Sunday, 11 March 2012

Buzzed Lightyear... the DQ'd Basset

And the final dog in the 15 highlighted breeds to not be awarded its BOB at Crufts 2012 was the Basset Hound Ch Buzz Lightyear at Dereheath.

Pictures of the dog - revealing a typical show Basset - can be found here. Again, I think the most likely reason was ectropion. I actually didn't see a Basset at Crufts today without it.


The Bloodhound BOB, however, passed - Ch Marksbury Serious of Maplemead. I was ringside to see her win and had a chance to say hello to her afterwards. She's a lovely, friendly, unexaggerated bitch with better-than-average eyes for a Bloohound (and there were some shockers there). Everyone was convinced ringside that the Bloodhound BOB would fail, whichever dog won, so I imagine that they were pleased.

There's a picture of Marsbury Serious of Maplemead here (third pic down, winning BIS at the Association of Bloodhound Breeders Champ Show last September). She looks pretty good, doesn't she?

Post mortem on what will surely go down as one of the most extraordinary Crufts ever to come...   plus some pix I haven't yet had a chance to upload...

Edit 15/3: an anonymous comment to the blog today (15/3) maintains that ectropion was not the reason for the dog's DQ so I have tweaked the copy above. Although without further, non-anon evidence, it is impossible to say either way for sure.

92 comments:

  1. Although bulldogs don't physically float my boat, all the ones I've met have had temperaments to die for (unlike most border collies/working sheepdogs, for instance) and the BoB who was disqualified was a noticeable improvement; to deny her the credit which was due was a real kick in the teeth to the people who are working to retrieve the breed.

    The Clumber spaniel was disqualified for being haw-eyed; the Newfoundland who eventually became RBiS was equally so. Double standards? Most definitely.

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    1. It seems like the swedish bassets-population doesn´t got problems with ectropion, why should dogs with the condition be premiered in the U.K to encourage breeders efforts?

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  2. (1) I don't know what Border Collies you hang with, but my 4 have sublime temperaments.

    (2) Health is not comparative, health is absolute. No one wants comparative health, they want absolute health. Vets don't deal with "good improvement!" they deal with "is it sick or not."

    If some breeds have to go a few generations without winning Championships, so be it. What's the harm in that? Do we NEED to be giving out Championships left and right to "improved" but not demonstrably healthy dogs? No we do not.

    If we do, then it only cheapens what a Championship means, and that's lost a lot of stock already. I don't think it can afford to be cheapened any more with "A for effort" sorts of handouts.

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    1. Totally agree with comment 2, excellent point that hits the nail on the head

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  3. do you have photos of the bloodhounds eyes?Im interested to see what passable ones look like? and the bad ones.

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    1. Association of Bloodhound Breeders statement on Heath: http://www.associationofbloodhoundbreeders.co.uk/page_1_health.html

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  4. Jemima, please let us know what action to take next. I'm keen to show support to the KC as they are coming under fire from the Breed Clubs. I've been corresponding with a couple of the breed clubs, just as a member of the general public concerned about the health effects of selective breeding, and the degree of denial and vilification of critics took me by surprise. I'm sorry to report that all the Breed officers I've had contact with are rude in their correspondence, act as if they are above public opinion, are highhanded and just plain unprofessional. They really seem to live on a different planet. It's important that the KC continues to get support / pressure from reformers. If you can help direct that that'd be appreciated!

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  5. Hi Saro

    I absolutely agree that the Kennel Club needs supporting to stay the course on this one as it will (already is) under a lot of pressure.

    The KC backed down re coat-testing after a lesser furore, so it is in a difficult place right now.

    Will blog thoughts soon.

    Jemima

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  6. Dear Jemima

    I think you do a remarkable job. it is always difficult to shift a paradigm when human vanity and money are implicated in the mix.

    Sadly, against stupidity even the gods fight in vain sometimes. The response by some breeders reminds me of a saying we have in the Danish horse world: "you can lead a human to knowledge but you cannot make it think."

    Best,
    Aleksandra T, Magdalen College, Oxford

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  7. I’m on record as saying I doubted the vet checks would have much immediate effect...got that one wrong!! I’m also on record as saying the big story of 2012 will be the difference in way dogs are perceived by those inside and outside the show world. I think I got that one very close.
    Inside the show world there is a lot of anger and frustration that dogs that passed breed health checks and are considered healthy examples of their breed should then fail these vet checks. Their perception is they’re doing the right things; vets view is that there are still unacceptable clinical problems.
    In breeds like the Clumber those of us interested in healthier pedigree dogs have won the argument against gross exaggeration. The argument now centres on whether we should be absolutist about any breed feature that potentially causes a health and welfare issue.
    Passions are running high and the backlash has already begun. It didn’t take much for last year’s Elnett revolution to sweep away coat testing and that will be seem as the template for overturning these vet checks.
    I’m not wedded to vet checking in this specific form. I supported them for the precedent they set and it’s the precedent of independent (bold, underlined twice!) outside scrutiny we must fight to preserve.
    Kevin Colwill

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  8. Well, I posted my email to the Dog World editor in support of the KC and the vets, and am suggesting to everybody reading my blog that they do the same. Any other good suggestions on how to show appreciation and gratitude?

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  9. I suspect Basset Hound ‘Buzz Lightyear’ may have failed his vet check because of ectropion and / or conjunctivitis. Probably a more painful condition for the poor chap is his penis dragging on the ground due to the fact he has seemingly vestigial legs. Either way he is certainly not capable of ‘great endurance in the field’ as stated in the breed standard.

    So what next for Buzz and his owners Mr & Mrs Storton?

    They won’t take kindly to one of their hounds being so publically humiliated. Rather than accepting change is needed I am sure they will threaten to stop entering shows, breeding etc. which in my view will have the desired effect of improving the breed.

    Its high time hounds with the confirmation of Buzz are side lined and relegated to the history books. I saw plenty of lighter weight, healthier basset hounds at Crufts this year. Some breeders are embracing the changes the Kennel Club, RSPCA, vets and the public are now demanding but I am sure there will be plenty of ‘die hards’ who refuse to change and in time they will become extinct. Crufts this year has been another turning point, well done to the Kennel Club!

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    1. Gravel marks on the underside of a dog's prepuce is not a good thing, especially when the reason is too short legs. But it is the dog's excessive loose skin which really got my attention. My show quality bassets of the 1950s and 1960s, were rabbit hunters, and this current variety look like they'd trip over their own skin if they tried to run through the brambles. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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    2. Alison, I would think that would be your hope for your dogs, to get with some stock such as the second place bitch bred from TheProfessor in California. Your dogs appear to be extremely leggy and I would think are moving pretty fast for a foot pack, not that I think you can actually hunt with them anymore in the UK? I would love to see some vet reports on your dogs. Did you get that really highpitched beagle sound? You can really see the beagle in the photo I saw...

