the dogs that actually do the work for which they were developed - which is the whole reason the breed exists - don't look like this. The show-breeders, though, simply dismiss the lighter, longer-legged hunting bassets as mongrels and blithely carry on trying to replicate a dog they've seen in an old painting, no matter what the cost to the dog.

They seem oblivious to the fact that the above painting is, at best, merely a snapshot in time and, at worst, pure artistic license. We have no idea if the dogs illustrated ever did a day's work; if the people who bred them knew what they were doing; or if these dogs, with their strange knees, were really good examples of the breed (indeed, imports were often the dregs of a breed as the country of origin wanted to hang on to their best dogs).

The breeders also insist that Bassets that looks like the one below are still capable of hunting rabbit and hare.



Now, I guess the mind might be willing... but the flesh? Really? Just look how close to the ground this dog's penis is (here's hoping the terrain is Wimbledon tennis-flat..) .  Just look at the excess skin and the droopy pouch of skin on the dog's hocks. That serves what purpose, exactly?

I understand that the Kennel Club isn't much more sympathetic to the Basset breeders than I am.  Again, apparently this is all my fault (and never mind the wealth of veterinary literature that also supports that it's a struggle to breed a dog to this shape without problems). Dave Darley has suggested that I might like to write to the Kennel Club to tell them I was wrong about the Basset Hound.

Sorry, no can do.  But  I  have a suggestion to make which will, at least, buy the Basset Hound Club some time and may even allow them to prove that they should be allowed to keep the dog as it is.

There is no health information - whatsoever - on the Basset Hound Club website and I couldn't find any on the regional clubs' websites, either.  If the Basset breeders want to prove that they are serious about health, this needs to be remedied.

They also need an ongoing breed health survey, properly designed by someone like epidimiologist Vicky Adams, who can help them establish exactly what problems are prevalent in the breed and how they correlate with conformation.  And it needs to be online so you reach as many Basset owners as you can, regardless of where they got their Bassets from (and where they got their Bassets from also needs to be a survey question so you can establish if - as is maintained - that the show-bred dogs are healthier than their pet-bred cousins).

No one is arguing for a Basset ban - just for moderation. And, as infuriating as breeders must find it, if you're going to breed a dog that so many outside of the breed (including vets) see as prone to problems, particularly as they age, I'm afraid you're going to have to go the extra mile to prove that it is not the case.

Here are some American Bassets having a great day out in the snow - all longer-legged; all leaner; all with tighter skin and still, absolutely, Bassets. Now the video is entitled "Hunting Basset Hounds" and am not sure they're really doing that - but I'm in full support of the American Hunting Basset Association's goal of not letting the breed "degenerate into a bunch of overweight couch potatoes."

Not, of course, that Bassets are really allowed on couches. That's because, as the clubs advise new owners,  they are in danger of damaging their backs when they jump off.



                              

58 comments:

  1. That video of the trial is kind of sad, but at least the men are getting their dogs out for some wholesome exercise, and are having fun, and they are TRYING to breed a sounder and more functional animal.

    I've heard the insane (and inane) folklore about hews and haws and dangly ears and skin folds for DECADES. Oh yes, it "collects scent."

    Funny that real hunting beagles, coonhounds, foxhounds, et. al. are moderate, unwrinkled, beasties who do not appear to require any particular scent-capture mechanisms beyond the one that Nature provided to every healthy canid, the damp one located distal on the schnozz.

    Funny that virtually all the actual mantrailing bloodhounds I've known in those decades have been leggy, lean, beasties with about half the skin acreage of their massive show-dog counterparts.

    And the ones who are not -- the "bred to standard trailing bloodhounds" that a few self-proclaimed experts flog as "working" animals?

    Only dogs I have ever seen come back from a SAR task (uncompleted -- "we lost the trail") because they could not continue due to abraded, bleeding LIPS.

    (Because they "lost the trail" they provided a false direction of travel and misdirected a massive search effort; the lost child had looped back in the direction he'd come from. We spent two additional days searching for that kid because of "losing the trail." Good thing he was okay when the German shepherd found him, without benefit of "scent collectors.")

    And nice people who have been fed too much BS from the media wonder why my SAR trailing "hound" is a 40#, lean, leggy, coyote-shaped farm collie.

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  2. Fit for function or fit for fiction?

    The TRUE rabbit hunter has a gun and counts his success as a bag of rabbits. And (truth be told) the true rabbit hunter is probably hunting with a beagle, and not a bassett. It's been a loooong time since bassets were a true hunting dog.

    The FANTASY hunter goes to the field but has no gun, but convinces himself that in chasing points and ribbons, he has being true to the "spirit" of work.

    The FICTION man points to illustrations.

    P

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  3. Jemima and others - I admire your patience. How can you BEAR all the years of sale-promoting mythology that would insult the intelligence of any seven-years-old???

    Collects the scent, my foot!

    Once I had the opportunity of taking a Basset for a walk in the woods - this is Sweden, most of it true forest country, ground covered with boughs from pine and spruce. Not bramble or rose bushes, but sharp enough. You wouldn´t want to walk barefoot through it. And plenty of wild deer, elk and hares leaving scent tracks.
    Now Collies are no mean trackers, but this was the first time I walked with a tracking hunting dog and it was a delight. Eventually I had to LIFT that Basset up in order for us to get off the track and turn home - the dog, I´m sure, would have followed that deer for hours.
    And what do I see? The scratched belly, of course. Dog doing its natural work and bred into a shape which causes injury to it when it does!
    Thankfully it was a bitch. I have heard of a male Basset having to have its testicles removed after repeated injury to them.

    As for the ears, and their marvellous function in chanelling scent - please tell the news to the lost-person trackers!
    And let the wild wolves hear as well. I´m sure they would benefit greatly.

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  4. Whoa, Bodil... your foot collects scent? Wow! Let's breed for bigger feet!

    Jemima

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  5. Regarding your comment about the need for a breed health survey for Basset hounds, they feature in the survey I mentioned in one of my comments about mastinos:

    Journal: VETERINARY JOURNAL 
Vol/Issue: 182 (3), Date: Jan 1, 2009, Pages: 402-411
Article: Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards
Author(s): McGreevy, Paul D

    According to this study, Bassets suffer from 16 disorders related to conformation and a further 3 that are exacerbated by conformation. When the genetic disorders are included (Part 2 of the above study), the total number goes up to 41. You need to look at the supplementary data for the specific disorders by breed.

