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FAQs

Basset Hound and English Golden Retrievers

Ph: 705-4450-7644
Email: mjg@goldenassetkennels.ca

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of the most common questions.

  • Basset Hound
    • What was the Basset Hound's original purpose?
      Basset Hounds are descended from the old St. Hubert hounds. Used to trail and drive game away, the Basset has had such famous admirers as King Edward VII and Shakespeare. The Basset was bred for hunting small game. The Basset's long ears were  developed to stir up and hold the scent for their strong nose to smell. The folds of skin under the chin, called the dewlap, help trap and hold the scent. Wrinkles about the head and face also aid in holding the scent. Their large feet make them steady and the heavy bones make them sturdy. With their short legs they are ideal for slow trailing which allows hunters to follow on foot. The Basset is used primarily to hunt rabbit although they were first used on other small game such as pheasant.
    • Does the Basset Hound make a good pet?
      YES! The Basset Hound is one of the best dogs available for a family to love. They are extremely tolerant and love everyone in the family equally. They are a very gentle, sweet, loyal and affectionate breed, although they are quite stubborn at times. They get along well with other pets of various species. They are not an aggressive watchdog but will learn to give a deep bark as a warning if praised when sounding off. Otherwise, they will accept visitors with a sniff and return to a favorite corner. The Basset Hound is a versatile pet who will play with children, make a skilled hunter, and sit by their owner's side during quiet times.
    • How big is the adult Basset Hound and how should they look?
      The male Basset Hound at maturity usually weighs between 55 and 75 pounds, and stands 12-, to not more than 15-inches tall at the shoulder. They are a big dog on short legs. The female is usually about 10 pounds lighter and 1-inch or so shorter than the male. Make no mistake, the Basset grows to be a good size dog, weighing more than most people expect, due to his heavy bone. As a young dog they need a consistent, firm, (but not harsh) hand so they will learn not to jump on people. They are not lap dogs, even though they may think so. The Basset has a large, well proportioned head, sad, droopy eyes with a prominent haw; and long, low-set ears and loose facial skin and dewlap. A muscular neck and shoulders arch above a powerful chest, and the stubby legs are tipped with huge paws. His low-slung, loose-skinned, body is accented by a tail carried gaily in an upswept arc.
    • What is the Basset Hound's temperament?
      Basset Hounds have gentle dispositions. They were bred to be pack dogs and to get along with each other. This makes the male as friendly, mild, and easy to live with as the female. Males are not as aggressive as some other breeds of dogs, and they are usually not as prone to "marking" their territory unless there is an un neutered male around.
    • Do Bassets have any strange habits?
      Some Basset Hounds have a tendency to howl when left alone for long periods of time. They will also wander away from home if not kept in a(securely locked) fenced area. The Basset is so good with kids, and often found in homes with children, great care MUST be taken to assure that gates cannot accidentally be left open when the kids enter and leave the fenced area. When a good scent reaches their nose, there is no telling where they will end up, and unfortunately, the Basset is not good at finding the way home. A responsible owner keeps his Basset as safe from harm as he would any other cherished pet. A Basset with its large deep flews also tends to be more slobbery than other breeds. Some individual Bassets are "drier mouthed" than others, but as a whole the breed is a "wet mouthed" breed. To the prospective Basset owner, this means that that the dog will drool quite a bit, and tend to make a mess while drinking. If you are a fastidious housekeeper, and have an aversion to dog drool on your floors (and occasionally your walls), then the Basset Hound is probably not the breed for you. This is an important point, because one of the major reasons that Bassets are given up for rescue or adoption is that "the dog drools too much". Time and again those involved in Basset rescue hear this same old story. So get out your slobber rag if you want a Basset!
    • How much does a Basset Hound eat?
