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The Basset Hound was bred to hunt. Its keen nose and short stature are suited to small-game hunting on foot. As hunting has declined in popularity, many Bassets have lost their age-old skills. There are a few groups that promote hunting with Basset Hounds. The American Hunting Basset Association and the Basset Hound Club of America has been the most active in promoting the use of Bassets for rabbit hunting.
Hunting with Basset Hounds when with an organization such as the American Hunting Basset Association or the Basset Hound Club of America do not involve the killing of any animals. These organizations are merely testing the Basset Hound's skills at tracking/trailing a rabbit's scent.
Each organization is different in how it functions. With the AHBA, a group of 4 to 6 hounds (cast) are given one hour to find their own rabbit and judged based upon a standard set of rules while in the BHCA two dogs are paired and then put on a rabbit track and then judged. Typically the BHCA hunting lasts a few minutes per brace, the basset pair. With both organizations, the winning dog in each brace for the BHCA or cast for the AHBA go on to compete against the other winning dogs.
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 exist in these states. Hunting for cotton tails and hare is the quarry of preference. There were a number of Basset Hound packs in its original home of England when the hunting of hares was made illegal by the Hunting Act 2004.