    You can also find health information, including disorders related to conformation, at the website below. It is dated 1998; in other words, while the information here is not as up-to-date as that in the study run by McGreevy, it has been available for the better part of 15 years. There are no excuses to be made about lack of available data.



    It is jointly funded by the following organisations so I take it to be reliable:

    The Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

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  6. Thanks Sarah. I've mentioned this work on a previous post. The source data for these papers, though, is the published literature and this very rarely contains estimations of prevalence/frequency. In other words, it will link skin-fold dermatitis to Bassets but won't tell you how many (or how few) suffer from it.

    What's really needed is a dedicated Basset health survey which aims to monitor as much of the Basset population as possible and, as I said, tries to establish the health link to specific conformation. It might be that lighter Bassets do not suffer from less arthritis or intervertebral disc disease, for instance. Then the breed club would have something concrete with which to battle the critics.

    Jemima

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  7. I love this video of Bassets -

    http://gallery.me.com/christopheroakford#100029

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  8. Hi Jemima. Thanks for putting my pictures up. I am grateful.
    Just one small point. I dont come on here as the Vice Chairman of the BHC and I don't speak for anyone else on here other than myself. Others are quite capable of making their own comments and even correcting ME if they think I'm wrong. I am however not afraid to come on here and make a few comments in open discussion. If I was afraid of being identified, I would have come on annonymously.
    I only asked you to admit that you had mistaken the breed for a completely different breed (Very obvious with your previous thread). I have never asked you to change your mind about your dislike of what the breed looks like.
    I seem to remember you using a very old picture of a Bulldog. Using it, you claimed that the Bulldog breeders had changed their breed from its original conception and that old picture was proof of what the breed should be. Isn't my old picture suggesting the same thing??

    A small point on the club website. We have recently lost our previous host and webmaster. The site is still under construction. Health and welfair WILL feature. We only finished doing committee photo's today!! The new site is coming together pretty quickly now. The club has a Sub Committee and so do the other clubs around the country. As previously, stated Lauren is our Health representative to the KC and thats for all clubs not just ours.
    Do you have a vet in mind to start the health survey?? Will the KC help us fund it?? Its an easy thing to ask for but VERY difficult to implement?? I maintain we have very few problems in this breed in comparison to other breeds.
    You can point out Breed Specific points all you like but they have been bred this way dating back to the middle ages. You still insist that the Cross Bred Albany are more correct as "BASSET HOUNDS" in comparison to what?? As previously stated on the other thread. They have created an extremely poor version of an Artesien! They could have got much better ones OFF THE SHELF.

    Would you like some more pictures of MY Bassets on the sofa?? They jump up and off them freely!! Even my 6 month old baby!! I'll MMS u a great picture of my Champion bitch on the sofa being used as a bed by my Chiuaua!!!

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  9. Dear Jemima, I should never have said that, and you ought not to have repeated it. About collecting scent and foot, I mean. One must be careful about spreading certain notions. You and I both now shall have to live in fear of how the next Cruft´s winning Basset will look.

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  10. Hi Bodil. I hope the answer to your question of what the next Crufts winning Basset will look like is: Exactly what the breed should look like and should have looked like for a very long time! You cant try and change a breed to a completely different breed just because its not what you like or doesnt do the particular job you require. Try a different breed???

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  11. Dave, don't get too carried away with the notion that I want all Bassets to look like an Artesian. I have put up plenty of pictures of other champ Bassets of old who are also leaner, lighter and longer-limbed. I have no problems with a heavier dog - but, again, am arguing for some moderation.

    I'd be interested to hear what you think of the American bassets in the video.

    Jemima

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  12. Hi Dave
    you said above...
    "I seem to remember you using a very old picture of a Bulldog. Using it, you claimed that the Bulldog breeders had changed their breed from its original conception and that old picture was proof of what the breed should be. Isn't my old picture suggesting the same thing?? "

    Dave, some breeds have not changed (the basset hound according to you), and some breeds have changed a lot (the pug according to me).

    To make a sweeping assumption that Jemima wants all breeds to look like they did in the past is a bit naive.
    To breed bassets to look like they did in your historical pictures because "they were bred this way since the middle ages" does not equal breeding healthier bassets.
    Having such long heavy bodies on such short legs must cause problems with the spine, elbows and hips.
    I see that the breed club recognises the possible problems with elbows and recommends tests for elbow dysplasia (although not an official KC ABS test). I am very suprised that hip scoring is not recommended.
    Bassets rank 12th for HD in the OFA stats, 37.8% being dysplastic, and none with excellent hips.
    According to Roberts and Mc Greevy, selection for breed specific long body phenotypes is associated with increased expression of canine hip dysplasia, with longer dogs being eight times more likely to develop HD.

    But then i looked at the BVA hip score results......NO BASSETS RECORDED?

    Dave, do you why no results for basset hounds have been recorded with the BVA?

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  13. Hi Jemima. I really enjoyed the video. The big plus point is it shows exactly how a Hare Hunt is supposed to be and a lot closer to the terrain they are supposed to cover than what Bodil is after! What Bodil describes is almost exactly what the Elk Hound was designed for.
    The dogs look great fun. I have to look at the dogs technically though. I'll try and explain why we in the show ring must perfect the construction more than those dogs. I'm sure you will want to fight me on it, but I'll tell another story later about not so long ago when Albany used to use champion show dogs at stud for this very reason.