      Adult Basset Hounds generally eat between 2 and 4 cups of food per day. (Many dog food labels have you over-feeding your dogs.) Bassets often have a tendency to get fat, partly because their sad look lends their owners to "take pity on them" and give them more food than they require. Overeating is dangerous to all dogs. Puppies, depending on their age, will eat from two to four meals per day in proportion to their size. You should avoid feeding your Basset fad foods; feed a well-balanced, name brand dry food supplemented with a quality canned food and/or other supplements. Many canine nutrition experts feel that vitamin supplements are not needed when using a top quality name-brand dog food. If a vitamin is used, care must be taken to avoid over-supplementing. Check with your veterinarian to see what is best for your dog. Store or generic brand dogs foods should not be used. A pregnant female Basset gradually requires more food and a supplement as recommended by your veterinarian.
    • Are Basset Hounds hard to groom?
      The Basset Hound does not need fussy coat care due to his hard, short coat which repels dirt and water rather well. However, they should be brushed weekly to remove any loose hair and dirt. Bassets do not shed very much if brushed regularly. The Basset Hound needs a bath only four to six times a year because a good rubdown with a coarse cloth or a hounds glove will remove a great deal of dirt and bring a shine to the coat.   Regular grooming helps create a bond between owner and pet. Wipe out the insides of the ears once a week. The Basset's heavy ear leather prevents loss of moisture from inside the ear, and, if it is not cleaned out with a cotton ball and a solution recommended by your veterinarian, odor and/or infection can result. Clean the outside of the ears also because they often drape in food and water dishes and pick up dirt from the ground. Trim the nails every 1-3 weeks to allow the dog to walk correctly on his feet and properly support his heavy weight. Puppies need more frequent clipping than the adult. Should you hear the nails clicking on the floor, they need to be cut. Have your veterinarian or breeder show you how to properly clip your dog's nails. Clean your Basset's teeth with a soft toothbrush and water/doggie toothpaste to prevent plaque buildup. You may want the veterinarian to show you the proper procedure for anal gland care as another means of keeping your dog odor-free and comfortable.
    • Are Basset Hounds healthy dogs?
      The Basset Hound claims excellent health. He is not prone to many hereditary weaknesses that are present in some other breeds. Many of the Basset's health problems can be attributed to his owner because he allowed his dog to become overweight, possibly resulting in aggravated arthritis, back problems, or heart trouble. Physical fitness is as important to the Basset as it is to humans. The Basset Hound enjoys running and leading an active life. Dogs raised in areas of the country where they can participate in the popular sport of field trialing can enjoy particularly good health. The Basset is an endurance dog.
    • Allergies
      Some Bassets may have allergies to grasses. Hanging t heir head close to the ground for long periods of time will further aggravate it. If an allergy is diagnosed, a veterinarian can prescribe a mild eye ointment or other appropriate treatment.
    • How much does a Basset Hound cost?
      A purebred, pet quality Basset Hound puppy from a reputable breeder may cost between $2000. - 3000., depending on the part of the country. The price for a puppy with show (or breeding) potential will start appreciably higher. Prices of individual puppy's vary according to quality (show or field potential), age, geographic region, and availability. The puppy should have been checked by a veterinarian and given appropriate inoculations based on its age. Inoculations for rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, kennel cough, and parvovirus are all necessary. A conscientious breeder will have a complete record of all puppy illnesses, treatments, and inoculations. Beware of a breeder who sells a puppy without all the necessary shots or proper AKC or CKC registration information. Also beware of the breeder that wants to sell a puppy prior to 8 weeks. In many areas it is against the  law to sell or transport a puppy younger than this age. t stores tend to change the highest prices for puppies. The source of these puppies is usually a pu
    • What can I expect in my older Basset?
      Given good care, the Basset can lead a very active 10 years and be active as a stud dog up to 12 years. (AKC will not register puppies sired by a dog over 12 years of age without written permission of AKC and certification from a veterinarian.) Bassets enjoy their food in old age and, if allowed, become fat and lazy. The Basset is an easy keeper and a steady hound and usually lives 8 to 12 years, although there are many that live beyond, to 14,15,16 or even up to 17 years.
    • Are Bassets hard to breed?
