Let’s Talk Breed Education!
Thoughts on the Basset Hound: Today and Yesterday
Joan Urban, Fort Merrill Bassets, passed away on August 6, 2015. A version of this article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of SHOWSIGHT.
I have been honored to judge the Basset Hound Club of Amer- ica nationals several times, and have been made a Basset Hound Club of America life member for my work in helping to revise the Basset Hound Illustrated Standard as well as chairing the Judge’s Education Committee for a number of years, I believe that the exhibitors of today are much better at present- ing a clean, well-groomed Basset Hound than they were when I first began showing Bassets back in 1962. In any case, there is no excuse for bringing a dirty dog into the ring. Any judge will appreciate a hound with a clean coat and teeth, and properly trimmed toenails. The real hazard in judging the Basset is that they have been known to shake their head and sling their slobber. Unfortunately, once in a while it lands on an unsuspecting judge or bystander. When assessing a Basset Hound, I like to watch each Basset as it enters the ring, and stand back and look the dog over as he or she is stacked with the other entries as well as when they are stacked individually on the ramp. Is the dog balanced front and rear? Does he possess all the characteristics consistent with “breed type” as described in the standard, “a short-legged dog, heavier in bone, size considered, than any other breed…?” There is a great deal of wordage in the standard to describe the Basset’s beautiful, large, distinctive head. Much of the description has to do with preserving breed type. The head should be of mod- erate width—not narrow or broad. The prominent occiput, the extremely long, low-set ears, and the dark, sad, slightly sunken eyes describe the breed. The third eyelid should be visible, but the eye should not have a droopy, pro- truding eyelid that would be nothing more than a scoop shovel for collecting debris when working in the field. Although the Basset Hound does have loose skin over the head and body, the standard does not call for superabundant amounts of loose skin or extremely heavy bone. There should never be as much loose skin as in the Bloodhound. The description of the head is very specific and is not difficult to learn; the standard just needs to be studied. The Basset should have a scissors bite, but an even bite is acceptable. In the last few years, a big improvement for the comfort of both exhibitor and judge has been greatly facilitated by the use of a ramp. In raising the dogs off the ground and placing them at a higher level, a judge may better see and evaluate the breed. Thank- fully, I no longer see judges leaning on a Basset’s back, to assist themselves with standing up after going over the dog! The ramp is also valuable at outdoor shows for the times when the grass covers the Basset’s feet or legs. Consider the fact that the Basset’s leg is only to be one-third their total height at the withers. Therefore, a Basset that is the proper height of fourteen inches at
the withers would have front legs that would only be a little less than five inches to the deepest point of the chest. Even if a Basset were at the height limit of 15 inches at the withers, he still would have front legs that were only five inches to the deepest point of the chest. An inch or two of grass covering the feet and legs could throw off the whole balance. In judging the Basset Hound, special attention should be paid to the forequarters, as this is where most of his weight is borne. The standard describes a hound that “…possesses in marked degree those characteristics which equip it admirably to follow a trail over and through difficult terrain.” In order to do this, he must have a good front. The correct front of a Basset is probably the most difficult to breed and also difficult for a judge to understand, if not familiar with an achondroplastic breed’s structure. The Basset shoulder blade is set-on at a 45-degree angle to the ground with 90 degrees separating the shoulder blade and upper arm. He should have a prominent sternum, with the elbows close to the side of the chest. The front legs cradle the chest and wrap around it (the “wraparound” front), but they must still leave about a “hand’s width” of space between the front legs. Both feet are “…inclined equally a trifle outward…” If the elbows are not close to the side of the chest, the Basset will be out at the elbow and/or wide in front, or both. If the shoulder is placed too far forward, the Basset will probably have no neck, and the desired sternum will be hiding behind the whole shoulder assembly. Length of neck helps him get his nose to the ground and is also a beautiful sight to see on any Basset. Basset Hounds should be approximately twice as long as tall. I hope that the length of body is due to a nice, long, deep ribcage and not just from a long loin. The rib cage needs to be somewhat wide and deep, and oval in shape to house his heart and lungs in order that he can do the job he was bred to do. A long loin will not hold up over time. Praise God if he has a straight topline! A Basset Hound’s rear should not be slack, but nice and round instead, and about as wide as his shoulders, with a good bend of stifle. Generally, his hind legs appear to be not as heavy in bone as the front legs, but this is mostly due to the fact that they don’t have as much loose skin as the front legs. In moving, his hind legs should have strong drive and be in perfect coordination with the front legs, and move in a straight line with the front. In spite of his short legs, he must move in a free manner with the strength and determination of an athlete. When he enters the ring, I would hope that he would exhibit this quality, and knowing that there are no rabbits in his ring at that moment, he would hold his head up proudly as he circles the ring—instead of following his natural instinct to put his nose to the floor.