    I know people think that when we judge we look at a Basset and say "Nice and low, lovely loose skin and really long ears, WINNER". Most of the above are meerly secondary considerations when I judge and usually Too Low?? Too Overdone?? ect. You mention the work the breed has done on strengthening front construction. This is because we judge the breed skeletally, both in the ring and for breeding. The fronts were rectified by looking at things like angle of the scapular and length of the upper arm, balance of bone to size.
    You mention the disc problems in the breed. This is now a very rare beast indeed. It was more prevelant in the 70s and 80s than it is today. Again I think that is down to good breeding. Carrying on with the skeletal judging. We need good length and depth of rib cage. It adds strength to the spine. We need good bend of stifle and good rear angulation. If you can balance the dog up like this, the weight you talk about is spred much more evenly. Its the same in all breeds but we went through a period of loosing this balance. We then inturn had problems to solve. If I can liken it to a human that needs a hip replacement on one side. If you talk to these people they will tell you they are in more pain on the good hip. Thats all down to the balance shift.
    To cut the Albany story down. Up until its very recent leadership, even in the late 90's and going back many years before, they used to show their dogs along side us and they didnt look very much different at all!! They would use the champion dogs to restore the balance and type. Not saying they were trying to get show dogs, just saying they needed certain points that those dogs excelled at. We also had quite a lot of show people who used to take their show dogs out with the pack.
    So back to the video. I'm not saying they are bad dogs, I'm just saying they are not shown as examples of perfection of a certain breed point and the champion dogs are there for them if they need to improve on a particular point.
    We should be fit for function however perfect in a particular point. I think our only difference really is what we call a MODERATE dog. If you have the very recent Albany in your mind as perfection. We will always be a world apart. If you accept that the breeds concept was a much heavier and lower dog, then we can moderate about that center together.
    As in the previous thread, I repeat. Lets stop looking at superficial elements of the Basset and breed for a sounder, stonger dog with minimal health problems.

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  14. Hello, Dave. "What it should look like and should have looked like for a long time?" And what is that - a dog that is an excellent tracker and injured by its body shape contacting the ground where the scent track lies???

    Yes, Dave, I did try another breed. I used to be fascinated by tracking dogs, saw my first Bloodhound and the excess skin wrinkles and ectropion and picked another breed. I thought the Basset bitch I followed was mervellous - but saw the scratches on her belly and picked another breed.
    People around where I live hunt a lot. One of my neighbours met me on the village road with what I thought first was a Dachshund, until I noticed it was quite a bit more clear of the ground. Taller legs, in short, otherwise a nice hunting wirehaired Dachs. It was a mixed-breed, bred and bought on purpose to hunt and track. The woman said, "Well, we would have liked a Basset, but they´ve ruined that lot pretty thoroughly..."
    I wish you could have seen the look of regret and disgust on her face. She too tried another breed.
    is that what you want us all to do?

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  15. Hi Kate, Sorry your post came up after I hit post. I'm not saying Jemima is wanting all breeds to look like they did in the past. In the case of this breed I'm sure she doesnt. All I'm saying that she used that photo on her side of the argument when it suited her. I've asked for these photos because I think we resemble the original breed but we are far, far sounder.
    Interesting your comments on HD. Its just something we dont see in the breed at all!! I lost my cross breed Lab 6 years ago at 16. God knows how many breeds he was crossed with but I could tell by his rear movement at 18mnths old he had HD and was pretty much a cripple for the last 6 years of his life. Ive never seen a Basset personally with hip movement problems and I've had and bred some old ones. As I walk down the road in Swindon, I get told off all the time by my wife for saying "Did you see those hips" on peoples pet Gun Dogs! Is it fair to presume that if a vet hasnt suspected hip problems he hasnt recommended a scoring?? I dont really know what to suggest Kate. Hows about I let you start with my champion bitch here and we'll start the records off?? And I'm not trying to be flippant or fob you off.

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  16. I much enjoyed the video showing American basset hounds tracking rabbits in the field, and note with pleasure that the length of their leathers didn't seem to stop them from fullfilling their original purpose (nor did their length of leg prevent them from being good-looking specimens of the breed!).
    The current debate opposing working lines to show lines is an old one, and was already fuelling a lot of discussion between basset fanciers on either side of the Channel in the 19th century! According to Leblanc and Millet's excellent book " Les Bassets Courants" , both the French and English bassets we know today were originally developed from the same French stock. However, at the time when Lord Galway and Lord Onslow imported their first French bassets to England from 1866 onwards, there were at least 3 different types of smooth-haired bassets in France, such as those developed by Louis Lane (the heaviest of the 3 with about 23 kgs), and those bred by the Count Le Coulteux de Canteleu, which were the "Fino de Paris" type (about 20 kgs), and the "Termino" type, which weighed about 17 kgs (although not all English writers agree on these weights). The authors suggest that the breeds diverged early on because in France, bassets were mostly owned and bred by hunters for the "chasse à tir" (a form of hunting which was unknown in Britain), whereas in Britain, early club members were already breeding for show purposes and neglecting the working qualities in the 1890's! Despite this, a group of English fanciers were interested in hunting hare on foot with bassets, and created several well-known pack. They already preferred a taller variety of hound than those being shown at the time (45 cms at withers rather than about 30 cms). This created much controversy between the breeders in both camps, and later on led to the demise of the original Basset Hound Club...
    The English Basset Hound's very first breed standard (based on a scale of points) was proposed by George Krehl in 1887. This set out the main points of type, such as a head similar to that of the Bloodhound, plenty of skin, massive bone, a well-developpe forechest, etc..., and remained unchanged for over 60 years. It is also interesting to note that early English breeders frequently imported French stock to strengthen the breed, particularly after the first and second world wars, and only ceased to do so in the late 50's!
    As you see, our present discussions are nothing new, and will probably be difficult to resolve once and for all if the past is anything to go by!
    However, as a judge, I believe that we should resist the emergence of so-called "working" and "show" lines and champions within any given breed - and we are not the only one suffering from this ailment: just take a look at what is happenening to retrievers for instance!
    I am also fundamentally opposed to the existence of different standards in different countries, as this ultimately fosters widely differing styles within a same breed, finally leading to the emergence of new breeds such as the American and English cocker spaniels, for instance. To my mind, a good show hound should be capable of fulfilling its original hunting purpose even if it is not been hunted with. It should also remain a good hound all over the world, whatever its origins and wherever it is shown!

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  17. Hip- and elbow dysplasia are interesting themes: in Switzerland, all breeds have to pass a breeding selection, and are screened for HD (and for other health problems) before they are allowed to be bred from; in addition to HD, all bassets are scored on a scale of A to D for ED too. Only low scores of both conditions are accepted by our breeding regulations. However, I have noticed that basset hounds with high scores of DH and ED show no symptoms of the disease whatsoever, whereas "normally" constructed breeds with the same C or D grade would be absolute cripples. I wonder if this could be due to their particular construction and/or dwarfism, or if it simply shows how difficult it is to interpret the X-rays...