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    3. Rod, I have seen very typy bassets charge right through the brambles with no damage at all. I see it happen like about 10 times a year at field trials. They handle the brush differently than what your dogs would do, which I am guessing was a down on their belly approach, what my dogs tend to do, but the big ones, they just ram right in, and there is never any damage. The size and bone seems to actually protect them.

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    4. Anon: Why would our hounds produce a high pitch beagle sound? We have no beagle blood in our blood lines. And yes, our hounds have legs. All our hounds show great endurance in the field, which means being able to cover 20 miles plus. I wonder if Buzz could do that?

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    5. Here is a quote from the London Times article that you gave, "The Kennel Club-registered basset hound had developed into a ponderous mutant incapable of hunting so we had to outcross," she (Alison Jeffers) said. So what then did you outcross to? I had been told you outcrossed to beagle. My apologies if that is incorrect information.

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    6. I believe the confusion was over the WestLodge pack of beagles, which may be housed with your dogs? But I do look forward to your description of what your 2002 outcross was, and how that has benefited your dogs. As far as "Buzz" being about to cover 20 miles plus, I think that is a matter of conditioning, his learning a place in a group at this age, and his desire to hunt, wouldn't you say? I would like to see him first build up a little better muscle development before I took him into the field, but I suspect he would hunt well as a single dog or braced dog on hare if he was given that conditioning and has the desire, which it seems most will kick in with once they get out there.

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    7. So to clear up some confusion:

      We have never outcrossed Albany hounds with either Harriers or Beagles.

      At the time of us having to outcross with MBHA registered basset hounds, Michael Errey was Chairman of both the Basset Hound Club and the Albany Bassets. He approved a mating with an MBHA registered basset hound but has since gone on to deny this and worse still, claim we out crossed with Beagles and Harriers. That is where I believe you have got your misinformation from. Sadly Michael and others have continued to perpetuate this lie as it’s a convenient way to explain why our hounds look so different when compared to KC basset hounds.

      The MBHA blood lines we have used can be traced back to Peggy Keevil’s Grimm Hounds, which as I am sure you are aware, formed the foundation stock of the KC basset hound in the UK today. So our hounds, and many of today’s KC hounds, hail from this same foundation stock. It’s also worth noting that we still use KC bloodlines and have had good results when crossing these with our hounds. With regard to the West Lodge Bassets (not Beagles), we took over their hunting country but never took any of their hounds or bred with them.

      So how has our breeding policy benefited our hounds? Quite simply they can still do what the Basset Hound was originally bred to do. No one with an ounce of intelligence could possibly think Buzz could work at speed for 20 miles plus. He has vestigial legs, his penis drags on the ground, he must be 20KG’s overweight and his excessive skin folds would cause him to overheat. I think ‘ponderous mutant’ describes him perfectly but please do prove me wrong, show me Buzz and other KC hounds out working in the field doing what the breed standard states: ‘a hound capable of great endurance in the field’

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    8. Alison, I am in the US so I am not as knowledgable of these things as are people in the UK. I am very interested in pack working bassets. We do see dogs that are like him, I would not go so far as to demean his appearance, that work extremely well as a solo or brace on cottontail. We also see dogs that look more like your dogs and they are definitely capable of great endurance and stamina, which I prize personally. I would also not demean the appearance of your dogs, and I apologize for the assumption that you had bred directly to beagles. I do not see any sign that his penis "drags the ground". Like I said, I would want him to get into better physical condition before I would put him on a line, but I think he could jump and follow game for longer than you would think.

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    9. We could continue to debate Buzz's physical prowess infinitum. The only true measure of his capabilities would be to see him work.

      Prior to our expulsion in 2002 from the Basset Hound Club, the Albany Bassets were their working branch. The objective was to foster the hunting instinct inherent in every Basset Hound and to promote the club policy at the time; maintenance of the working utility is just as important as the quality of the show points.

      Privately owned hounds could enter the pack and if they worked well, would be awarded preliminary and full hunt certificates. During the 1960’s and 1970’s many hounds winning in the show ring had full hunt certificates, what a wonderful way of proving they were fit for purpose!

      If this proven model was reintroduced by the Kennel Club I firmly believe the Basset Hound would very quickly start to resemble the hounds that were winning in the show ring 30 plus years ago. Any debate around whether they are ‘fit for purpose’ and healthy would become irrelevant as they had proved they were. All very simple really.

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  10. “what will surely go down as one of the most extraordinary Crufts ever”

    Congratulations Jemima, you are to be applauded for what has happened at Crufts this weekend. There is little doubt that your campaign has been the catalyst for the Kennel Club discovering some backbone and enforcing breed standards at long last.
    What a result. A massive number of caring, right-thinking people who are interested in dog welfare are right behind you.

    Interestingly I attempted to congratulate and support the KC on their facebook page today by posting the following:

    “Congratulations to the KC for their actions taken at Crufts this weekend to ensure the continued improvement in the health of our pedigree dogs”

    And my post was removed almost immediately. I am not sure what rule I broke, but if anyone wants to support and encourage the KC, I guess they will have to email or write?

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  11. And for those that don't know, Alison Jeffers is from the Albany Basset Hounds, oft mentioned (and pictured) here.

    http://www.albanybassets.co.uk

    Jemima

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    1. Alison really didn't do anything unusual in breeding out to another scent hunting breed. Pack people have done that for generations to improve hunting ability. I would like to hear more about what factors influenced her selection of particular dogs to breed out to, what she was trying to improve upon exactly, what health tests she performed, how she then made breeding decisions with the dogs that were produced, and where she will be with that decision in about eight years when she sees the health ramifications.

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    2. Hope Alison doesn't mind if I reply here, but I have been doing a lot of work on the Stud Book database for working bassets. The point that Anon has (understandably) missed is that up until a very few years ago, the Albany was unique in the working basset world in that all its hounds were of pretty much pure KC bloodlines. It was the deterioration of the KC basset, and its increasing unsuitability for any kind of work, that persuaded the Albany to look to bring in non KC bloodlines. I suspect that the hound we are actually talking about is Albany Domino '03, who was by Albany Damon '97 (pure KC bloodlines) out of Four Shires Notice '00, a typical working or 'English' basset of mainly Huckworthy / Leadon Vale breeding. No beagles in there.

      And just to add another layer of complexity, Albany hounds, with their high proportion of 'old-fashioned' KC bloodlines, are now proving very useful as an outcross for the working basset, which is in danger of inbreeding due to a very small population (circa 200 hounds at any one time, of which only a small number are ever bred from).

      If we had a KC-style 'closed' studbook, the working basset would have been inbred to extinction by now.

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    3. Richard you are quite correct and I have no issue with anyone posting factually correct information about our hounds. Thank you!