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THOUGHTS ON THE BASSET HOUND: TODAY AND YESTERDAY
all-breed, in Japan in 2001. The record of CH Fort Merrill Lipz Stick (Stix) remained as the top specialty-winning bitch, from 1992 until 2014, winning three all-breed Bests in Show with 93 Group placements. These two Bassets were campaigned by Bryan Martin. CH Fort Merrill Man In Black (Manny) was shown by Pat Willer, and garnered one Best in Show with 25 Group Placements, nine of which were Group Firsts. GCH Fort Merrill Topsfield Yahoo (Yahoo) was also shown by Bryan Martin, and won two Bests in Show with 22 Group Firsts. Yahoo was co-owned by Claudia Orlandi and Kitty Stidel for his show campaign. Currently, the top Basset Hound in my kennel is a son of Bomber by the name of GCH Fort Merrill Brunswick (Bruns- wick). He has been campaigned spar- ingly under the able hands of my friend and kennel manager, Aaron Costilla,
His tail is set-on with a slight upward curve. I have been seeing the unfortu- nate reoccurrence of some sickle tails and flanged ribs lately, which I hope the breed- ers will be quick to remedy. In looking back at more than a half a century of breeding and exhibiting Basset Hounds, I have had the experience of han- dling many of my own Fort Merrill Bassets to their championships under a variety of judges. Over a hundred Bassets carrying the Fort Merrill prefix have finished their championships. Some were campaigned under the expert hands of professional Basset Hound handlers Bryan Martin and Pat Willer. Several were ranked among the Top Hounds of the Year. CH Fort Mer- rill Great Gatsby (Bomber) won 78 Group placements, 24 of which were Group Firsts. Then, after winning two all-breed Bests in Show in the US, he went on to Japan to become the top-winning dog,
whom I am proud to say took Brunswick to Best of Breed at our national specialty last November. There are two types of judges, the spe- cialist judge and the multi-breed judge. Probably no judge can know every breed perfectly, but I would hope that all judges would be intimately familiar with the stan- dard of the breeds they judge. They must keep up with all revised breed standards and know everything about the makeup of each breed they judge. I know that all judges look for each dog’s best qualities first, but I have put together a quick list of Basset Hound faults and how the standard weighs them, just to help with the decision.
BASSET FAULTS & HOW THE STANDARD WEIGHS THEM A LIST BY JOAN URBAN
• Knuckling Over • Height over 15" at Withers
• Cowhocks • Bowed Legs • Steep, Poorly Angulated Hindquarters
• Steep Shoulder • Fiddle Fronts • Out at Elbows • Feet Down in Pasterns
• Overshot • Undershot • High-Set Ear • Flat Ear
• Flat-Sidedness • Flanged Ribs • Sagging Topline • Roached Topline
• Broad, Flat Skull • Dry Head • Tight Skin • Light Eyes • Protruding Eyes
• A Deep Liver- Colored Nose • A Somewhat
PERMISSABLE, BUT NOT DESIRABLE
Lighter-Colored Eye, Conforming to the General Coloring of the Dog, is Acceptable but Not Desirable
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The ever So SurpriSing BaSSeT hound I f you believe the Basset is best pretending to be a lap rug, you might be surprised to find them well suited for many activities. True to its lineage, the Basset is an avid and capable hunter How did you become involved with Bassets and in what events do you participate?
Basset people. We learned the trick was to make training fun and let the hound think it was his idea with rewards for cor- rect behavior. We entered an obedience and conformation match. Th e tray he won for Best of Breed was the start of almost 40 years of Bassets. We have competed in many venues—conformation, obedi- ence, rally, agility, tracking, field trial and hunting performance. Individual Bassets ‘chose’ venues for participation depend- ing on personality, likes and dislikes. I like the first activity to be basic tracking, a team sport with handler and hound. Bas- sets like to be in charge and they develop their natural scenting ability. It’s a great activity for puppies.” Ellen: “I had Bassets and wanted to breed better dogs. I got my first show pup and started from there. I participate in Field Trials, where I enjoy watching
Marge: “Our first Basset headed to obedience school and we were hooked. Th e Basset was thought to be a tough breed to do obedience, but she proved them wrong. She earned her UDT by being consistent, reliable and full of charm, throwing gooey looks to well wishers as she worked. She went High In Trial at an all-breed show in Utility. Th at cutie led us to the conformation ring.” JoAnn: “My husband, an avid reader of Fred Basset cartoons, wanted a Basset. We bought a pet and soon decided obe- dience training would be a good idea. Unfortunately we chose a trainer who was excellent with working dogs. Her advice was to get a ‘good dog’. Luckily we had joined BHCA and had contact with other
succeeding in field trials and hunting performance tests. Many are good track- ers and with their great temperament, wonderful therapy dogs. Th ey are often good at obedience, rally and agility—a few are even lure coursing. Basset breeders’ or owners’ comments below describe their experience. Tales vary, but they all love their hounds. Th e breeders and/or owners that responded to the questions are: Marge Cook, Bugle Bay; JoAnn Hilliker, Wes- twind; Ellen Johnson, Alexander; Sha- ron Nance, Bobac; Terri Ralenkotter and Anne Testoni, Spectrum.
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B Y - U - C A L ’ S & B R I A R C R E S T
I THINK WE CAN SAY THAT WE ACHIEVED A LOT WITH LIMITED CAMPAIGNING. AMONG OTHER THINGS, MONKEY RETIRES WITH THE MOST CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS FOR BASSETS. THANK YOU, NANCY, FOR SHOWING HIM AND OF COURSE TO ALL THE JUDGES WHO RECOGNIZED HIS BREED QUALITY IN STRUCTURE & MOVEMENT.
