THE BASSET HOUND
(AUSTRALIAN BREED STANDARD AND EXTENSION)
ESSENCE OF THE BREED
CHARACTERISTICS GENERAL APPEARANCE
TEMPERAMENT HEAD AND SKULL EYES EARS MOUTH NECK
FOREQUARTERS BODY HINDQUARTERS FEET TAIL GAIT/MOVEMENT
FORM & FUNCTION COAT COLOUR SIZE HISTORY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Drawings from the Japanese Illustrated Standard by Yoko Yamamoto
One has only to look at the Basset Hound to see that it is a very odd form of canine life. The species of long bodied and low standing dogs is an unusual and very ancient order, and even among contemporary breeds the Basset stands alone. To the casual observer it must appear grotesque and bizarre – the distinctive head, full of nobility and expressing reposeful dignity, and the long, low, heavy body set upon very short legs, the front legs being crooked almost to the point of deformity. The word ‘Basset’ is French, and means ‘low-set’, ‘stunted’ or ‘dwarfed’, and that is in fact what we have, a ‘dwarf-hound’. Small wonder that the Basset should puzzle many people and often ask how and where it originated and why such a breed was evolved.
In answer to those questions, there can be offered detailed proof of the Basset’s existence in 1585, but before that date no authentic record of the Basset Hound as such can be found. There is however, ample evidence to show that a short-legged and long-bodied race of dogs was known to man as early as 2200 B.C. There have been many ancient paintings found, depicting small, short-legged dogs, in tombs and on scrolls from both the ancient Egyptian and Assyrian civilizations
Looking back into history, Bassets first appeared in Australia during 1893. Word of the breed had been brought here by Sir Everett Millais, prominent in the British history of Bassets, who had journeyed to Australia during the 1880’s for reasons of health.
The first Basset to arrive in Australia was ‘Levity’, who came here to Mrs Anderson and Mrs McLoughlin. It was not until 1957 that any real Basset activity got under way amongst Australian fanciers, when a dog (unnamed) and two (2) bitches in whelp were imported. The bitch’s names were Brockleton Country Maid and Grim’s Caroline. Interestingly, the earliest Basset fanciers who were most involved, Dr Harry Spira and John Mackinolty, went on to become world famous judges. Dr Spiras’ Chevalier Kennels became very widely known, and progeny from his dogs did much to popularize Bassets throughout Australia. His other early imports from U.K. included Ch, Grim’s Vanquish, Fochno Chestnut and Sykemoor Dauphin.
In 1960 the Basset Hound Club of New South Wales was founded and is the oldest Basset Hound Club in Australia. The first Championship Show was held in November 1961, judged by Miss Peter Gorrie (NZ) and opened by Miss Australia, Miss Tania Verstac. Best in show was Ch. Carillon Dorcas and Runner Up was Huckleberry Everglades.
Nowadays, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland all have their own Basset Hound Clubs.
Each of these Clubs conducts various activities and regular shows throughout the year. The New South Wales Basset Hound Club hold their main shows on Easter Sunday and the Sunday of Labour Day Weekend (usually the first Sunday in October), with both shows being Championship shows.
Throughout Australia, there are a number of reputable breeders and owners who make up Australia’s showing contingent. Whilst the actual number of show entries may not be as high as some of the more popular breeds, the quality of today’s Basset Hounds is such that competition is of the highest standard, to the point where Basset Hounds still win “Best In Show” at All Breeds competitions. This is no mean feat considering that an average All Breed Show has around 1100 or so entries.
The author would also like to thank the Basset Hound breeders and owners around the world who kindly gave their permission to use the photos of dogs pictured on the site!
The AKC for the use of the photo on the head page.
The Japan Kennel Club for permission to use drawings from their Illustrated Standard by Yoko Yamamoto
The ANKC for use of part of their Extended Standard of the Basset Hound
Special thanks must go to Chris Lawrence for her input and advice when putting this site together, and for the use of the information contained on the Power Point presentation