Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The crux of the matter

There was a really telling moment at the inaugural meeting of the Canine Alliance two weeks ago - as revealed in Dog World's  excellent filmed coverage of the event.

A couple of others have mentioned it too so here it is. It's the moment when Heather Storton of Dereheath Bassets stood up and told the meeting that the vet that failed her dog at Crufts said to her: "I am judging this dog as a dog, not a Basset Hound".  As you'll hear, there is laughter. 

And when Mrs Storton says that she doesn't think that any any Basset that had gone into that room would have passed the test, the crowd claps supportively.
"The breed standard that is in place for Bassets...I cannot produce the animal they want me to take into that veterinary room," insists Mrs Storton. " I cannot produce a lozenge-shaped eye that will get through that exam."

Have a watch:

I've pulled it out because I think it illustrates the crux of the matter.

Heather Storton makes it plain that she is breeding Bassets first, and dogs second and this reflects how many show breeders feel. However, most people outside of the show world would see her dogs as dogs first, and Bassets second. 

Just before this bit of the meeting the Canine Alliance's Andrew Brace had told how he had tried to persuade the KC that the judge should be present for the vet checks so that they could explain the finer points of the breed to the vet should there be a query. So presumably:

Vet: this dog has ectropion...
Judge: oh no, they're supposed to be like that
Vet: but it's a problem.. it means the eye doesn't function properly
Judge: no, no... it's a breed feature. It wouldn't be a Basset Hound without it.

The whole mood of the meeting is that it isn't the dogs that should change - it's the vet's view of them that is wrong. Whereas "out here" it's perfectly obvious that it's the breed standard and the dogs that need to change.

There's an extract from a letter in this week's Dog World saying much the same. Headlined:  "Weep for the Basset's future", the correspondent writes:

"The fact is, the Basset is not a normal dog. On the contrary it is a unique and very special hound. It was bred originally to be used as a slow moving flushing hound and the fact it has loose skin was for a purpose - to enable it to go into dense undergrowth without ripping the skin. 
"Given the loose skin, it is inevitable that a degree of haw can be expected to be seen in the eyes. And as such, this is a breed feature. I do acknowledge that excess are to be discouraged.... but for the vet to state that she looked at the breed as a 'normal dog' suggests to me a huge amount of ignorance on the part of somebody charged with such an important job."

The breeders will admit that, yep, the exposed haw does sometimes cause problems but it's manageable and not a big deal for the dogs. For me, the Basset is being asked to give up his rights to a normal functioning eye for a totally arbitrary breed standard - a choice I am not sure it would make itself.

We are back, again, to "where do we draw the line". I don't have the answer but know that the discussion needs to be had.And had again and again and again until we find some concensus that allows us to keep and treasure our dog breeds without compromising their health and welfare.


  1. what's a matter Jemima having a panic as the KC and the CA have met today, worried that you will be out of a job, so you keep having to drag up old news,(what kind of jerno are you, even PDE was all the crap you had in the other one jigged about)well you can always have a job as poo picker upper at your nearest Hunt kennels, maybe you can report about that old chestnut

    1. The fanatic show breeders of freaky overdone dogs resemble a religious cult. An ingrown group with leaders who set the norms. There are followers and at the bottom those who are almost like objects, primarily to satisfy the needs of those superior.

      Some norms are bizarre in detail, some just horribly wrong. But suffering or quality of life of those at the bottom is irrelevant when it comes to following the set standards. Criticism from those outside, the wrong-believers, is fiercly fought.

      / Susanna

  2. They act is if the breed standard came down on two stone tablets and Shall Not Be Changed.

    If something in the standard is causing the dog immediate discomfort in his everyday life, then the standard needs to change, not the vet's interpretation of what that vet is seeing.

    I can see that for a short-coated dog, without the protection of a lot of coat, looser skin would be an advantage in heavy cover (to allow the skin to give a bit before tearing if the dog is stuck). And I can see that would mean that not every dog would have the tightest lids in the world. BUT one must find a compromise, and surely having so much haw exposed poses a major risk of eye injury in the field? Again, which is why we need a middle ground.

    1. I used to have Great Danes. Mine had relatively tight skin, they both showed some haw, especially my bitch Ursula, but their eyelids functioned normally, they fit tightly to the eye and closed and blinked in a normal manner. Ursula did have some problems with red eyes in the winter due to the third eyelid being exposed to the dry air, eye drops took care of that.

      There is a good deal of difference between showing some haw, like my Danes, and eyelids that do not function normally to clean and protect the eye. There is certainly some middle ground, and that it avoiding extremes; in order to produce dogs with 'medium loose' skin, you must keep tighter skinned, less wrinkly individuals in the breeding population. Breeding from only 'desirable' individuals does not do this, because the goal is to produce only 'desirable' show worthy specimens.

    2. Ummmmm..what about all the other short coated hounds as well as pointers that go through thickets and do not have that amount of loose skin?

      What about the working bassets, Albany and West Lodge Bassets?

  3. Another great post, Jemima. Breeding dogs like the bassets with "invisible eyes" hidden behind a mile of haw is tantamount to animal abuse.

    How would the breeders themselves like to be born with eyes like that? Or have children with eyes like that? They would be having surgery for sure, and I'm sure any genetics counselor would tell them not to have more kids due to the risk of inheriting these eyes. Yet they think this is a desirable "feature" of a once-working dog breed?

    Play around with coat color... with coat texture... with ear shape or carriage (within reason). But PLEASE... ethical breeders should run, not walk, away from any breed standard that's asking them to breed dogs with ectropion, narrow nostrils, skin folds, etc. Get on a committee and change the standard. The Border Collie standard was revamped much for the better a few years back, and we're now seeing more athletic dogs in the show ring that are actually capable of rounding up sheep.

    I'm the owner of the previous fashion, a show champion "bulbous-headed" BC. I was super happy to see the new standard, and encouraged the club to vote yes on it, even though my own dog would then be out of the ribbons.

  4. Ho hum. Really, why publish stuff from these trolls?

    What some breeders are missing is that this dog, as it appears now, can not function as a hunting dog. Yes, it's not a "normal dog," I agree with that. Bassets were bred to hunt, and the loose folds serve a purpose. Fine, I have no problem with breeding a dog that way. But you can't argue that point if the folds and the eyes are so bad that they preclude it from performing its original function! That's why I think we have to incorporate some sort of functionality into dog conformation shows. Let's have dogs that look great, and adhere to breed types, but can actually DO something.

  5. Also, Jemima, you are a greater woman than me, allowing idiotic comments to be posted by "Anonymous" writers (of course--the cowards). I would boot those people right out of the blog. Well, I guess their spelling errors damn them as much as their pointless gripes. :-)

    1. The best speller I know breeds the worst dogs I know. I think it belittles your arguments to make personal attacks.

      Back on topic.
      If you think that any changes to the show standard for border collies in the US will make them good working dogs you are still under the same illusions you had when you bought a show bred border collie, quickly put a show championship on it and then got disappointed it is not a good working sheepdog. You got what you bought, a show dog.
      Good working sheepdogs come from parents that were good working dogs and are bred by people who really use their dogs for that work. These good working dogs and these good working dog breeders are not in the show dog kennel clubs, they are not reading your show standards and they are certainly not using show standards to decide how to breed good working dogs.

