Health Policy

The Basset Hound Club of America, Inc. (BHCA) is committed to improving quality of life for Basset Hounds and their owners by helping Basset Hounds live longer, healthier lives. BHCA encourages a strong commitment by breeders and owners to the reduction of genetic disorders in Basset Hounds. The club also supports and encourages research on health issues of interest to Basset Hounds (and other breeds).

In 2016, the BHCA completed a comprehensive survey of the health of Basset Hounds, based on data on more than 7,500 dogs. This policy is based on the results of that survey.

Two genetic disorders identified by the survey were glaucoma and Basset Hound thrombopathia (a platelet disorder), although this latter disorder seems to have fallen to a low level of incidence in the breed, likely as a result of the blood test that has been available for several years.

BHCA encourages responsible breeding through screening for the more common genetic disorders known to affect Basset Hounds where such screening is justified by evidence-based, validated scientific research. BHCA has identified two conditions that merit attention:

  1. Thrombopathia genetic testing is available through Dr. P.W. Christopherson’s laboratory at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. (Click here for a PDF on submitting a blood sample for testing.) This test is determinative for the genetic status of the dog (i.e., clear, carrier, affected). Breeding must be avoided if both sire and dam are either affected or carriers. Breeders and owners who have had dogs tested through that laboratory should disclose their dog’s results. The genetic status of the sire and dam must be known prior to undertaking a breeding, whether by examining proof of genetic testing, by consulting the database at Auburn University, or in the absence of these proofs, by testing.
  2. The BHCA has supported research on glaucoma. There has been progress but, to date, there is neither a determinative genetic test, nor are there diagnostic tests that are able to reliably predict the onset of this disease.

    As an alternative, the BHCA recommends that breeders and owners seek OFA Eye Certification (formerly the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, CERF), where appropriate or desired. However, it is not diagnostic for glaucoma in the Basset Hound. If, as a result of the OFA Eye Examination, glaucoma is suspected, a more comprehensive diagnostic regimen should be recommended by the examining veterinary ophthalmologist.

Breeders have a responsibility to research and understand genetics and common breed health problems. BHCA strongly discourages the use in a breeding program of any Basset Hound known to be affected by any genetic disorder. Breeders are strongly encouraged to: (a) record and register the results of any health-related testing in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Database, http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/ ; b) allow disclosure of thrombopathia genetic testing results either maintained in the Auburn University Basset Hound Thrombopathia Testing database or by providing proof of testing to interested parties, (c) exchange screening results when planning matings; and (d) discuss breed health issues with puppy buyers, providing full disclosure on puppies offered for sale.

Conditions that breeders may want to evaluate when planning a breeding include any history in the bloodlines of hip or elbow dysplasia or ununited anconeal process and any history of temperament issues. If these are present, then appropriate tests would include:

  • For screening for joint/skeletal disorders: radiographs (x-rays) evaluated by a recognized registry, e.g., Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), PennHip, Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC), Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).
  • For temperament issues: temperament testing using the Puppy Aptitude Testing or American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) certification, where appropriate.

Additionally, important health issues known to affect Basset Hounds, but for which no testing has yet been identified include lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and gastric-dilatation/volvulus (bloat), and breeders should discuss prevalence of these issues in their bloodlines as they plan breeding or sell puppies.

revised May 2017