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    4. Thank you to Richard and Alison for clarifying these questions. I think the distance between the US and the UK, along with bits of facts and bits of surmise, had confused the terminology of "outcrossing". Please understand that I think very highly of your hounds and your efforts with them and hope to continue to learn more. Can I ask if you ever considered going to a US bred dog?

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  12. Breeders are up in arms about the vet checks at crufts- there are hundreds of them online moaning about how wrong the vets are and how they as exhibitors and judges know best ( they are more knowledgeable in animal health than a vet apparently lol). They really need to open their eyes to see that this is a good thing and realise that the show ring has no place for unhealthy animals that in the eye of the exhibitor is perfection.
    I am an exhibitor myself and I applaud the kc for this action and hope it extends to all breeds including my own - I would be more than happy to have a dog of mine looked over by a vet and if anything was found I'd accept it. The number of skull deformities and luxating patella in my breed being awarded top honours Is horrific- please kc make this new rule for all . The breeders happily breed and sell these defective dogs whilst owners like myself are the ones to live with the heart ache and vet bills.

    A heads up to you jemima- have a look at the Facebook group exhibitor choice and voice . There is an OPEN meeting being held on Thursday by exhibitors and judges opposing the vet check rule - being organised by kc judge a,brace at the brittania suite, National motercycle museum services, B92 0eg at 6pm ( you have to pay 20pound for the privilege to have a moan at how judges know better than rcvs vets!).

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  13. As an American Basset Hound breeder of some 40 years whose dogs are known for their health and all the qualities that make a Basset a BASSET, I deplore the action taken at Crufts yesterday. The judge for Bassets is about the most respected and revered one in the UK and very knowledgable about what a Basset IS...the essence of the breed, structure, type, temperament etc. To then have her BOB dog "judged" by someone totally unqualified makes a mockery of everything breeders are trying to accomplish. This will never happen in the USA and our own American Kennel Club has issued a statement to this effect. Basset breeders world wide are totally in accord with outrage at this action also. That there will be a back lash is not in doubt so will anything positive have been accomplished? Not at all likely, unfortunately.

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    1. And if the breeders should have done there job, and kept their breeds healthy, the extra vet. check at crufts would never have happened.
      It´s not only the basset hound that´s "red listed". 15 breeds are considered to be in the "red zone". That didn´t happened over night. Or the KC has got it wrong here too?
      Why don´t take the DQ´s basset hound (and all other DQ breeds/dogs) to a good eye vet (if the DQ was caused by eye problems) and disprove the jugement from the extra healthcheck on Crufts?

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    2. As a basset owner in the 1950s and 1960s, I think that what has happened to the breed over the past 40 years is the real outrage. It obviously has been all about winning in the ring and not at all about the breed, its health or its performance raison d'être. -- Rod Russell, Orlando, Florida USA

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    3. Hanna, that boy actually has a veterinary opthalmologist link to his eye exam on his webpage clearly showing his eye clearances. A regular veterinary surgeon cannot do this type of in depth eye exam at a show.

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    4. Why don´t take the DQ´s basset hound (and all other DQ breeds/dogs) to a good eye vet (if the DQ was caused by eye problems) and disprove the jugement from the extra healthcheck on Crufts?

      funny you should say that.. The Peke and the Bulldog bitch now have clearances from canine ophthalmologists. I imagine the others won't be far behind

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    5. I´m not familiar with the KC website and were all information is. But when I searched for information about what ectropion is (it doesn´t got exactly the same name in swedish) the simple explenation is that the lower eyelid drops down and the eye gets dried out.
      According to the swedish eye specialist Berit Wallin Håkansson, the exposed mucuous membrane will get dried out, red and inflammated (not sure how to bend inflammation). Both the redness and the inflammation you can see without any special equipment. You can even see the redness in the eye on most of the pictures.
      Even a none medical trined person can see that the dogs eyes on pictures posted on this blog is way to red in the lower eyelid area.
      Buzz (in this case) may got a ton of eye exams, but is any of the tests for ectropian? If not, he will be "all clear". If you test for PRA, the vet will only say if the dog got it or not. Not if he has any other eye problems.

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    6. I´ll make one thing more clear:

      If you test for (an example) PRA, the paper from the opthalmologist (guess this is a eye specialist?) will only be on the PRA status. Not what have been talked about outsie the PRA exam (during the consultation). And normally then not officiall either.

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    7. I don't understand this carry on about the judges opinions should be respected, they are judges & they judge looks & hopefully movement & it's is quite clear they do not know how to judge for health. Health should be of the highest priority so what if the judge says an individual dog was the best on the day if it can't pass a simple vet check. The dog should have not even been there in the first place never mind placed so highly when in some cases blind freedy could see it would not pass the health checks.
      Is there any statements realised from any of the Judges who placed dogs that where DQ'd after the health checks? I'd be most interested to hear what they have to say.

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    8. Hanna, it sounds like your dog was deemed clear of any eye issues, or I am certain your consulting opthalmologist would have advised you to seek treatment. I can't imagine it would be otherwise.

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    9. What? My dog isn´t a part of this. He isn´t a showdog, a jrt and doesn´t have any eyeproblems. That doesn´t mean I don´t know stuff and can search for the facts I don´t have ;) The eye specialist have done an artical on eyedisease. But didn´t see the point of linking the text. Only because it was in swedish, and frankly, don´t think many of you talk swedish ;)
      I´ve hade dogs long enogh to know what will be put on the testresultpapers and what will not.

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  14. "(they are more knowledgeable in animal health than a vet apparently lol)"
    "how judges know better than rcvs vets!)."

    I have known vets recommend that owners have a litter from their bitch at her first season, and that a good place to find a puppy is on e*pupz.

    'Nuff said.

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    1. I personally think the answer is to have all dogs submit a veterinary certificate at time of entry. Any liscensed veterinarian should be able to evaluate a dog's health appropriately. Then if there are grievances, let the veterinary community work that out. They are the health experts and as such, should be making those decisions without outside influence.

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  15. Sue Shoemaker's Bassets:

    http://www.bhcsc.com/BHCSC/Shoefly_Bassets.html

    Have a look at the two-month-old pups near the bottom of the page.

    Their eyes are a total disgrace.

    Please breed your Bassets more like your 1969-born Basset bitch Betsy.

    Jemima

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    1. god bless those poor puppies.