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  18. "Would you like some more pictures of MY Bassets on the sofa?? They jump up and off them freely!! Even my 6 month old baby!! "

    Please dont let your pup jump on and off the sofa ! Young bones are very soft and can be damaged from excess jumping before the growth plates close, especially in large heavy breeds and even more so in dwarves that are already prone to joint problems ( and probably arnt very agile at landing either )

    Some breeders seem to proudly take it as a sign of soundess that their dogs can jump up and down from being tiny pups but it means nothing .

    my dog can jump on chairs and bound upstairs perfectly well despite luxating patella's and severe elbow displacia. he's just very tough and ignores pain !

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  19. Interesting info on HD Jackie. It would be interesting to know the truth. Never heard one person comment on hip soundness around a ring. I have never watched a dog in the ring and thought, thats got hip problems!I've owned several old Bassets and known many many more and I can honestly say I have never seen one crippled by hip problems.
    Anon, dont worry about my dogs on the sofa. I have a reasonable amount of experience in this breed and even the baby is completely fine and completely sound. She spends most of time jumping up at me and landing her own front from a much greater height than my sofa!! But thanks for your concern.

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  20. "Interesting your comments on HD. Its just something we dont see in the breed at all!!"

    Really?

    Really?

    What do you suggest is the mechanism by which the Atlantic Ocean degrades the hip structure of an entire breed so severely that, from perfect hips across the board on your island, nearly two-fifths of them* have radiographic joint disease in this country? And NONE have excellent joint conformation?

    Or the mechanism by which your breed scores a mean of .71 in the PennHIP stats. Only one breed, the Clumber spaniel, has a worse overall score -- .72. The basset's hips in this country are just about as bad as a breed's hips can be.

    Now, if you had some sort of evidence that the hip structure of the British gene pool was better, I'd be willing to accept that possibility. After all, there can be effects from founding events, bottlenecks, and selection practices that cause such divergence.

    However, since not a single basset owner in Britain has chosen to provide a single one of his or her dogs with a basic phenotype screening test that is recommended for all heavy-bodied dogs, I'm afraid your assertion that everything is hunky-dory in the pelvic assembly carries a characteristic odor that transmits right through the computer monitor.

    *As always with OFA stats, an underestimate. Most of the worst films are never submitted, while the ones that look as if they might pass are always sent in.

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  21. Hi Heather, when I say see, I mean exactly that! Interesting Jackies comments from Swizterland where they are forced to undertake certain tests. Very interested in the fact that when tested even high scores go on to display no clinical signs. I'm simply commenting on the fact I have never seen any clinical signs in the breed over here. I have rescued animals in the past that have been crippled by the problem but I have never had a problem with my Bassets or known anyone personally that has. What has your screening produced clinically over there?? Have you found any similarities with Jackie's findings?? I think if vets over here had any thoughts what so ever that Bassets were clinically displaying hip problems (at any age) they would be screaming at the breed to score them?? How many other things do you screen for that the breed displays no clinical signs of??

    I'd be interested in hearing from any one over here who has had a Basset hip scored and equally interested in how that dog went on to display clinically.

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  22. Jackie Beare:

    While I do agree that there should be a universal breed-standard I also see a huge problem. Different countries have different welfare standards. I find it comforting that we can tweek and change the standard if we decide that it goes against the animal welfare laws in our country.

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  23. Heather; has anyone looked at how the radiographic hip score/ pen hip assessment correlates with clinical disease in US bassets? I think what may have been meant was that perhaps the dwarfism somehow made radiographicaly 'bad' hips less likely to be a clinical problem? Perhaps as many of these dogs are no longer expected to run and jump they don't wear out 'bad' hips like a labrador would? I don't know the answers but I do know clumbers and sussex spaniels (similarly low, heavy dogs) ith hip socres which would cripple a lab and yet they seem clinicaly normal. Some odd biomechanics perhaps? But it does surprise me this breed is not more routinely hip scored.

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  24. Hello Dijana,
    The breed standard is only a breed's blueprint, but cannot pretend to solve all welfare problems: after all, many health and/or character issues are invisible to the naked eye. Over here, each breed club (one per breed!) has has issued its own breeding regulations, under the supervision of the SKG, our local Kennel Club. All our breeding stock has to be examined in detail by a conformation judge, and needs to obtain an "excellent" or "Very Good" result; furthermore it has to be tested for various breed-specific health problems, and also has to pass a character test before being allowed to be bred from legally. This has not solved all health problems, since there are a number of conditions (such as syringomyelia) for which the heredity remains unclear, or for which no easy, foolproof tests exist, but it is a small step in the right direction. When a dog passes the breeding selection tests successfully, this is noted on its pedigree, and all clubs publish a list of the dogs which can be used at stud.

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  25. Hi Vicky and Jackie and good morning Kate and Jemima. What Vicky is saying is in a nutshell what I am trying to say. We can broad brush test for every canine defect in the world and publish the results. The results might suprise but would not change the clinical appearance in a breed!! Something like HD is pretty easy to see clinically and when you have known a breed to ripe old age on numerous occasions, both my own and within the breed community, I would tell you here if I'd seen even one animal!! Honest!! If I'd seen even a few I would be racing to my local vet to get ALL mine checked.
    I have however seen Bassets with Elbow Displacia and even this is getting rarer and rarer. The Queen Anne fronts that Jemima refers to, I believe personally, did nothing to help this disorder and again its very visible to the human eye!
    Interesting comment from Vicky about Bassets not "doing the milage" for a want of a better way of saying it. The top 3 kennels in the UK have large enclosed fields attached to their properties. Every time I have been to any of them, they have packs of dogs running freely all day long. I, unfortunately live in suburbia. I have to do things the hard way! My dogs are road walked 3 miles twice a day. Thats a fair bit of "mileage". Believe me, my own bones are in worse shape than any of my dogs due to it!! LOL

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  26. Sorry Bodil, I missed your comment. To try and answer you. The Basset Hound was designed for a particular quarry in a particular terrain. Although I have Bassets that hunt Elk in Norway. It is not what they were designed for. If you go to the video that Mikken has put a link to, you will see almost perfectly what this breed is for. I understand you like the the Basset nose and tracking ability. It is only one element of the breed and they need that particular quality to do what they were designed to do. Unfortunately for you they, were not designed to hunt big game in the scandinavian mountains and forest! Have you tried the Elk Hound, Finnish Spitz or the like?? These dogs have been developed to do exactly what you need. If you particularly want a hound try something mid range such as a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, or a fuller size such as Porcelaine or Briquet??

