STANDARD OF THE BREED BASSETHOUND
WITH COMMENTS BY IVA ÈERNOHUBOVÁ
The breed standard is a written characteristics of the breed. The first breed standards apeared in Great Britain in early history of pure breeding. Its goal is to desribe general apearance of the hound, its typical breed marks, and contruction of body, head, legs and all details, that make a dog a true Basset Hound. The breed standard should be used by breeders to find and keep an ideal type of hound, and to use the ones, who seem to be as much close to the ideal as possible for further breeding. On dog shows the breed standard is used by judges to compare the exhibited dogs with breed standard. The modern Basset Hound origins from Great Britain, and that is why all countries, who are F.C.I. members, use the british standard.
First breed standards were made in Great Britain allready at the end of 19th century, but they can not be used for bassets today.
Today Basset Hound is bred all over the world. A big population od breed lives in the USA, where the breed club BHCA (Basset Hound Club of America) created a breed modern breed standard in 1963, which was later adopted by the international cynological federation F.C.I. for the rest of the world. Since sixties Bassets in Europe were judge according to the american standard, which was in some items much more detailed. That is why I still refer -in some of my comments- to the american standard. At the end of seventies the F.C.I. changed the standard and since that time the british text is valid for the rest of the world. The british standard as adopted at that time by F.C.I. is valid with smaller or bigger modifications till today.
Latest changes were made in 2009 in Great Britain and in 2010 in F.C.I. The british Kennel Club has, with veterinary assistance, undertaken a detailed review of several breed standards, among others the one of Basset Hound, „to ensure that the descriptions given always promote the breeding and exhibition of dogs where health, welfare and temperament are of paramount importance and where the dogs have the best chance of being fit, healthy and happy“, as is written in the the official statement of Kennel Club. Latest F.C.I.standard changes started a world-wide discussion between breeders, if it will result in remarkable change of the breed so much, that a Basset Hound of today will no more resemble the Basset Hound of tomorrow. I don´t share this opinion. Only future will show, if the revision of breed standard will help breeders and judges to find a really ideal and healthy type of Basset Hound, without loosing its typical characteristics, for which the breed is loved, admired and bred.
In the nomenclature of F.C.I. the official F.C.I. Basset Hound standard has nr.163 and is dated 13th October 2010. Its text is written below in italics, while my comments are under each part. My comments are based on my own knowledge of the breed, supported by studies of foreign experts analysis in expert literature, breeding seminars as well as my own praxis in breeding and judging this breed.
All pictures, that demonstrate faults, are modified so that the dog can not be recognised. Any resembling with any dog seems to be accidentally, as their typical colour marks were edited.
The text and pictures are copyrighted. Please use ©bohemia-horrido.com if you intent to use them for any purpose.
The FCI new standard, Iva´s comments and brand new professional drawings are a part 2nd edition of my book about Bassets, published (only in czech language) in break of years 2011/2012. You can order the book from Iva by e-mail.
General apearance: 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.
Comment: The standard is here realativelly short, but thurtfull. We should never forget, that Basset Hound is a hunting dog, so it should be able to run in the field. Allthrough it has a lot of substance, it should not loose its balance and elegance. It is very important for future and health of the breed, and especially breeders have to keep it in their mind. For me it is not a happy picture to see a fat Basset Hound, with too much loose skin, big belly and very short legs, that do not allow it to move free in the difficult terrain. Something like that is nothing more than exaggeration of breed characteritics and the dog looks more like a caricature. Such a exhibit should be loved as a pet, and not to winn any dog show it appears- and even to be used in breeding.
Behaviour and temperament: Tenacious hound of ancient lineage which hunts by scent, possesses a pack instinct and a deep melodious voice. Placid, never aggressive or timid. Affectionate.
Comment: The temperament is also very important, because it is just its mild character, that is typical for the breed of Basset Hound. Distrustful, shyness or even agressivity are not acceptable, and should be allways penalized by the judge. A true Basset Hound is mild, placid and open to everyone. Extrems like apathetic or hectic and never ending barking are faults.
Head: 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.
Cranial region: Top of muzzle nearly parallel with line from stop to occiput and not much longer than head from stop to occiput.
Skull: Domed, with prominent occipital bone, of medium width at brow and tapering slightly to muzzle.
Nose: Entirely black except in light-coloured hounds, when it may be brown or liver. Large and well-opened nostrils, nose may protrude a little beyond lips.
Muzzle: General appearance of foreface lean, not snipy.
Lips: Flews of upper lip overlap lower substantially.
Comment: Head is a typical breed mark. All over the world there is a big difference in interpretation of the standard head, among breeders and also judges. Nevertheless there are several faults, that spoil the head and expression.
Let´s follow step by step on the head. First let me comment the profile of the head – that means we have to watch the head from side. One of the faults, that is not considered as serious fault, is when line of nose and line of the top of the skull are not parallel – some dogs appears divergent. Some of the dogs have even „roman“ nose. This faults appear last period much often, but it doesn´t spoil the expression of the dog so much, and that is why in fact no attention is payed to this.