    2. Sharon

      I think Jemima is absolutely right in including the rude, personal, insulting mails.

      Noone takes that kind of expression very seriously, and these people disqualify themselves.

  6. ..that 'old news' doesn't seem to go away does it..compromised health from inbreeding for human profit and glory continues as does rudimentary thinking as you so rant.

  7. I hasten to add that my comment about idiotic Anonymous posters was aimed to the Anonymous from Mar 28, 2012 08:55 AM, and not the one from 9:26 AM, who is obviously a clear thinker and good speller. :-)

    In response to the new Anonymous, I agree that we shouldn't breed dogs with traits that people imagine "might" work in the field. We should be breeding dogs that actually CAN work in the field.

    I once got into an Internet argument with some anti-conformation-showing Border Collie owners. I told them that conformation shows would pick the dog with the most athletic structure... hence... the best suited for working sheep. Their point, which I now fully accept, is that to choose the best structure for working in the field, we need only look at dogs that are successful in the field, and then breed from them. Is it better to breed a BC that "looks like" it has good structure for running up mountains all day fetching sheep... but only has to trot around the ring a bit as proof? Or should we choose the BC that actually DOES run up the mountains all day fetching sheep?

    I saw this as the owner of an AKC Champion Border Collie who also has advanced sheep herding titles. Even if he'd had a great temperament (which he doesn't), I still wouldn't have bred him. He is "weak" on sheep and has no eye. As it is, he's neutered.

    1. Sharon, you make excellent points. And even discounting ability (talent, drive, nose, eye, whatever), the fact is conformation shows only measure the outward appearance of good form. The fact is, without working a dog you can't determine the ACTUAL strength of the joints/ligaments/bones, only the APPARENT strength. Anyone who has spent any time around horses can tell you of a beautifully conformed horse with brittle bone, weak tendons, shelly feet, etc.

    2. NOT only are your rude but i have had a riding accident hitting my head which has caused my spelling to go out the window so not only do you think dogs are no good, maybe you would like Me put to sleep because i have a disability, im sorry you work in Instanbul but its obvious they wouldnt give you a job in english schools if thats the way you talk and treat people with a learning problem or a health issue i pity your students if you teach them with that attitude
      i also wonder why you so worried about the state o english show dogs when they have enough problems with animal welfare in the country your in, just another PETA freak jumping on the band wagon
      Jane Flynn

    3. The best herding dogs I've seen would be laughed out of a show ring. Vice versa. When you judge something outside of the realm it is meant to function, you're asking for trouble, imho.
      Similarly, when you make excuses for what seems to me like simply odious manners, on a disability, you are taking advantage of the readers of this blog's credulity.

  8. "It was bred originally to be used as a slow moving flushing hound and the fact it has loose skin was for a purpose - to enable it to go into dense undergrowth without ripping the skin."

    This particular argument about loose skin falls apart when you look at working cockers and springers, which can rip through the most severe cover to be found and which have tight eyes


  9. After watching the video a few times, I decided to look up the UK Basset standard: Here are all the parts that have to do with the eyes and surrounding skin:

    There may be a small amount of wrinkle at brow and beside eyes.

    Lozenge-shaped neither prominent nor too deep-set.

    That's IT!!! And this woman--and apparently no show breeders in the UK--can breed to that standard without creating a mile of haw... and entropion?

    In fact, the standard doesn't even require or reward wrinkles. Just said there can be a bit of wrinkling.

    So what this woman should have said is that "dogs with less exaggerated appearance don't currently win as often as dogs with ultra-exaggerated appearance--although both may meet the standard. And she wants to win, thus she has made the conscious decision to breed in an exaggerated haw even though it's not rewarded or required by the standard."

    1. This is the good spelling, clear thinking Anonymous here. :) (otherwise known as Lisa) Why have judges been rewarding the exaggerated type? And how to stop the judges from pulling the breeds, and breed standards, in these directions? It doesn't sound like changing breed standards will help if judges don't reward the responsible breeders.

  10. The whole argument about loose skin protecting the dogs from cuts while hunting is absolutely ridiculous. All one has to do is look at the fact that Beagles, which are probably the most popular rabbit hunting dog, do not have loose skin at all and function more than adequately at their job.

    All of these ridiculous ideas come down to the fact that show breeders do not work their dogs, have no concept of what a working dog looks like or how a working dog does it's job.

  11. Hence the Vet checks AFTER the judges have made their choice

  12. A lot of it comes down to judges' education. I live in Turkey now, but I know the AKC Border Collie club is fortunate to have a bunch of all-rounders on the BOD. These are people with working-lines BCs who happen to do conformation, obedience & agility in addition to working sheep.

    They put together a great judges' education program on CD-ROM and send it to all licensed BC judges. It has footage of dogs working sheep, and shows the myriad of acceptable "types," colors and ear-sets... stressing that long-distance running structure and fast-turning-ability is paramount.

    The national specialty every year has 1 day of tracking (some years), 3 days of herding, 2 days each of obedience & agility, and 2 days of conformation. I used to chair the versatility award. All versatility competitors were required to earn points in herding, and success at herding was more heavily weighted than success in the other venues when tallying scores at the end of the week.

    BC conformation judges are highly encouraged to watch herding competitions. If I'm not mistaken, I believe judges were actually required in a past specialty to watch a day of herding and study the structure of the advanced dogs before going in to judge conformation later in the week.

    Before advertising a brag, a breeding, or a litter in the BCSA magazine, every dog over 12 months old must either be neutered OR have both a passing OFA hip score AND a passing score on the herding instinct test (or an actual herding title).

    These are things that I hope all national clubs initiate in the very near future.

    1. Except for the neutering. That is not really a good idea.

  13. You state

    ‘the AKC Border Collie club is fortunate to have a bunch of all-rounders on the BOD. These are people with working-lines BCs who happen to do conformation, obedience & agility in addition to working sheep’ and so on....

    You are so far off track with this statement and this point of view. This is the path to destruction for the working border collie. No working breeder ‘just happens’ to do conformation showing. You need to get out of the kennel club culture and away from the kennel club rhetoric and get into the real world of sheepdogs.

    The largest registry both in dogs registered and in membership for border collies in the US is ABCA. The BOD are folks who have spent much of their lives training and using border collies for their intended purpose of stock work, no dog shows listed on their calendars. Here is the link.

    Here are some points that show this is the original and right path for the border collie.

    'The ABCA exists to register, maintain and verify the pedigrees of Border Collies, to promote and foster in North America the breeding, training and distribution of reliable working Border Collies, and to promote stockdog trials and exhibitions.

    The ABCA is a working stock dog registry and believes that breeding for conformation standards rather than working ability is detrimental to the health and working ability of the Border Collie. Consequently dogs or bitches which have been named a "Conformation Champion" by a conformation registry are not eligible for ABCA registration, even if they otherwise meet the requirements for registration. The ABCA will de-register any ABCA registered dog or bitch should it be named a "Conformation Champion" after January 1, 2004, and will not register the offspring of any dog or bitch named a "Conformation Champion" after that date.'

    Please, the border collie does not need to be redesigned by a bunch of kennel club 'all rounders' who just happen to do conformation. The border collie is the most wonderful working dog ruling the paddocks around the world as it has always been. It did not get that way by being a kennel club show dog bred to a show standard and it does not now need the benefit of any of your kennel club improvements.