      YES! Once determining that your dog of bitch is worthy of being bred (be sure to read the breeding FAQs) the owner of the dog must be prepared to provide the following.  * A safe, secure, clean area to keep the visiting bitch to be bred      (the bitch always goes to the dog). Can you provide this?  * Bassets do not "free" breed and need to be personally handled/ supervised throughout the entire act of breeding. Are you willing to do this? Two Bassets left together is a room will only result in two tired, frustrated, unbred dogs.  * Your male will probably start "marking" (peeing) his territory in your home. :-(  * Your male may become more aggressive perhaps to you, and your family. REMEMBER: If you have never had ice cream, you will never miss it. SPAY and/or NEUTER.

    • Are Bassets hard to housetrain?
      No harder than any other breed, you MUST be consistent.
    • Can the Basset Hound swim?
      Only with a great deal of difficulty. With 2/3 of the Basset's weight in the front, and with such short legs, they can swim only very short distances, and with great difficulty. If you must go boating with a Basset be certain, you have provided a life preserver for him or other suitable floatation device. Extra care must be taken around swimming pools, and the Basset should never be left, unsupervised in a pool area. Should your Basset be prone to falling in, get him to swim to the stairs, so that he will learn the way out.
    • What about colors? Are red and whites rare, therefore worth more? What about the "blue" Basset?
      HA, HA, HA, - Only to the uninformed. The value of a Basset should not be based on its color or markings. The tri-color is the most common, followed by the red & white. Tri's at times can appear to be black and white, but on closer inspection, a touch of brown usually can be found. Red & whites can be almost completely white with just a few spots of tan, or they can be a deep mahogany color with only a small amount of white. Most come somewhere in between. There are also lemon & whites. A true lemon is rarely seen. Their markings are mostly white that fades into areas of very, very light tan. To tell if it is a true lemon, the puppy, at birth is totally white with no hint of tan. The light tan color develops as they mature. It should also be noted that the color and coverage of the marking of the puppy you get at 10-12 weeks will change as they mature. Every once in a while, you will hear of someone advertising the "rare" blue Basset (actually it is gray).The standard states "any recognizable hound color is acceptable", and blue is a recognized color in some other hound breeds, so it's not illegal - but it is VERY undesirable. It is a recessive trait resulting in genetically inherited disorders associated with this color, i.e. periscope intestines, skin allergies and food allergies. Be wary of breeders selling these "blue" bassets. A reputable breeder would not involve themselves in purposely breeding inferior quality.
  • Basset Hound Health
    • Von Willebrand's Disease
      A hereditary disorder appearing in some Bassets is Von Willebrand's disease, a platelet disorder resulting in mild to moderately severe bleeding and a prolonged bleeding time. Careful pedigree analysis and blood testing have reduced the incidence of this disease by reputable breeders.
    • Eyes
      The Basset is one of the breeds predisposed to glaucoma and cataracts.
    • Bloat
      Like many other breeds with a deep chest, the Basset is susceptible to gastric dilatation with torsion of the stomach (bloat). This can be a problem regardless of age. Torsion or bloat is considered an emergency and action must be taken immediately.
    • Paneosteitis
      Paneosteitis is an elusive ailment occasionally seen in young Bassets and Goldens. It is also known as wandering or transient lameness. Attacks are usually brought on by stress and aggravated by activity, and up to now, the cause and the cure are unknown. This mysterious disease causes sudden lameness, but its greatest potential danger may lie in false diagnosis, resulting in unnecessary surgery. A puppy will typically outgrow it by the age of two with no long term problems. It can be quite minor, or so bad that the dog will not put any weight on the leg. Symptoms may be confused with "elbow displasia", "hip displasia", "patellar luxation" and other more serious disorders. The most definite way to diagnose paneosteit  is is radiographically. Even with this, signs can be quite minimal and easily missed. As to treatment, no cure was found in experimental tests and the only helpful thing found was relief for pain (aspirin, cortisone, etc.)However, using these, the dog tends to exercise more and there by aggravate the condition. Note again: A GREAT MANY VETS ARE UNAWARE OF THIS DISEASE IN THE BASSET.

