LOWDOWN Winter 2013

The Editor’s Bark
. . . . woof! woof!

Welcome to number 12 of Lowdown - this being final issue that I will produce for the South East Branch.

As you will know by now, your long-standing, hardworking, Branch committee are all resigning at the end of the year and unless others form a committee the South East Branch will be held in abeyance.

As Lowdown has recorded the Branch’s many successes of recent years, it would be odd if the final issue were not to briefly outline the current position.

It is best for me not to go into too much detail about all that has led to this radical decision by the committee, which was taken only after a lot of contemplation.

However, I must say that the tremendous hard work that has been done by the committee in reviving the Branch from a point of near oblivion has never been truly recognised or appreciated by the parent club. This is surprising as we have become the largest of the Club’s branches and thanks to Derek’s vision and determination have built the best website devoted to the breed in this country.

Surely these are assets which should have been welcomed and celebrated by the BHC. Instead, we have been subject to criticism from the highest quarters within the Club.

For some time we have been aware of the dissatisfaction that many of you have expressed about the obligation for Branch members to join the Basset Hound Club; seemingly for very little in return (other than third-party insurance provided for Branch events). For some reason there has not even been a summer newsletter produced by them this year. I agree with your comments, that it all seems very poor value.

The BHC’s main concern seems focused upon organising its two annual breed shows - something that only a very small number of branch members have any interest in - and yet are supposed to fund. The Club appears not to recognise that pet owners form the overwhelmingly majority of its membership - they are not some sub-species just because they do not breed or show their hounds.

In early 2010, Lowdown conducted an anonymous survey of members on behalf of the Branch which provided us with some useful feedback of your views. Two main points emerged. The first was that the Branch achieved a very high satisfaction rating for its events (walks etc), its website, and for Lowdown. The second result was that there was a lot of dissatisfaction aimed at the BHC.

I recently looked back at the results of the survey and came upon this quote about the Club from a member, “The club is really for show (dog) owners and breeders. It does not offer much for pet owners”.

Copies of the survey’s results were sent to the BHC, hoping that they would be interested in the findings, but I don’t recall receiving any form of response.


BHC rule changes have been brought in over recent years which directly affect the branches, but without any consultation. Our Chairman made the excellent suggestion that the BHC should sometimes hold its committee meetings around the regions; but this was entirely disregarded.

It augurs badly for any club when it becomes so dislocated and remote from the general membership. Club committees should serve their membership - not the other way round!

Perhaps the very word ‘branch’ conjures up a misleading analogy of our relationship with the Club. We are really the ‘roots’. By attracting members, we are supplying the vital funding source upon which it depends; and our position is in no way secondary, or merely added-on.

We in the South East are not alone in feeling dissatisfaction with the BHC. You may be aware that those from the South West Branch have also decided to separate themselves from the Club.

Also, at a time when our breed has been subject to strong criticism by parts of the media and even the Kennel Club, I have been very surprised, and indeed saddened, by the BHC’s near silence in championing the merits of our wonderful breed. Even the Basset Hound Health Group that it helped to establish with other clubs always seemed to me to more reactive, than proactive.

Surely, the Basset Hound we know and love deserves better!

All that said, I sincerely wish the BHC well in the future. I do hope that it can adjust to the current dynamics in which it finds itself.

I remember years back when Frankie and I were members attending BHC AGMs (when they were held in London), that there was a large and active hunting contingent within the club - they even had their own pack, the Albany. Times change things, and modern sensibilities which led to legislation have caused the demise of that activity.

Nowadays, dog showing is coming under threat and numbers entering Basset Hound classes have dramatically fallen. Sadly, it is even foreseeable the Kennel Club may no longer even continue to recognise the breed - at least in its current form - as they continue to revise breed standards.

So these are incredibly difficult times for the BHC, which I think require it to reassess its role; what it is doing, and for whom. I really hope that is can do this as the breed and its owners need as much support as they can get.

Even though all of us on the committee are resigning, we remain committed to serving the breed and its owners in some other form. We feel this is best achieved by establishing a new, totally independent club in the South East with its committee responsible solely to its members.

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank all of you for the wonderful contributions you have sent to the twelve issues of Lowdown over the last six years; and for your lovely comments which have made editing this small publication a real joy and a privilege.

So, that’s all folks!

