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Discussion Starter #1
We appear to be be breeding two distinct and separate forms of hounds. While the breed standard was developed as the "ideal" physical specimen to preform the tasks the basset was bred for, many breeders of hunting
stock feel they know better. While their dogs do not conform to the breed standard they believe their dogs are more physically suited to the job. Or, in other cases, don't care one bit what the hound looks like, only that it can hunt. While many conformation breeders don't give a darn whether their dogs can hunt or not. Many believing the hunting instinct only gets in the way of showing the dog.

How do we expect to improve the breed when breeding for two separate and distinct traits instead of melding the traits into one superior dog. We are told by professional breeder the importance of showing the dog to prove it's worthyness as breeding stock. Very few conformation breeder prove their dogs in field trials or other hunting tests. The same can be said of field trialers who's dog never see a breed ring. If the purpose of field trial is to find more eligible breed candidates, the reason neutered and spayed dogs can not compete. Why are dogs that would
summarliy disqualified from the breed ring allowed to compete? In order to unify our goals in breeding better dogs, should a requirement for a CH be at least one point in a field trial and likewise should a FC require at least one point in conformation? Is the breed standard truely the physical "ideal"? Do the rules of field trials encourge breeding of dogs that do not meet the breed standard? Are our own rules hindering the improvement of the breed?

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wow!
great questions!!

I must admit, I'm dying to hear what breeders have to say - Biscuit (hound of uncertain origins) is fast as lightening, although his conformation is - well, best left unmentioned!

Once, however, I was in a Petsmart and a woman came by and said "Oh! a field basset! I haven't seen one of those in years!" Her aunts and uncles used to breed and raise them apparently. with as fast and energetic as he is, believe me, I wouldn't be surprised. I've also run into hunters in the past who've been quite taken by him.

am very curious and can't wait to read this thread!
 

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IMHO, field trialing is a performance event, no different than tracking, obedience or agility. I see no legiitmate reason to bar neutered and/or ILP dogs from competing.

Did you know that field trialing is the only event in which a lame dog is not automatically disqualified?
In conformation, and all other performance events, a dog which is limping is dismissed from the ring and a report made to AKC. I have seen dogs in field trials that are so badly crippled in the front as to walk on the tops of their feet. These dogs would make it as meat hunters, which is what hunting ability is supposed to be about.

I don't care if the field trial dogs conform to the breed standard details that appeal to the eye. I do care that too many breeders for the field ignore basic qualities of soundness.

As for the conformation dogs being able to hunt, training for the field requires access to suitable training grounds. Few of us have that available. Yet many conformation dogs prove the quality of their noses in tracking trials. Witness that the FIRST Tracking Champion in the entire hound group is a Basset Hound.

As the popularity of ARHA grows and BHCA develops a hunting test, I believe that more conformation people will get their dogs, even if it's the pets they sell, into the field.

Off my soap box.
 

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If the criteria for improving the breed is the production of a Basset Hound that can succeed in both the breed ring and the field I believe that over the years we have improved the Basset.

I started in Bassets in 1966. At that point there was one Basset who had both the field and breed chanmpionships. Today there are many more dogs holding that honor. I have seen the results of a speciality show where the Best of Breed winner came from the field trial classes. There are many Bassets working on their field titles who are finished breed champions. I believe that there are many people such as myself who would be more active in field trialling if it was a geographical possibility. Unfortunately the closest Basset field trial to me is over 800 miles away. The only opportunity I have to enjoy the field trial is at the National speciality.
Very few Bassets have earned Hunting Titles simply because this is not a title offered by the AKC. One speciality club (Timberline) has offered Hunt Test matchs. Hopefully more clubs will take up those tests and the test will become an AKC reality.
I have seen the quality of the field dogs improve over this time as well. The first Nationals I attended was in 1982. Many of the dogs were as RKL has described. At Nationals this year I saw many 'field' dogs that. with a little work would be extremely competitive in the breed ring
 