       In diagnosing the cause of a Basset's lameness, a radiograph of the forelimbs may indicate a condition called elbow incongruity. (Elbow incongruity is a poor fit between the 3 bones which comprise the elbow joint.) Studies to date indicate that elbow incongruity is normal in the Basset and is not the cause of the lameness. It is also suspected that many of the previously mentioned unnecessary (panosteitis) surgeries have been performed on Basset Pups just because radiographs that were taken showed elbow incongruity. A study on forelimb lameness in the Basset is currently underway at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. As previously mentioned they have determined that elbow incongruity occurs in the Basset but suspect that incongruity rarely causes the lameness. During the course of the study, conservative therapy will be recommended for all cases in which panosteitis appears to be the cause of the lameness. In cases with severe growth deformities or elbow pain associated with elbow incongruity, surgery may be recommended. If your Basset or Golden develops lameness and is diagnosed with an "elbow problem", discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of panosteitis.

    • Ears
      The long drooping ear predisposes the Basset to otitis externa,(smelly yucky ears). This is easily prevented if ear cleaning is done regularly, such as when nails are clipped. Check with your veterinarian for an ear wash, or make a preventative cleaning mix of 50% isopropyl alcohol and 50% white vinegar.
    • Paws
      As a puppy, the Basset should never be given too much exercise because of the heavy boned front. Care must also be taken to protect the front when jumping off anything, stairs, tables, etc.
  • Golden Retriever
    • Characteristics and Temperament of a Golden Retriever
      Dogs in general are pack-oriented animals. They need to interact with their pack on a regular basis to be secure. Golden's in particular have been bred through the years to make an excellent companion for people - whether it is to sit quietly in a duck blind until it is time to retrieve or as a service dog or in any other capacity. Because of this, they, even more so than some other breeds, need to interact with their people. Golden's are particularly forgiving dogs and will allow you to make many mistakes while still wanting nothing more than to please and be acknowledged for it with a scratch behind the ear. As a testament to their desire to please, the first three dogs to obtain Obedience Trial Championships were Golden Retrievers. Because Golden's are such people-oriented dogs, it's important that they live WITH their owners. A Golden relegated to the backyard while his family is in the house is an unhappy Golden. It is imperative that your Golden be regularly included in family activities. Once fully grown, they are a robust dog and will enjoy many activities with you such as walking, hiking, jogging, hunting, etc. As is common with the retriever breeds, this is a breed slow to fully mature both mentally and physically. At a year of age, they will have their full height, but their full weight will be another year or two in coming. Mentally, they remain puppies for a long time (up to two or three years of age) and many retain a very playful and clownish personality for most of their lives. Because of their kindly and easy going nature, Golden's are a popular breed. Many people, in hoping to cash in on this popularity, breed Golden's without regard to their temperament or other good attributes. You should be very selective in picking out a puppy from a breeder. Your best sources for Golden's are from a breed rescue organization that carefully screens its dogs, or from a reputable breeder who is dedicated to the overall improvement of the breed. The choice you make now will be one you live with for the next decade, so choose carefully.