With very many thanks, Au Revoir!

editor@bassethoundowners.org.uk

Image courtesy of Sheila Williams©2013

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

Welcome to number 12 of Lowdown - this being final issue that I will produce for the South East Branch.

As you will know by now, your long-standing, hardworking, Branch committee are all resigning at the end of the year and unless others form a committee the South East Branch will be held in abeyance.

As Lowdown has recorded the Branch’s many successes of recent years, it would be odd if the final issue were not to briefly outline the current position.

It is best for me not to go into too much detail about all that has led to this radical decision by the committee, which was taken only after a lot of contemplation.

However, I must say that the tremendous hard work that has been done by the committee in reviving the Branch from a point of near oblivion has never been truly recognised or appreciated by the parent club. This is surprising as we have become the largest of the Club’s branches and thanks to Derek’s vision and determination have built the best website devoted to the breed in this country.

Surely these are assets which should have been welcomed and celebrated by the BHC. Instead, we have been subject to criticism from the highest quarters within the Club.

For some time we have been aware of the dissatisfaction that many of you have expressed about the obligation for Branch members to join the Basset Hound Club; seemingly for very little in return (other than third-party insurance provided for Branch events). For some reason there has not even been a summer newsletter produced by them this year. I agree with your comments, that it all seems very poor value.

The BHC’s main concern seems focused upon organising its two annual breed shows - something that only a very small number of branch members have any interest in - and yet are supposed to fund. The Club appears not to recognise that pet owners form the overwhelmingly majority of its membership - they are not some sub-species just because they do not breed or show their hounds.

In early 2010, Lowdown conducted an anonymous survey of members on behalf of the Branch which provided us with some useful feedback of your views. Two main points emerged. The first was that the Branch achieved a very high satisfaction rating for its events (walks etc), its website, and for Lowdown. The second result was that there was a lot of dissatisfaction aimed at the BHC.

I recently looked back at the results of the survey and came upon this quote about the Club from a member, “The club is really for show (dog) owners and breeders. It does not offer much for pet owners”.

Copies of the survey’s results were sent to the BHC, hoping that they would be interested in the findings, but I don’t recall receiving any form of response.


BHC rule changes have been brought in over recent years which directly affect the branches, but without any consultation. Our Chairman made the excellent suggestion that the BHC should sometimes hold its committee meetings around the regions; but this was entirely disregarded.

It augurs badly for any club when it becomes so dislocated and remote from the general membership. Club committees should serve their membership - not the other way round!

Perhaps the very word ‘branch’ conjures up a misleading analogy of our relationship with the Club. We are really the ‘roots’. By attracting members, we are supplying the vital funding source upon which it depends; and our position is in no way secondary, or merely added-on.

We in the South East are not alone in feeling dissatisfaction with the BHC. You may be aware that those from the South West Branch have also decided to separate themselves from the Club.

Also, at a time when our breed has been subject to strong criticism by parts of the media and even the Kennel Club, I have been very surprised, and indeed saddened, by the BHC’s near silence in championing the merits of our wonderful breed. Even the Basset Hound Health Group that it helped to establish with other clubs always seemed to me to more reactive, than proactive.

Surely, the Basset Hound we know and love deserves better!

All that said, I sincerely wish the BHC well in the future. I do hope that it can adjust to the current dynamics in which it finds itself.

I remember years back when Frankie and I were members attending BHC AGMs (when they were held in London), that there was a large and active hunting contingent within the club - they even had their own pack, the Albany. Times change things, and modern sensibilities which led to legislation have caused the demise of that activity.

Nowadays, dog showing is coming under threat and numbers entering Basset Hound classes have dramatically fallen. Sadly, it is even foreseeable the Kennel Club may no longer even continue to recognise the breed - at least in its current form - as they continue to revise breed standards.

So these are incredibly difficult times for the BHC, which I think require it to reassess its role; what it is doing, and for whom. I really hope that is can do this as the breed and its owners need as much support as they can get.

Even though all of us on the committee are resigning, we remain committed to serving the breed and its owners in some other form. We feel this is best achieved by establishing a new, totally independent club in the South East with its committee responsible solely to its members.

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank all of you for the wonderful contributions you have sent to the twelve issues of Lowdown over the last six years; and for your lovely comments which have made editing this small publication a real joy and a privilege.

So, that’s all folks!

With very many thanks, Au Revoir!

editor@bassethoundowners.org.uk

Image courtesy of Sheila Williams©2013

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts