The Basset Hound is one of the most recognisable dogs in the world, but the distinctive looks come with a heavy price: exaggerating their features for aesthetic purposes can result with pain and discomfort. The excessive amounts of loose skin, baggy eyelids, excessively long ears, inadequate ground clearance, and dermatitis in the skin folds are all considered reasons for concern, and are the reason why the breed was placed under Category Three of the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch scheme.
Being in the third category meant that Basset Hound best of breed winners, or those winning their third challenge certificate, would require a veterinary health check at championship shows. However, that will no longer be needed from now on, as the Kennel Club, following a recommendation from the Kennel Club Dog Health Group, reclassified the breed and placed it in Category Two.
Breed Health Co-ordinator, Tina Watkins, said, “I am sure I can speak on behalf of Basset Hound owners that we are delighted with the news that the breed has been reclassified from category three to category two.
“The Basset Hound Health Group is committed to working on the health of the breed, supporting research and health education. We are encouraged that these efforts have been recognised. The real work begins now and I am sure this will continue with the dedication developed within the breed to progress.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said, “The Basset Hound Clubs and their Health Group have worked hard to ensure their community have been involved in all health initiatives undertaken by the breed. The Kennel Club will continue to work closely with breed representatives and offer support and advice with ongoing health and welfare initiatives.”
The reclassification will be reviewed in twelve months’ time and progress of the breed will be continually monitored via the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch system.
"The Breed Health Co-ordinator for the breed will still be required to submit a comprehensive annual breed health report each year," a Kennel Club statement read. "In addition they will work with the Kennel Club as a key contributor to the Breed Health and Conservation Plan for Basset Hounds. Judges will also continue to submit mandatory health monitoring forms after each championship appointment."
The reclassification of the Basset Hound leaves the list of breeds in Category Three down to 11: the list now includes Bloodhound, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, German Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pekingese, Pug, St Bernard and Shar Pei.