    • Grooming
      Because of the Golden's coat, you _must_ regularly groom your dog. Such grooming will also help reduce the amount of overall shedding and prevent painful mats from occurring. You should be sure to start grooming in puppyhood even when it's not strictly necessary so that he quickly learns to enjoy the process and not to put up a fuss. If you groom regularly, about once a week or two, the whole procedure will take about 1/2 hour. Brush a little daily while your dog is shedding and that will help control the amount shedded. Also if your Golden picks up burrs and other nasties while outside, take a few moments right away after you return to comb them out. Start with a thorough brushing. Use a pin brush on the featherings, chest, ears, and tail. Use a slicker on the rest of the body. After brushing, you can use a comb to remove more loose coat. Use this opportunity to check for fleas, ticks, and incipient skin problems. Golden's seem to be especially prone to hot spots. Inspect and clean ears at this time too, and trim your dog's nails. If you plan to bathe your Golden, brush him thoroughly first: wet tangles only become tighter and painful. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs since shampoos for humans will dry the skin out. Golden's are double coated breeds and should not be bathed often to avoid losing the undercoat. In many cases, you can simply wash the legs and undersides if they are dirty, wait for the dirt to dry and brush it out, or (after brushing) rinse the dog off with plain water and no shampoo. A properly textured and maintained coat should clean up easily. Golden's with the proper coat texture should not have problems with matting if they are regularly groomed. However, a coat that is softer and silkier than the desired standard will mat easily: some owners have reported the overnight appearance of mats. Smaller mats may be picked out with a metal comb, if the dog is patient enough. Larger mats will need to be removed. Don't use scissors as it is too easy to injure the dog if he moves at the wrong time. Commercially available are mat breakers (check the mail order catalogs) which can safely cut through mats and make them easy to remove. Places to look for mats include behind the ear, along the feathering, especially in the rear, and the tail. For dogs with persistent problems, you may need to brush the problem areas more frequently, or even trim them to some extent. It may help to find a groomer you like and trust and ask them for advice. Since mats grow larger, and tighten the trapped fur, they are eventually painful to your dog. They also serve as an excellent area for fleas and skin irritations to start, so keeping your dog mat-free is important. Tips: Using a flea comb is a good way to check for fleas on your dog, remove undercoats, keep tabs on the skin's condition and minimize mats, all in one! If you get your puppy from a breeder, ask the breeder to demonstrate grooming techniques (most good ones will insist on doing so anyway).
    • How much do they shed?
      Golden's shed a lot. They have an abundance of coat as well as feathering and they will produce a more or less constant amount of hair in your house. Some of this can be alleviated with regular and thorough brushing, but if you have an aversion to dog hair in your house, a Golden will not be a good choice.
    • Are they good with kids?
      Most Golden's are wonderful with kids, especially when they have been regularly exposed to well-behaved children as puppies. However, they are large and excitable and may easily knock children over if they jump up to lick their faces or propel a toddler along with a solid whack of their tails. Never leave very young children and dogs together unattended. Just as the dog could easily accidentally hurt the children, so could they hurt him by poking him in the eyes or ears or pulling his tail.
    • How much exercise do they need?
      They are a sporting breed and as such need plenty of exercise. They will benefit best from regular periods of high intensity activity once they are fully grown. This includes a quick session of fetching, romping with other dogs, running along the beach and so on. You do need to be careful with puppies under 18 months or so; while they need exercise, it must not be forced or sustained. For example, you cannot take them jogging or biking with you until they are fully grown, or you will damage their joints
    • How about swimming?
      Most Golden's love to swim, and it's excellent exercise for them, even when young. Introduce them to water and let them explore on their own. If they are unsure about the water, you might get in and swim out a bit to encourage them, but let them take their own time. Younger puppies might be more standoffish to water than they would be in another month or two; that's normal. Never toss a dog into water that doesn't want to go in! Sometimes a water crazy older dog is perfect to have along to help teach your dog to appreciate swimming. You might also try tossing in a toy for him to get, but be prepared to go out and retrieve it yourself if he doesn't! If you have a swimming pool, just remember that the dog hair in the pool will mean you need to clean the pool more frequently if you dog goes in it a lot. Be sure that your dog knows how to get out of the swimming pool; it's not a good idea to leave him unattended with access to the pool.
    • Do they bark a lot?
      Not typically, but they can if they are bored.
    • How do they do in hot weather?
      As long as they have access to shade, free moving air, and water, they will do just fine in the heat. Don't exercise them in the heat of the day, and be sure you have water with you when you do exercise them later.

    • They're supposed to be good in the obedience ring, aren't they?
      Golden's are typically very eager to please their owners. This translates into their being both relatively easy to train for obedience and to having a good attitude in the ring. While not all Golden's make good competitive obedience dogs, you will see many of them in the obedience ring.