Another fault is, when the muzzle seems to be shorter when compared to the length of the skull. Bassethound has allways had the muzzle at least the same lenght as the skull. The standard says even, that the muzzle should be slightly longer than the skull. That is why the short muzzle should be considered as a fault.
There is several faults on head, that give a strange expression, which is much more typicall for another Basset breed, and it is Basset Artesien-Normand. They are: falt skull, not enough stop and dry head. Flat skull means not enough arched skull – the dog seem to have no forehead, an occiput is missed.
Stop is a place just between muzzle and skull. If the stop is not enough moderate, then the head seems to be like of Greyhound – the top of the muzzle and skull seem to be just in one line. Too much stop gives a St.Bernard-look.This head type used to be followed by uncorrect „muscular“ cheeks. Basset is very dry on cheeks, with no muscles, just a skin wrinkle appears beside eyes. Absence of loose skin results in dry head - no wrinkels, no loose lips and not enough dewlap.
A typical Basset Hound head is very fine modelated skull with flat cheeks, that are followed by loose lips. The muzzle seems to be flat on sides. A very typical detail is occiput, that is a „pearl“ of correct head. The loose skin on Bassets head is very actual item. The new standard changed definition about amount of skin by changing the word „moderate“ into „small“, and when lowering the head it defines wrinkle as „slightly“ instead of „noticeably“, which was in the former standard. For somebody it might seem to be playing with words, but impliedly we can feel evidently certain tendency to make a „lighter“ Basset , when it is about amount of loose skin. But it is clear, that the ideal could never be „dry head“ – with absence of wrinkles and skin folders, not enough lips. Nowhere is written, that a Basset Hound should have lips like a Bloodhound. Both extrems are not right and one should keep in mind, that extrems should be penalized from both sides.
In general it is a true, that the more typical the head is (well arched skull , loose skin, loose lips etc.), the more the public likes a Basset Hound. But it is necesarry to know, that it is not only a head, that makes a Basset Hound!
LEFT: A Basset male with visible wrinkles and so-called "open-eye", which in this case meets the standard, when it is about health and wellfare.
IN THE MIDDLE: A typical male head with less wrinkles, but still meets standard - makes a picture of a typical Basset head.
RIGHT: A typical female head. Notice the appearence of skin fold besides eyes - on cheeks of all three Bassets. If this skin fold would be missed, the head should seem dry.
LEFT: Basset Artesien-Normad. A dry head is typicall for this Basset breed, as well as smaller lips and only slight dewlap.
IN THE MIDDLE: Bassethound - a speciment with dry head, which misses the fold of skin on cheeks. The muzzle is snipy. Red lines show un-paralell lines of top of the skull and the muzzle.
RIGHT: Bloodhound - a typical head of a female, with loose skin, deep lips and dewlap. In early Basset Hound standard in England (about 100 years ago) the Bloodhound head was described as an ideal for a Basset Hound. It was not much pleasant statement, because the lips and dewlap of Bloodhound are too deep for a short-legged dog like a Basset Hound.
Jaws / Teeth: Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Comment: An old rule says, that a hunting dog must have perfect and regular teeth. Teeth faults like undershot or one or two more teeth appear sometime in breed. It is a legacy of the past – an unregular forming of jaws are mentioned by early breeders in the beginning of breeding Bassets more than one hundred years ago in the old country of its origin – France. Still in the last century a level bite was accepted by the standard. Here less than a piece of milimeter means a fault, for which the dog can not be bred (depending on breeding conditions in the country). It can happen, that an adult Basset comes to a show - and it has a level bite, allthough in its young age it was judged to have scissor bite. It is because a level bite is developed with age. Nevertheless nowaday standard requiers scissor bite, and anything else should be penalised as a fault.
Eyes: 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.
Comment: Eyes give a typical look of the breed. The eyes should show its mild and calm temperament. Somewhat lighter colour destroys this typical characteristics. Unacceptable is so called blue or fish eye, that indicates a loss of pigmentation.
Sometimes a different pigmentation of left or right third eye lid appears – it is not considered to be a fault. The standard requires lozenge shape of eyes. If a round shape appears – it is a fault, as it gives to Bassets head somewhat strange expression. All these above mentioned eye faults have no influence on dogs health. But there are serious faults, that have deep impact on dogs health - mostly entropium and ectropium. Both can appear on one or both eyes. The reason for both is too much loose skin in face. The lower eyelid is too much drawn down, and it is not the iris, but just and only red of lower lid, that is visible… It is ectropium in high grade. Though a certain grade of ectropium is a breed characteritics, in high grade it can cause some healthy problems. When the loose skin on forehead cause rolling of loose upper lid inwards the eye, then lash and short hair of foreface irriates the cornea and conjunctiva. It is called entropium and is for sure with deep impact on eyes health. The eye with entropium seem to be wet and tearing. Despite of this, many judges give prices to dogs with unsoudness eyes, what gives me bad feeling about future of the breed health. There is nothing but endorse that, the new english standard deleted the whole sentence about „visible red of lower lid“ (which was in the standard since the early beginning) as well as the word „too“ when defining depth of eye set.