THE TOP BHCA PRODUCER OF THE BREED A PORTRAIT OF BUTCH IS ON EXHIBIT AT AKC MUSEUM OF THE DOG
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C H H I F L I T E B R I A R C R E S T E X T R A M A N
C H B Y - U - C A L ’ S F R E C K L E S
THE BREEDING OF BUTCH AND FRECKLES PRODUCED RAZZLE AND SPICE AND IS BEHIND ALL OF THE DOGS IN THE BY-U-CAL KENNEL.
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B Y - U - C A L ’ S M O N K E Y O N T H E B A Y O U
HIS FIRST COMPETITION 7 YEARS AGO AND HE JUST KEPT ON WINNING
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THANK YOU, SHOWSIGHT, FOR CREATING AN ONLINE LIBRARY OF BREED MAGAZINES FOR EVERY AKC-RECOGNIZED BREED!
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B E T T E W I L L I A M S ( B R I A R C R E S T )
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Bassets work together as a pair on a line to find a rabbit. I have done some Obedience. I try to do things my Bassets enjoy.” Sharon: “My love with the Basset hap- pened 40 years ago. Th ey are all things I am not. Th ey don’t take themselves seriously, nap every day and enjoy the moment. I got my first Basset/mix from rescue, followed by a pet, which led to a show prospect. I began breeding and now judging. Most of my emphasis was on conformation, but enjoyed obedience as well.” Terri: “I became involved in Bassets in 1996. I have competed in conformation, rally, obedience, agility, lure coursing, field trials and hunting performance tests. Rain is the first Basset to earn the AKC Coursing Ability Title.” Anne: “My mother gave me a Basset puppy for my 15th birthday. My hus- band and I acquired a pet, followed by a rescue. We started obedience train- ing and enjoyed figuring out how to get this wonderfully stubborn breed
“They don’T Take ThemSelveS SeriouSly, nap every day and enjoy The momenT.”
to cooperate. At the end of the class, the instructors suggested we compete. My Bassets are involved in conformation, obedience, rally, agility and therapy dog work. I have come to enjoy breeding.” How important are mentors and have they helped? Marge: “Our mentors were the breed- ers of our first show dog along with another reputable breeder. Mentors are important and can certainly help guide in any endeavor.”
JoAnn: “Trainers for obedience and conformation were available locally. Ear- ly tracking was learned from reading and the BHCA videotape. Very experienced field trialers helped us understand the culture around field trialing, the judging and running hounds on rabbit. Partici- pating in the BHCA Nationals exposed us to people with expertise. Almost everyone we asked was willing to share their knowledge and skills. A local rabbit hunter let me hunt with his Basset. Th is experience was invaluable.”
Ellen: “I feel mentors are a must in breeding. I learned so much from a breed- er friend about raising pups. My current mentor is Barbara Brandt, Sasquatch. A good mentor is necessary to share their years of experience and knowledge. Th ose who do not have mentors are really miss- ing out. I would not be where I am today without my mentors.” Sharon: “Mentors are very important picking a show prospect, getting con- nected to a good trainer, joining clubs and getting involved in the dog fancy.
“A local rabbit hunter let me hunt with his Basset. ThiS experience waS invaluaBle.”
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“i never would have Tried my hand aT Breeding wiThouT The SupporT of menTorS.”
My most treasured mentor was the breeder of our first show dog—Harriet Richman, Hobbit Hill. She was the one I went to for advice and was there to teach us about whelping and caring for puppies.” Terri: “My mentors are very impor- tant. As I learned more about the breed I turned to BHCA breeders for my hounds. Th e mentors’ trust enabled me to have Bassets that could fulfill my dreams. Rob- ert ‘Gene’ McDonald helped with aspects of showing when I got my first conforma- tion dog. Ellen Ferguson, Kaleidoscope, is one of the pioneers of Basset agility for the club. Ellen has given her time and good advice over the years. Agility, obe- dience and rally instructors who believed
that Bassets can do it all have worked with me to train in ways which compliment the independent nature of the Bassets. A great mentor in rabbit hunting was the late ‘Wild Bill’ Cartwright of the Ohio Val- ley Beagle Club. He spent hours showing me the ways of rabbits and hunting with Beagles that applied to Bassets.” Anne: “Mentors are important to suc- cess in dog sports. Each dog sport has its unique written and unwritten rules. Men- tors help the novice achieve success and avoid costly errors. My earliest mentors were in companion events and conforma- tion. I was lucky to have good instructors for Rally and Agility. Th ey stood ringside at my first competitions providing moral
support and technical feedback. I never would have tried my hand at breeding without the support of mentors. Th eir guidance has been critical.” What are the challenges and rewards of participating in your chosen events? Marge: “ Th ere were many challeng- es—early mornings, late nights, sick pup- pies, old age problems, decisions on how to breed, etc. Th ose who have dogs know what a trick it is to grow the lawn without the excavation team making mulch out of the whole thing. We lost one of our field dogs while she was practicing her trade to get ready for the BHCA Nationals.