    Can you hear yourself? We do not need yet another breed taken down by the show ring kennel club culture. All Border collies need is to stop this show culture, you are promoting. All I can think is that you are a very cleaver person by trying to promote the showing and breeding of border collie in the Kennel Clubs for the show ring on PDE which is nothing more than a slight of hand.

    1. You're welcome to your opinion. I should mention that I'm quite familiar with ABCA, and competed at the Ranch level in USBCHA. A dog I trained was trialed VERY successfully at USBCHA Open level after I moved to Turkey to get married. (This dog stayed behind with a farming friend).

      As you mentioned, ABCA (the working registry) is much bigger than BCSA (the AKC parent club). ABCA registers 20,000 BCs annually, while AKC registers a few hundred annually (the last time I looked)... of which the majority are ABCA dogs being registered for obedience & agility purposes. So I don't think you have to worry much. People WILL show dogs in conformation, and nothing anybody in the working community does will stop that. IMO, we should appreciate that the BCSA has taken major steps to do proper judges' education, health testing, etc.

      Why did I get an AKC BC instead of an ABCA one? Very simple. I've never heard of a single ABCA breeder doing a single health check on their dogs. I have friends that bought ABCA dogs for agility, obedience, herding, etc. and those dogs are riddled with epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and hypglycemia-related exercise intolerance (collapse after 10 minutes of chasing a ball).

      With the amount of training I put into a dog, I decided to buy from the "side" that does health testing and take my chances regarding sheep herding ability. I'd rather have a sound dog that can do everything except herd... than an untested working lines dog that may turn out to be unsound for any activity, incl. herding.

      As with most AKC-registered breeds, the BC started drifting away from its roots. The success story is that a herding-oriented BOD re-wrote the standard, changed judges' education, put herding front-and-center at the national specialty and in versatility awards... and changed rules on advertising so that dogs who had never seen stock weren't allowed to do so much as advertise an obedience win. To me, that is a huge success story for a show breed.

      And AKC registration has had no impact whatsoever on ABCA registrations or hurt anybody's ability to buy a good quality stockdog from ABCA if they choose.

    2. I don't know, the either/or thing drives me a little crazy. Having been involved with horses before dogs, I can tell you that the fittest horse breeds do both, and the American Thoroughbred is a perfect example of the disaster that can befall a breed when it is bred for one trait (in this case, speed) and all others are ignored.

      By selecting just for ability, the Thoroughbred breeder has managed to decimate two of the original three tail-male lines: I believe over 95% of all Thoroughbreds now trace tail-male back to a single founder, the Darley Arabian.

      Breeding for racing ability alone has led down a road where unsound horses are routinely bred, heavy line-breeding is very common (though not quite as close as what we see in dogs), temperaments are all over the board with some lines being downright vicious, and many have absolutely awful feet.

      I agree that we must look at working ability where we can, but where does that leave us with, say, bulldogs? We obviously aren't going to be doing any bull-baiting any time soon to sort that out.

      And a very unsound dog with a big heart can be an excellent working dog despite his or her discomfort in the job; that does not mean such a dog should be bred.

      Conformation shows should be a part of the picture, but only part. There is further split in many working dogs between "trial dogs" and "personal working dogs" with many of the trial lines being seen variously as too fast, too slow, too dependent, too hot, too nasty etc etc etc.

      I have no problem with the working collie registries deciding not to accept conformation titled dogs, but neither will I say that people should disregard conformation standards when they breed. Again, look no further than the American Thoroughbred to see how well that goes.

    3. Yes I already figured out you were a showie trying to masquerade as wanting to save the border collie from people like yourself.
      So lets stop pretending to be what we are not, you are here on PDE to promote the showing and breeding of border collies in the AKC because as you say, people like you are going to show them weather it is good for the breed or not. If you can get PDE on your side then your ability to show border collies will be better off for it. Very sly indeed.

      What we need to be talking about is not how you are going to try to stop the avalanche of problems caused by show breeding you insist on doing to such a wonderful working breed, but how we can expose what you are really doing and help people to find their way to the ABCA where show breeding is not promoted.

      As to you not finding any working breeders doing health testing, are you for real? I know this is standard showie rhetoric used to slam working dog breeders and to promote their breeding show dogs, but honestly do try harder to come up with something better than this on a chat group as well versed as this one.

      Let some facts stand. It was ABCA who headed up and did most of the funding the CEA research and gene development. It was also from ABCA members that research was done on HD and methods of x-raying for HD and the new border collie HD test at Cornell. They also have been involved with the gene research for Adult onset deafness and have been involved with the epi research, and more. I suppose you believe they did all this because they never health test their dogs. You really need get over yourself LOL.

      The fact that you claim to be unaware that working people are health testing their dogs may be because you expect working breeders to act like show dog breeders. Working breeders do not use health testing like a badge of honour and reason to breed, as is done in the show world. Working breeders decide to breed a dog because it has proven it’s self on the paddock, they do needed health checks but do not plaster them all over the web for the showies to read.

      I would also guess that the working breeders would suss you out pretty quickly and would not be interested in placing a dog with you so you can promote breeding for the show ring.

      Besides, the Aussie show lines are too hard to beat in the US show ring with some old working bred dog. You need real show bred dogs to comptete these days in the US, don't you. So lets call a show dog a show dog, that is what you want and what you will buy, it has nothing to do with health testing.

      Your thinly veiled promotion of the breeding of border collies for the show ring is busted.

    4. vitriolic replies like this one are what cause us all to fail and the AR's to succeed.. I will claim that the "workie' person here supports the AR agenda.
      does anyone really care if Border Collies are shown or worked or both? does it really make any difference in the long run to argue which is better? Buy your dog from whomever suits you and stop the bickering. It makes you look small.

    5. Thanks, Anonymous of 8:30 AM. I agree.

      How weak the previous responder is to resort to name calling and little nicknames like "showie." For the record, I have been showing dogs in sports since 1977, conformation since 1988, and have never bred a single litter in my life. Every one of my conformation champions also has titles in at least five other sports. My show-lines Border Collie was already competing in USBCHA Novice before he finished his conformation championship at 14 months of age.

      I have also had two rescued Border Collies. One rescue was a spectacular working dog, one wouldn't even look at stock. My conformation-lines dog has several weaknesses (weak on ewes with young lambs; not a natural "big" outrunner, had to be trained)... but he won placements at USBCHA Ranch level and at cattle "time & points" trials. In fact, my show BC and my rescue BC both placed at a cattle time & points trial in Iowa where about 15-20 "100% working lines" BCs couldn't get past the first obstacle.

      Since I don't breed Border Collies, I'd love to know how having a show dog that also works is "hurting" the BC as a breed. Oh, of course... because those of you in the ABCA that are into "BC politics" WANT all show-lines dogs to fail so you can jump around gloating about what failures they are.

      Too bad for you, there are conformation-lines dogs doing well in USBCHA. Here is one of them, with two AKC Champion and obedience-titled parents:

      ABCA people I know who really care about the breed (including both stockmen and USBCHA judges) regularly sell to AKC competitors and both sides are gaining a real benefit. (e.g. The farmers' lines benefit because AKC purchasers are likely to do extensive health testing and to share this info with the farmer.)