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    2. Actually my first Bassets and many of the subsequent ones were at a very high risk for developing glaucoma...which is a real problem in Bassets that you have not even realized or addressed. Glaucoma causes blindness, is incurable and untreatable and there is much research being done right now to try to find the genetic marker...I am proud to say that I, along with many other breeders in the USA, have donated blood samples for testing as we all would like to see glaucoma eliminated. I'm also going to let you know...kindly of course...that the litter you have commented upon has probably the least chance of developing glaucoma of any dogs in the US due to a great deal of research, careful breeding and a lot of money spent. Frankly, if you give me a choice between eliminating glaucoma and a bit too much haw showing...well the answer should be clear to anyone I think. I've NEVER known of a Basset going blind from ectropia and/or a lot of haw but I could name way too many who have gone blind from glaucoma. Also, fyi, its just about impossible at this point for even the best opthamologists to predict which dogs will develop glaucoma which is why this nasty disease has not been eliminated to date. Trust me on this, if the reputable Basset breeders had a way to eliminate glaucoma we would and about all we can do is what I have done with my newest litter.

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    3. If you have to choose between glaucoma and ectropian, you really should just stop breeding.

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    4. Anon: it is not a choice. I believe that her point is that what many see as excessive or acceptable "haw" or eyelid tightness, can be extremely deceiving in that dogs are not effected by this in the way you perceive. It is very possible that the eye that looks good to you, harbors the potential for a devestating eye issues, such as glaucoma, and the person determining the real health of the eye must be no less than a veterinary opthalmologist.

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    5. if a dog has ectropion, clearly its eyes are not fine. Nobody ever said that if a dog does not have ectropion its eyes are fine.

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  16. I found the pictures profoundly upsetting; that a breeder can proudly display them as examples of her breeding for sale is beyond belief.

    Jemima

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  17. Oh my goodness you can hardly see their eyes at all it's like their whole face has slipped ! I'm completely non-plussed !

    "To then have her BOB dog "judged" by someone totally unqualified makes a mockery of everything breeders are trying to accomplish"

    I shall hope that you don't really mean breeders of Bassetts are trying to accomplish dogs with their eyelids (and other sensitive parts) on the ground and suggest that if the best your breed can offer is unhealthy (regardless of breed type) then I would have to agree with an earlier post suggesting that "champion" status doesn't need to get handed out every year until good work by some breeders gets the dogs back to health. To have champion status witheld may also incentivise the breeders to make good sooner rather than later.
    Barbara

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    1. Barbara, clearly to state that something is dragging the ground, especially eyelids, is ludicrous and exaggerated. One of the problems right now is the breadth of exaggeration that is clouding real health issues. To think that breeders are not interested in health first, simply makes no sense. They would literally kill themselves out of the breed. But these breeds are very strong, numerous and continue to exist. Even basic science shows us that there must be valid reason for this, and that reason is that responsible breeders always have the intent of good health and temperament first, with the goal of that showing so clearly that the dog will do well in show as a result, not a by product. There seems to be a perception that a mixed breed dog would somehow be healthier than a purebred. Do you really think that the case, especially considering how many of them are in poor health through gestation, have sometimes severe behavioral issues, and often live in an extremely deprived environment? Seriously look at this breed for suitability as a loving pet in the home, they are remarkably able to adjust to a variety of situations, doing well in flats as well as manors. And they frequently live very full lives until the age of 13 - 16. Some may even make it to 18. Do you think this would be possible without the prominent breeders who are responsibly caring for and placing their dogs? And no, not everyone inquiring will get a pet from a responsible breeder, because they want to make sure that the pet owners are also responsible, because most will be there to care for that dog for a lifetime should something occur. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater here. If these dogs don't have problems with prominent haw, then hallelujah, research and funding can then focus on the truly important issues such as cancers, which is the number one killer of all dogs AND humans. Research in purebred dogs is one of the way these cancers are beginning to be unraveled, because the purebred breeder has detailed health records and related dogs to pinpoint genetic issues. As it has been in the past, the people that care the most about the breed, are the breeders, and they will continue to do all they can to better their breeds. Shows or no shows.

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    2. Anonymous,

      Perhaps in the after shock of looking at 2 month old puppies where I couldn't see their eyes at all I did exaggerate for effect and I read the comments about haw not affecting the eyes of a dog with interest and look forward to more medical or science-based information on that as to a non-breed person frankly their eyes look utterly appalling!

      However I didn't mention cross-breeds at all and you seem to have made some rather brash assumptions on my personal views. In fact I own a KC registered lab from working lines who's parents had all the relevant health checks. Our research was as thorough as it could have been mostly due to kind and experienced help from long time owners and breeders and we were most certainly vetted for our suitability as owners. Neither would I be averse to owning a cross-breed or rescue dog. When you have so few dogs statistics mean very little however this is a broader discussion on pedigree dog health and possible defects that have been purposely bred.

      I also appreciate that there are many breeders working hard to improve or maintain their dogs health. What I would like to see however that in the priority list of looks, temperament and health that health rise up from what appears to be third place as, to date, it seems to have least impact on winning ribbons. Good health in some areas does not excuse purposely bred issues in others after all we're talking about the very best of the breed here probably worldwide it should be perfection. I look forward to the medical explanations mentioned earlier on haw perhaps as someone experienced in the breed you can ask your opthamologist to comment. I would hope that if excess haw had been identified by the KC as an issue it had medical reasoning behind it and any vet judging a BoB for excess haw would be well-versed in the issues but as I say I look forward to learning more.

      Many thanks,
      Barbara

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  18. "Their eyes are a total disgrace."

    What eyes?

    All I see is haw.

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    1. The 2 mounth old puppies that is at the buttom of the page? Where you only can see skin and red. I agree with Jemima on that comment.

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    2. Your sarcasm detector needs new batteries.

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    3. Sorry if I missed you sarcasm. What is haw?

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  19. Honestly, can those puppies see at all? Their eyes are completely covered with skin!

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  20. Prominent haw is not an indication of eye health. Many dogs with prominent haw never have ANY eye issues. This is where unknowledgable people trying to do the "right thing" are actually hurting dogs. The only way to know good breedability in the eye is by an exam with a veterinary opthalmologist and/or a researcher in eye issues. And a problem dog can have what appears to be good eyes, and anything short of a veterinary opthalmologist would not catch the problem. The dog that was disqualified had been to a veterinary opthalmologist and has a very good report. That is worth much more than a subjective opinion of "excessive".

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  21. Anon 11:07

    Holy Crap! Haw has no effect on eye health? Are you kidding me?

    Eyelids of mammals are designed to cover and protect the eyeball. If a humans eyelids sagged that low they would be immediately referred to a surgeon for correction as it would allow debris to infect the eye. If your own eyelid, Anon, sagged like those puppies, would you not see a doctor?

    There is no valid reason to have any dog whose eyelids sag that far. Its irrelevant of they eyeball itself is healthy when its not protected by the lids.

    It makes zero sense that a dog designed to run along the ground sniffing would benefit from having eyelids so droopy that any amount of debris could easily enter the eye. The pups commented on above are so droopy the lid would actually obscure the visual field!

    Saying haw has no affect on visual health is about as ignorant a statement as I have ever read on this blog.

