AKC Events for Basset Hounds

The Basset Hound is a friendly, mild mannered dog that can be a great companion for an individual or family. Originally bred to hunt in packs, today he's a versatile dog that excels in many areas. Because of that basset hounds are able to compete and participate in many AKC events and activities. The list below with corresponding links is a good place for you to get started. Our club urges more basset hound lovers to get involved in such events with their bassets.

Dog shows and matches (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. AKC licensed judges evaluate the dogs bases on the written AKC Standard for each breed. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with over 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed. The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure), an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged. More information about dog shows and conformation can be found here and on the AKC website. Matches are like “practice shows” and allow young puppies (3 months and older) to compete. The AKC has created a special competition for 4 - 6 month old dogs. Some shows have started inserting this competition into their shows. Check HERE for more information on this competition.

The basset hound is a very versatile dog. Therefore there are many AKC sanctioned activities, other than conformation, that they can be involved in. The following information has been provided to assist members in getting the most enjoyment out of their basset hounds as possible. There may also be links within each description that will take you to other websites with further information.

Information on AKC PAL/ILP Numbers for Non-purebred Dogs

Many people have discovered the fun of teaming up with their dogs and competing in AKC Events. But, not all of those wonderful canine athletes that you see at these events are registered with the AKC. Some might be enrolled in the AKC's Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP), a program that allows unregistered dogs of registrable breeds to compete in AKC Performance and Companion Events, also specific breeds in the FSS® Program that are eligible for Companion Events.

Those dogs which can not be determined to be purebred by AKC or any dog that is a mixed breed can also participate in some AKC events through the AKC Canine Partners Program.

AKC Website Link for More Information on the AKC PAL /ILP Program

AKC Website Link for More Information on the AKC Canine Partners Pogram

Some clubs now offer events for AKC PAL/ILP Registered Dogs and/or those enrolled as Canine Partners. Check Event Premium Lists or contact the clubs to see if these classes are being offered.

Since 1937 Basset Hounds have competed in AKC field trials. The Basset Hound possesses in marked degree those characteristics which equip it admirably to follow a trail over and though difficult terrain. Bassets, as a breed, were developed to hunt small game—to feed the hunter, not the hound! The basset works entirely by scent. The trail left by the rabbit is rarely a continuous line of scent, since the rabbit leaps and changes direction. Bassets don't catch rabbits. Our page explaining basset hound field trials is a great place to start. More information on basset hound field trials can be found on the Basset Hound Club of America website. Basset Hound Field Trials have their own special AKC rule book.

Running a dog in an agility trial is the ultimate game for you and your dog and is one of the most exciting canine sports for spectators. In an agility trial, a dog demonstrates its agile nature and versatility by following cues from the handler through a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other objects. It’s an activity that strengthens the bond between dog and handler and provides fun and exercise for both, which might explain why it’s so enjoyable to watch and has become the fastest-growing dog sport in the United States! Currently the BHCSC does not offer agility competition. Our page on basset hound agility is a great place to start. More information can be found on the BHCA website including a video of a basset hound running an agility course. We have also added a video of one of our member's dogs running an agility course.

AKC Rally® is a companion sport to AKC Obedience. Both require teamwork between dog and handler along with similar performance skills. Rally provides an excellent introduction to AKC Companion Events for new dogs and handlers and can provide a challenging opportunity for competitors in other events to strengthen their skills. The dog and handler team move at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition. A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication from the handler to the dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork and enthusiasm as they go through the course. Our page on basset hound Rally® is a great place to start. More information can be found on the BHCA website.

Consider taking obedience training with your dog to a whole new level! Help your dog realize its full potential by entering obedience trials and earning competitive obedience titles. AKC obedience trials demonstrate the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man. Developed in the 1930’s it is one of the AKC’s oldest events! Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC trials allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles. You can find a list of clubs that offer training classes on the AKC website under Clubs, then Club Search. These clubs also hold the AKC events that you can enter once you and your dog are ready. Our page on basset hound obedience is a great place to start. More information on obedience can be found on the BHCA website.

As of January 1, 2013, Canine Good Citizen® became an official AKC title that can appear on the title records of dogs registered or listed with AKC. Dog owners who complete the CGC as a Title process may list the suffix “CGC” after the dog’s name.

For more information go to AKC CGC Title.

This is an AKC title that all pet owners can achieve with their dogs. Our page explaining Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is a great place to start. For more information on the AKC Canine Good Citizen program go to the AKC website. This program has been expanded to include the AKC Community Canine title.