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Th at was scary but we got her back and to our great joy, she won the whole darn National Field Trial. My husband and I had tears running down our faces!” JoAnn: “In retirement, competing is easier. When we were both working, bal- ancing professional activities, training and competing was challenging. Th e rewards are many great friendships with ‘Basset people’. I believe the hounds know when they do something well. Th ere is a satisfied look on their faces.” Ellen: “I do the showing for me and field trials for the dogs. I also enjoy the company of friends and finding wonderful homes for my ‘kids’. Breeding can be hard when your favorite pup doesn’t turn out,
but is rewarded by the one that is just what you wished for.” Sharon: “Challenges are many with Bassets. Th ey are independent thinkers and often seem to have a di ff erent agenda. Rewards come when hard work has paid o ff with a good performance. It is ‘gravy’, when the judge points at you for the first time or your hound get those qualifying scores.” Terri: “ Th e mindset of a dog bred for independent thinking versus a dog that is wired to please the handler can be challeng- ing. By watching Bassets in the field, people will see drive, determination and stamina which surpass most breeds and observers will know that they are well suited for many activities. While it is nice to bring home the
ribbon, my most priceless memory is one of Rain next to a smiling child taken at Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati.” Anne: “Training the Basset Hound for any of the companion events brings special challenges due to their indepen- dent nature, sense of smell and unique conformation. I have been fortunate to find trainers who allowed me to identify methods that match the personalities and unique strengths and weaknesses of each dog. Nothing brings people to ringside at an agility competition like a Basset get- ting ready to run.” We hope that through these breeders’/own- ers’ eyes, you come to appreciate the Basset Hound as we do.
“By waTching BaSSeTS in The field, people will See drive, deTerminaTion and STamina which surpass most breeds and observers will know that they are well suited for many activities.” t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& + 6/&
B red to hunt over varied terrain and through uncertain weather, the Bas- set is a working, persistent, energetic hound—a far cry from the usual stereotypes that Basset Hounds are lazy or “speedbumps.” The Basset is a scenthound, and much of its structure is ideally suited for scenting and for endurance on the hunt. Their short legs not only slow them down, but also put them close to the ground and the scent line they are following. The structure of their head helps to concentrate scent, and their overall body proportions provide them with strength and, yes, agility to hunt all day. BASSET HOUNDS: THE FIELD-RING CONNECTION BY SYLVIE MCGEE FOR THE BASSET HOUND CLUB OF AMERICA
In this article, I’m not attempting to cover the entire standard—for that, I will refer you to excellent educational resources available on the Basset Hound Club of America’s website and to one of our workshops held at each National Specialty or through judges’ education groups. Instead, I want to concentrate on the elements of the Basset’s structure that suit the breed for scenting and endurance on the hunt; these are overall proportion and balance, the com- pletely functional head, and the running gear, both fore and aft. In brief, Bassets are descended from the St. Hubert Hounds in France, with a short-legged mutation occurring in the origi- nal hounds, and those dogs being selectively bred because it gave hunters on foot a better chance of following their hounds and gave them time to reload their muskets. The achondropla- sia that shortens the Basset’s legs also has significant impact on
the whole of the front assembly. Looking at the dogs lined up in the ring, your first impression will always be overall proportion and balance. In Bassets, the ratio of length to height should be about 2:1, measured from prosternum to point of buttock. The distance from the deepest point of the chest to the ground should be no more than 1/3 the total height of the dog in adults. There is a considerable range of size and substance in Bassets—it’s important to bear in mind that the standard calls for a dog that is “heavier in bone, size considered, than any other breed of dog.” At the same time, the Basset must be able (as one experienced field trailer put it) to “make it over logs and obstacles… and fit through heavy underbrush.” While we don’t want a light-boned dog, we should also guard against exhibits that are overdone to the point of exaggeration, and especially those that are fat or out of condition.
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BASSET HOUNDS: THE FIELD-RING CONNECTION
“In the wrap around front, the heavy-boned and crook’d legs literally wrap closely to the chest, with the forelegs hugging the ribcage and forming a typical ‘egg cup’ shape that supports the Basset’s capacious and deep chest.” Correct “egg cup” front in the Basset – from the BHCA Illustrated Standard.