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  22. "Many dogs with prominent haw never have ANY eye issues."

    Other than not being able to blink properly.

    Go ahead and pull down the skin of your lower eyelid so that you match those Bassets. See how long you last before becoming uncomfortable, then keep pulling. Have someone blow dust in your face. You are not allowed to let go or rub the dust out of your eyes. Whether or not you have a clear eye certificate has no bearing on whether or not this hurts like hell.

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    1. The eyelid really doesn't sag or malfunction in the way you imagine. And yes, a veterinary opthalmologist also is an expert in eye lid health. If any animal has trouble with their eye in the way you describe, you see it in how they are acting. They will rub the eyes, roll on the side of the head. I have seen humans and animals do this when a particle is in the eye, regardless of haw, and I am sure that you would expect to see the same. This dog did not have any behavior that indicated that there was a problem. The dogs can still have prominent haw and blink their eyes perfectly fine. You are making a judgement based on your belief about an animal you do not personally know. Actually, part of what happens when the dog's head is down to the ground following scent, is that often the eyes are not really used by the dog, they are operating totally on scent, so for the eyes to close somewhat, or even completely is frequently seen as they track. If you understood scenthounds, then you would know that their ability to scent is over 40 times that of what humans have as an ability.

      Delete
    2. brilliant post but the armchair experts here will not believe a word you say

      Delete
    3. I have read some rubbish in my time but for anyone to suggest that scent hounds run along the ground with their eyes closed must be one of the most foolish things I have ever heard. Having said that, Sue Shoemaker has obviously bought in to this idea as she’s breeding basset hounds without functioning eyes – looking at pictures of her puppies on her web site is like looking at an old fashioned freak show. And she’s proud of them!

      Delete
    4. Alison, I see that all the time with dogs individually or on brace. You need to get down and take a look. They are so focused into the scent that they are frequently not looking. Only when called by the bracemate do they then use the eyes. It may be more difficult to see this when they are pack hunting. Sue is a wonderful person and does everything she can to further the health of her dogs.

      Delete
  23. “Prominent haw is not an indication of eye health”

    If prominent haw is not an indication of eye health, why did the KC make this change to Basset Hound Breed Standard:

    [Delete – ‘Red of lower lid appears, though not excessively’].

    This and other changes to the breed standard can be found here: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/2227

    “The dog that was disqualified had been to a veterinary opthalmologist and has a very good report”

    Dogs visiting a veterinary opthalmologists are normally being tested for a specific inherited disease. For example, the certificate my veterinary opthalmologist gives me when I take my dogs to visit him simply declares that the dog (Labrador) is at that point in time, free of progressive retinal atrophy. It does not include any examination or assessment of the eyelids.

    Perhaps this is a different kind of examination in Basset Hounds. It does seem unlikely though, that the vet at Crufts would spot something that an ophthalmologist was looking for and failed to find. It seems more likely to me that the ophthalmologist is not required to inspect or comment on, the dog’s eyelids.

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    1. Pippa, I think the answer to your first question is due to fear that because something was called into question, they had to address it or they would lose the BBC, and a number of other critical organizations whose support bankrolls a great deal of this show, and businesses don't want the negative publicity. The media attention compounds the difficulty, though also breeds more "eyeballs" watching Crufts, which means more money coming in, so it is quite the Catch 22. And you are very wrong about opthalmologists and eyelids. You may have been taking a dog for a specific examination, where their focus was in the result for a certain exam, but I can assure you that if your opthalmologist had seen any sign of entropian, ectroprion, or other problems with the eyelid, they would have advised you appropriately. Eyelid issues are absolutely addressed by opthalmologists. I believe that the basset in question was disqualified for "excessive haw". I argue this opinion because, 1) it lacks quantifiable measurement and 2.) because it conflicts with an opthalmology report on this dog from October 2011 and only a board certified opthalmologist is truly capable of judging eye health through a fairly rigourous protocol.

      Delete
    2. Your reply is interesting, because the Basset Hound Club of Wales states that

      "representatives of all eight Basset Hounds Clubs met with the Kennel Club’s BHWSG on April 23 2008 to begin the process of looking at the implications the European Convention for the Protection for Pet Animals would have on the Basset Hound and how the Breed Standard could be changed to accommodate the Kennel Club’s objective for more importance to be placed on movement, activity and avoidance of exaggerations"

      This to me implies that the new breed standards were decided with the input of all the Basset Hound Clubs, not simply plucked out of the air by the KC in order to avoid losing the BBC etc

      Delete
    3. According to my information, it is correct that the proposed changes to the Basset Hound breed standard were discussed with the UK breed clubs; unfortunately, the KC then apparently disregarded a number of the clubs' comments concerning these changes, which were enforced regardless of certain contradictions concerning haw and eyes!
      Firstly, let’s clarify a few terms:
      Haw is present in all dogs (and also in many other creatures!), regardless of the shape of their eyes. It is what is sometimes also called the third eyelid. If the eyelids fit snugly against the eyeball, the haw is normally covered up and invisible. The haw can be pigmented, i.e. dark brown or black in some hounds, or unpigmented, in which case it appears pink or reddish, because of the blood vessels irrigating it. If you look at your own (hopefully healthy) eyes, and pull down your lower eyelid, you will see that you also have haw!

      As far as I know, this has nothing to do with conjunctivitis, which is an irritation caracterised by dilated blood-vessels in the eye itself.

      Ectropion, on the other hand, is a medical condition where the eyelids are so loose that the lower lid is everted (i.e. turned outwards compared to the eyeball). If this is very pronounced, it may indeed interfere with how tightly the eyelids close.

      Entropion is the opposite condition, where the eyelids are turned inward, and where the eyelashes rub against, and in time irritate, the eyeball. If nothing is done to correct entropion surgically, it can cause lasting injuries to the cornea, and even blindness.

      Both entropion and ectropion, as well as very open eyes, are undesirable in a good basset hound!

      Let's revert to the revised basset hound breed standard: this currently requires a lozenge-shaped eye(i.e.diamond-shaped), rather than the usual round, oval or almond-shaped one found in other breeds. This eye historically comes from the outcrossing of early bassets to Bloodhounds in the 19th century. It cannot be achieved without some looseness of the skin on the basset's head & body in general, and of the eyelids in particular, but this should definitely not be exaggerated in any way. This lozenge eyeshape means that it perfectly OK for a small amount of haw to appear in a basset, even though the KC removed any mention of haw from the text of the new standard! As you have no doubt noted, the amended basset hound standard has been re-worded regarding the desirable amount of lose skin & folds, in order to reduce exagerations which had crept into the breed over the years. Consequently, the eye shape will necessarily become less open, and less diamond-shaped in future, since both these features are indissociable. NB: This will probably also alter the bassets appealingly stern & serious expression somewhat, making it look more like other scenthounds, which I personally regret.
      Since the new standard only started applying to the breed a couple of years ago, you must still expect to see mature bassets which are closer to the old standard than to the new one for some years to come, both in the show-ring and out of it, and should make some allowances for this. It will take probably serious breeders several generations to breed new “politically correct” basset puppies, for instance by importing and using new bloodlines!
      Since there is no perfect dog of any breed, judges must also assess a hound's faults in accordance with their gravity, and with their impact on its fitness for function.In my opinion, it is therefore perfectly admissible for a conformation judge to forgive a slightly incorrect eyeshape causing no apparent health problem, in favour of, say, good shoulders or an excellent topline, which are absolutely indispensable for the hound to function with endurance in the field!