    • Are they any good as hunting dogs? In field trials?
      Golden's do not do as well as Labradors in the field trials which are, in all fairness, biased toward the sort of work the Labrador was bred to do. But many Golden's make excellent hunters in real hunting situations.
    • Is there a split in hunting and show lines? What should I look for?
      There is something of a split between show, field, and even obedience lines. As with any sport that becomes highly competitive, the specialization intensifies. With Golden's, that means the show dogs will have more coat and bone and be more laid back. The field dogs generally have less coat, more drive and be intensely "birdy" (interested in birds) with good noses. The obedience dogs often have less coat and a high drive but may or may not be birdy. You should consider carefully the differences between the different lines when picking your own dog out so that there are no surprises. Looking at the parents and any of their previous offspring is a good approach. But no matter which lines you are interested in, you should try to find the puppies that are well balanced with correct structure and conformation as the base. Whether you are interested in pet, show, hunting, etc., will determine other characteristics that you want But an unsound dog does not make a good show dog, hunting dog, obedience dog, or pet!
    • Do males or females make better pets (what are the differences)?
      Besides the physical differences, personal preference is probably the only big one here. Many people think that the males are slightly more "teddy-bear like" than the females. Neither should show any type of aggression (including dog aggression). If left unaltered, females will sometimes show a change in personality when they are coming into heat and when they are in heat. Most often, they seem to become a bit more clingy. During this time, they may not tolerate males sniffing around them or they may be extremely interested in males. If a male is left intact and used for breeding purposes and there is another intact male and a bitch in heat, the males might show some competitive aggression. However, neutered males and females will mostly differ in size (the females will be smaller) and their individual personalities. Both males and females are good with children. For your best predictor of personality, be sure to ask about and try to meet and interact with the puppy's sire and dam. There are tests that can be done to help determine the puppy's dominance, independence, and abilities. Be sure to ask your breeder about these. Also, socializing the puppy and general obedience training are always important.
    • Why do your two Golden's look so different?
      The Golden is supposed to be a mid-to-large size dog, suitable for sitting in a duck blind all day with, as well as small enough to be able to haul over the side of a boat all wet (after a retrieve). The standard has a range of acceptable sizes, for females it is 21 1/2-22 1/2 inches at the shoulder, for males it is 23-24 inches at the shoulder, with an inch allowance either way. So, just in size, if you have a small female (which could be 20 1/2 inches, about 45 pounds) and a large male (which could be 25 inches, about 95 pounds) there is a BIG difference. Now, if you add variations in coat, which may come from the "type" of breeding, you can get quite a physical difference. Through the years, breeders have bred for different qualities. Some breeders are interested purely in physical appearance for show purposes. Since "big and hairy" looks stunning in the show ring and wins, these breeders have bred for those characteristics. Other breeders have bred only for field ability. Since the smaller (and often darker coloured) dogs have been the ones that are faster and flashier in the field, these breeders have tended to breed for those characteristics. There are other types, as well, but these are the most common. Just because a dog is of the "conformation" type does NOT mean that it cannot work in the field, just as being of the "field" type does NOT mean that that dog cannot win in the show ring.
    • When do they grow up?
      Physically, Golden's are completely mature by 2 years of age. Mentally, well, that depends on the individual, but usually not before 3 years of age. Even though Golden's are physically mature by 2, you may notice changes in them well past that time. Remember, by nature Golden's are fun-loving and happy-go-lucky, so their perceived maturity may be less because of it.

  • Golden Retriever Health
    • Von Willebrand's Disease
      A hereditary disorder appearing in some Bassets is Von Willebrand's disease, a platelet disorder resulting in mild to moderately severe bleeding and a prolonged bleeding time. Careful pedigree analysis and blood testing have reduced the incidence of this disease by reputable breeders.