      About ABCA funding genetic research, this may be true, but I've never heard of it. On the other hand, I know first-hand that the AKC club (BCSA) financially supports several research studies, as my dogs have donated blood and DNA for several of them.

    6. There is no either or with working border collies, they are by definition a dog for sheep/livestock management. It is one of very few breeds left in the world that can and still does do its work around the world. It is one breed left in the world that is not and has not been bred to a breed standard. Show ring has no place in this dogs past and should have no place in this breeds future. I do not believe that every breed a dog has to follow the kennel club show ring path. The border collie has over a 100 year registration history outside of the kennel clubs. It does matter and we want to keep this breed the way it is, a working dog. There is nothing wrong with keeping this breed out of the show ring, the breed has everything to loose and nothing to gain by being promoted as a show dog.

      Where does it leave the bulldog if the border collie owners hold the line and refuse to let the border collie be taken over by those who want to bred for show ring? Well, it leaves the bull dog right where it is, a very very damaged breed of dog. The border collie being a working dog and not bred for show ring has nothing to do with the position the bull dog finds it's self in today. For the border collie, breeding to a show standard is not how the breed is defined or identified and never has been. However, if a breed has no identify without being bred to a show ring standard, then that is another topic and might be a very valid subject to explore.

      The very notion that PDE should use the BCSA as the poster child for how to save a breed from the exploitation of show ring breeding is beyond belief. BSCA has taken a breed in a country where it has always been safe from show ring exploitation and taken that breed into the show ring against the clear majority of owners wishes for the breed. As she says, no one can stop them.

      BCSA should be held up to prove just how invasive the dystruction of breed is once that breed is taken in to the show ring. It sickens me that BCSA would come on PDE promoting the showing of border collies, presenting themselves as the saviour of the border collie and suggesting they be used as the poster child for how to breed show dogs. Simple fact is, if the border collie was not in the AKC being promoted by BCSA as a show dog, the BCSA would not need to be making all these conditions and rules to try to ‘protect’ the border collie in the AKC from becoming 100% OZ show dog imports in the the show ring. BTW took a look at the pedigrees of the winner at Westminster and it seems the OZ show dog is very much king of the ring in AKC, well done BCSA! Good see that new standard you are breeding to is working to change the border collie in America into the true OZ show type. The only thing the border collie needs saving from are these BCSA ‘all rounders who just happen to show’ folks that want to take the best sheepdog in the world and change them into OZ show ‘borders’. Please lets deal with reality.

      The numbers she keeps tossing around say it all, 99% of the border collie owners in the US strongly disapprove of the 1% in BCSA that are promoting the breeding of the border collies for show ring. She should listen to those 99% of the owners and stop promoting the showing of border collies in the AKC.

      As to the AR comments by the other poster, this really shows a total lack of understanding of AR. AR does not want people to own dogs and certainly do not support the use dogs for work. It makes you look a bit silly to say that, really.

    7. Very sensible posting.

      Why don't you say who you are???

    8. Sometimes I really think you are just pulling our legs with the stuff you post.

      You state:
      'Too bad for you, there are conformation-lines dogs doing well in USBCHA. Here is one of them, with two AKC Champion and obedience-titled parents: '

      This video and topic has been going around for years. Here is a thread from 2 years ago you can read and even post on if you want to discuss it with people who are involved with the breed enough to know what you are on about.

      As discussed in the posts above, the pedigree of this dog appears to come from all or mostly working lines on the sire pedigree, be they a generation or 2 back. No one can seem to find the dams pedigree, can you provide it?
      Until then the assumption is that the dog is from mostly all working lines so it would be no surprise at all it might do well (I do not have time to look at the video now).

      All this could prove is that a dog with a pedigree of working lines can do well at stock work, that is logical. Where you come up with the idea that you can make this dog in to a dog from a pedigree of long term show breeding is beyond me and it seems to everyone else who has bother to look at your claims.

      It proves nothing about the long term effect that conformation breeding programs have on the quality od working dogs and that is what is at the heart of this issue.

      For that you need to find a OZ show bred dog and we need to not only see it do well at open ISDS trials but also to reproduce that ability in at least some of it’s offspring. I will not hold my breath waiting to see that. I have seen far to many OZ dogs sow their talent at herding instink tests thank you.

      Been showing dogs since 88, wow you really are a devote of the dog show world. So what breed did you show prior to switching to OZ show borders? Did you make the switch right after they got in the AKC in 1996/7. Boy that was a day eh? Took the poor BCSA by surprise to find that the AKC had taken in their breed with no parents club participation and in the dead of night so to speak. You got to handed to the AKC, they when they could not get 5 people to agree on bringing the border collie in to the kennel club, they just did with out any border collies owners on board. I think it was all just too much for them and they wanted those big registration numbers that ABCA had. It sounds like they never did get those numbers either, just shows you can lead a working dog breeder to the trough of the show world but you can not make him drink. How long was it till the BCSA had conformed enough (I think that meant giving up any idea of having working requirements for champions) that the AKC allowed them to become the parent club for the show border in the US?
      Boy those were days eh. When The Border Collie Wars did not mean some blog. LOL

    9. Are you on meth or something? Unlike you, wimpy "Mr/Ms Anonymous," I post under my name. And as you can see, my name is not Jemima, the owner of the PDE blog. So I have no idea why you're saying that "PDE supports the BCSA" when I am simply a commenter on this blog.

      Secondly, you claim I'm a BCSA member. I am not. I don't even live in the USA anymore. However, I did show my dog in conformation and 5 other sports when I lived in America, and have continued showing in a bunch of other sports abroad. I volunteered as the chair for the BC Rescue Benefit, which raises $5-10,000 annually to rescue abandoned BCs, 100% of which come from ABCA breeding. (I'm unaware of even one "Oz show lines dog," as you call them, being given to a rescue).

      I do not have to provide Harley's mother's pedigree to you. This is available online if you care to look for it. Both of Harley's parents are AKC conformation Champions of record. According to ABCA, this means that both those dogs and any offspring are worthless--and they are automatically deregistered. As you can see from Harley's USBCHA Open competition record, the dog is very competitive and did plenty of winning.

      As to how I got into BCs, I was actually acquainted with Derek Scrimgeour when I lived in the UK. I used to camp near his farm, and often came to watch his dogs working. When I moved to the U.S. and wanted to get a dog for herding/agility/obedience, I heard one horror story after another from AKC friends who had bought ABCA-registered "working lines" dogs who invariably turned out to have hip dysplasia, epilepsy, or both. I instead went to an AKC "versatility" breeder who could show me OFA results for hips, elbows, patellas, thyroid and cardiac, BAER hearing test results for ears, and CERF results for eyes. The dog I got is now 10, and has recently taken up the sport of Schutzhund. We have our first competition tomorrow. Despite doing massive numbers of sports, sometimes competing in herding (or doing set-out) all morning, then agility in the afternoon. He hasn't had a single injury or health problem. Meanwhile, farmer friends are routinely selling or giving away their dogs at 3-4 years old due to hip dysplasia.

