My Adventure with Bassets

by Linda Lee Ott

My first encounter with the basset hound breed was when I was twelve years old. We were living in La Mirada at the time. My dad decided he wanted a basset hound. Apparently he researched the breed and brought home a beautiful tricolored basset named Barney. I had no idea at the time where my dad got him.

Barney was a huge part of my life and lived to be fourteen  years old. I loved the long ears, short legs and wrinkles. Barney was like my shadow. He followed me everywhere. When I was old enough to drive, my younger sister and I used to sneak him into the drive-in movie by bribing him with dog cookies. He would watch the cartoon with us then fall asleep but if we made any noise with a food or candy wrapper he popped up to see what else he could eat. Our family used to go camping at Bass Lake. My dad would rig an inner tube with a boat seat cushion so Barney could float with us. One time Barney also went on a family house boat trip. As always he was entertaining. While on the houseboat trip he got into a field and was chasing cows before he got chased by a bull. My life would have been a lot different without Barney.

After Barney’s passing we got another basset who we named Beau. He was the basset we had when Mike and I were going together. Beau used to push Mike out of the way while sitting on a couch or walking. He made me laugh the way he would push Mike out of the way when got in-between Beau and me. Beau lived with my parents until he was twelve and half.

Fast forward to 1997 after Mike and moved into our house. I wanted a basset hound because I loved them as a child. Though Mike had grown up with German shepherds he agreed on a basset. We started searching for a basset hound. Somehow I had heard about the Basset Hound Club of Southern California. I took a day off from work and made some calls to phone numbers I had found. As a result several people called back and told me to call Sue and Andy Shoemaker. The callers said that the Shoemakers had an older puppy available. I called them and set up an appointment to see their puppy.

Before we went I told Mike that I would look at him but I had my heart set on a young puppy. When we arrived at the Shoemakers house Junior was at the fence to greet us. It was love at first sight. Junior had to be ours. He reminded me of Barney with all his wrinkles and character. Sue asked me if was I familiar with the basset hound breed so I took out a picture of my first basset, Barney. Sue immediately knew that I knew about basset hounds.

When we saw Junior that day Sue said he was a little under weight because she had a bitch in season that was causing him to be a finicky eater. She wouldn’t let him go until he’d put on some weight. A couple of weeks later Junior was ready to come home with us. We named him Bailey.

We bought Bailey as a pet in August of 1997 and he was almost a year old then. Mike and I had no intentions to show him. After we got Bailey we took him to the BHRSC Basset Hound Picnic. Sue and Maria Bivens saw him and Maria said, “We need to stack him.“ Mike and I had no idea what that meant but Maria got down next to Bailey and posed him like he was in a dog show. Both of them agreed that he was wonderful. We also met Don and Pam Bullock and Bailey’s litter mate, Moose, that they were showing. They encouraged us to show Bailey too. Soon afterward we took Bailey to his first show and he won. Mike and I were hooked. Unfortunately due to a minor physical problem we had to stop showing Bailey but we were still hooked on basset hounds and showing.

After Bailey stopped showing we got Quincy from Maria Bivens in 1999. While he was a wonderful basset he never finished his Championship either. We couldn’t seem to get the second major required for his Championship.

In 2005 we got Wichita and Echo from Jan Kano. Both boys became Champions. Echo was my first show dog that I helped show. He was also Quincy’s son. We also bought Shoshone from Jan but he had no desire to show.

Cherokee came from Kay Haggard in 2010. We didn’t realize at the time that this was another tie back to Shoefly Bassets and Bailey’s litter. Cherokee happened to be the great grandson of Bailey’s litter mate, Lindy. Cherokee was our first Grand Champion which was followed by Iroquois, bred by Kay Haggard and Helene Hurford from a litter sired by Cherokee. 

Fielder is our current show dog. We bought him in 2016. When we bought Fielder we sort of come full circle. While he’s from Candy Holman, Fielder’s father, Pappy, is from the Shoemakers. Fielder finished his Championship very young and I’m currently showing him to work toward his Grand Championship. Fielder is our first champion that I finished completely on my own. I put points and Majors on some of my others but the big difference with Fielder is that I took a handling class with him.

In addition to showing, Mike and I have become involved in field trials with our boys. Wichita, Cherokee and Iroquois are pointed in field trials. Fielder got what’s called Next Best Qualifier (NBQ) his 1st time out and appears to be very promising in the field. We’ve enjoyed the field trials. They have given us a way to see our boys do what bassets were bred to do, follow the scent trail left by rabbits. It’s also something that Mike and I can do together.

Mike and I have been involved with showing since 1998. Over the ensuing years we have made some wonderful friends and have had wonderful bassets including our current four boys, Wichita, Cherokee, Iroquois and Fielder.  While Mike doesn’t show our boys he’s very helpful and greatly involved with the Basset Hound Club of Southern California. He’s the current BHCSC president.

With the ones that didn't finish I am not sure what would have done differently but we were brand new and still learning. It takes quite a while to learn about showing and we didn’t understand at first that not all bassets will finish their Championships. I would encourage people to try it out but be patient and give it time. 

Mike and I don't know what the future holds but it will certainly involve bassets. We’ll continue getting our bassets from responsible breeders and keep showing. At this point I don’t think we’ll get involved in breeding but that may change.

For more information and photos from Linda use this LINK.