The neck should have good length—bear in mind that when working in the field, the Basset will move with its head down and forward to scent, so enough length of neck to reach the ground easily is required. If the neck appears short, it’s often a reflection of a front assembly set too far forward, which may also be betrayed by a lack of prominent pro-sternum. Steepness in the shoulders is a serious fault, as it will affect the Basset’s ability to move efficiently. The Basset must be examined on a ramp, at all levels of com- petition through Best in Show. Once the dog is set on the ramp, [viewed] from the front, the wrap around front should be evident. This front is a real stumbling block for some judges coming from breeds with a more conventional long-legged front. In the wrap around front, the heavy-boned and crook’d legs literally wrap close- ly to the chest, with the forelegs hugging the ribcage and form- ing a typical “egg cup” shape that supports the Basset’s capacious and deep chest. This chest must house a strong heart and lungs for endurance in the field. For balance, the feet turn out a “trifle,” and this very slight turn-out should be evenly matched. A Basset with a “mismatched” front—where one foot turns out more than the other—will labor harder as they move. Surmounting this front is the Basset’s beautiful and functional head. Here should be seen a head with the muzzle about the same length as the skull from stop to occiput, with the skull well-domed and a pronounced occipital bone. In profile, the planes should be parallel—although this can be hard to find without also finding a faulty broad, flat skull, so the judge often has to balance this evalu- ation. A good scissors bite combined with a good, square lip will provide the desired squared-off muzzle—both under and overshot bites are serious faults. All over the head, the skin should be loose, falling in wrinkles over the brow when the head is lowered. The ears, which should be set low (almost appearing to be set on the neck), are very long—reaching well around the nose if drawn for- ward—and velvety. They hang in loose folds with the ends curling in slightly. A high set or flat ear is a serious fault and a dry head with tight skin is a fault. Remember, these are not cosmetic issues—they are functional faults. The ear falling forward to the nose in the field concentrates the scent, and the loose skin over the head protects the Basset’s eyes and face from brambles in the thick brush in which rabbits and other small game live and hide. Almost all the other serious faults in the Basset Hound standard are in the front assembly, because these are faults that affect the running gear—and that’s the money-maker for a hunting hound! However, it’s important to bear in mind that some of these faults must be felt, rather than seen, because the Basset Hound’s loose skin can do an excellent job of hiding some key faults. The Basset is a dog that requires a truly hands-on examination.
Lightning (MBISS GCHS DC Rivercity Beachside Lightning McQueen, CD, BN, RA, CA, MHE, VCX) in the field and in the ring.
Taffy (GFC3 DC Cj’s How Sweet It Is VCX MHE RA NAP CGC) working that scent and then working her look!
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BASSET HOUNDS: THE FIELD-RING CONNECTION
Finally, with the Basset on the ramp, evaluate the feet. A massive foot that is relatively tight, with good padding, will support the Basset for a full day’s work; a flat or splayed foot will not. The Basset Hound needs a capacious chest for endurance in the field. That chest should be protected by a deep and long ribcage. The loin should be relatively short. Flanged ribs and flatsidedness are both faults. Set up, the topline should be level and firm without dip or roach. However, please do not press down on the topline to check firmness, as some judges have been seen doing! This quality can be best evaluated as the Basset is moving on the go-around. The hindquarters should be well angulated and have well developed muscles. Not mentioned in the standard, but mentioned by virtually all long-time breed- ers, is the desirable “apple butt” with well rounded thighs that display strength. A light or slack rear is a fault. The hind legs should stand firmly parallel. Cow hocks or bowed legs (also part of running gear) are serious faults, as are steep, poorly angulated hindquarters. As the Basset moves away, look for parallel action in the rear legs—Bassets do not converge. On the return, look for true movement in front, without pad- dling, weaving, overlapping or any deviation from a smooth, powerful, effortless motion. The hound in front of you will cover literally miles in a hunting day, and must be able to do so without any waste of motion or energy. When “Tally-Ho” is called, its concentration is on the rabbit, not on its fatigue! Disqualifications are very rarely seen in the ring. They are few: Height over 15 inches; knuckling over of front legs; and distinctly long coat. Though a dis- qualification in the conformation ring, distinctly long coats do come up even in well-established show lines. (You can find pictures of many very well-loved long-haired Bassets at the Facebook group: Bassets—Long Hair Beauties, which is fun to visit!) In addition to the BHCA Judges’ Education Presentation, the BHCA website (www.basset-bhca.org) includes a list of approved mentors and several previously published articles on judging the Basset Hound. Finally, I encourage you to con- tact us if you are interested in attending a field trial (wear boots and bring a big stick!) to see Basset Hounds doing what they were bred to do. It will put your understanding of the breed in a whole new context! Top: Flo (GCH DC Slo-Poke’s Go With the Flo Jo of CJ) hot on the trail of a bunny in the field. Left: Typical hunting conditions of heavy underbrush.
Because the skin over the front and shoulders can be very loose, it can obscure several faults: • Loose skin can make a prosternum appear where there is none! It’s essential to feel for the prosternum, to make sure it’s bone—not skin— that is prominent. Loose skin can also obscure a short sternum, so run your hand between the front legs or down the side to the dog’s underside to check whether the sternum extends behind the legs by about a hand’s width or four inches. • Loose skin can also obscure (or create the illu- sion of ) elbows being out, as skin can “pool” around the elbow juncture to the body. Feel how the elbow fits to the ribcage; it should be tight-fitting. • Similarly, loose skin can also obscure or create the illusion of shoulders set too far forward. Feel for the angle and layback of both shoulder and upper arm. Also, from the side, note that the front legs should be under the dog, set straight down from the withers.