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  27. Hi Dave, Hi Bodil,
    If you are looking for a good scenthound for your Scandinavian conditions, why not look up a Drever, an Alpine- or a Westphalian Dachsbracken. You could also try to find a Lesser Swiss Hound, which can be used in a variety of ways. If you need more info about the latter two, I can introduce you to the Swiss (German-speaking)Club, and /or help you if you have any communication problems.

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  28. I just skimmed the comments--has anyone mentioned that 38% of the bassets evaluated by OFA have been dysplastic?

    http://www.offa.org/stats_hip.html

    Making them the #12 breed in terms of hip dysplasia incidence. And only 196 bassets have been evaluated since 1974.

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  29. Hi Annie, I saw that stat myself. Have you read Jackies comments from Swizerland?? They are forced by law there to carry out certain tests for all breeding stock. I'm saying that we have had no clinical manifestations (that I have seen and I spend a lot of time with Bassets). Jackie is saying that even the Bassets with the worse scores don't go on to display clinical signs nor suffer any debilitation from HD.
    This is about problems Jemima thinks we DO have as a breed and it appears to me we have to fights stats like these even when we dont have the CLINICAL problem in the breed.
    Is it fair to say the reason Hip Scoring was ever developed was because some breeds (Gun Dogs, GSD ect), were displaying cronic clinical signs. It appears to me that the US has broad brush tested every breed and applied the same scale to the results! Bassets bare no resemblance to Gun Dogs ect in construction!

    I'd like to discuss problems we do get as a breed! I dont think we have very many at all really. I think the common Labrador has more worrying issues to say nothing of the GSD, Boxer and some Toy Breeds.

    I'm on here to fight for the breed!! Over the last 3 years we have had to take several unjustified side swipes from the Press on the cheek. I know pretty much everybody in the breed in the UK (with the exception of Puppy Farmers and Pet people that breed litters indiscriminately!!) and I know how hard they have all worked to produce a Strong, Healthy and Sound breed. We do have a few Health Issues, ALL BREEDS DO!! AND ALWAYS WILL!! they may change from time to time, but no living animal will ever be clear of EVERYTHING and that includes humans.

    I'm not an angry person!! I dont think even Jemima could say I'm unpleasant to talk to. But my blood does boil a bit when I know this all boils down to a misunderstanding of what the breed should actually look like!! I have to put up with comments like Bodil above (Sorry Bodil, I dont mean this in a nasty way) saying Bassets should not look like they have looked since the Middle Ages because they cant cope with hunting in Scandinavian Forests. Plenty of breeds have been developed for this, BUT THE BASSET HOUND IS NOT ONE OF THEM!!!

    Jemima has convinced people that the breed should look like a completely different breed instead of accepting that the breed has looked like this for hundreds of years (and bigger and heavier going back to the 1500's) and looking for soundness and health in a breed as it currently exsists. All I have done with these pictures Jemima has kindly displayed for me is try and prove about 130 years of the breeds history. I've moved up 50 years with the Verrier diagram and we are now another 75 years down the line from there. Jemima keeps trying to convince people that a 10 to 20 year transitional period for the breed in the 60's and 70's is more correct. It was transitional because the breed was nearly EXTINCT!! People had to use other breeds to keep the breed alive and we have now returned the breed to its true form!!

    I'm not asking you to like the breed!! I'm not asking you not to use elements of the breed to create dogs that suit your purpose!! I'm not asking you to not go for the finest ones in the litter because thats what you like!! Finally I'm not asking you to prefer the Basset Hound over its close French cousins. Just dont try justifying your dislike of the breed by saying its got massive health problems because it actually has very few.

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  30. The difference between Scandinavian and British forests is that one is colder. The similarity is that neither make good hunting grounds for the modern day show Basset, because they're not golf greens.

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  31. Thanks, Iggy Fisk! Exactly. The Dachshund and the German hunting terrier were none of them "designed" for Scandinavian forests, but they hunt here admirably. So would the Basset bitch I had the pleasure of running with - if her legs had been long enough, or her belly skin tight enough to keep her from hurting herself.

    Dave, I´m sorry I didn´t notice your comment. But aren´t you making it a bit too easy for yourself here? Honestly, I fail to see that anybody here has said something to express a "dislike of the breed". If anything, people say the opposite. I ADMIRED the nose and the purpose and the general temperament of that bitch! Just like my hunting neighbour with her crossbred Dachs, who would have preferred a Basset, if only she had found one with a functional body...
    Dave, it´s not dislike, it´s pity.

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  32. Iggy Fisk view comes in doubt when you see what the English Setter has ended up like in Norway!!! it has nothing to do with the cold.

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  33. Hi Bodil and Iggy. I am not saying that a Basset wont keep hunting!! Even in Scandinavia!! As I said before I have 2 dogs in Norway that both hunt Elk. But this breed was not designed for that kind of terrain. To try and explain a little. Bodil you mention fallen pine trees and branches. You may not believe this but the Norwiegen Elk Hound is so agile that its one of the few dogs I have ever seen that can pretty much CLIMB TREES!! I am not saying as per a cat but in their conception the large stumps and fallen trees of the pine forest was taken into consideration. Did you watch Mikkens video Bodil?? That is almost perfectly the terrain Basset was designed for. Most french breeds are designed for a single quarry over a specific terrain. Thats why the breeds the Scandinavians did design look completely different!!

    As I have said before to Jemima. I have no problems you using our breed to Cross Breed your own bespoke hunting dog. Even your neighbour did that with the Daxy!! But you must leave the Core Breed to be pure bred. That way when you feel you have your particular mix correct you can keep crossing back in to pure bred Basset to keep the bits you want and then back out with your other breeds for the bits you dont want! Thats what the French have done since the Middle Ages!!! But I will tell you that if you look hard enough you will find that the French have already done it for you!!! You just have to find the right breed. A lot of these breeds are very rare and Region Specific in France. Buy a good book like Hounds of France by George Johnson.

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  34. Hi Bodil,
    I second Dave's last comments re: specific hunting use of French hounds: the Basset Hound's main quarry is hare, not moose!If you are looking for a tough allrounder giving plenty of voice, try looking up Alpenländische Dachsbracken, Westphalian Dachsbracken (also the Drever, since you live in Scandinavia!), or even the Swiss Niederlaufhund. NB: for all these unfamiliar with this rare breed, this is a reduced version of the large Swiss Hound, which is also available in 4 different colours!

