Thursday, 6 September 2018

Bassets then and now

Miss E. Rumball’s basset hound "Laval Of Lohaire"
Have a good look at the Basset Hound above - I am not sure what year this is (anyone?) but would guess 1930s/40s?

Now have a look at the Basset that won Best of Breed at Crufts this year.

© The Kennel Club

Now, the  modern dog is much more moderate than many we've seen in recent years.  The dog below, for instance, won Crufts in 2008, just before Pedigree Dogs Exposed highlighted the issues in this breed. And it's not just that one is male and t'other female. 

But while welcoming the moderation we've seen in the last decade,  I think the dog of old is just SO much better put-together than the 2018 Crufts winner: no dollops of flesh hanging off his hocks or neck (well anywhere really);  smaller ears, greater ground-clearance, a lovely rounded bum (honestly, dead straight top-lines are completely unnatural), and that whole rear-assembly is just so much more natural. You can really imagine the dog doing a day's work - running freely without leaving most of its body half a second behind.  And of course, today's true hunting Bassets look like the old dog, not the Crufts winners.

Upshot: there is progress but show Bassets still need more leg and less flesh - and the only dollops we need are of common sense.


  1. I'll never understand the desire to have fleshy skin covering the a dog's hocks. They've bred them to have cankles! And the skirt of flesh is even worse.

  2. My Kerry Blue terrier Magnus has 2 Bassett friends and it saddens me as they like to play together but after a few seconds running about they have to stop and lie down as they are tired. We also have a puppy farm in Norfolk churning out Bassett & Shar Pei crosses to get daft names for the resulting puppies (Sharp Eagles & Sharp Assetts) & I have met some of these with serious health problems (and they also look very peculiar!). I cannot see why anyone would want a dog that looks so exaggerated and unhealthy?

  3. A crumb of encouragement that The Basset is being bred by people with a heart and brains. Had a quick look at KC's page about the breed. Sorry to say they are using an exact line drawing of the 2008 winner as their fine example of the breed, but have magically given him a bit more ground clearance and set him on grass, which would be a bit less terrifying for him to walk over. It is definitely him - same coat, stance, everything.

    KC also say 'Low to ground, with long fine ears, which were used to enclose the scent, he has enough substance to get him through thick undergrowth and he is furnished with pliable, elastic skin for protection. However these two functional features must not be exaggerated and the breed should retain athletic fitness and good ground clearance to keep him fit for his original purpose.'

    This style of dog cannot possibly have 'athletic fitness' and obviously does not have 'good ground clearance'. I shall write politely to the KC and ask them what they think of my observations.

    Helen MacLeod, Edinburgh

  4. I love Basset Hound dog but unfortunately not easily available in my country

  5. hmm the "original" basset looks really healthy and well proportioned. Very strange what happened since then :/