Interview with Kaylynn Finke, Breeder of Northwind Basset Hounds
Where do I live? How many years in dogs? How many years as a breeder?
Kaylynn Finke: We are located in Jackson, Tennessee. We are fairly new to the Basset Hound community. David has been showing Bassets for about four years and Kaylynn got involved about two years ago. David had his first litter of Basset Hounds two years ago.
What is my kennel name? How many dogs do I currently keep?
Kaylynn Finke: Our kennel name is Northwind Basset Hounds. We currently have three Basset Hounds.
Which show dogs from the past have been my noteworthy winners?
Kaylynn Finke: David got his start in the Basset Hound show community with his first Basset Hound, GCH Northwind’s Merry Mabeline of the Ozarks (Mabel). He had some luck with her in the show ring and she mothered his first litter of Basset Hounds. From that first litter, we kept one puppy, Northwind’s Dixieland Delight.
Shortly after Mabel’s first litter went to their homes, we imported MBISS GCHS Lussy Grand Grades (Gradey). We have had great luck with Gradey, and she is currently the No. 1 Breed Basset Hound and the No. 2 All-Breed Basset Hound in the AKC (4/5/23). We have been extremely lucky and blessed to have had such success so early on in our Basset Hound involvement.
Which have been my most influential sires and dams?
Kaylynn Finke: We feel that Gradey will be a great dam for our breeding program. We feel her structure and temperament are excellent. We are so excited to see the puppies that she produces. We love Mabel. She’s David’s heart dog and she’s done great. She is only two points from her GCHB. But after showing her, David could see her faults and was looking to improve on them. Our hope one day is to be able to get her and Gradey’s lines in a litter of pups. After Mabel finished her Grand Championship, the show bug bit David and he wasn’t ready to stop showing. So, he started searching for his next pup. With the guidance of our handler, friend, and mentor, Matt Hess, we started looking.
David’s name was on a couple of waiting lists, but they didn’t pan out. Then he found Jana (Jana Paskova, Grand Grades Kennel, in the Czech Republic) and she had a litter out of Dream Chaser Bohemia Horrido (Eva and Iva Cernohubova) and her “Helen.” Chaser is a son of “Monkey,” MBIS MBISS GCHP BY-U-CAL’S MONKEY ON THE BAYOU, a legendary Basset in the US. The puppies looked great. They had the bone we were looking for and straight fronts, and he knew that that was the litter. Jana was great. David asked her about several of the girls and she said that “Lussy” (now Gradey) was what we needed for the US. (She was afraid the others might be too much for the States.)
Now she’s ours and doing better than we ever expected. I hope we’ve made Jana, Iva, Eva, and Sharon Calhoun (Monkey’s “mom”) proud.
Can I talk a bit about my facilities? Where are my puppies whelped? How are they raised?
Kaylynn Finke: Our puppies are whelped and raised in our homes with us. We like to be extremely involved and keep a constant eye on them, so this allows for that. Kaylynn works as a Canine Trainer and Behaviorist. She is very knowledgeable in puppy development and life stages. She helps with puppy socialization, desensitization, exposure, and training. We raise our puppies to be confident and well-adjusted adults.
What is my “process” for selecting Show Puppies? Performance Puppies?
Kaylynn Finke: When we are selecting show puppies from our litters, we keep them till around 9-12 weeks old. At that point, we assess their overall balance. We are looking for good bone, a nice straight topline, straight front, strong rear, good rear angles, ear length, and length of body.
Do I compete in Companion Events? Performance Events?
Kaylynn Finke: We now feel that we have found our footing in the Conformation ring and are starting to expand into Performance Events. We have started training Dixie and Mabel in Scent Work and Tracking. We hope to enter them in Scent Work Trials and Tracking at the upcoming Basset Hound National Specialty in August. Gradey has earned her CGC and FDC. Mabel has earned her CGCA, TDI, and FDC.
Is “performance” part of my decision-making when it comes to breeding?
Kaylynn Finke: When we pick sires and dams for our breeding program, we base who we choose on what the Basset Hound’s function is. Per the AKC, a Basset Hound should have remarkably heavy bone, powerful legs, massive paws, and the strength and stamina of a big dog. These characteristics help them in the field when tirelessly following the scent of rabbits. They are scenthounds that use their long, velvety ears to help brush up and funnel scent to their nose. These are all qualities that we take into account when we select a breeding pair.
How would I define “conditioning” as it relates to my breed?
Kaylynn Finke: Conditioning for a Basset Hound can be a little tricky because they are a true dwarf breed. Due to being a dwarf breed, Bassets cannot participate in rigorous, repetitive exercise. Instead, they are able to participate in activities such as going for walks, tracking/hunting in the woods, and even swimming.
Are there any health-related concerns in my breed? Any special nutritional needs?
Kaylynn Finke: There are a few genetic health concerns that are currently prevalent in Basset Hound bloodlines.
These genetic disorders are:
Other health needs that we pay close attention to are joint, back, and skin health. Since Basset Hounds are a dwarf breed, we make sure to take exceptional care of their joint health. We keep our Bassets on a daily joint support supplement.