Last but not least –one practical notice – the iris of an eye on a Basset Hound should be visible when the dog stands naturally without pushing the head up to be able to judge dogs eyes.
LEFT and IN THE MIDDLE: too open eyes, which is caused by too much loose skin on face: Loose skin makes deep wrinkles, so that the eyes seem to be too deep set. Instead of iris, you can see just the pink (in case of irritation red coloured) of conjunctiva. The eye irritation indicates wet eye area, eventually bald eye surrounding (nacked skin with no hair). These are exxagerations, that should be consistently penalized. It is a paradox, that judges excuse these faults often, because this fault comes mostly with very typical exhibit with lot of loose skin and wrinkles.
RIGHT: an example of an open eye, which is still acceptable - the iris is visible, conjunctiva is pink and the eye area is dry, not wet from tearing.
LEFT: Eyes of correct shape with no exxagerations on eye lids. Pigmentation of lower lid "covers"the effect of pink/red colour of conjunctiva.
RIGHT: Eyes of a different shape (round eyes), what doesn´t meet fully the standard. But - regarding to the health and welfare of the breed it must be considered as a lighter fault, that too open eyes. Last but not least - it is to mention, that the colour of eyes seems to be too light on this dark coloured dog. Both above mentined faults change a little the breed appearance and expression, but regarding to the health and welfare of the dog, they should not be penalized as much as when a dog has an open eye.
Ears: Set-on low, just below line of eye. Long; reaching only slightly beyond end of muzzle of correct length, but not excessively so. Narrow throughout their length and curling well inwards; very supple, fine and velvety in texture.
Comment: Basset Hound together with Bloodhound have the longest ears between dog breeds. The long-legged Bloodhound desn´t have any problem with movement when it is about the length of ears. Too long ears on Basset Hound can cause a problem in moving. Especially a Basset Hound puppy in a certain period of its growing, stumble over its ears from time to time, when lowering its head to ground. It seems, that a puppy has to learn to walk with its long ears. The conclusion is, that the length of ears should be moderate, not exxagerated. The new standard defines the length of ears by changing the word „well“ to „only slightly. It is considered, that ears should be as long to reach slightly over the top of the nose, when drawn forward to dogs nose. So far to length of ears. Lets talk about the texture of ears. Flat “elephant” ear spoils the general view of the head. It is mostly caused by its sturcture, that is not enough fine and supple.
If the dog is in affect, it carry its ears very high – it is then recommended to wait a while in judging, since the dog is quiet. Sometimes flat elefant high set ears indicates character faults like alertness or shyness-timidity.
LEFT: Flat, so called "elephant ear", IN THE MIDDLE - both examples of correct ears, but in moment of affect, RIGHT: correcte ear, well curling inwards, in calm moment.
Neck: Muscular, well arched and fairly long with pronounced but not exaggerated dewlap.
Comment: The neck is rather narrow when comparing to the width of shoulder – the longer the neck is, the more effect it makes. How long the neck should be? The length of neck should be in good relation to the body. Smooth arched neck, followed by straigth top line, ending in happily wagging tail of correct length – it is a perfect charakteristics of a beautifull Basset Hound. Long arched neck gives all over elegance and balance of the general appearance. Too short neck spoils it – such a hound seems to be cobby. One rule says, that a correct length of neck is checked, when a dog in move needs to low its head down to ground (for instance when following the scent): The neck is of correct length, just if it doesnt need to change the rythm and/or speed of its gait.
When it is about the dewlap, it of no doubt, that there have to be any. But – there is no mention to have the dewlap as much visible, that it beginns at the point of the muzzle, where the lips have to hang down and create the typicall silouette of a long muzzle of a Basset Hound. Too much dewlap changes the muzzle outline into strange shape.
LEFT AND IN THE MIDDLE - short neck, RIGHT- too much dewlap.
Body: Long and deep throughout length; withers and quarters of approximately same height.
Back: Rather broad and level. From withers to onset of quarters not unduly long.
Loin: May arch slightly.
Chest: Forechest fitting neatly into crook when viewed from front. Breast bone prominent but chest neither narrow nor unduly deep. Ribs well rounded and sprung, without flange, extending well back
Underline and belly: There should be adequate clearance between the lowest part of the chest and the ground to allow the hound to move freely over all types of terrain.