    • Paneosteitis
      Paneosteitis is an elusive ailment occasionally seen in young Bassets and Goldens. It is also known as wandering or transient lameness. Attacks are usually brought on by stress and aggravated by activity, and up to now, the cause and the cure are unknown. This mysterious disease causes sudden lameness, but its greatest potential danger may lie in false diagnosis, resulting in unnecessary surgery. A puppy will typically outgrow it by the age of two with no long term problems. It can be quite minor, or so bad that the dog will not put any weight on the leg. Symptoms may be confused with "elbow displasia", "hip displasia", "patellar luxation" and other more serious disorders. The most definite way to diagnose paneosteit  is is radiographically. Even with this, signs can be quite minimal and easily missed. As to treatment, no cure was found in experimental tests and the only helpful thing found was relief for pain (aspirin, cortisone, etc.)However, using these, the dog tends to exercise more and there by aggravate the condition. Note again: A GREAT MANY VETS ARE UNAWARE OF THIS DISEASE IN THE BASSET.

       In diagnosing the cause of a Basset's lameness, a radiograph of the forelimbs may indicate a condition called elbow incongruity. (Elbow incongruity is a poor fit between the 3 bones which comprise the elbow joint.) Studies to date indicate that elbow incongruity is normal in the Basset and is not the cause of the lameness. It is also suspected that many of the previously mentioned unnecessary (panosteitis) surgeries have been performed on Basset Pups just because radiographs that were taken showed elbow incongruity. A study on forelimb lameness in the Basset is currently underway at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. As previously mentioned they have determined that elbow incongruity occurs in the Basset but suspect that incongruity rarely causes the lameness. During the course of the study, conservative therapy will be recommended for all cases in which panosteitis appears to be the cause of the lameness. In cases with severe growth deformities or elbow pain associated with elbow incongruity, surgery may be recommended. If your Basset or Golden develops lameness and is diagnosed with an "elbow problem", discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of panosteitis.

    • Hip Dysplasia
      The term hip dysplasia means poor development of the hip joint, and describes an developmental disease in young dogs of many different breeds. Unsound hip joints are a common problem in many breeds, and hip dysplasia can be a serious problem in any dog that is to be trained for a demanding activity. Hip dysplasia may be diagnosed by x-ray between six months and one year of age, but this is not entirely reliable, and dogs intended for breeding should be x-rayed when fully mature. Two years of age is considered to be the minimum age for accurate determination of sound hips. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a organization with trained veterinarians that examine thousands of x-rays and grade the hips they see. Dogs that are past a minimum age and have good hips are certified Fair, Good, or Excellent; hips that show signs of arthritis and hip dysplasia do not get certified. Needless to say, both parents of the puppy you are considering should have OFA certification. The more OFA numbers in the pedigree (including littermates of the parents, grandparents, and previous offspring of either parent), the better off your puppy is. However, as the inheritance of hip dysplasia involves multiple genes, breeding only OFA certified dogs only lessens  the chances of HD in the puppies, not  eliminates. Dogs not intended for breeding but who will be active in obedience, agility, hunting, etc. should be screened between 6-12 months of age. This way if there is a problem that shows up this early, you have several options for corrective surgery that are best done at this age. And if your pup shows no signs of hip dysplasia at this point, you can more comfortably continue with your planned activities without worrying that you are making a problem worse down the line. If your puppy has a persistent, unexplainable limp, he should be x-rayed to determine if hip dysplasia or something else is the cause. On the other hand, Golden's and other retriever breeds often seem to have high pain thresholds and do not show signs of pain. An x-ray does not always show you how your dog feels, as many dysplastic Golden's are completely asymptomatic, especially when younger. Others that do display symptoms can often be helped with either medicinal or surgical intervention to alleviate the pain.