      Ideally, I would have liked to get an ABCA dog from parents that passed all the OFA/BAER/CERF tests. However, in my years that I've been actively involved with BCs--from AKC, ABCA, ISDS--I've never met a single non-AKC breeder who did a single health test of any kind. As I mentioned, I want a healthy dog, not a stylish working dog with epilepsy. Therefore.... AKC for me.

    10. Look how foolish you are are. How funny is this!

      I went to the web site of Derek Scrimgeour who you mention above and what do I find?

      I knew what I would find before I looked, as I know that this great handler, trainer and breeder of working border collies cares greatly about his breed and he does do health testing!
      This very ISDS breeder you mention in the same post as your very slanted anti working dog breeder rant about health testing, mentions health tests on a page for one of his studs.
      Oh dear, what an over sight was on your part...LOL There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      Now open you eyes and look
      This list of stud dogs, in Canada (it is the Canadian Working Border Collie web site) and also somestuds in the US lists a number of dogs and almost every one has listed some health testing. As I said before working breeders do not always list on the web heath testing. For example I know that the breeder MarCar who has a listing on this page does hips and DNA CEA and Certs and she does not mention on this web site, so do assume because they have not said it it is not being done.

      As I said before it was the working breeders who did most of the work needed to get the DNA CEA test developed, they have also work with Cornell Uni to develop a hip screening process for border collies, recently they support the work to find the gene for adult onset deafness and huge amounts of money and effort have gone towards epi research.

      You are deliberately soiling the reputation of many many breeders and owners of working border collies around the world who have worked most of their lives for the benefit of the working border collie. You are either a liar or just plain stupid or both, but in any case you are called out on it.

      I’ll say it again, it is absolutely shameful to promote kennel club breeding practices for show ring and the showing of the wonderful working breed the border collie. It will and is bringing only harm to the breed.
      Bad enough with so many breeds in serious trouble due to people who cannot stand back and see what they are doing to these poor dogs in the name of showing, now you want to take another breed down that path. No way.

      BTW I never said PDE supported BCSA. I said that you were here trying to gain their support. And, I am here trying to make sure that no one is fooled by you, you are nothing more than a showie trying to pull th wool over everyone’s eyes and take another breed down the show ring path.

  14. Sharon seems like a good plan. Had working terriers in the 90s and noticed that as the working terrier show thing got bigger some people started breeding dogs towards them instead of working ability. Human nature guess. Don’t know how things are now working terriers is banned. I suppose there will be a drift to strange conformations like most of the KC breeds have.

    1. Believe me, working terriers are not banned! There are still lots of them.

      There's not much point in publicising it because of the IK hunting with dogs ban, but they are still used by all the hunts I know.

  15. I've yet to see all the Dog World tv coverage of the Canine Alliance meeting but this section was by far the most telling in part one. All the more telling because Andrew Brace's opening remarks about health almost had me popping my cheque in the post and joining up.
    If this does not hammer home what the Canine Alliance is all about nothing will. A little scratch of the surface and we saw some true colours. I won't be joining the CA anytime soon.
    I accept that the CA might be on the right side of history in the very short term. Sheer weight of numbers may see them getting their way with the Kennel Club. In the longer term, attutudes like those displayed in the clip will be seen for what they are... a rage against the dying of the light.
    Kevin Colwill

    1. "Sheer weight of numbers may see them getting their way with the Kennel Club"

      Lets get this in perspective. The Canine Alliance has around 1500 paid up members (about the same as the KC), some of them from outside the UK. Assuming a lot of these were exhibiting at Crufts, some with more than one dog, I would guess this is probably less than 10% of Crufts exhibitors! A much smaller percentage of all people who show their dogs in the UK, and maybe representing something like 0.02% of UK dog owners. I note some groups are rather better represented than others in the Canine Alliance membership ( I dont recognise many names from the gundog group for example)
      Even the KC with around 1500 members represents a better cross section of pedigree dog owners, as not all of them are show exhibitors, they include people with a background in working and FT dogs, and other canine activities and interests
      As somebody with an interest in working gundogs, I am more than a little apprehensive about the kind of influence the Canine Alliance might have on the KC!

    2. why? will it take away your ability to work your dogs? Or breed them they way you want to?

  16. You can have loose skin that doesnt hang in folds. Go find any corso and grab a few fistfuls of chest or scruff skin. very loose. lots of it there. but when released, it doesnt hang like curtains. there is a huge difference between "loose" and "5 extra dogs worth"

    1. Yes, my Corgis are very loose around their ruffs/necks and you can easily pinch an inch of skin on the head. One of mine is not loose at all on his hindquarters, and one is moderately loose on the hindquarters. And yet.... lovely, tight eye lids. I never really thought much about it, but it seems that a little loose skin on the face gives more facial expression.

      But hanging in folds is not necessary.

  17. Good post Kevin, my thoughts entirely

  18. I wonder if the reason they are so against changing the looks of certain breeds is that looks are all they have.
    Show dogs are not often bred for personality so many breeds are yappy , hyper ,stupid or snappy. the only reason they are kept is because the owner likes their looks and likes to win prizes.
    Change the looks and they are left with the dogs personality.

    I have a breed that would be considered extreme, but they also have fantastic characters
    I admit I like the way they look but not at the expense of their health.
    If I had to have that character in a different package because it was healthier i'd be fine with that. I dont want my dogs to suffer, I love them too much

    1. are you crazy bred like that, only one or two pups make it to a show ring, most are family pets, listen to yourself that is the crazy idea, family pets with no personality, yappy and snappy are not gonna end up going to family homes, a

  19. I think that breeder is right to be angry if she is correct that she cannot breed a basset hound which both meets the breed standard and can pass a basic health test.

    However, her anger shouldn't be directed at those performing the health test. It should be aimed squarely at the breed standard.

    The basset hound is a dog first and should be able to have healthy eyes. The way in which breed standards are/were? written, which is noting the differences between the breed and an average dog, results in charicatures who are not bred to inherit the aspects of the average dog which they originally shared.

    I wonder if breed standards will need to set limits on extreme features - such as no muzzle shorter than x cm (or x% of the head length) if conformation showing has a healthy future. Adaptions to the old breed standards adding phrases like 'but not excessively' are open to a very wide interpretation, with very few breeders willing to admit that their own dogs have excessive features. And as judges come from the breeding community they are likewise in danger of being biased about what is excessive or exaggerated.


  20. I am 100% sick of being a vet. Today so far I have read that I am 'ripping people off' by expecting to be able to make a small profit in treating their dogs AND that my profession shouldn't criticise an unhelathy dog just because breeders are so wrapped up in the look of their breeds they believe pain causing deformity is normal. What is the ******* point?

    1. The point is that us regular dog owners very much appreciate the work you do. Please do not feel to discouraged, I have a feeling the vet profession is in for more stick but remember that that is the minority speaking. I for one adore my vet, and the vet nurses at my surgery also, the work you do is amazing. True dog lovers and their companions applaud you.

    2. come on a small profit ROFLMAO my vet has Audi and land rovers and has a large boat proudly stuck on wall for all to see, small profit my A***
      Brian Bell

    3. Don't get too worked up about that: The rather condescending attitude of some breeders and judges towards vets can be explained mainly through the Dunning-Kruger effect: Ignorants are neither able to comprehend the degree of their ignorance nor to identify competent people. If you want to look at their statements in perspective, just remember that you have more anatomy and functionality knowledge in your little finger than the most restpected of judges have in both of their arms.