Comment: The top line is straight and level, without tendency to lower. The level top line is very important for this breed, becuase of its body length. It is length of ribcage that makes strong top line, while loins is the only part of top line, that has no support from the body. That is why loins have to be short, and can be slightly arched. Weak top line is caused by not strong muscles or too long loins. If loins are too arched in movement, the reason can be steep hindquarters or steep pelvis.
One practical notice: It is far more better to watch top line in moving, than in stacking, because good profesional handler can cover some faults, that you can see just only in moving.
A good judge should check by touching, if there is a breast bone in the forechest. Instead of forechest on some cases just lot of breast fat or only loose skin appears. The shape of ribcage is very important. Ribs should well strung and the ribcage must be very long. A short ribcage or narrow short ribs, with deformations are serious faults, that you can see on many handsome Basset Hounds.
The new standard added one sentence, which sounds as follow: „There should be adequate clearance between the lowest part of the chest and the ground to allow the hound to move freely over all types of terrain.“ It is very important declaration, but I don´t think it belongs to the definition of the body. The ribcage must be spacious and long, so it would be not right to make preferencies to a speciment, who has smaller (shallow) ribcage just because it has „more wind under the body“.
The whole thing is much more about length of forelegs, that about the ribcage. Lets talk about this later. For sure a big attention is to be given to amout of loose skin under the body. Breeders call it „skirt“, what is a very like name for loose skin under the body, that „sweeps“ on extremely low dogs. Allthough no actuall standard deal with skirt, it is an absolutelly fenomenal characteristics of the breed. It is certain, that every quality specimen does have a skirt. Skirt grows in age – it is deep to several centimeter. Especially bitches after first and every further deliver, but also after false pregnancy, the skirt reach its maximum so that the distance between body and ground is allmost none. When a five or seven years old bitch is to be judged, it is not right to penalize her for skirt. But when the same-size skirt appears on a young bitch or even on a young male, it rather caution matter.
Everything has a limit, so it seems to be a good sign, that the new standard tries to define the distance between body and ground by turning off extremely low specimen. this makes a big indignation between breeders and in show rings, especially between fans of typical extremely low Bassets. The breed can not be changed during a night, and this will be a really long-distance run.
Loose skin under the body ("skirt") appears especially on bitches. On both pictures there is a very extreme case of skirt, that doesn´t allow to the hound to move freely in any type of terrain, with one exception, and it is a carpet in a show ring.
Examples of uncorrect toplines: LEFT AND MIDDLE saggy topline, RIGHT roached topline.
Examples of uncorrect short ribcages.
Tail: Well set-on, rather long, strong at base, tapering, with moderate amount of coarse hair underneath. When moving, stern carried well up and curving gently, sabre-fashion, never curling or gay.
Comment: The tail, whatever it is the last part of the hound, has big influence on final evaluating of the dog. Too curling or gay fashion spoils the general apearance. In no case the curving of tail should be in such a grade, that the tail touch dogs ridge. A judge should check by touching, if every vertebras are in right position - kinky tail is a deformation and serious fault.
Sometimes a dog doesnt carry its tail up in the ring. Mostly it has to do with lack of temperament or just lack of selfconfidence, especially young bitches, but this changes in age.
General appearance Upper forearm inclined slightly inwards, but not to such an extent as to prevent free action or to result in legs touching each other when standing or in action. Some wrinkles of skin may appear on lower legs, but this must on no account be excessive.
Shoulder: Shoulder-blades well laid back; shoulders not heavy.
Ellbow: Turning neither in nor out but fitting neatly against side.
Forearm: Forelegs short, powerful and with great bone.
Carpus (wrist): Knuckling over highly undesirable.
Forefeet: Large well knuckled up and padded. Forefeet may point straight ahead or be turned slightly outwards but in every case hound always stands perfectly true, weight being borne equally by toes with pads together so that feet would leave an imprint of a large hound and no unpadded areas in contact with ground
Examples of correct front in stand and move.
LEFT: Correct front with strong bone and firm well knuckled up toes. Cutting nail is needed to perfection.
RIGHT: Though majority of weight of the body is borne at this moment on its left foot, it stays firm and well knuckled up toes.
Comment: The quality of the front prooves the quality of Basset Hound. The front supports the mayority of bodys weight, and that is why it must be a good supporter.
When viewed from side, the front legs have to be placed just in the point of the lowest part of chest/ribcage. If front legs are placed too much forward, the weight of body is rather behind legs, what results in unhealthy efforts of elbows: elbows then may turn loose forward. Then the whole front legs could be not firm in joints, and the worst impact can turn into knucking over the front legs. Knuckling over the front legs is very serious fault, when the wrist are not enough strong, weaking forwards in joint. The american standard defines knuckling over as disqualification. Dont confuse it with a pouch of loose skin (wrinkles), that may appear just at the point of wrist on dogs with correct anathomy, but maybe too much loose skin. It is a fault, too, but not as serious fault as knuckling-over the front leg.
