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 to the reduction of genetic disorders in Basset Hounds.

Basset Hounds, in comparison to other breeds, are generally healthy dogs. However, like all other purebred dogs, Bassets can be affected by certain genetic disorders. The structural ramifications of achondroplasia (dwarfism) are of considerable significance in this breed. The more common genetic disorders reported in Basset Hounds include: glaucoma; thrombopathia; von Willebrand’s disease; hypothyroidism; patellar luxation; hip dysplasia; and elbow dysplasia (osteochondritis dissecans, fragmented medial coronoid process, ununited anconeal process). Temperament reflects genetic as well as environmental determinants. Poor temperament is as debilitating as any serious genetic disorder.

BHCA encourages responsible breeding through screening for the more common genetic disorders known to affect Basset Hounds. BHCA believes that the following tests yield useful information that may assist responsible breeders in their selection of Basset Hounds to be used for breeding:

  1. Gonioscopy (examination of the iridocorneal angle of the eye for abnormalities which may predispose the eye to the development of glaucoma) and eye examination, performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist, resulting in eligibility for Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) registration.
  2. Thrombopathia genetic testing is available through Dr. Mary Boudreaux's laboratory at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (click here for a PDF on submitting a blood sample for testing).
  3. von Willebrand’s factor antigen testing.
  4. Thyroid testing, to include at least on full thyroid panel.
  5. Radiographs (x-rays) of hips and elbows with evaluation by a recognized registry, e.g. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), PennHip, Institute for Genetic Disease Control in Animals (GDC), Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).
  6. Temperament evaluation, as evidenced by Puppy Aptitude Testing or American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) certification.

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 seriously affected by any genetic disorder. Breeders are strongly encouraged to: (a) exchange screening results when planning matings; and (b) discuss breed health issues with puppy buyers, providing full disclosure on puppies offered for sale.