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Absolutely right. There is a need for breeders to produce bassets of good quality and capable of doing what they were bred for originally. Many of the show winners could not run any distance and some field trial dogs are being bred to barely be able to move at faster than a walk, because that is what the judges want. Neither one is a good basset!!!! I try to watch conformation in my field dogs, which is why my dogs do not do as well as they could. I refuse to create unsound dogs to win. Showing a basset is somewhat the same, judges are supposed to ignore scars which are from field work, but do they? Why should I have to wear a suit to have a chance to win?
Recently I have become very active in the American Rabbnit Hound Assoc. We register only 3 breeds (beagle, basset, harrier), conduct rabbit hunts and conformation shows. At a basset hunt, the dogs are released in small packs and they have to hunt for their rabbit. At most hunts, there is a conformation show. To enter the show, a hound must run in the hunt. These hounds are often muddy, tired and sometimes have bloody ears when judged. Our goal is a good sound hound capable of running rabbits for extended periods.
See Celeste Gonzalez's comments in the performance forum or check ARHA.com.
Dean Wickwire- [email protected]-610-942-2840
There will be an ARHA hunt in Denver, Pa on June 4. All bassets, even neutered, are welcome.
 

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Three of my CH/CD/TDX/NA basset's grandparents are DC's. You bet your life I'd try running her in the field if I had access closer than 600 miles away! In the past, it's been suggested to me to just "show up and enter" her at a field trial. If there are any western field trialers monitoring this forum, would you care to offer an opinion on that suggestion?

[This message has been edited by Betsy Iole (edited 03-29-2000).]
 

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What are some of the conformation differences between field bassets and breed ring hounds? I am new at this and am curious about what people have seen. I agree, having seen the effects of bad conformation and the resultant unsoundness in horses, that it is essential to breed for correct conformation no matter what the animal will do with his/her life.

Are the field bassets taller/shorter? Longer/shorter ears? Long bodies or shorter than breed ring hounds? Heavier or lighter, on average? Tendency to be fiddle-fronted or cow-hocked behind?

(Hope I'm not the only one who doesn't know this stuff!)
 

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hey, you ain't!

Biscuit (fast as lightening and quite the jumper!) is fiddle-fronted and very heavy boned. I've read tho that field bassets are usually lighter boned and have long legs, meaning -- well,I don't know what that means.

I should have asked that lady in Petsmart why she thought Biscuit was a fieldhound, as the little I've read doesn't sound like him at all.

curious here ... okay guys-who-know, spill the beans for us basset naifs!
 

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OK, here goes-- this is guaranteed to ruffle feathers. GENERALLY SPEAKING, show dogs are larger, and not as lean as field dogs. Field dogs are leaner, thinner and leggier. There are show dogs which are in good shape and there are field dogs that could pass for show dogs. Some field dogs are bred to be slow and stylish trackers. there are breeders trying to produce all-around hounds. Many field breeders watch conformation, but some breed for nose and nothing else. Both groups are guilty of raising bassets in kennel enviroments. these pups are not socialized and generally timid. Good backyard breeders produce better pups than some top breeders, because the pups are used to being with people.
Again, this does not apply to all breeders, but it does happen.
Please don't tell me about which breeder does what, I am not referring to any one person. I have been raising, showing and field trialing bassets for many years (25 or more) and these are just my observations.
 

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hmm, pretty interesting. doesn't help me solve the mystery of Biscuit, but there you are. he's a shrimp, but that's not real helpful in determining these things.

I'll just have to settle for knowing he's one speedy little guy! it's all pretty interesting, tho.
 

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Dean-Where's Denver, PA?
We had to pass on the Kenticky trial due to family abligations, but still want to get Sheila to an ARHA hunt. We spayed her after she tested poorly for bleeding, but she still likeds to run rabbit. She's structurally sound as a dollar, will run all day and loves to bust the brush. Needless to say, she was too fast for the Ohio AKC field trials when we tried that.

I understand that there is an ARHA club near Oxford, Ohio. Can I track them down through the ARHA web page?

I agree with you that there are good and bad breeders in both fields. I will say, though, that the top winning bassets in conformation tend to be "racier" than they used to be. I see fewer of the low slung, overdone dogs that can't get out of their own way.
 