Lets look at the reason, why sometimes the front legs are placed too much forward. The reason is uncorrect shoulder placement. Standard requires the shoulder blade should be placed nicely oblique far back on the body. Very often this is combined with rather short upper arm, what seems to be common fault of -in another points- very typical representatives of the breed. The upper arm should be almost the same length as shoulder blade. Upper arm and shoulder blade should be upright to each other. If the angel is too open, then angulation of front legs is steep. Steep shoulders result in short step of front legs. Only correct placement of shoulders and enough length of upper arm enable to make enough long step and free movement of front legs forward and back. It is just movement, that approves the quality of front legs anathomy. High action (high cadention) should not be consider correct front leg hound movement.
A. Correct: Shoulder blade makes 45 degree angle to ground. The line shows good reach of forelegs
B. Uncorrect: Steep shoulder blade placement. The line shows, how the reach of foreleg is limited.
C. Upper arm makes 90 degree to shoulder blade. Upper arm of good length reach well back and down.
D. Ideal position for showing and judging front angulation: if the upper arm is too short, it does´n permit front leg to stand under withers and to cover deepest part of chest.
(c) Iva Èernohubová: Baseti, 2011 (drawing is a part of the book)
Yellow line down from withers shows the place, where the forelegs should be placed in ideal case (D). If forelegs are too much forward, it is because of short upper arm.
LEFT: Steep angulation as result of short upper arm and steep shoulder.
IN THE MIDDLE: Short upper arm. Look at the indication of forechest - in reality it is not more that a pouch of loose skin, that makes just an ilusion of forechest.
RIGHT: Correct example of front angulation with shoulder blade placed well back, creating upright angle with upper arm of correct length, that allow foreleg to stand just in the deepest part of chest (just under the withers).
Yellow line down from withers shows the place, where the forelegs should be placed in ideal case (D). If forelegs are too much forward, it is because of short upper arm.
LEFT: An example of short upper arm on a specimen with lot of loose skin, for which is necessary to measure the length of upper arm and placement of shoulder blade by touching.
SECOND FROM LEFT: A speciemn, who shows good forechest combined with rather short upper arm and loose ellbow.
FIRST AND SECOND FROM RIGHT: Another examples of short upper arms, which doesn´allow forelgs to stand just under the withers as well as under the deepest part of chest. These cases are in light degree, and is common in majority of Basset Hound population in Europe. Nevertheless it is good to know, that this is a fault.
Slightly curved upper arm just follows the curve of ribs to the elbow. Elbow is followed by the forearm. Curving of forearm goes down to the lowest part of ribcage, where is ended in joint of wrist. When viewed from the front wrist is placed correctly under the body, but not too close to each other to enable free movement without touching each other when standing or moving.
When viewed a sitting Basset Hound from the front, its front legs should be placed nicely under the deep chest, strong and upright to the ground, with paws straight or only slightly turning outwards. In case, when you can see evidently whole forearm and its curving down, or even the wrist placed somewhat in the front of the chest, then you can be sure that the front is not correctly built. Age of a dog plays in this item am important role: a youngster shows allways less chest, less of its depth, so that the front seems to be poor, while within few years the body develop and ribcage sets well into the „hole“. Nevertheless once the dogs shows steep shoulder, too short upper arm or loose elbow, it stays forever – and the only that happens in age is, that these faults can be „covered“ by fully developed body- loose skin, in better case muscles and in worse case- fat. Also joints of forelegs may strengthen in age.
Let´s talk about one of the hottest point of the breed during its development in last century– and it is a question of crooked legs – turning off the front feet. Some breeders consider crooked legs as a typical and original breed characteritics, another tried to breed somewhat straighter legs. Nowaday the standard requieres straight front or slight turn-off the front feet so that hound always stands perfectly true, weight being borne equally by all toes with pads, together so that feet would leave an imprint of a large hound and no unpadded areas in contact with ground.
Forefeet have to be strong, firm and full. The best comparison is to have feet like a cat – the only difference it the size of cause. They are firm, well knuckled up and padded, short toes. Sometimes we can meet flat feet of not enough bone. Another fault, much more heavy, is when weight is not equally borne to all toes, but just to some of them (looks like if the dog is waddling) – toes seem to be spread to sides. Another fault is not enough firm feet – toes are not close to each other. This appears sometimes on very massive feet, another time it has to do just with too long nails, which have to be cutted off.
Another front paw fault should be mentioned, and it is rubbing-off nails caused by uncorrect movement, if toes are dragged. You can recognise this gait from sound by scratching on hard ground. This way nails can be damaged to bleeding.
One more thing is important, and it is bone structure. A Basset Hound is heavy boned. If bone is too thiny, it makes a picture of a poor dog. Quality of food plays a very big role here. A dog of inherited quality can be spoiled by poor feeding, but on the other side good feeding can never improve poor gene pool.