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WHY UNIQUE? THE BASSET HOUND by SUE FRISCHMANN AND KITTY STEIDEL
T he Basset Hound is a long, low scenthound, bred for hunting small game. Its uniqueness in structure is an accommodation for balance due to its shortened forelegs. His ‘different’ stat- ure, a result of achondroplasia is com- monly called dwarfism. However, his form of achondroplasia causes arrested development of only long bones, yet retention of his other normal sized fea- tures. His body remains that of a larger, taller dog. In order to support the rath- er heavy body on shorter legs he needs a special wrap–around front. It is a bal- ance issue: he needs to have a unique column of support. If one understands the reason for his different front, the Basset will not be difficult to judge and intelligently breed. Since the original purpose of the Basset Hound was “to follow a trail over and through difficult terrain”, the breed should be an agile and effortless mover. His conservation of energy provides
"IT IS IMPORTANT WHEN EVALUATING A BASSET TO
KEEP HIS ORIGINAL PURPOSE IN MIND.”
for endurance. It is important when evaluating a Basset to keep his original purpose in mind. THE OVERALL PROPORTION AND BALANCE The Basset Hound proportion is rect- angular, approximately two to one; i.e., he is approximately twice as long as tall. We generally measure from forechest to the point of buttocks. In addition, the
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distance from the deepest point of the chest to the ground should be no more than 1/3 the total height of an adult. FOREQUARTER ASSEMBLY Because the Basset is an achon- droplastic breed, we sometimes find structural problems that are not gener- ally seen in longer legged breeds with straight columns of support. The Basset has crook’d forelegs meaning curving foreleg to accommo- date the chest. Crook’d is not turned out feet, as is erroneously thought; this adaptation along with his heavy bone and large, well rounded front paws are features that gives him body sup- port, especially to the forequarters. The chest falls below the elbow. Front feet should be matched, that is the feet will turn out a trifle and balance with the width of a proper shoulder, neither wide nor narrow. A prominent sternum is a hallmark of the breed. Short neck, lack of forechest, a short upper arm all suggests an ill-fitting and for- ward assembly. Proper shoulder length
correct movement, the Basset could not perform as originally intended. Move- ment is deliberate, in no sense clumsy. There should be good reach and drive, powerful and effortless; with backline level. Going away, the Basset hind legs should move true, and coming back the front legs should show support and good depth of chest. That wrap around front allows the legs to support the body by coming in under the dog. Bassets converge toward their center of gravity but do not single track. The down and back is important. Some believe movement is not important because of the Basset’s unique structure. However it is due to his unusual proportions, to be function- al, that could not be further from the truth. The Basset should be penalized (to the extent of degree of departure) for the same movement faults common- ly found in other breeds. HEAD Th e head is large, exhibiting a well- domed skull with a deep muzzle and
and matching length of upper arm, with elbows lying close to the chest are mandatory in this hunting breed. The shoulder angle in the Basset should be approximately 90 degrees, with the upper arm and shoulder blade of equal length. Good shoulders, if pres- ent, should be rewarded; they are very hard to breed. HINDQUARTERS Rear angulation should also be 90 degrees with well-let-down stifles. Cow hocks and bowed rears are considered The Basset Hound ribcage should be long and smooth; the breed’s length is in his ribcage not his loin. The poste- rior sternum should extend beyond the forelegs by about four inches. Flanged (flared, as in a flip hairdo) ribs are faulty. MOVEMENT Movement is a good indicator of the overall conformation. Without the serious faults. RIBCAGE
“SOME BELIEVE MOVEMENT IS NOT IMPORTANT BECAUSE OF THE BASSET’S UNIQUE STRUCTURE. HOWEVER IT IS DUE TO HIS UNUSUAL PROPORTIONS, TO BE FUNCTIONAL, THAT COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.”
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moderate stop. Th e dewlap is pronounced. Eyes are dark, with prominent haw. Prom- inent haw does not mean gaping droop to the eyelid, hazardous to a hunter. Ear are long, velvety, low set and turning slightly inward for funneling/stirring up scent. High set fl at ears is a serious fault, the only serious fault not related to movement as de fi ned in the standard but one related to function. Although the head displays important elements of breed type, we do not want undue emphasis placed here as we are not a head breed. SIZE, BONE AND LENGTH OF LEG Some Bassets may have more bone or weight than others; some may be taller than others. Length of leg, ears, and body can all vary, but remain cor- rect within the breed standard. It is up to the judge to determine if each hound meets the breed standard. Regarding size, the standard says sim- ply, “More bone, size considered, than any other breed.” Many breeders, exhibitors and judges fi nd this statement confusing. Perhaps a reasonable way to interpret the statement would be to consider the height of the exhibit being examined, and ask the question, “Does it have more bone than another breed of the same height?” For example, the Beagle. We are not sug- gesting the breed have bone of some of our taller dogs—St. Bernard, Wol fh ound or Masti ff . STYLE VS. TYPE It is important to understand the dif- ference between correct breed type and style within breed type. Th e o ffi cial breed standard identi fi es the features which de fi ne breed type. Style is individual inter- pretation of that standard. More than one style may exhibit correct breed type and meet the standard. Th ink about your own breed, the breeds you know well, you have di ff erent styles within type. ‘ICING’ Another confusion of style and type is “icing”—type features we like but not in excess. Th e unique look and structure of the Basset lends itself toward caricature but more is not better. Rewarding animals with highly exaggerated features at the expense of soundness is deleterious to the breed. Breeders and judges have a tenden- cy to overemphasize one or two features, such as excess skin or bone, forgetting the soundness demanded for this breed. CONSISTENCY IN JUDGING We o ft en hear that a judge didn’t evalu- ate dogs consistently, because two di ff er- ent styles have been awarded. Good judges and breeders look beyond “style” and
All good type but shades of different styles.