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  35. Interesting to see the KC's 2010 health report.
    Specific issues judges found in basset hounds include;

    " loose skin, eyes*, knuckling over, too low to ground"

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  36. It is indeed interesting, but needs to be placed in its proper context: the judges actually gave the Basset Hounds a very good overall note of 3.5 pts for describing their apparent health and well-being (on a scale ranging from 4.0 = excellent to 1 = poor), which placed them in 3rd position out of 15! The health "observers" monitoring the same items in the same 15 "high-profile" breeds (i.e. in principle qualified vets!) were a little more severe in their assessment for every one of the breeds considered, but basset hounds still did pretty well compared to the others with a final result of 3.0 points, placing them in 5th position... Unfortunately, the K.C.'s report doesn't indicate the number of specimens which were monitored for each breed, nor does it mention the number of cases in which those health concerns you mentioned were effectively detected, other than to state that "eyes" had been mentioned more than 5 times for bassets (NB by the way, this was also the case for several other breeds...). We therefore don't know if the tests were in fact representative of the breed's average state of health or not... It also seems pretty obvious to me that the judges, who knew that they were being monitored and would be called to account, would mention all the points which had recently been changed in the breed standard by the KC, if only to show the world at large that they were paying attention to those issues. The fact that the "monitors" were paid by the KC and knew that their findings would later be scrutinised might also explain their apparent severity compared to the judges. One cannot help wondering what the results of the test would have been if the monitoring had been done more discreetly...

    PS: I note with pleasure that neither the judges, nor the helath experts mentioned the length of leathers as being an issue.

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  37. Jackie,
    why do you think bassets are one of the 15 high profile breeds?
    Do you think they should be?

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  38. Hi Jackie and Kate,

    I’m a little aggrieved with those results. As one of the 2010 Judges that contributed to that survey, I would have liked Judges comments published as they were written. Those are very Broad Brush statements and it does not quantify what the Judge meant. For instance, I did mention Loose Skin and Height from the Ground but not in a derogatory way. Loose Skin and Height from the Ground are not Health issues. However if they said Infected Loose skin and so low they were lame, that’s another thing completely.

    As for Observers, that’s a completely different issue. Just about every observer last year was not a Qualified Basset Hound Judge. They in no way touched or assessed the dogs, they simply sat and observed. I have no problem whats so ever being observed while I judge but they should be qualified in the breed they are observing and assess the dogs properly. If necessary, they should discuss their findings with the Judge concerned. I would go one step further and invite my observer into the ring with me and welcome them to touch anything they wanted.

    On the subject of should we be on the 15 High Profile Breeds list. That’s the 22 million dollar question I asked Jemima to start this thread for!! I believe we are on this list because the KC Knee Jerked to Jemima’s program despite the fact that, in comparison to the other breeds featured, she had very little to say about the HEALTH of our breed. I’ve watched the program 19 times now and Jemima’s biggest gripes were all TYPE related and predominantly because she doesn’t personally like that TYPE of Basset Hound.

    I believe that the KC are quite happy with their 15 named breeds. As a numerically low breed we are no trouble for them to have on there. I believe your common Retriever has more ACTUAL HEALTH ISSUES but there is no way on gods earth they will appear on that list because they contribute hundreds of thousands to the coffers of the KC in registration fees!! Easy to affect our registrations, they only loose a couple of thousand quid. I’m not saying some of the breeds on there are not justified!! But I think ALL breeds should be monitored at ALL times. At the moment, as its stands, the KC have no intention of taking breeds off that list because it would have to spend money researching the next breed to take its place. At the moment if it has a Sacrificial 15, people like Jemima are put off the scent of the other 200 odd breeds!!!! Do you know it publishes no guidelines on how to get off this list and has no league table!! There is no way of telling whether you are up for Promotion or who is in the Relegation Zone!! The reason is they are quietly not monitoring any other breeds!! Its costs money!!

    At the moment ONLY the 15 breeds on the list have to be Vet Checked at shows. GOOD!! But I believe ALL breeds should be Vet Checked at shows. You are on the Continent!! I did the World Show a few years ago and 2 vets were waiting for you as you went through the entrance and again at the Dutch Breed Club Show the following day!! If that list was based on vets clinical findings in show stock, we would not be in the top 15!!

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  39. Hi Kate, Hi Dave,
    I'm afraid that you have pre-empted me on that answer Dave: I fully concur with your response, and am delighted that you put the record straight about the health assessment of those 15 "high-profile" breeds by explaining what actually happened, and allowing us access to your views as a participant. I would add that I found the resulting report from the KC very unclear in many ways: no small wonder, if the judges' comments were somehow distorted, and if, as you say, the veterinary experts may have had no practical experience whatsoever in the breeds they were monitoring... It is therefore not surprising that you misinterpreted it the report's conclusions, Kate! As a simply member of the public, and a basset fan since over 30 years, there were a number of strange things that caught my attention when I first read the KC's report, and somehow brought the smell of rats to mind: one of these was was the fact that the report mentioned knuckling over as one of the Basset's health issues. Now the breed certainly does have some health issues which need our attention, but this is definitely no longer one of them. It may have been true in the breed's distant past, prompting the authors of the "old" breed standard to include it as an eliminatory fault, but it has definitely become very rare nowadays in the showring (and also outside it!), thanks to what the serious breeders worldwide have done to solve it. This is one of the points which started me thinking; the second one is the conspicuous absence of any information about the actual incidence of the points listed as issues in the various breeds, compared to the sample size (NB: which is also undivulged!). How many dogs of each breed were actually tested, and how many actually failed the test? Until these elements have been disclosed, the KC's report's findings must alas be considered with some caution as a means of extrapolating on the breed's overall health! It would be interesting to find out what the other 14 "high-profile" breeds have to say about it...
    By the way, I believe that the KC started out with 14 such breeds, and then added-on the Chinese Crested as an afterthought, because there had been some cheating on the part of certain exhibitors who had shaved their exhibits. Perhaps someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but if my assumption holds true, then that is a definite medical first !!! I certainly didn't know that shaving constituted a health hasard!!! Luckily my man sports a beard...

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  40. Jackie, for the issue concerning the shaving/depilation of the Chinese Crested, please see:

    http://pedigreedogsexposed.blogspot.com/2011/01/bald-truth-about-chinese-crested.html

    And it is a little misleading to refer to yourself "As simply a member of the public, and a basset fan since over 30 years"?