How short should be the legs of a Basset Hound? It is a very important point, that is so much discussed, but yet there is no clear definition about this in the standard, when it talks about foreqaurters nor about the body. In this point the standard let us make our own conclusion, just states, that the hound must be able to do its traditional work and move on all kind of terrain. The american standard defines the maximum heigth of forelegs this clear way: the distance from the deepest point of chest must not exceed one third of height at withers. There is no mention of minimum heigth either – the american standard just require it must be adequate to allow free movement when working in the field.
During selection on short legs the breed of Basset Hound became very much short-legged. Breeders of show dogs seem to forget, that Basset Hound is a hunting dog, a hound, which has to be able to move freely for all kind of terrain. Too short legs is not a good equipment for this purpose. Now, when the new standard is valid, breeders have to think about this seriously and we will see in future, if any solution would be found. In no case we want to breed back on specimens, who are long-legged just because their ribcage is poor, they have not enough substance and long crooked legs. As far as we know, that short legs is result of gene changes, mutation, the whole matter seems not be easy. In fact it is about finding and breeding on such specimen, who have longer bones of forearm, in the part, where forearm leaves the ribcage and goes down to wrist – which makes the length of foreleg. Also the lenght and lean of pasterns influence the general heigth of foreleg. In general this is a very hard home-work, but it is the highest time to act seriously.
Examples of uncorrect wide fronts. In ideal case the upper arm should follow the curve of ribs to the lowest part of chest- if the upper arm is rather straight, then it result in wide front. LEFT in combination with loose ellbow, RIGHT in combination with too deep chest.
Another examples of uncorrect fronts:
LEFT: uncorrect narrow front with too turned-off feet.
IN THE MIDDLE: Too much turned-off feet (unpadded area in contact to ground).
RIGHT: The same fault combined with down in pasterns (nails do not touch the ground and pads are not fully on ground) small>
LEFT: Too much bone and loose skin. Loose ellbow hidden in loose skin. Loose skin fullfills the hole, where forechest should appear, and creates loose skin pouch on legs, what makes an ilusion of knuckling-over. If it is a reality or just ilusion, it is necessary to check by touching (see following picture).
THIRD FROM LEFT: Right front leg is knuckling-over. The chest could be deeper.
RIGHT: Short upper arm combined with loose ellbow, uncorrect front and too turned-off feet.
Too low to ground - fien examples - forlegs are too short.
LEFT: Correct front, feet and excellent forechest.
IN THE MIDDLE AND RIGHT: Short forelegs with too wide front in combination with too much loose skin ("skirt"). It is hard to imagine, that this specimen would be able to move feely on any kind of natural terrain.
General appearance: Full of muscle and standing out well, giving an almost spherical effect when viewed from rear.
Some wrinkles of skin may appear between hock and foot, and at rear of joint a slight pouch of skin may be present, but on no account should any of these be excessive.
Stiffle (knee) Well bent
Metatarsus (rear pasterns): Hocks well let down and slightly bent under but turn neither in nor out and just under body when standing naturally.
Hind feet: Large well knuckled up and padded. In every case hound always stands perfectly true, weight being borne equally by toes with pads together so that feet would leave an imprint of a large hound and no unpadded areas in contact with ground
Comment: Hindquarters/rear is very important, because it gives movement to the long and heavy body of Basset Hound. Good muscles must be developed. When viewed from the rear, the amount of muscles gives allmost sferical effect. A commom fault is narrow hind. The hindquarters should never seem thiny comparing to forequarters. Sometimes this bad look is caused by steepness of rear: the thigh seems to be long and narrow. Correct angulation is on the picture. A stifle joint should be allways visible – well let down. Sometimes hock joint is too high and it results in rising top line. A combination of steep rear and too high hock joint seem to be mostly anatomical faults in rear.
Allthough the standard says „Well let down and slightly bent under just under body when standing naturally”, in the show ring when handled in stacking a Basset Hound is required to stand its “hocks” upright to the ground. It is because this position is better for correct evaluation of rear: judge can see the stifle joint and its angle. If the stifle joint is not clearly visible it indicates steep rear. It results in short steps and not fluently moving. The best way how to recognise the quality of rear is to watch its movement.
Rear angulation :
A. Correct: Pelvic cage angling 30 degrees to ground.
B. Uncorrect: Flat pelvis, that results mostly in steep/straight stiffle. If the bones are short, it results in short steps (stilted gait).
C. Uncorrect: Steep pelvis, that results in low set tail and and lack of follow-through in movement .
D. Upper tight makes 45 degrees to ground, and is up-right to lower tight and pelvis, too.
E. Lower tight of good length. If it is shorter, it results in steep rear or short steps.
F. Ideal position for showing and judging rear angulation.
(c) Iva Èernohubová: Baseti, 2011 (drawing is a part of the book)
Uncorrect rear angulation
LEFT: Poor musculature. Too short lower tight and too high hocks. The stiffle angulation is allmost unvisible (steep stiffle).