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award or breed the best examples of the breed, according to the standard, regardless of style.
COLOR, MARKINGS AND TEMPERAMENT
Bassets may be any recognized hound color; mark- ings and distribution of color is not important. Th e Bas- set is known for his even temperament: mild, never, sharp or timid. PRIORITIZING It is important to understand how the breed standard prioritizes virtues and faults in the breed as you evaluate the “whole”. Th estandardprioritizesfaultsasfollows:(italicsbelow o ff er commentary) • Serious faults: Faults relating to incorrect move- ment (running gear—especially forequarter assembly) which will hinder endurance and performance are con- sidered serious faults. The only exception is the high set flat ear, also a serious fault. • Faults: In general, faults relate to features that include the head, ribcage and topline features and body and proportion. • Permissible But Not Desirable: Cosmetic details such as a liver colored nose or light eye color are permissible but not desirable. In general, faults relating to movement or which a ff ect the health or well-being of the dog are to be penalized, based on the severity of the fault. Faults which are cosmetic in nature which do not impede the dog’s ability to perform are less serious. Judges and breeders alike must consider the dog as a whole, as individual parts are indeed useless if not in balance and able to work together. DISQUALIFICATIONS Th ere are three disquali fi cations in the O ffi cial Basset Hound Breed Standard. Not seen o ft en, they are: 1) Height over 15” inches: It is unusual to see a Basset over height in the ring. If a judge has any doubts, they should be comfortable measuring the exhibit. 2) Knuckling over. 3) Distinctly long coat. EXAMINING THE BASSET Th e Basset Hound is expected to be judged on the ramp for all aspects of judging Bassets: breed, group and BIS. Th e Basset is a sensitive breed and should be examined with e ffi - ciency and gentleness. Please do not pull the Basset’s skin over its head or up on the back to check for elasticity or looseness. Be aware that when judging the Basset, loose clothing, long ties, scarves or jewelry can interfere with the dog. Never pick up a Basset Hound to drop its front, and don’t push down on the hindquarters. It should go without say- ing, never straddle or step over a Basset during an exam. It is inappropriate to make sounds to see expression. If you feel the need to re-examine the Basset, please put it back on the ramp. Generally speaking, the Basset Hound is not a “baiting” breed. The photos/sketches are from Basset Hound Club of America’s JEC Materials: “Pocket Guide to the Bas- set Hound,” as well as a Judges Education CD. Other informational materials are available for interested individuals or breeders who wish to learn more about this fascinating breed through Basset Hound Univer- sity at www.bhca-bhu.org.
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252 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2018
THE BASSET HOUND
judge—started with Bassets in 2012 and now also judge Juniors and working on a number of Hound applications. RICHARD NANCE
I reside in Warren, New Jersey. Most of my weekdays I do substitute teaching for Pre-K through Middle School. I have been in dogs more years than I wish to say. Let it suffice to say, more than 50 years and I have been judg- ing since 1991. My original breeds were Whip- pets and Greyhounds. Along with my late hus-
My wife and I live about 45 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. We live at the base of a mountain at an elevation of 6250 feet. We moved here three years ago from the Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas area. We enjoy traveling and cruising on the smaller cruise ships. We
band, Bob, we established the Gold-Dust line and were quite successful basing our breeding lines on the Mor-Shor Whip- pets and the Windholme Greyhounds. CELESTE GONZALEZ
have had Bassets in our lives for almost 35 years. Showing and Breeding for 20 years and I have been judging for 7 years. I am currently the Judges Education Chair for the Basset Hound Club of America. I have held several positions with our parent club, including president. ROBERT OPEKA I live in Oakdale, Pennsylvania—a small town outside of Pittsburg. I’m a retired x-ray technician and flight attendant. I purchase my first two Basset Hounds in 1975. I continue to breed and show. All of my dogs are breed- er-owner handled. I have been judging for 16 years. HAL PYBUS
I live in Thomasville, North Carolina and have been here for the past 10 years. I have lived in various parts of the US based on where my career took me. What do I do outside of dogs? I work in Clinical Research for a large medical device com- pany in Clinical Quality Assurance within the interventional cardiology/peripheral
Photo © Kohler
interventions/structural heart business unit. I am active in procuring dog food for the needy elderly who own a pet dog through DINER (Dogs In Need Eat Right), which then distributes through the existing Meals on Wheels programs in the area. Thanks to generous exhibitors, DINER collects dog food at various dog shows in the central North Caroli- na region. I’ve had 41 years in dogs; 41 years in showing; 18 in judging. SYLVIE MCGEE I live in Olympia, Washington, about an hour south of Seattle. It’s a great location with easy access to shows in Seattle, Portland and to either airport. I love it! I am an independent grant writer, serving a wide variety of human ser- vices, housing, health and education agencies. Every day is a different challenge and a different satisfaction! My whole life with dogs, but since 1997 showing, when I was fortunate to get my first show bitch from Bobbi Brandt of Sasquatch Bassets in Alaska. She’s been my mentor ever since! And I’m a pretty new