    You are Basset breeder (Bellacombe Bassets) and a show judge.

    Jemima

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  41. Just another afterthought about the KC's health report: the first health concern listed for basset hounds was one you didn't mention, Kate, i.e. character. This also cropped up for other breeds in the report, and is definitely one of dog world's main concerns over here on the Continent, following some serious accidents involving aggressive dogs. It certainly merits attention in all breeds, although I wouldn't have thought that Basset Hounds were prime candidates for improvement in that respect... For your info, the Swiss KC has made it compulsory for all breeding stock of all pedigree breeds to pass a breed-specific character test, as part of the breeding selection process. I just wish that the same were true for crossbreeds, mongrels and other non-recognised Muppets! It's also a shame that there are no really effective ways of controlling the environment in which puppies at large are socialised, as the environment plays a major role in the formation of a dog's character.

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  42. Dear Jemima,
    Apart from being mildly flattering, your research concerning my background is almost correct: the Devil, as they say, lies in small details ;-)) The affix, which I have shared with my mother since the end of 2008, is in fact "New Bellecombe"!
    Please note that I most certainly didn't wish to induce anybody into confusion by omitting any personal details, and still consider myself, first and foremost, to be someone who has loved Basset Hounds for over 30 years and who wishes to preserve them for future generations of dog-lovers!
    Now that my record has been set straight, please allow me to thank you here for giving the dog world a necessary electroshock with your programme "Pedigree Dogs Exposed". What a shame that it contained so many inaccuracies and polemical aspects, and that it totally lacked fairness towards the majority of honest breeders of those pedigree dogs which you summarily chose to pillory... Despite these failings, I still believe that it was a necessary thing to do, and that it will, in the long run, enable us to improve our respective breeds.
    Please just bear in mind that most breeders (and also most judges...) do their utmost to breed, and to promote the production of healthy puppies, capable of fulfilling their original function; they also did just that many years before your programme was aired, and well-before the latest changes which the KC hastily made to the breed standard, some of which I personally consider to be contradictory in terms, as well as unnecessary, since the original text already included many calls to moderation regarding certain breed features! When a pendulum moves too far in one direction, it will usually also swing back too far in the opposite one: with time, I just hope that we will find a way of reconciling these positions somewhere down the middle with the aid of a little common sense!

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  43. Middle ground fallacy!

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  44. Dear Anonymous,
    What can you mean? Somebody here says quite stringently that it was a very good and necessary thing that Jemima produced a film full of inaccuracies - the polite word, I believe, for those terminoligical inexactitudes also called lies; that it totally lacked fairness and chose to pillary dogs. :-)
    Well, it was a necessary film because it will make us improve our breeds, seeing everybody has been doing just that for so very long, and did I hear a "contradictory in terms" somewhere too? :-)))

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  45. Morning All,

    I love people like Anon that just come on here to cause trouble!! Which ever side of the fence you lie. I think Jemima's work was very important Bodil but maybe a little misdirected in places. I caught the KC with its pants down but by doing so caused Knee Jerk reactions. We should all be trying to improve our breeds, but as we have previously discussed, it might not be improvements how you see it!!
    Jackie speaks a lot of sense and is very well read!! She has a good history in this breed going back through her mother. I think we both have similar goals on this thread to try and balance up the argument a little.

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  46. Hi,
    It's very interesting that you chose that particular picture from 1880 to illustrate your points. If you look closely, really don't have to look too close, two of the basset hounds in that picture are knuckled over in the front. This condition appears in many of the early French basset hound illustrations. Today, at least in the USA, this joint problem is a disqualification.

    As for Champion basset hounds not being able to be successful in the field check out the following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIUFhj_4ah8&feature=share

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  47. Hello Don!
    Thanks for posting that videao. Did I by any chance recognise Sarge and Sandy?

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  48. Well, no offence, but how does this video illustrate "success in the field"?

    Jemima

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  49. Hi Don, Jackie and Jemima.

    I think "success in the field" may be a little strong!! Have you got a bit of video with the the dogs returning with a Hare draped fulornly in their mouths?? LOL. On a serious note though, They are fairly substantial dogs and that is their designated terrain!! They appear in no way incapacitated and by the looks of their energy, it may have taken a bit of time to get them back!! I know the likes of Bodil will find this Bespoke Dog for Bespoke quarry and terrain consept a little hard to accept, but thats how this dog and most French Hunting Dogs were consieved.

    To feedback to Don, I asked Jemima to post this picture for just that purpose. I wanted to try and demonstrate that the breed has always been a Full Size, Heavy Dog on Dwarf legs, but we are a lot sounder today!!

    The big argument is that Jemima prefers the transitional Basset Hound of the 60's and 70's when we lost bone and substance due to the out crossing to the Artesien in the late 40's and early 50's. I meerly used these 2 photo's to demonstrate that pre Umela De Barly (Artesien) the Basset Hound was the same size and weight as the "so called" modern Show Basset!!

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  50. Hello everybody!
    Since it's Easter today, let me tell you a little anecdote about a rabbit, and 3 pet bassets, which had never been hunted before.
    My husband and I used to own a pet rabbit called Fred who was an ace escapologist, and pretty hard to catch when he did (knowing how to play rugby was a definite requirement!). One day, when we were on holiday and my mother was bunny-sitting, he escaped from his outdoor run into my mother's large garden (4500 square meters). Before they could be restrained, three of my mother's bassets chased after him, and actually stopped him dead in the middle of her field in a matter of seconds. Without ever having been taught how to, the hounds used a kind of triangulation system to home in on him, and were perfectly coordinated in doing so! When he realised that there was no way for him to escape, the rabbit played possum, and finally escaped completely unscathed: all my very anxious mother had to do was to pick him up, and pop him back into his hutch.
    By the way, Dave, bassets don't normally catch any prey (even though our senior bitch did once catch an unsuspecting town pigeon...): don't they just track the game down, and drive the animals out of hiding (hopefully towards the waiting hunter!)?

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  51. Jackie this is not basset instinct. It is DOG instinct. My dogs - a real mix of everything from cocker/terrier to flatcoat to GSD x - do this every day on their walks, working as a collaborative team to surround and flush a copse.

    And if bassets don't catch prey, it is because they are not quick enough. Wild rabbits are particularly quick and nimble.