      Delete
  24. I have been reading these posts with interest.. but I had to look a phone number in my address book.. which just happens to have on each page old paintings of "dog the way they should be"hmm In the "A" 's
    Mastiff 1930 Waddle .(dog with haw).
    A Domestic scene 1888 Willima Hamilton Trood (Bloodhound with haw, Mastiff with haw)
    "B"s
    Mastiff 1630 Van Dyck Dog with huge head and bone ( much more than your example)
    Mastiff with Terrier, 1871 R>S Mosely (dog with haw)
    "C"s Bulldog 1870 George Earl (dog with haw)
    "D"s
    Pug 1895 Maude earl ( dog with "excessive" wrinkles)
    "I's Spaniels no date Thomas Earl (dogs with haw)
    "J"s Clumber Spaniels 1930 Reuben Ward Binks (dogs with haw)
    "S"s St Bernard R>S Mosley (dog with haw)

    so many dogs had haw that showed or you can call it ectropian in the 1600 1700 1800 and 1900's.. so to say those dogs are more "fit for function" is wrong. unless of course you want all dogs to look the same

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    1. Could you scan or copy the image of the Clumber for us please?
      A google search for Clumber spaniels 1930 brings up the following images on page one. And there is no sign of dangling eyelids and exposed conjuntiva on any of these beautiful dogs

      http://tinyurl.com/73wlph9
      http://tinyurl.com/89lwfch
      http://tinyurl.com/7co2arw
      http://tinyurl.com/7jumvpc

      Even if there were, I don’t think anyone would disagree that a ‘tight’ eye has to be more comfortable for a dog than ectropion. Surely a dog’s comfort comes first?

      I regret I do not have time to do the same search for the other breeds, but I am sure Jemima has posted photos of what most of these dogs used to look like.

      As for dogs looking the same, no I think variety is acceptable, but draw the line at variety which causes discomfort or ill health.

      Delete
  25. Re Clumber elimination:
    'Showing haw' is not the same as 'ectropion' or 'diamond eye'. A slightly loose lower eyelid (mild ectropion) is not detrimental to a dogs well being and most vets would have passed this; diamond eye (severe ectropion ) is a problem as it prevents the eyelid cleaning the eye properly. 'Showing haw' means that the third eyelid is slightly protruding and the appearance can be worsened by a third eyelid with an unpigmented rim, or in bright light as the animal uses it's third eyelid to try and protect the eye. A slight to moderate third eyelid protrusion, as seen in some breeds, is not detrimental to a dogs health.

    This vet check is a good move. If people are cross then good! If your breed is in such poor health the 'best' can't pass a fairly basic vet exam then :-( I would like to see it introduced to all champ shows for all BOB's. Incidentally I wonder if the Border Collie BOB would have passed a vet check.....a lovely dog but sadly it looked lame on it's final trot up. (I appreciate it could have broken a nail, been stood on etc etc)
    Vicky Payne

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    1. Vicky, I have most of my dogs with some haw showing. My dogs have been tested by two liscenced veterinary opthalmologists. One is a researcher who is even able to see the drainage cleft behind the eye. Those dogs are fine. Great eyesight, good health. Then I have one dog with a "perfect visual eyelid" such as you describe. She would clearly have passed any cursory vet exam. She is at risk for a serious eye issue that could be passed down if she were bred, and so will soon be spayed. Don't make assumptions based on your simple observations. That is the whole problem here. Let the vets who know what they are doing make the diagnosis. And that means vets familiar with these issues, familar with the breed, familiar with the dog. And are some going to lie? Perhaps. But vets are sworn with a hypocratic oath, and I believe most will tell the truth about a dog, rather than to risk censureship by their peers.

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    2. I am a vet. I am familiar with sporting breeds, including all the spaniels and as I work them in the field I really know how much ectropion will and won't cause a problem. Believe it or not I even know working clumbers, sussex and field spaniels- some of which are also shown. If you re-read my comment I say that shoing a little haw is NOT detrimental to a dogs health.

      Really, I have enough of this blog. I am sick of trying to support those who breed and show dogs when they seem hell bent on self destruction.

      If your dog is of healthy conformation there is nothing for you to fear.

      VP BVetMed MRCVS

      Delete
  26. There was an item in the AKC Gazette about four dogs that were used to find the burial ground of Union soldiers. The dogs found it. The dogs used were a Malinois, a GSD, an Australian shepherd and a Malinois-GSD cross.

    These breeds have tight eyes, prick ears and normal looking mouths, yet their sense of smell was good enough to find bones that had been in the ground for 150 years. Remind me, why do hounds need floppy ears,eyelids and flews to pick up a scent that is far more recent?

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    1. Sarah, those breeds are used because the military/police/security guys find them easier to work with and train to a variety of situations. I personally have not seen studies that break down olfactory reception/ability by breed, but anyone doing tracking will tell you that the hounds are bred to this purpose and will naturally do better than other breeds. I believe that in rural areas where there are people lost in the wilderness, that bloodhounds are still frequently used. Probably not in UK or Europe, because the demand for dogs that will perform for security is higher, and those dogs can be trained to also seek and locate. Keep in mind as well, that many hounds are bred for specific game tracking and their physical attributes were selected for those environments.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous 02:14,

      Thank you for your response.

      Actually I have Belgian shepherds myself and am familiar with GSDs too, and I’m not suggesting that these breeds be used to replace hounds. While BSDs and GSDs can excel working with a handler doing search and rescue or detection work, setting off a pack of 100 hunting BSDs or GSDs (or Aussies for that matter) to run around the countryside in full cry is certainly not something I’d recommend.

      I appreciate that different breeds are developed for different purposes and that hounds are selected for scenting ability (among other qualities) and I do not question that they excel at this. My question, which was only slightly facetious and which you haven’t really answered, is why an animal that already has such remarkable scenting ability anyway needs to have droopy eyes, ears and flews. I’m just not convinced that they do anything to improve the dog’s ability to scent, whereas I am convinced that they lead to health and welfare issues, some admittedly less serious than others.

