Numerous articles in the Swedish media today are questioning the health of basset hounds.
Apparently, vets are calling for tighter restrictions and clearer guidelines to ensure the health of dogs. A number of breeds have been singled out by the kennel club as being particularly at risk: this includes Basset Hounds along with French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Mastino napoletano, Shar pei, and Chow-chow.
Kennel Björkwood’s Vision
I personally would endorse better legislation to protect the basset hound and all breeds. I am, for example, a strong advocate of restricting the number of times a male dog can be used at stud. I don’t believe so-called “matador avel” (the over use of a successful stud dog) is good for the gene pool of any breed.
I also believe it is sensible to educate would-be dog breeders. I personally took a course on dog breeding run by the kennel club in Stockholm. I also studied dog genetics as part of a course I took at Hundens Hus when I trained to be an instructor.
There’s a good interview with Paula Sunebring (in Swedish) in Göteborgs-Posten. Paula makes the point that even short-legged breeds like bassets can move unhindered.
My own personal vision of the basset hound is a dog that is anatomically correct in accordance with the breed standard; one that is fit for it’s original function. I also like bassets that aren’t too heavy or overdone.
Last year when I showed Tia I was told on a couple of occasions that she was “too tall” and “a hunting basset hound”. Fair enough. I took that as a compliment because I know she can run and work in the forest.
We’ve imported dogs from England and Norway to ensure we’re widening the gene pool of dogs here in Sweden. And we prioritise temperament and sound movement in the dogs that we breed from.
The basset hounds of Kennel Björkwood enjoy a good 5-10 km walk each day. Sure, they get sick from time to time like any dog. But with a sensible diet, good exercise, careful breeding, and discussions with our fellow breeders, we’re trying to produce healthy dogs.
Ultimately, I hope that those of us involved in breeding basset hounds can work together to ensure the health and vitality of this wonderful breed. As a sometime journalist I know how the media can spin a story. Sure, there is something in what the press are saying at the moment. I have seen and heard things about basset hounds that worry me at times. But I also know that there are many of us in the basset hound community who are committed to doing the very best for our breed.
If you have any questions about the breed or want to come and walk the dogs with me to see for yourself, please get in touch!