SECOND FROM LEFT: Steep pelvis and rear angulation, which is much more worse in this moment, because the hind leg is not showed in ideal position - the handler should stand the hind leg much more behind the body, so that the angle of stiffle would be visible.
THIRD FORM LEFT: Steep rear angulation, poor long upper tight and too short lower tight.
RIGHT: Good bone, but short lower tight doesnt allow to find an ideal position for the feet, so that the angle of stiffle would be visible (steep stiffle).
Three examples of good rear angulation, good bone and musculature.
Hindquarters from rear.
LEFT: So called "cow hocked".
SECOND FROM LEFT: Narrow rear (right leg is just on move).
RIGHT FIRST AND SECOND: Correct rear in move and stand.
Gait/movement: Most important to ensure that the hound is fit for purpose. Smooth, powerful and effortless action with forelegs reaching well forward and hind legs showing powerful thrust, hound moving true both front and rear. Hocks and stifles never stiff in movement, nor must any toes be dragged.
Comment: Movement is the best way of good evaluation of a hound - its good function of both fore- and hindquarters. Hound should be able to move effortless and to keep up with most other hounds in show ring and field as well. Movement shows, how every detail of anathomy works. It is also a question of good working condition of a dog.
The former british standard descibed movement in the part of general characteritics of the breed. Now the new standard states the same, declaring, that movement is the most important thing for keeping the hound fit for purpose. Also the american standard states allready in characteritics of the breed, that true movement is limiting factor for good work of hunting dog with lot of endurance. Good movement is Alpha and Omega of Bassets quality. I have not yet read a better chracteristic of Basset Hound movement, that the text by dr.Leo Skolnick, USA, a respectable breeder and judge.
Being of currious proportion and anatomy Basset Hounds moving is often considered to be judged under different approach. But its heavy body needs excellent movement to reach the same required characteristics of movement like the other hound breeds, bred for endurance. Aspects of gait:
1. Balance: Gait and length of a step should be equal in front and reach. For instance a judge should prefere a hound, that has front and rear of the same angulation, even if it is steep, because it is ballanced, against a hound who has excellent front angulation combined with not enough angulation in rear.
2. Effortless: Balance in combination with correct body construction give well distincted characteristics of movement - effortless, which one can imagine as a „movement on wheels“. The topline is still and shows some oscillation, when the hound changes gait or its speed.
3. Length of the step/gait: To reach the demand of power and endurance, the right shoulder placement and angulation must be in balance front to rear, it all give together correct gait and long reaching Step. When watched from side, there must be balance between length of step in front and rear. The front legs should move from the lowest point (in upright standing) to forward and the same distance to back. A step, that reach just little forward, is a result of short upper arm. A step of not enough length is a result of steep shoulder and/or not enough angulation in rear.
4. Moving up and down: The hind feet should be paralell and upright to ground. When a hound accelerates the movement, the hind must be a little inwards. Hocks should stay in correct position, and the cow- or barrel-shape hind have to be judged as heavy faults. That is why the hind should not be narrow neighter should rear only little behind. When watchig the hound in-coming, judge can see loose shoulder, ellbows turned out, steep shoulder or uncorrect step. One can recognise turned out ellbows even from hind watching.
5. Watching in-coming: The curve of front legs conforms spring of ribs, so that the ankle joint are closer to each other than the ellbows. This correct position gives support to movement – fornt legs that are just besides the body can not support the body as well as the legs, that are below the body. If the joints of legs are out or the ribs are barrell- or oval-shaped, then it result in rolling gait, which makes the hound quickly tired, or in extremes the feet could be turned in, what is a heavy fault. This Aspect of movement is un-common, because the feet should be a little bit turned out to be the same width as the ellbows. Too much turning-out or too straigth legs are heavy faults.
Examples of good angulation of both fore- and hindquarters - and how it works in balanced long gait.
Skin: Supple and elastic without any exaggeration.
Comment: The definiton of skin is the brand new point in the F.C.I. standard, while the british original does´t have it. Being absolutely fenomenal for this breed, as well as for Bloodhound, loose skin is worthy to mention. There is no other hound breed, who would have so much loose skin as Basset Hound and Bloodhound. The former standard talked about „loose“ skin, now we talk about supple and elastic skin, what seems to be much more deliberate.
There are specimen, that do not have much loose skin, what comes out mostly as so called „dry head“. Dry head with not enough loose skin is very un-typical for the breed. Amout of loose skin on head is defined in special part of standard.
On the other hand, there are examples of too much loose skin – it has folders and wrinkles all over the body and head, appearing huge pouches of loose skin on legs, and big „skirt“ under body. It might look curious and somebody could like it, but it is for nothing, and when it is too much, then one can do nothing else, but to call it exxageration.
When it is about amout of loose skin, just ordinary commmon sense is to be used. Nothing has to be over-done, in both directions.