    Jemima

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  52. Hi Jemima,
    Well Fred would probably dispute your theory about bassets not being fast enough to catch rabbits when they put their minds to it! What I meant was simply that it is not the traditional way of hunting with a basset hound!
    NB One of the reasons why bassets became popular in the first place in hunting circles, is that hunters on foot are better able to keep up with them because of their short legs. As far as I know, Bassets are predominantly used for tracking, and "chasse à tir"; French hunters would have used either the "briquet" or the full-sized hounds of the species to chase and catch game (i.e. for "chasse à courre").

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  53. Can you hire bassets to hunt rabbits and hares?
    If so, make sure they are not charging an hourly rate.

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  54. Hi All!
    It was a bit of light hearted humour!! I didnt mean to kick off a SPEED debate!!! The breed is a tracking flushing dog predominantly!! And yes they are on short legs to allow hunters to keep up!! I did suggest the Briquet to Bodil earlier in this thread!! Nice Easter tale though Jackie!!

    Kate I'd like to see you keep up with the dogs in that video!! Especially for a sustained period. Another thing this breed is good for is stamina.

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  55. If my research is correct, hunters who hunted with basset hounds used their bassets to drive small prey, such as rabbit and hare, from dense undercover into open terrain where hunters could move in for the kill with spears (shown below), nets or clubs.

    As for the video, Those bassets followed the trail very well from what I've been told. The red one took absolute in the Basset Hound of America/AKC sanctioned field trial, Ch. Tailgate Santana, son of Am/Can. DC. Tailgate Jada Luv, HH and "Sarge" Ch. Showtimes Shock and Awe one of the top basset hounds in the USA who won the BHCA Nationals.

    The following is an excerpt from the chapter on basset hounds in Cassell's Illustrated Book of the Dog published in 1881. This is perhaps the very first "Standard" for basset hounds in England. It’s very interesting to compare it to the current AKC Standard. Many of the characteristics that we breed for today are included.

    The Basset, for its size, has more bone, perhaps, than nearly any other dog. 
    The skull should be peaked like that of the Bloodhound, with the same dignity and expression, nose black (although some of my own have white about theirs), and well flewed.  For the size of the hound, I think the teeth are extremely small. However, as they are not intended to destroy life, this is probably the reason. 

    The ears should hang like the Bloodhound's, and are like the softest velvet drapery. 

    The eyes are a deep brown, and are brimful of affection and intelligence. They are pretty deeply set, and should show a considerable haw. A Basset is one of those hounds incapable of having a wicked eye. 

    The neck is long, but of great power ; and in the Basset a jambes torses the flews extend very nearly down to the chest. The chest is more expansive in the Basset than even in the Bulldog, and should in the Bassets d jainbes torses be not more than two inches from the ground. In the case of the Basset a jambcs demi-torses and jainbes droites, being generally lighter, their chests do not, of course, come so low.

    The shoulders are of great power, and terminate in the crooked feet of the Basset, which appear to be a mass of joints. The back and ribs are strong, and the former of great length.  The stern is gaily carried like that of hounds in general, and when the hound is on the scent of game this portion of his body gets extremely animated, and tell me, in my own hounds, when they have struck a fresh or cold scent, and I even know when the foremost hound will give tongue. 

    The hind-quarters are very strong and muscular, the muscles standing rigidly out down to the hocks.

    The skin is soft in the smooth-haired dogs, and like that of any other hound, but in the rough variety it is identical with that of the Otter-hound's.

    Colour, of course, is a matter of fancy, although I infinitely prefer the 'tricolour', which has a tan head and black-and-white body.

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  56. For picture of basset hound hunting pack go to http://www.bhcsc.com/BHCSC/History_of_the_Breed.html and check out the photographs of Major Heseltine's packs from 1901 & 1912.

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  57. Dave Darley3 May 2011 08:56

    Hi Don, Thats a very interesting extract from a book I have never read. Although it does demonstrate the size and proportion of early dogs, I hope that breeders both here and in the US have improved on some of those points over the 130 years since print.

    I understood completely what was going on in the video by the way. It was just my sad attempt at a bit of humour!! I have spent some time on this blog now and in some cases, feel I'm engaged in a winless war!! The idea behind asking Jemima to start this thread was to try and educate people a little to the fact that this breed is by conseption, a large, heavy breed.

    I would like people to get over this first hurdle of what size and shape the breed should be. People should start looking at the finer points of construction, what GOOD breeders (Both Show and Hunt) have done for the breed and what we, the breeders can do to better the breed.

    Just a little note for Jemima. I have had a look at the new thread and the comparison of the 2 Bassets. Neither of those 2 would win in the ring these days!! The MASSIVELY overdone one is not a UK Champion Basset and would probably never even win a class here!! In this case I am in complete agreement with you about exaggeration and I think you would find just about all UK Breeders in total agreement too. The other dog wouldnt win these days either! Not because of he's less exaggerated though!! His front construction would not stand up against the more modern specimen. Not a single Judge I know would find that dog too "DRY". If he was to appear at a show, The casual observer may feel he was being penalised for lack of type but he would be penalised for his construction. I think its also fair to say that SOME judges would still put him up, regardless of his contruction, purely BECAUSE of his type.

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  58. There is a Wonderful Book on the Wolfhound by Joel Samaha, with several sections on judging and standards. In the case of the Wolfhound, one man Joseph Graham spend 23 years of his life re-developing the breed from which the current standard is nearly identical. The only disparity is a matter of the limitations of the human language and the meaning of the words as intended in the standard. Here with Bassets, there has been in essence at least two varieties from day 1, both of which deserve consideration as hunting hounds. I have an 80 lb athletic dog the just got 9 first place at a field trial who is well built large bone wrinkle - who was often dismissed as over done in the ring. His 76 lb brother has 3 NBQ and a 4th, and I dare say few bassets have his heart for maintaining a pace all day in the field. He was not overlooked in the ring, but took many placements behind many flat sided dogs with little type popularly promoted. Owners and breeder carry all abilities to do their best to breed the best bassets possible, judges don't have the right (consistent with Barbara Rupert) to choose color, bone, or type alone that varies inconsistently with the standard and the meaning of the standard. Based on the history of the breed and both the current standard and the previous standard, it's a hard sell to say that the Basset isn't a heavy wrinkled dog with large bone than any other breed (especially a Beagle), and is foremost a rabbit hunting hound. TY for the excellent dialog above.

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