      As you say, studies that break down olfactory reception/ability by breed would be interesting. I’ve read that GSDs actually have the best noses, but I wouldn’t consider the source reliable. The claim was made based on the number of receptors in the nose - no relationship to eyes, ears or flews. I’d also be very interested in seeing if any independent science supported breed enthusiasts’ claims about the purpose of the droopy eyes, ears and flews associated with many hounds. I have to say, I doubt it.

      As always, I’m happy to be proven wrong (by real science).

      Delete
    3. Sarah, Alison Jeffers will disagree with me, but her dogs hunt in a pack style that involves covering large terrains and communicating with each other on the hunt. One of the reasons that hounds have long ears, let's go there first, is to protect the inside of the ear. Now "long" is subjective. I would say that Alison's dogs also have long ears. Ear flaps that cover the ear canal well. This is because this protects the inner ear from brush, thorns, etc. If the outer ear is caught in the brambles, it will only tear the outer ear and the inside of the ear is protected. This is the same with loose skin, which even hounds like Alison's have some loose skin. The skin will tear, but the inner organs will not be as affected as a dog with tight body type. Now here is the difference. At some point in history, some hounds began to be used to literally go into brambles and get the game to move out. Bunnies for example. Bassets that I have worked with will often crawl on their bellies underneath thorny bushes, and I want you to think blackberry. If you have ever seen a thicket or dense growth of blackberry, you know how impossible it is to maneuver, even with steel clad pants. These dogs can get in under and get that rabbit to jump up and run. They don't catch the rabbit or even seem to really bother the rabbit when working solo. They simply follow the tracks and communicate when they are on the scent. I have also seen dogs use the scent on the end of the ear almost like a reminder. If you have ever had long earred dogs you will see that they frequently choose to "dip" their ears into urine from other dogs, and other scents. For example, if during the tracking of game, another path crosses that path, they will sometimes scent the ear and then continue on the original path, which is what they are supposed to stay on the first rabbit they jump. Huge degree of difference in how they work in packs or groups of dogs, which involves much more movement and communication with other dogs. But always they communicate in some fashion to the humans. There are some who also believe that the wrinkles hold the scent, but again, what I see, and you can see this with most hounds, if you put them up above you, like on a balcony and you stand below, you will see very little eye. I believe this helps to focus them into their nose when the head is down and scenting. Alison disagrees. There is no hard science on this that I am aware of. Too many other compelling needs for animal behaviorists at this time, so all we have is direct observation, a number of old written descriptions, and dogs that perform. I should also add that I have seen dogs with large bodies, more like "Buzz" who hunt alone or in brace very, very well. My understanding that to become an International Champion, that one needs a field trial championship. Maybe this is something that Dereheath will pursue with him now that they will probably no longer participate in KC shows. There are many hound people who want to see their dogs be able to perform as bred, and so we are seeing a very strong return to hunting, field trials, and hunt tests.

      Delete
    4. Thank you once again for the clear and thoughtful response, Anon, which was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. As you acknowledge, people do disagree and there is not always a way to resolve that disagreement. But then I've never had a problem with sensible disagreement.

      One thing I think we do agree on. Seeing a return to an emphasis on function is a good thing and I am really happy to hear that there is a strong return to the activities these dogs are designed for. I truly hope it continues and that you are not plagued by the mockery of the midnight trial, as is Schutzhund. Best of luck to all hound people in maintaining dogs.

      Delete
    5. Oops. The last sentence should read:

      Best of luck to all hound people in maintaining functional dogs.

      Delete
  27. Just a two simple questions which might not be easy to answer.

    1. Will the KC be giving the award for BOB (Basset) to any dog this year because as it stands there is no award which (in my opinion) does not tell Basset owners/breeders what they are looking for.

    2. I fully support the health of the dogs which if we are all honest,we all are in support of. Why couldn't the KC done the checks before awarding the BOB which publicly embarrassed a well respected breeder(s) and the show itself. As most of us on this forum will know before any dog gets to BOB round there must win their group why couldn’t the check been done when the judge awarded the best of individual group to the dog. Some say it would take to long especially for some breeds where there are entries over 100. Crufts is meant to be the best of the best dog shows and surely they (KC) do not need that many entries. If the KC are truly looking after every dog health they should have check every dogs there. This year stats show that there were 28,000 dogs and picking just 15 dogs from 15 high profile breeds which if my maths serves me well is only 0.05% so that 99.95% of dogs at the world’s biggest dog show that were not check at the show. The KC has made a stand now and they need to carry on with these checks. One simple answer might be having a vet check certificates before the dog is allow in the show not just Crufts but any championship show.

    Just to quote
    “Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We want to ensure that only healthy dogs are rewarded in the show ring and also use the show ring to help move those breeds forward that are the most inclined to suffer from health conditions that affect their health and welfare.”

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    1. What I can't understand is why they cannot seem to trust veterinary surgeons enough to allow individuals to see their own vets and provide that report? If everything is all about veterinary health and responsibility, it seems to me that must first start in the veterinary community and that there must be some level of trust. Who better to judge a dog's health than a practioner familiar with that dog, the breed, and the family of dogs that dog comes from? Then you could address some REAL issues and not merely outside perceptions.

      Delete
  28. I do not think that a breeder's vet could be considered impartial. Much as I would like to think they could be, I do not think that many would risk upsetting a *big* client who would threaten to change vets, and some breeders are big clients to small vet practices.

    The vet must be unconnected to the breeder.

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  29. Your belief that ectropion was the reason for disqualification of the Basset Hound is in fact false.

    But then misinformation is what we have come to expect from journalists.

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    1. When everyone seems to know that journalism is an unpredictable mix of fact and assumption, thus impossible to assess what is fact and what fiction, why is it that such credence is put on what journalists write?

      Delete
    2. The KC do need to address who should have won the award. They cannot just say no winner or not awarded because this looks like all Basset Hounds are in no fit state or healthy.

      Delete
  30. Rudy Smits 15 March 12:59
    The BOB Basset Hound at Crufts was falsely accused of having bilateral ectropion: a disqualifying sign according to the 'vet check instruction'!
    In 'Ophthalmology for the Veterinary Practitioner' a world famous book written by Prof Stades and some other world leading opthalmology professors states that curling outwards of the eye lid rim is called ectropion. Under photo 7.13, a photo of a Bloodhound with obvious haw, is written: The eye lid rim is on aproximately 15 mm distance of the eye bulb, but the position is rather normal. So there may not be spoken of 'ectropion' (curling outwards of the rim)!
    So haw and ectropion are NOT just the same! The Crufts vet even stated on her Basset Hound report: 'rather normal eyelids' , almost the exact words of these professors so she should never have used the term of the 'disqualifying sign' ectropion! R.A.J. Smits, DVM

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    1. Rudy, thanks for this publicising this - though I suspect that not many Basset Hound critics will want their attitudes tainted by things like facts. Well done.