      Way, way before PDE, one of my profs used to say on the topic that "People who breed such deformed animals are idiots, and we ought not particularly value the friendship of idiots."

    4. Dear Brian,
      I have a van, my husband (also a vet)has a beat up peugot estate he fixes himself because he can't afford the garage fees! Don't tar all vets with the 'in it for he money' brush and I won't tar all dog showing people as a bunch of 'wrong uns!' If your vet is managing to make serious money in this day and age then well done to him. He can't be oo much of a 'rip off merchant' or presumably you ould have found another vet?

  21. "The main reason that my dog failed that examination was that he was bred to the breed standard".

    Was it?

    The Kennel Club breed standard says;
    "General Appearance
    Short-legged hound of considerable substance, well balanced, full of quality. It is important to bear in mind that this is a working hound and must be fit for purpose, therefore should be strong, active and capable of great endurance in the field.

    Head and Skull
    Domed with some stop and occipital bone prominent; of medium width at brow and tapering slightly to muzzle; general appearance of foreface lean not snipy. Top of muzzle nearly parallel with line from stop to occiput and not much longer than head from stop to occiput. There may be a small amount of wrinkle at brow and beside eyes. In any event skin of head supple enough as to wrinkle slightly when drawn forward or when head is lowered. Flews of upper lip overlap lower substantially. Nose entirely black except in light-coloured hounds when it may be brown or liver. Large and well opened nostrils may protrude a little beyond lips.

    Lozenge-shaped neither prominent nor deep-set, dark but may shade to mid-brown in light coloured hounds. Expression calm and serious. Light or yellow eye highly undesirable.

    Smooth, short and close without being too fine. Whole outline clean and free from feathering. Long hair, soft coat or feathering highly undesirable. Skin is supple and elastic without any exaggeration."

    It was bred to YOUR interpretation of the breed standard.

    "I would argue that any Basset that had gone into that room would have failed that test."

    And rightly so if they are all like yours!

    1. Hurrah! Someone finally notices that the breed standards are not the problem but rather ho they are interpreted! Breed standards can be easily changed....breeder and judge mindset much harder.

    2. Hey, I said the same thing on Mar 28 at 10:28, quoting directly from the UK Basset standard. Scroll up, and you'll see it... :-)

  22. UKC announces changes to its breed standards to eliminate exaggerations. Very interesting statement!

  23. A dog with a lozenge-shaped eye will of necessity show a lttle haw. Have you actually seen Buzz and examined his eyes? It is generally agreed that he had arguably the best eyes of all the Bassets enetered at Crufts - even the vet conducting the examination commented that his eyes looked pretty good 'for a Basset'.

    Instead of condemning this breeder, shouldn't you be congratulating her for having made such a marked degree of improvement?

    1. Yes it is good to see improvement but some breeds have not yet made enough improvement for even their best to pass the vet check. It will take time but hopefully the carrot of getting back into the group ring at Crufts will kickstart breeding for a healthier conformation? And yes, I believe that can be done in all breeds without losing the essence of the breed.

    2. I suspect that the public reaction to an improved - but not yet resolved - situation would be different if there was some sense that the breeder was actively working towards eyes that were truly compliant with the new health standard. That is, if the breeder was on board with the recommendation of vets regarding the skin around the eyes, and made it clear that this was a goal. That is not the impression that was given in the clip, though. What was said gives the impression that breeders would never accept the same standard as the vets, because their idea of what constituted a proper Bassett could not be aligned with the new standards for health. Add in a general sense that these are people that question the expertise of the vets, and the right of anyone else to have an opinion at all, and I suspect congratulations are not likely even where progress has been made.

  24. Let’s be clear, Derek and Heather Storton have made no improvement to the Basset Hound. Quite the opposite in fact, they have been responsible for breeding ridiculously exaggerated hounds that are incapable of performing the task they were originally bred to do.

    And I don’t except their pleadings of ‘we only breed to the breed standard’, as it is the Basset Hound Club, of which Derek has been an officer for many years, who set this standard. They are both responsible and culpable for the exaggerated, excessive, unhealthy, ponderous mutants that are willingly exhibited in the show rings. They have being doing it for years; the only difference now is that public opinion is against them.

    Their hounds are smothered in excess skin, their legs are so short their stomachs and genitalia drag on the ground, their eyes show excessive and prominent haw. How can such bassets ever be regarded as ‘strong, active and capable of great endurance in the filed’?

    That’s certainly a key part of the breed standard their hounds don’t meet and I question how Buzz Lightyear could have ever been awarded Best of Breed. But I am glad he did as the debate since and the Storton’s public humiliation has only increased the clamour to rid the breed of the excesses that have developed in recent years.

    Let’s not forget that Derek Storton was personally involved in severing the relationship between the Basset Hound Club and the Albany Bassets in 2002, who at the time were the working branch of the Basset Hound Club.

    I am sure he hoped by doing this the working basset would somehow ‘disappear’. After all, it was most inconvenient that the Albany Bassets existed as they were a constant reminder of what the Basset once looked like; fit, active hounds with no excesses that could hunt all day.

    But the Albany Bassets are still alive and kicking. In fact it is our 40th anniversary in 2013 and we hope to be breeding and working healthy, fit basset hounds for many years to come.

    We would be more than happy for the Basset Hound Club / Kennel Club to discuss the use of hounds to improve the KC basset. In a relatively short space of time I am confident significant improvements can be made. And pigs might fly.

  25. Someone asked if clubs need to have more specific standards to avoid extremes, and I think they do. The PWC standard gives acceptable ranges of height and weight, and the length should be 1.4x the height (that avoids getting too low and heavy, though you can eventually get shorter legs and deeper body by following the standard).

    The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club is a great example of making sure the standard fits the work, and an example that you can do both (breed for the breed ring and still have a working dog) if you are willing to put the effort into it. The standard is very specific, giving measurements for height, girth, ear length, muzzle length, and many others.

    My understanding is that arose in part because judges were putting up dogs that had muzzles too short to carry a goose easily.

    I do believe part of the problem, as mentioned, is the tendency of many standards to use relative terms that are open to interpretation.

  26. Am I the only one who recognises the ectropian amongst the Albany hounds?

  27. Replies
    1. There's none so blind......

    2. Yes, some working bassets have a lot of haw showing. I had a look through our hounds a couple of days after Crufts and there were a few which the Crufts vet might have struggled with, if excessive haw was indeed the only criterion for rejection.

      One difference though - in the working basset ectropion is not a characteristic for which we are deliberately and selectively breeding.

  28. Thanks for the link.

    What beautiful and more functional looking bassets.

  29. The Albany Basset would appear to have ectropian, but unlike the show Bassett's it does not have the serious expression that the breed standard asks for, that the public demand and that makes the Bassett look like a Bassett. to me, and I am no expert, the Albany Bassett looks more like a Beagle.

    However, my understanding is the the Vets were not failing dogs on ectropian alone, it had to be ectropian wiyth associated discomfort ie reddening, soreness and/or conjuntivitus.

    Maybe the Albanys dont have soreness or reddening, but I dont share Mrs Stortons pessimism that all show Bassetts would fail the test. I would have liked to have thought that maybe some present that may have had mild ectropian but whose eyelids functioned correctly.

