The move comes about after the British Kennel Club introduced an amended breed standard earlier this year following the concerns raised by British documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed (basset hound at 0.48 seconds).
The documentary lambasted basset hound breeders for damaging the breed, claiming that contemporary bassets are far removed from the original bassets bread in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
Many basset breeders were offended by the un-nuanced approach Ms Jemima Harrison and her documentary team took and rejected her claims unequivocally.
The Basset Hound Club of Wales provided a cogent and clear retort to Ms Harrison and if you haven’t read their response yet, I encourage you to do so.
Where Does Kennel Björkwood Stand?
As far as I am concerned, it’s important that basset hound breeders look at the overall picture of the breed and react to hard facts and not just speculative soundbites pushed by the media. For example, Ms Harrison is heard to claim that nearly all bassets develop arthritis during the documentary. I would prefer to see statistical evidence of this, rather than purely believe a documentary.
Nevertheless, I do think that we as breeders of basset hounds collectively need to work together to ensure the health and future health of this most wonderful of breeds. That means working hard to tackle problems like skin problems, gastric torsion, back and elbow problems, etc, and ensuring that we do not weaken the gene pool.
I am diametrically opposed to inbreeding and believe that close line-breeding should be done with considerable caution. My brother-in-law works with genetics so I’ve had plenty of conversations about the dangers of reducing the gene pool of any given breed (or species!).
I am also against what we in Sweden call “matadoravel“. Using a stud dog repeatedly. When a stud dog is over-represented as the sire of pups in a country like Sweden where we have a relatively small population of bassets, there is the risk that the gene pool will be reduced.
We Must Work for the Good of the Breed
As the basset hound continues to come under scrutiny from vets, kennel clubs, judges and the general public, it is my sincere hope that basset hound kennels around the world actively work to maintain the health of this breed. I, nonetheless, do not believe in changing the breed standard as a knee-jerk reaction to the comments of a very one-sided documentary.
Changes need to come based on solid scientific evidence with breed clubs giving clear, sensible guidelines worked out with vets and other canine health specialists.