The Hunting Performance Test is a non-competitive test of hunting ability designed to provide a hunting experience for hounds. The test is a great opportunity for hounds even in geographic areas that do not support field trials. Spayed and neutered hounds are welcomed, too. All hounds must be registered with the American Kennel Club or have been issued an AKC ILP number. The owners all want to give their hounds a chance to hunt and to have recognition that their hounds do hunt well. Our page on basset hound hunt test is a great place to start. Currently only the Basset Hound Club of America is offering the Hunt Test in Southern California. More information can be found on the BHCA website. NOTE: In 2017 the Hunt Test became an AKC title. Thank you to all who were involved to make this a reality.

Dogs have a very keen sense of smell – 100,000 times stronger than humans! Dogs with the help of their noses are often used to find lost people and animals, drugs, avalanche and disaster victims, and even to detect cancer! AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. Unlike obedience and rally trials, where dogs respond to the handler’s commands, in tracking the dog is completely in charge, for only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. For many, the greatest pleasure of tracking is the hours spent outside training and interacting with their dogs. The tracking community is known for its camaraderie and they all share in the excitement of a “pass” and the disappointment of a “fail.” The BHCSC is currently working on finding a club in Southern California that is offering this event for basset hounds. There are clubs that offer tracking events that bassets could attend. We should be able to post this information soon. Our page on basset hound tracking is a great place to start. More information can be found on the BHCA website.

The American Kennel Club recently created a new event that allows all dogs to discover the excitement of lure coursing. The beauty of this new activity is that it elicits one of the most basic instincts of the canine—that of prey drive. The dogs LOVE chasing that lure, and the owners are thrilled with the possibility of earning these new titles. This program is open to all–AKC registered, ILPs, PALs, and Canine Partners–therefore opening up a new horizon for all dogs and their owners.

The Coursing Ability Test is an enjoyable experience for dogs and owners. To pass the test, a dog running alone must pursue a lure, completing the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a given time. Currently we are unaware of a club offering coursing for basset hounds but there are some coursing clubs around who may. Our page on basset hound coursing ability is a great place to start. AKC does have special rules for Lure Coursing events.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has created a pdf download that explains how to get involved in some AKC events. While it doesn't contain information on all their events it would be a good place for newcomers to start.

All of the events below are open to all purebred basset hounds whether or not they are registered with the AKC. For dogs that aren't registered there is information at the bottom of this page about how they can get involved.

The purpose of this program is to recognize AKC dogs and their owners who have given their time and helped people by volunteering as a therapy dog and owner team. The AKC Therapy Dog program awards an official AKC title awarded to dogs that have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited.

AKC does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training is done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated.

AKC has posted a list of therapy dog organizations on their website. Those who are interested may want to check out this list.

The Basset Hound Club of America has additional information and articles on some of the events mentioned above. Th material in these articles is the opinion of the authors and may not reflect to opinion of the BHCSC.

Link to BHCA Website


NOTE: Some of the events below do not have separate links in the website menu.

For more information on each of these events click on the name of each event to go to a page with more photos and  information about that particular event.

The American Kennel Club is pleased to announce the launch of the AKC Trick Dog program.  The program will include four levels allowing dogs with any amount of experience the ability to participate.  Teaching their dog tricks is enjoyable for owners, mentally stimulating for their dogs and can take place at any time or place that fits their lifestyle.  All dogs (purebred and mixed breeds), can earn Trick Dog titles provided the dog is AKC-registered, enrolled with AKC Canine Partners, or enrolled in the Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program.  The titles will be listed on the dog’s AKC record and will appear on pedigrees.

Trick titles can be awarded by AKC approved Canine Good Citizen Evaluators. To learn more about the AKC Trick Dog program and access the title application form, please visit

In recent years tha American Kennel Club (AKC) has been adding many different events for dogs and their owners to participate in. They are attempting to draw more participation into their events. This is very commendable and highly supported by our club. If you wish to know more than what is contained on our website a search of the Internet may help or contact the BHCSC. Please limit your questions to a specific AKC event so that it can be forwarded to the right person.

The list below is just a partial list of the AKC events that basset hounds can participate in. We will be adding additional events as time and information from the AKC allow.

As stated in the description of tracking above, dogs have a very keen sense of smell – 100,000 times stronger than humans! Dogs can earn titles in the new sport of AKC Scent Work, which mimics the task of working detection dogs -- such as narcotics dogs and explosive dogs -- to find specific scent and communicate to the handler that the scent has been found. Dogs will search for a hidden odor, which is either an essential oil or their handlers’ scent, depending on the class. Searches will take place in a variety of environments, with classes called: containers, interiors, exteriors, and buried. This program is open to all–AKC registered, ILPs, PALs, and Canine Partners. The BHCSC is currently working on finding a club or organization in Southern California that is offering this event for basset hounds. There will soon be clubs that will offer Scent Work events that bassets could attend. We should be able to post this information soon. Our page on basset hound tracking is a great place to start. More information can be found on the AKC website.

Only for AKC Registered pure bred dogs.