The AKC breed Standards are important for all dogs not just show dogs. Yes, the dogs we show should be outstanding examples of the breed according to the Standard. At shows we have them adjudicated by licensed AKC judges who judge them based on their interpretation of the Standard. The judges are judging our dogs just like they have done for well over a century as breeding stock for future generations. By breeding the best examples of their show dogs breeders perpetuate the Standard for the breed for future generations. Those of you who wish to have a pet or companion as a member of your family deserve a well bred basset hound too. There is no reason except for feeble excuses and perhaps money that all basset hounds aren’t bred to the Standard. It’s only through the efforts of those who breed our basset hounds based on the Standard that our breed continues to flourish. If we stop doing so then our precious breed that we love so much will soon disappear.
A lady contacted me asking if I could help her with a problem she had with her basset hound. The first thing that I did was ask her why she didn’t get help from the dog’s breeder. Her response was that the breeder didn’t return her calls. Since the breeder was an AKC Breeder she assumed that it was bred correctly and I, as an AKC Breeder, should help her with her problem. It turned out that her basset hound had extremely crippling issues with his structure. He needed some expensive surgery. The lady already knew that but wanted me to fix it. Obviously the so called breeder had no idea what they were doing or that there is even a Standard for the breed nor did they feel any responsibility for the dogs they bred. The so called breeder was only interested in the lady’s money. My initial response was to ask why she bought the dog from this particular breeder and all she responded that he came with AKC “papers” and she assumed he was from an "AKC Breeder." I did refer her to someone who told her what she should do about helping the dog too.
First of all there is no such thing as an "AKC Breeder." While the AKC does great things in support of all dogs they are a registry of pure bred dogs and are not in the business of breeding. Just because a dog is registered with the AKC does not mean that they should be bred. All it means is that the dog’s ancestors are all registered as pure bred dogs with the AKC. In basset hounds the “stud book” of registered dogs and litters goes back to before the basset hounds were recognized by the AKC in 1885. That’s quite a book but it still has nothing to do with quality. Quality is determined by the AKC Standard for Basset Hounds which was created by the “parent club for basset hounds,” The Basset Hound Club of America, Inc. The combination of two basset hounds and those in their pedigrees plus how well their prodigy has done in the show ring as judged against the Standard for the breed is what determines the ultimate quality of a dog along with the health of the dogs involved. A prominent judge, Patricia Trotter, whom we see often at shows and has also awarded wins to some of our bassets is credited with the following statement, “Pedigree indicates what the animal should be. Conformation (as judged at shows) indicates what the animal appears to be. But performance (what they produce) indicates what the animal actually is." Those out for a quick buck on a litter of dogs don’t care about any of that. It’s up to each breeder to breed to the Standard not the AKC. All puppy buyers should not expect nor do they deserve less.
Breeders also need to be cognizant of the available gene pool they are using. Sometimes breeders in one area over use a particular dog or dogs and their gene pool is overwhelmed by the faults of those dogs as well as their good qualities. The importation of examples of a breed from other areas of our country or even other countries is very important to keeping a gene pool free of problems. While line breeding is sometimes a good idea doing too much of it can reproduce bad qualities as well as the good ones. This is where bringing in bassets from different parts of the United States and even other countries makes a difference in our local breeding programs. By adding them into our breeding programs in Southern California we are assuring that we’re not duplicating anything that might be inherent in basset hounds locally. Bringing in quality dogs from a totally different gene pool allows us to strengthen the breed in our area.
This is something that conscious breeders have been doing from the very beginning. That’s how the different breeds were created. The first basset hounds were imported to the United Kingdom from France. It was in the United Kingdom that the breed we know today developed.