Also, with Basset Hounds being a long-backed breed, we have to pay extra attention to their weight. By keeping them at a healthy weight, you help to keep their backs strong and healthy. Lastly, as many can see, Basset Hounds have many wrinkles and lots of extra skin. Due to this, they are at a higher risk for yeast build-up and skin issues. We keep our Bassets on a daily skin support supplement and regularly bathe them.
Do I think my breed is supported by a sufficient number of preservation breeders?
Kaylynn Finke: While David and I are still very new to the Basset Hound community, we do feel that there are a number of good preservation breeders. That being said, they are a very close group of people and it can be a little hard to get into the group as an outsider. And because this community is so close-knit, it can sometimes be hard as a newcomer to purchase and show a good show-quality Basset Hound without a contact to help. It can be a little intimidating to start, but now that we are showing and meeting people, we see how amazing everyone really is.
A group of us are in the process of starting a Basset Hound Club in the Mid-South (Mid-South Basset Hound Club). Our goal for this club is to be very inclusive and help educate the general public about the amazing Basset Hound breed and what they are capable of doing!
Is my breed well suited to be a family dog? Who are the best candidates to own my breed?
Kaylynn Finke: Basset Hounds make great family dogs. They are lovable and goofy. Basset Hounds have a moderate energy level. While they do not need excessive amounts of exercise, they do need some. They enjoy going for walks and sniffing around the yard with their owners. Training a Basset Hound can be a bit of a challenge because they are a very stubborn breed. A good candidate to own a Basset Hound must be very patient when training them. They will need to be okay with giving their Basset weekly baths and paying close attention to their back and joint health. It can be a lot of work owning a Basset Hound, but their lovable personalities make it all worth the work.
What is the biggest misconception about my breed? What is my breed’s best-kept secret?
Kaylynn Finke: The biggest misconception that I have seen about Basset Hounds is that they are fat, lazy dogs. Yes, they have lower energy levels than your Sporting breeds, for example, but they are not lazy. All of the Bassets that I own and have encountered love activity and sport. Their sports may look a little different than other dog sports, but they still have a drive to do them. Scent Work, Hunting, and Tracking take a huge amount of energy for a dog to accomplish successfully. My personal Basset is so determined to keep up with my other large-breed dogs that she wrestles with and chases them daily. Heck, I have even seen Basset Hounds participate in Agility!
If I could share a comment or two with judges of my breed, what would I like to say to them?
Kaylynn Finke: We would like to thank all of the judges who have shown Gradey so much love and success. We are incredibly proud of her and all of her achievements. Those achievements would not be possible without these judges. Their recognition of her means more to us than they could ever know.
Do I have any words of wisdom to pass along to newer breeders?
Kaylynn Finke: Like I have said, David and I are still very new at all of this, but from our experience, we encourage newer breeders to do their research and be persistent. We recommend that you attend as many shows as you can. If you can find one, attend a specialty show. Pick out the dogs and bitches that you really like, then try and talk to their owner or handler. If you are able, purchase a catalogue to look them up and you can contact them that way. If you really like one, be persistent. You may have to meet with them a few times to convince them that you are serious and to prove that you are interested.
We strongly encourage you to NEVER purchase off the Internet. Always do your research on the breeder and their puppies. Look up show pictures and pedigrees. You shouldn’t just be looking at the puppies’ parents, you should look several generations back. You must also insist on genetic health testing. Like we’ve said before, there are some genetic health disorders in this breed and you want to make sure that you know the genetics of the puppy you are purchasing. Most of all, get a mentor! Guidance and advice from someone experienced in the breed is invaluable.
For a bit of fun, what’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever experienced with a Hound?
Kaylynn Finke: “Dixie” (Northwind’s Dixieland Delight) goes to work with Kaylynn pretty much every day. She attends daycare and helps Kaylynn with the training of the other dogs at the resort where she works. In daycare and when interacting with the other dogs, Dixie is determined not to be outdone or left behind by the big dogs. You can always find Dixie wrestling with the German Shepherd Dogs or chasing down a German Shorthaired Pointer. Her strong will, however, can sometimes backfire on her in funny ways.
There was one day when Dixie was determined to chase down a Golden Retriever at daycare. The retriever cut a sharp corner and went through a fenced gate opening. Dixie was not going to fall behind, and so she took a quick turn as well. The only problem was that Dixie turned a little too soon and ran directly into the fence. She bounced off the fence and flew backwards. She quickly got up, shook her head, and kept on truckin’. (We would have been concerned about her vision had Kaylynn not just brought her to the ophthalmologist the day before this took place.) It was probably the funniest experience that we have ever had with one of our hounds!
Are you looking for a Basset Hound puppy?
The best way to ensure a long and happy relationship with a purebred dog is to purchase one from a responsible breeder. Not sure where to begin finding a breeder?
Contact the National Parent Club’s Breeder Referral person, which you can find on the AKC Breeder Referral Contacts page.
Want to help rescue and re-home a Basset Hound dog?
Did you know nearly every recognized AKC purebred has a dedicated rescue group? Find your new best friend on the AKC Rescue Network Listing.
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