Hair: Smooth, short and close without being too fine. Whole outline clean and free from feathering. Long hair, soft coat or feathering highly undesirable.
Comment: There are some differences in structure of the Basset Hound coat. While some Basset Hounds have very hard coat, especially on its back, others have very velvet structure and short hair. The top coat is long 1 to 4 cm on back, and hardly half cm on head. Some differences are also in developing of winter coat. The undercoat is very dense on dogs, that are kept outdoors. In every case a shining smooth coat appears on healthy dog. It is especially visible on dark tricoloured specimens.
I didnt met personally with long-haired Basset Hound, but I have heard there were some to see abroad. It is expressed by flag on tail, like a longhaired Dachshund. It is most undesirable fault.
Colour: Generally black, white and tan (tri-colour); lemon and white (bi-colour); but any recognized hound colour acceptable.
Comment: The two most common colours in Basset Hound varies in brown saturation from lemon over red to liver. The colour may blend together. Placing and size of patches doesnt have any importance. But it is clear, that colouring has certain influence on general picture of a dog. For instance brown mantled colouring gives a nice picture of top line and shape of ribs. White blaze makes beautiful expression to the face. But white colour on legs up to hocks make an ilusion of long hocks, what can destroy a balanced all-over picture. Different coloured patches on the top of the ridge (dark patch in white, white patch in black or brown mantle) can spoil for instance level course of top line, while white line on neck can make the neck longer. Dark shading in face, especially around eyes has also influence on general impression. Rarely a curious colouring appears between puppies in the litter, for instance white coloured ear. It is considered as no fault.
Size: Height at the withers: 33 - 38 cms.
Comment: The relatively big interval between lowest and highest limit is so open, that allmost every pure bred Basset Hound fits in. It is in no case one or two centimeter, that decide about quality of a Basset Hound. However european Basset Hound are in general bigger than their colleagues from North America. The reason can be in american standard, that has a maximum limit 15 inches (38,2 cm) and height over this limit is disqualification.
Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.
Comment: The F.C.I. Basset Hound standard has no special list of serious faults - with exception of generally stated item concerning physical or behavioural abnormalities on dogs. By this way, especially the all-rounder judges have no guidelines, so only their own sense for the breed (and in many cases just only sense for beauty) help them to evaluate the breed properly. Breed specialist, whose knowledge is based on own experience in breeding, is able to find, define and comment certain faults, that should be pursued by breeders to elimininate them in further breeding to keep Basset Hound fit and healthy.
The standard describes an ideal of Basset Hound and defines faults in details. No Basset Hound is perfect. The aim of judging is to evaluate, how much the exhibit fits into the standard.
In general there are two different extreme ways, how Basset Hound are judged. One of this extreme way look just for type and typical characteristics of the breed like strong bone, lot of substance and lot of loose skin, combined with deep chest and low legs. Their winner use to be very typical representatives of the breed, have marvelous head and expression, are very low to ground, with lot of substance and –what unlucky is- used to have several serious anatomics faults especially short ribcage, ev. ribs deformation, bad shoulder placement, short upper arm, loose ellbows and short legs in general – to name the most common anathomics faults, that mostly produce uncorrect gait. Another extreme is to judge just in movement, looking just only for correct anathomy and its function, without care about typical characteritics of the breed like strong bone, enough of substance, certain amount of loose skin, properly domed skull, dark eyes and other details, that make difference between Basset Hound and the other hounds. Both ways of extreme judging are not right. In every case a dog should be penalized for faults, that have bad influence on its health and wellfare. It is very important for future of the breed health.
That is why it is necessary to make clear, what is considered a big or heavy fault. Basset Hound is a hunting dog, and it is necesarry for him to move powerfull and effortless. If it has a light eye, it is considered as a fault, but - a specimen with light coloured eyes can move and can see. That is why a lighter eye is light fault. But if it has loose shoulder, turned out ellbow, knuckling-over the front feet, down in pasterns or steep angulation – that all makes movement much harder, and so it has to be considered as heavy faults. Most of these anatomical faults have bad influence on dogs health and welfare, and makes difficult its ability to perform its traditional work as a hound. That is why a sepcimen should be penalized for these faults.
• Aggressive or overly shy
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Comment: The new standard contains a special point with definintions of disqualifying faults. It is in no case as long as in many other breeds, but it is focused just on faults in behavior and physical abnormalities.
Aggresivity is not typical for the breed. Rather often it is much more about dominance over the master, who made a fault in its early training. In no case a judge should be tolerant, if a Basset Hound is trying to bite anyone, the more to its owner. It is also not typical, if males should fight any time they meet each other in the ring. Basset Hound is a typical „pack-hound“, and must have a high degree of tolerance to each other, and if not, someting is wrong.
Shyness appears sometines in the breed. Especially young bitches, if they are not used to be in strange environment. But - if a dog shows panic whenever a judge tries to touch it, it is no other way how to judge it, than to disqualify it.