    Surley the skill of the breeder is to produce a healthy eye, but which still remains typical of the breed. Its disspoainting that Mrs Stornton feels that she is unable to do that but bthen the Albany's arent doing ot either.

    Maybe someone else can?

    1. The Albany Basset does not have 'the serious expression that the breed standard asks for'

      Mmm - perhaps that's because they are so happy that they are healthy and fit for purpose!

      But I agree, there are show bassets out there with much better confirmation and eye's than Buzz Lightyear, I saw some myslef at Crufts this year.

      I just don't understand why they don't do better in the show ring. Perhaps they will going forward. Here's hoping.

  30. I hadn't seen a picture of Buzz, so I searched for it.
    I opened these links in separate windows, positioned them side by side

    Poor, poor Buzz :( The images speak more than 1000 words..

    "I am judging this dog as a dog, not a Basset Hound".
    The vet did the right thing. Period.

    1. Yes, aren't pictures marvellous - yet the show world still argue there is nothing wrong with Buzz but there's a whole host of things wrong with the Albany Bassets.

      Here are just a few comments I have had in recent days about why my hounds aren't 'proper' bassets;

      The Albany Basset does not have 'the serious expression that the breed standard asks for'.

      The Albany hounds can run too fast, therfore they aren't bassets.

      They are more like Beagles than Basset Hounds

      The temperament is more like a Beagle than a Basset.

      The feet of the Albany Basset turns out.

      The legs of the Albany Basset are too long.

      The voice of the Albany Basset is more like a Beagle

      They are poor example of French Artesian hounds

      Grievous faults indeed but I know which one I would prefer to look like if I were a basset!

  31. Ectropian = Ectropian - working or show ....perhaps the working Basset people have another word for it? The dog by the number plate looks as if it has just had a hard night on the town but, then again it wasn't bred to any standard or will not subject to any vet test?

  32. @Alison Jeffers - I don't think personal attacks on specific breeders is acceptable. In fact, I think it makes you look a very nasty person indeed. I have personally met Buzz and neither his chest nor genitalia are dragging on the floor. In fact, when I met him he was running around in the acres of land that the Stortons have, with his hound friends. His 'exaggerated' features certainly didnt stop him then!!

    Shame you have to stoop that little bit lower to get your opinion across. Maybe you should call the Stortons personally and tell them how you feel? As you seem to know them quite well. No? Thought not......

    1. The Storton's know exactly who I am and I don't recall them being sensitive when they publically criticised our hounds. I may be stooping a little low, but not as low as Buzz - yet!

      I am glad he enjoys himself running around the garden with his hound friends, but isn't that what a dog is supposed to be able to do?

      As a prvevous post mentioned, a picture speaks more than 1000 words. Everyone can see his exaggerated features for themselvs and make up their own minds, which is exactly what is happening as I am sure you are well aware.

    2. I have also just looked at the Dereheath/Dilheath dogs and think they look awful poor things. Their saggy understuffed sausage look does not inspire me to want to own a basset whereas Alison Jeffers Albany basset hounds look lovely, fit and healthy dogs, I see no sign of ectropian.. Nor do Albanys look like any Beagles I have ever seen! Anonymous you are either a troll or a loser - perhaps both?!?

  33. i love this group if you don't agree with them you are either a troll, and loser or a retard, ha ha your showing your true colours and people are seeing you all for what you are Animal Rights nutters
    Jane Flynn

  34. If the Albany had such good stock they would achieved some credit from their peers at the MBHA shows?

    1. Not sure I can understand the logic behind your question, Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Anon. What you seem to be saying is that because the Albany hounds have (allegedly) better conformation than KC show type bassets, therefore they should also have better conformation than other working hounds, ones that don't have so much show KC blood.

      Nice attempt at moving the goalposts, but we aren't comparing the Albany hounds to other working bassets. We are comparing them to those lumpy great oversized KC show things, the ones with about 5 kilos of pointless loose skin, vestigial legs and no visible eyes. On that comparison I reckon the Albany hounds do quite well.

    2. Anon: You clealry no nothing about the world of the MBHA, or may be you just think you do.

      I think Best Bitch and Reserve Bitch at the annual MBHA show and numerous first prizes is recognition from our peers in the hunting world, and the fact other packs have used our stud dogs for breeding, and the fact that everyone who sees our hounds comment on what superb drive, voice and discipline they have and the fact we have receive comments from global audiences about the superb condition of our hounds.

      Like it or not, people from many different backgrounds like our hounds for the way they look and what they can do. I don't think you can say the same for the average show basset?

  35. Alison just to ask whether you really think it's necessary to be breeding a Basset who is quite so on the leg as those in the revised Albany hound - as shown in the linked photograph here? Middle ground would indeed be nice and that would include some 'give' on the part of the people breeding 'show' bassets (which IS being worked on by some!), as well as you with the Albany hounds. Somewhere recently in all of this, you brought up the question of the Grims hounds - if you look at old photos of these hounds, the root of most of the hounds in the UK today be it in the ring, or not, you won't see many with quite so much leg and most were more balanced, front to back, with a level topline, than those few shown in that photo of the Albany. I love the eyes on the one top right - excessive haw? - TOO RIGHT. Perhaps in order to run a plough now (and the original function of the Basset was not as one of a Pack hound) you actually have to have bred for more leg in recent years? Again old photos of the Albany pack didn't look like this!! Check out the George Johnston, 176 - the BHC Working Pack 1967 I'm not suggesting the Basset, as opposed to the Artois- Norman should be quite as dry as say Ulema de Barly but again, at least he was a balanced hound.
    Still, horses for courses I guess. And I am with you over 'excesses'. One hundred percent. I just don't think mud slinging achieves very much?

  36. I think suggesting we need to change the Albany hounds is rather missing the point to all this.

    It is the show basset that needs the work, 'tweaks' to the Albany hounds are irrelevant when compared to the huge amount of work required by both the KC and the Basset Hound Club to improve the show stock.

    We have over 20 hounds in the pack and I would never say all were 'perfect' to look at, remember we breed primarily for working ability.

    Regarding leg length, none are taller than 15 inches at the shoulder and most are 13 inches, very much in line with KC hounds today and Basset Hounds from the past.

    It’s interesting how both the Albany hounds and the KC hounds are similar in height at the shoulder but leg length is so dramatically different. In my view there’s simply no reason to breed hounds with legs you can hardly see even when they are standing on short grass, especially considering they are supposed to be capable of great endurance in the field.

    And is the picture of the Albany in 1967 really so different from this one? I think not.

    1. Sadly it seems there is very little 'middle ground' to be found between those showing, and those hunting, and this I regret. A lot! It would appear from the new link, that the Albany are not quite as on the leg as the photo in the first link here might suggest! Good. That being the case, I think you'd find that if the Pack was carrying a bit more condition (weight for the ring) and the show-hound carrying rather less (for the field), the two strains might look far more similar, talking about leg length. Again I'm not fond of 'extremes'. Obviously you are looking for hunting ability which the average exhibitor in the ring is not (even if this was legal!!). All I can say is it's a huge pity that there appears to be such a split between the two disciplines right now in some quarters. Especially at a time when others have targeted the breed as being 'in trouble' whether it be eyes, ear length, back length etc.etc.. Shouldn't we all be pulling together to protect our beloved breed?
      And for the record far from all show hounds exhibit the perceived faults (unable to see their legs when standing on short grass) that you suggest. Further, work is being done!!!