I live in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Outside of dogs, I am by profession a bartered Professional Accountant. I also have a great interest in classic cars and have a small collection from the 40s through to the early 70s, mostly Fords and Ford Mustangs. I have
been in dogs all my life. Although, no longer breeding or showing, we did so for 40 years. Stopped breeding in 2004 and showing in 2011. I have been judging for 23 years. JOANIE RUSH
I live in Sacramento, California. We are retired and enjoy spending our time with
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basset hound Q&A WITH JOAN GOLDSTEIN, CELESTE GONZALEZ, SYLVIE MCGEE, RICHARD NANCE, ROBERT OPEKA, HAL PYBUS, JOANE RUSH, SUE NELSON SMYTH, CLAIRE “KITTY” STEIDEL AND DOUGLAS C. TAYLOR
the dogs and our property doing gardening. We each spent years on the board serving the BHCA members and our breed. This is our 55th year exhibiting Bassets, we were encouraged by local exhibitors to show our first young bitch who we received from my husband’s boss. His wife needed help with the three boys and a Basset while she was recuperating from major surgery. Since I was expecting our third child (all under three years old), I thought it best to help with the dog, I soon learned they will take back the kids but not the dog! After our first show we realized if we wanted to remain in the sport we had to find knowledgeable mentors/breeders to help us understand the Basset. We were fortunate when we found a lovely Tarzen son and a great friend in Mary Meredith of Arizona. Shortly after acquiring our special boy, we transferred to Ohio and had the help of great mentors and friends in the breed. We met and learned from some of the best in the breed: the Patterson’s, Betty Kinslow, the Brandt’s, Mary Jo Shields, Chris Teeter, the Martin’s and the Braun’s to name a few. I was approved to judge the Basset Hound in 2007. SUE NELSON SMYTH as the #614 Nationally Certified Educational Diagnostician in the United States. I was born into dogs. My grandfather had a beagle kennel and was a founding member of the Garden State Beagle Club. As a child, I observed many beagle field tri- als from horseback and was encouraged to work at the trials. When I was 10 years old I purchased a black and tan standard dachshund and was encouraged to show her by a neighbor who showed whippets. She took me under her wing and thus my dog show life started. I joined our local all-breed ken- nel club in the 1980s, by then showing and breeding Basset hounds and in the late 1990s, I was encouraged to apply for my judging license. CLAIRE “KITTY” STEIDEL I live in Scottsdale, Arizona with my husband, Chuck, 7 year old Tiger, Basset who retired, and Gilbey, Grand Basset Grif- fon Vendéen, who will be in ring when he is fully ready. I do little outside of dogs I guess, as I write and read about them, judge them and do presentations on Bas- set, PBGVs and GBGV. My husband and I like to travel but I have lived in New Jersey for most of my life and in my current home since 1984. I worked in the field of education for 34 years starting as an elementary teacher, then as a guidance counselor and for the final 10+ years as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant for the Child Study Team. I ended my career
often we plan the trips in US, such as Nationals for three breeds and we travel with our daughter and son-in-law nationally and internationally. It seems I always have a dead- line though, so I am always thinking about how to present a subject, often a subject not scintillating in itself in an inter- est way. Two articles that I loved writing because I learned something about other animals were the one on Coonhounds, when I delved into the habits of the raccoon, and the article on Elkhounds, when I learned so much about the moose and its environment and made a new friend on a moose author- ity in Norway. I have been in dogs since 1968 with our first Basset. I attended shows for two years before embarking on showing. After observing Bassets for two years, I decided our Basset, though purchased from a well-known breeder, had some good features but was not show quality. I investigated pedigrees and photos and offspring of stud dogs from the pedigree. It was after raising two litters that I felt I had one worthy of the show ring. Primarily, exhibiting in Bred By for about 16 years, until I was approved for the hound group. I have been judging since 1984. I also bred and showed PBGVs. DOUGLAS C. TAYLOR I live in Roeland Park, Kansas. I am a retired Prof. of The- atre Technology, most recently at the University. of Missouri/ Kansas City. In retirement I do dogs. Been owned by Basset Hounds for 48 years, judging for 26 years and showing my own Bassets for 36 years.
1. Describe the breed in three words. JG: Heavy boned, long and wrinkled. CG: Achondroplastic, long, low and doleful. SM: Substantial, deliberate and sensitive. RO: Temperament, movement and structure.
RN: Three words that come to mind is recognizable, low-key and patient. The Basset Hound characteristics make the breed very easy to identify, long ears, low to the ground and sad expression. The Basset is very patient, which makes him a great pet where there are children in the household. HP: The breed in three words: gentle, willful and determined. JR: Wrap front, balanced, deliberate mover. SNS: Versatile, pack and scent hound (yes, that is more than three words). CKS: Noble, sturdy and dependable. DCT: Long, low and Houndy. 2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? JG: Heavy bone, level topline, prominent sternum with well sprung ribbing extending as far back as possible and proper, effortless movement. Right after those must haves, would love to see good wrinkling and long ears set properly on a classic head. CG: 1) Type without exaggeration 2) correct proportions 3) correct shoulder placement, assembly and angulation 4)
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