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You're right about the show dogs, they do look better than a few years ago.
The ARHA hunt is south of Reading, Pa. just off of exit 21 of the turnpike. We will be running bassets all weekend, so if you can, come in on Friday and we can get in a good bit of running. Lots of rabbits, motels nearby, lots of room for camping, food available at the hunt. We should have bassets from NJ, NY, Pa, Oh, and more.
The ARHA.com home page should have state reps listed. If not I can put you in touch with someone local.
 

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Just like people, they are all different. Some people would use either one for breeding because they have the same pedigree, but I would only use the one which I think is best.
There is no reason to believe a puppy mill hound could not run a rabbit. If you check the performance forum, you will see an article about some rescue bassets doing well in the ARHA World basset hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The consensus is there is in general two different standard for bassets based on the venue they were bred to perform in. While strides have been made to improve the breed from disasterous results of over breeding in the late fifties and early 60's because of demand for puppies in large part because of their role in a couple of popular TV shows of that ERA. The question remain is this divide good for the breed? and if not what remedies are there to bring back a more universal standard. Is the breed standard and the way it is interpreted by judges causing breeders of show dogs to breed dogs the are less capable hunters? Are field trial rules skewed so it is no longer a true test of a dogs ablility as a hunter, but rather a skill and discipline onto itself? And would not a requirement of compentency in the opposite arena have the tendency of pulling the split
together. And to those showing their dogs and complaining a field test of their dogs would be unfair because of the distance they currently live from the nearest trial, do you not believe such a requirement would increase the number of dogs competing in field trials and the number of field trials and the number of locations trials are held?



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Absolutely!!!! Bring on the house pets and couch potatoes!! For one, I welcome any new basset to field trialing or hunts. I am not out there to win a trophy. For about $20 I can get a huge one saying I own the "world's best ever rabbit hound". I am there to have fun and enjoy bassets at work and my friends, even those I have not yet met
 

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Okay, Dean, we'll tell 'em you told us to come, when their dogs get braced with our untrained ones!
 

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!!!! uhoh, big trouble, here comes Biscuit!!!

actually, I would love to do something like this. I was in contact with a bloodhound rescue group a few years ago. These people regularly meet for tracking, etc. work, and Biscuit and I were invited to participate, even tho he's a basset, not a bloodhound.

It was a great disappointment to me that major family problems intervened, and by the time they were resolved, I'd completely lost contact with these guys. Biscuit is so social and so active that i can't think of anything he would enjoy more.

watch out, here comes Biscuit, guys!
 

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About the untrained dogs issue: I have seen outright rudeness from field trialers when someone from conformation, or a pet owner bings a dog to a trial. Oh that more trialers were like Dean. maybe the sport wouldn't be dying out.
We see untrained dogs at dog shows all the time. How else will the young dog or the novice handler learn the ropes? Even the most seasoned dog handler has had a youngster roll over in the ring on him. We just laugh and go on.
 

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Also on the untrained dogs issue, not sure of its relevance to field trials. I am very unhappy if I believe my obedience dog will be doing sits & downs, especially out of sight, next to, or in a line-up, with a poorly trained or untrained dog. If the untrained dog interferes with my dog, my dog probably flunks for the day, or worse. However, if you show enough, you learn that sometimes you get a bad break you don't deserve and sometimes you get a lucky break!
 
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OK, here I go. If it wasn't for Dean and the ARHA, Molly and I would have no chance to trial at all. I am a responsible BHCA member, volunteer for rescue, obedience columnist for Tally-Ho, advocate for responsiblle pure-breed dog ownership, but as my dogs are responsibly spayed, I am unable to allow them their competetive birthright: chasing bunnies!! Why can't there be a SEPARATE hunting test for neutered dogs? Why are field dogs exempt from the conformation criteria??? And how many Basset pet owners are going to over-run the field trial tests??!! Only crazies like me!! I have to drive 5 hrs. to find 5 Bassets to hunt with! And they're owned by the same person! And I have a rescued, CH. sired, BHCA member-ed, altered Basset. I need a break. Thanks, Belinda.
 
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