The Ever So Surprising Basset Hound


If you believe the Basset Hound is best pretending to be a lap rug, you might be surprised to find them well suited for many activities. True to its lineage, the Basset is an avid and capable hunter succeeding in field trials and hunting performance tests. Many are good trackers and with their great temperament, wonderful therapy dogs. They are often good at obedience, rally and agility—a few are even lure coursing.

Basset breeders’ or owners’ comments below describe their experience. Tales vary, but they all love their hounds.


The Basset Hound breeders and/or owners that responded to the questions are:

  • Marge Cook – Bugle Bay
  • JoAnn Hilliker – Westwind
  • Ellen Johnson – Alexander
  • Sharon Nance – Bobac
  • Terri Ralenkotter and Anne Testoni – Spectrum

Basset Hound


How did you become involved with Bassets and in what events do you participate?



“Our first Basset headed to obedience school and we were hooked. The Basset hound was thought to be a tough breed to do obedience, but she proved them wrong. She earned her UDT by being consistent, reliable and full of charm, throwing gooey looks to well wishers as she worked. She went High In Trial at an all-breed show in Utility. That cutie led us to the conformation ring.”



“My husband, an avid reader of Fred Basset cartoons, wanted a Basset Hound. We bought a pet and soon decided obedience training would be a good idea. Unfortunately we chose a trainer who was excellent with working dogs. Her advice was to get a ‘good dog’. Luckily we had joined BHCA and had contact with other Basset people. We learned the trick was to make training fun and let the hound think it was his idea with rewards for correct behavior. We entered an obedience and conformation match. The tray he won for Best of Breed was the start of almost 40 years of Bassets.

We have competed in many venues—conformation, obedience, rally, agility, tracking, field trial and hunting performance. Individual Bassets ‘chose’ venues for participation depending on personality, likes and dislikes. I like the first activity to be basic tracking, a team sport with handler and hound. Bassets like to be in charge and they develop their natural scenting ability. It’s a great activity for puppies.”



“I had Bassets and wanted to breed better dogs, so I got my first show pup and started from there. I try to do things my Bassets enjoy; I participate in Field Trials, where I enjoy watching Bassets work together as a pair on a line to find a rabbit, and I have done some Obedience.”



“My love with the Basset hound happened 40 years ago. They are all things I am not. They don’t take themselves seriously, nap every day and enjoy the moment. I got my first Basset/mix from rescue, followed by a pet, which led to a show prospect. I began breeding and now judging. Most of my emphasis was on conformation, but enjoyed obedience as well.”



“I became involved in Bassets in 1996. I have competed in conformation, rally, obedience, agility, lure coursing, field trials and hunting performance tests. Rain is the first Basset to earn the AKC Coursing Ability Title.”



“My mother gave me a Basset hound puppy for my 15th birthday. My husband and I acquired a pet, followed by a rescue. We started obedience training and enjoyed figuring out how to get this wonderfully stubborn breed to cooperate. At the end of the class, the instructors suggested we compete. My Bassets are involved in conformation, obedience, rally, agility and therapy dog work. I have come to enjoy breeding.”


How important are mentors and have they helped?