      Delete
    2. In case anyone is not aware , Rudy Smits is a Vet, Basset breeder and judge who examined the Basset after the failed vet check and gave it the all clear. "I WANT TO STATE THAT THIS SPECIMEN IS A VERY SOUND DOG, WITH SOUND EYES..."(http://www.dereheath.com/CH_Buzz_Lightyear_at_Dereheath.php)

      You can see the photo he refers to here(http://i.imgur.com/adoU6.png). The doctor is right, but having read the section on ectropion(http://books.google.com/books?id=sBMGN_Ia500C&pg=PA86) it seems more like a technicality than anything. The section on ectropion is discussed alongside oversized palpebral fissure(large distance between upper and lower eyelid) "It is not always easy to differentiate between both entities; for that reason they are discussed below as one abnormality"

      also

      "Some breed standards tolerate or even promote the
      condition. Breed prescriptions vary from: “not showing much haw” (Sussex Spaniel), “some haw showing but without excess” (Clumber Spaniel); “the haw may sometimes show without excess” (Basset, Artresian Normand); “the lower lid shows a certain looseness” (Grand Bleu de Gascoigne); “red (cryptic description of inflamed conjunctiva) of lower lid appears, though not excessively” (Basset Hound); and in optima forma too: “a strongly hanging lower lid, showing the red conjunctiva” (St. Hubertus Hound = Bloodhound), and “a small angular fold on the lower lids with the haws only slightly visible as well as a small fold on the upper lids are permitted” (St. Bernhard). Strangely enough, many kennel clubs do not accept breeding from entropion- or ectropion-affected dogs in their rules."

      It's a short section, only about one page of text(spread over 2 pages). Worth a look.

      Delete
    3. Note that ectropion and oversized palpebral fissure are treated as one abnormality!

      Delete
  31. That is a technicality I never heard before.
    The important thing about the the dog in the picture is that the whole conjunctival sac is exposed.
    PL DVM

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  32. If I may just add a few words in all this often quite heated dialogue here. I have had Bassets since 1974 when we bought our first one in the UK from one, if not the, leading Basset kennel of the time. Before leaving the UK for a while, we went out with our then 2 hounds with the Albany. We Field Trialled our hounds when abroad, successfully and I loved to see the Basset doing what it was (sort of with Field trialling) originally bred for. I am no longer breeding/exhibiting or judging but what I have seen over recent years is EXAGGERATION in the show-Basset. What actually worries me more than Buzz's eyes is the rolls of skin around his neck. Bassets are a unique hunting breed, and the loose skin was indeed there for a purpose - to prevent it from ripping when they were going into dense undergrowth to flush (original purpose) However, when you carry the loose skin to the excesses we have been seeing lately (this is being addressed!) the excessive haw seen in many eyes of today's show hounds, is BOUND to happen. My own lines incorporated UK, Canadian and American bloodlines and I hope, reflected breed type, without excesses.
    I'd like to see the word 'almond' used, in place of lozenge, when it comes to the Basset eye. But the situation won't improve until breeders return to the originally worded Standard, which carries total emphasis on NO EXAGGERATION and which has been reinforced by the recent Breed Standard revision. I honestly hope this isn't a witch-hunt on the part of certain people because the last thing I'd want to happen is we lose the Basset, and end up with a Beagle!! I believe that now is a time for quiet contemplation on the part of all breeders ..... not a slanging match.

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  33. For the record, the Bloodhound isn't on the list of 15 'at risk' breeds. It might have been relevant for his eyes, along with the eyes of the Saint, and the Newf. to have been examined however. And this is what's so unfair about what's going on. All most breeders are asking for is a level playing field. And the status of the Basset eye was discussed with the KC last year, before Crufts and the haw situation addressed, and agreed upon. The KC, via the examining vet, moved the goalposts. This whole issue, the testing, has been ill-thought up. There surely has to be a right of appeal for starters!! I hope those affected will take independent veterinary and legal advice. I am in agreement with the health check, in essence, but NOT the way it's been done.

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  34. "He has vestigial legs, his penis drags on the ground, he must be 20KG’s overweight and his excessive skin folds would cause him to overheat. I think ‘ponderous mutant’ describes him perfectly"

    I would just like to take Alison up on these comments.
    Re vestigial legs - I don't see his legs being any shorter than the Corgis, or for that matter, the PBGVs at Crufts - would she want those breeds to have longer legs perhaps? Going by the old photos of the Grims hounds (G.Westward - Jeanne R Johns book), her hounds were equally as low to the ground!
    I was not at Crufts, but would like to challenge also the comment about his penis dragging on the ground. I think not! Bit of a sensational exaggeration me thinks!!
    I also can't comment on his weight although were this dog to go hunting, presumably he'd be conditioned before so-doing, just as perhaps the Pack hound might be carrying more weight before going into the ring?
    However what concerns me about this dog, more than anything to do with his eyes, are the excessive rolls of skin around his neck (from his front-on picture on their website). This is far from correct in my opinion.
    For eyes - see the photo of Ch.Sykemoore Aimwell 1959 (George Johnston).... ectropion, back then even?

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  35. I think the only exaggeration is Buzz himself rather than my comments.

    He is a perfect specimen of the excess the KC now wants to address. And I agree with you, his folds of skin are both unhealthy, unnecessary and don’t conform to the breed standard which has deleted the phrase ‘a certain amount of loose skin is desirable’. It begs the question how Buzz could have won BOB?!

    Whilst looking at the breed standard it’s also worth noting that the Basset Hound Club has removed the phrase ‘the hound must be capable of great endurance in the field’. The stamina of the basset hound is one of their defining characteristics when compared to other hunting hounds. By removing this phrase the Basset Hound Club are confirming their hounds are no longer fit for the purpose they were originally bred for. I suggest a further revision is required and this phrase be re inserted.

    Whilst focusing on what the basset was originally bred for, rather than debating the actual length of leg the important factor is the ground clearance. Our hounds stand no taller at the shoulder than a KC hound but all have at least 10cm clearance enabling them to work over heavy plough and uneven terrain which is something Buzz could never do. It’s almost as if the current show basset hound is moving backward through the evolutionary process and becoming transitional tetrapods.

    Personally I would like to see more objectivity in the breed standard and remove as much subjectivity and interpretation as possible. Some breeders have ably demonstrated that if left up to their own devices the end product is not ‘fit for purpose’. Wrinkled skin, underskirts, no ground clearance and eye defects should be features that are consigned to the past.

    There are plenty of KC hounds out there that are fit for purpose but for whatever reason they have not been fashionable and don’t win at shows. I still remain hopeful that the KC will ‘force’ the change that is required and significant progress should be able to be made in a relatively short space of time. But it is rather like telling a parent their child is ugly!

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