The Basset Hound could have been among the first show dogs since it was AKC recognized in 1885 (the first registered Basset being a dog named “Bouncer”), but with his wonderful jowls and endearing woe-begone expression, we don’t often think of the Basset Hound as a hunting dog. Guess what? The breed most certainly was bred to hunt rabbits and hare, and its specialty was trailing, not killing the animals. Today, there are many hunting Basset Hound clubs, and hunting with Basset Hounds as a pack is common in the Mid-Atlantic States of Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Several private and membership packs even exist in these states.
“Basseting” is a centuries old sport of following a pack of Basset Hounds in pursuit of hares or rabbits. It’s structure is nearly identical to a traditional fox hunt, but the pursuit is on foot. Much like the fox hunt, staff consists of the Master, or Joint Masters, Secretary, Whippers-in, and the Huntsman. Participants are called “the Field.” The Huntsman is responsible for the actual hunting of the hounds, while the Whippers-in assist in the managing of the pack. A Field Master leads the Field in such a way that members of the Field will have optimal views of the hounds at work.