    2. Anon @ 12:02 wrote: "I think you'd find that if the Pack was carrying a bit more condition (weight for the ring) and the show-hound carrying rather less (for the field), the two strains might look far more similar"

      So the excess dollops of flesh you see in the ring is called "condition"? And the show breeders would consider that the fit hunting hounds don;t have enough of it? That is a very bizarre hijacking of the English language.



    3. Jemima I think we are engaging in semantics here .... Of course I don't consider 'dollops of flesh' = condition. Condition = weight (as stated), which the show Basset is being accused of having too much of. And for the record, I don't think the entire entry at Crufts, or at any other show for that matter, actually does have dollops of flesh.

      Much as I've had enough of this place (none so blind as those who won't see) I think you should have twigged who I am, and where I'm coming from by now, much as I do prefer to remain Anon around here lol.

    4. OK Anon, let’s agree to put our differences aside.

      I have had various replies stating that work is being done to improve the KC hound. Can anyone tell me what these changes are, what the targets are, how will you measure success, who will measure the success and how long the changes will take to implement?

      I am more than happy to give the breed time to implement changes but I would like to see specific success criteria. Without these I am concerned that old habits die hard and without constant review, change will be very slow if it happens at all.

      I also agree that there are probably many show hounds that don’t have the excesses exhibited by Buzz. I would like more of these hounds to be rewarded in the show ring, but until that happens breeders will continue to breed the type of hounds that are rewarded, which as we all know have been the more exaggerated types.

      Here's hoping that all the words can be turned in to actions that benefit the Basset Hound.

    5. Just to say that I imagine the 'targets' are to try to produce a hound who fits more closely what the Breed Standard suggests - and that is moderation, throughout - as it always has (even before the recent revision). But judging, and breeding, has always been, and always will be subjective, based on the individual's interpretation of the words of the Standard. Unfortunately in the UK (or in some ways perhaps fortunately because who better should know their own breed), judges are most often breeders, and as such, breeders will tend to put up the type of Basset they prefer, and breed. One can only hope they are judging the right end of the lead. You know well enough who will 'measure the success' remembering that all judges are now charged with only putting up 'healthy dogs' as well as those with correct conformation. It's all about the Breed Standard (which before blame is laid in any direction, has hardly altered from how it has been for ions, just some words have been changed) and how the individual sees the living animal in relation to the BS. I don't think the improvements will take long to implement, provided some breeders will accept they have gone somewhat down the wrong path in recent years and maybe when standing in judgment, will only reward those hounds showing a sensible degree of breed features, without losing what is the Basset Hound. And therein lies the potential for delay. If you hope to see a lean, mean, hunting machine going round the show-ring, I think you are in for a long wait however.

    6. Anon:I don't expect to see lean, mean hunting machines in the show ring but I would like to see a more concrete plan and evidence of how changes are going to be implemented.

      How do you break the cycle of judges who are also breeders putting up hounds that look just like theirs and perpetuating the current problems?

      If 'moderation' has always been in the breed standard why does the show world find its self in the current mess with best of breed hounds being rightly criticized for extreme exaggeration??

      I think all involved in the current regime (judges and breeders) have ably demonstrated that ‘self-policing’ has not worked yet I don’t see or hear any alternatives being out forward, apart from feeble statements that everyone is trying jolly hard to breed hounds that meet the breed standard.

      Given the amount of change required, I think all involved in the breed need to accept that a more radical approach is needed. There will be winners and losers but if regime change means a healthier Basset Hound I would fully support any initiative.

    7. After my last two posts here, I wasn't going to add any more - no point? However, after overnight consideration about all of this, based on your concerns about how improvements can be policed I'd just like to suggest, with respect, that compared to the number of hounds in the Albany, and those currently in the show ring, the number of Bassets in the UK currently living happy healthy lives, and only visiting the vets occasionally would be far higher, and more representative of the Breed as a whole, than the numbers in either disciplines (show/hunting). Yes, I've seen some pretty bad examples, structurally of the breed who have come from the Puppy Farms etc. but basically these hounds are just physically not pleasing (to me) to the eye. For the most part I don't think any of their conformation faults stop them from living comfortable lives, to a good old age. So perhaps you are not looking at the breed as a whole? Just those you have seen in the ring? I truly wish Stortons had not suggested that given the 'lozenge shape' called for in the BS, it would be impossible to breed a Basset that doesn't have ectropion or further, that no hound in the Crufts entry would have failed. This has only added fuel for some people to run with and is plainly not true.

      As for breaking the cycle of judges who are also breeders etc - hopefully knowing that happened at Crufts, might bring home the need for them to be more concerned not to award exaggeration in the ring. Hopefully! Quite a few judges are already known to be withholding in the ring.

      Moderation has always been in the Breed Standard, but unfortunately there has been an element of 'more is better' that has crept in (in many things!. And once on a roll, it's hard to turn away from what has been a winning formula. Whether you perceive the statement that everyone is trying ..... to breed hounds that meet the BS as 'feeble' or not, I think you will find that this is the case, but any overall improvement is not going to happen overnight. And maybe there will be those who will refuse/are unable to stand back and look objectively at their stock. But again, I suggest that those hounds being shown today (and entries lately have been very low) is only a very small percentage of all Bassets in the UK.
      With respect.

  37. Yes, I know who you are. And yes, of course it is a question of semantics. But I'd never heard "condition" used in that sense and it struck me as so odd. Odd too that it is considered desirable when it is obviously so deleterious to a hound that should be capabale of great endurance in the field.

    Yes of course, not every entry at Crufts was burdened with dollops of excess flesh (and indeed I didn't say so). There were more moderate hounds there and they were good to see.


    1. Just to add please don't let emotion cloud what you might see as being against the well-being of a hound. I think you'll find the life expectancy of the Basset is actually longer than it used to be years ago (11 years whereas most now live well into their teens)with minimal need for a vet. The Breed Clubs have recently been conducting a health survey on the breed to hopefully discover what is going on out there. I haven't seen the published results of this survey yet, and await that with interest. And also it's worth remembering that for every show-breeder, there are far more BYBs/Puppy Farmers churning out Bassets. I take the KCBRs and in recent years, far more KC Registered Bassets come from this source, than from show people. And some of these are truly dire. However, I'd suggest that your average pet Basset, lives a long, happy and healthy life, and more so when they come from a show/breeder. Virtually none would be required to show great endurance in the field. Moving away from Buzz and his perceived faults of course!!

    2. Jemima, you say that you've never heard of 'condition' being used to describe body mass; it's actually a recognised veterinary and medical term: see

      "2. state of the body in terms of amount of tissue carried. Spoken of as obese, fat, thin, emaciated. See also body condition score."

  38. For heavens sake, hunting with dogs is illegal. Working breeds are made to sensible designs by natural evolution and all others need to be thought of as pets and bred to designs which don't produce pain and discomfort. The Kennel Club has made a start and predicatbly there are those who see their business interests threatened.
    However the freakofiles will be consigned to the dustbin of dog breeding history if the KC keeps its nerve as most of the public are on their side. Just do what is necessary.