    • Eye Disease
      Some Golden's carry genes for Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA) which is a progressive deterioration of the light-receptive area (retina) of the eye, and may result in complete blindness at a young age. Hereditary cataracts are also common eye problems in the Golden Retriever. Examination by a Board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist is necessary to determine if the cataract is of concern from a genetic standpoint. If there are any questions, the dog should not be bred. Golden Retrievers used for breeding stock should be examined annually until at least eight years of age or longer, as hereditary eye problems can develop at varying ages. Dogs that have undergone examination by a Board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and found to be free of hereditary eye disease can be registered with the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). _Note that not all forms of cataracts disqualify a dog from getting a CERF number; you should ask to see a copy of the paperwork the vet filled out (the original is sent to CERF). The breeder should be able to show you the paperwork on both parents for eye examinations. It's important to verify that the dogs are being examined annually and not just once. If the breeder has older dogs, ask if they are still being examined as well.
    • Epilepsy
      Seizure disorders may arise from a variety of environmental factors including viral infections, other diseases and trauma. While an isolated seizure does not necessarily constitute a problem, dogs subject to recurring seizures should not be bred. Veterinarians can prescribe medication to control recurring seizures, however medication is not always completely effective. Epilepsy generally does not affect a dog's health or longevity, but all such dogs should be immediately neutered and not used for breeding stock: if it's hereditary, you don't want to pass it along to the pups'; if not, pregnancy increases the risk of a seizure, endangering both her and the pups' lives.
    • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS)
      SAS, a hereditary heart disease, is known to occur in the Golden Retriever breed. There is no registry for screenings for SAS, however, breeders have begun to have their dogs screened by Board-Certified Veterinary Cardiologists, and OFA is setting up a Heart Registry program as of mid-1996. The usual screening is auscultation (listening to the heart with a stethoscope). If there is any suspicion in the cardiologist's mind, an echocardiogram is run to rule out any problems. The typical proof that a breeder has had their breeding stock screened for SAS is a letter signed by a Board-Certified Veterinary Cardiologist indicating that the animal is, in their opinion, free from SAS.
    • Hypothyroidism
      Hypothyroidism is characterized by atrophy or malfunction of the thyroid gland. Clinical symptoms include obesity, lethargy, and/or coat problems. Affected animals may also have various reproductive problems including irregular or absent heat cycle and lack of fertility in both male and female. Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is by laboratory tests measuring levels of T3 and T4 (produced by the thyroid gland) in the blood. Treatment consists of daily administration of oral thyroid supplement. When treated successfully the prognosis is excellent and the dog's lifespan is normal. Lifelong thyroid supplementation may be required. Many clinically normal, healthy Golden's may test slightly under the accepted range of "normal" T3 and T4 levels and it is quite possible that the normal values for this breed may be slightly lower than the values used for the general canine population. There are some dogs that will have epileptic attacks when hypothyroid and stop seizuring when put on thyroid. While there is a link, the hypothyroid condition does not cause epilepsy, and the dog should still be monitored for epilepsy.
    • Allergies
      Skin allergies are very common in Golden Retrievers and the offending allergens are numerous - a flea bite, airborne pollen, dust, mould, food. Symptoms can range from constant biting, licking and scratching to constant, chronic ear infections. In many cases diet can play a large role in the allergic dog. If you suspect you have an allergic animal, consult with a canine allergist to determine the actual extent of the problem. Allergies coupled with low thyroid levels are commonly seen and it is often worth testing for the other if you see the one in your dog.
    • What genetic screenings should you look for when buying a puppy?
      The "big two" in Golden's are OFA, and CERF. The parents of the puppies you are considering should be cleared from at least these two. Other things breeders should or may take into consideration in their breeding stock include: Von Willebrand's, epilepsy, allergies, skin disorders. You should ask your breeder about these.
    • What are hot spots?
      They look like open, oozing sores about the size of a quarter or larger on the dog. Treatment involves keeping the sore clean and dry until it heals. Shaving the area promotes air circulation; both Sulfodene and witch hazel have been recommended as astringent cleaners. You should avoid ointments and other topical applications which would keep the area moist. Hot spots are often caused by allergies. This can be allergies to fleas (most common), allergies to food, or hormonal (including thyroid, adrenal, and even testosterone levels) imbalances. Golden's, especially those with allergies, seem to be susceptible to hot spots. A book that is often recommended in helping to deal with allergies is Dr. Plechner's  Pet Allergies