Corkey Basset Hounds is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Christiansburg, Virginia, on 10 acres of wooded land. Nancy and Dan Corkey have been breeding Basset Hounds for almost 24 years, producing a plethora of pet companions and AKC champions.
AKC: How did you get started breeding dogs?
Nancy: I have been fascinated by the Basset Hound ever since I was a child watching Saturday morning cartoons. That Hush Puppy commercial would come on, and I was caught until it ended, always wishing one day I could see one of those odd-looking hounds, for they were not commonly found at the time.
When my husband surprised me one day with a female pup, I was elated, so I began learning everything I could about the breed, and studying the Basset Hound standard. I then purchased three other Bassets, as I had become hooked on this breed. We then had our first litter, and I kept the best pup in order to find a suitable mate to enhance my breeding program. I worked my way up to be a Breeder of Merit, which is an honor and a great responsibility.
What is the most important thing to know about Basset Hounds?
Nancy: Basset Hounds are wonderful family companions. They get along well with family members and household pets, especially if raised with them. They are a comical and entertaining breed, with perhaps a little more stubbornness in them than most breeds. They seem to think they know better than you, and with their short legs and long ears, you can’t help but let them think that!
How has AKC Marketplace helped you find puppy buyers?
Nancy: The AKC Marketplace provides information about each breed, making it easy for people to research the breeds all in one place. People who contact us through the AKC Marketplace are able to easily learn more about us and our Basset Hounds.
What is your favorite question to ask of potential puppy buyers?
Nancy: The most important question I like to ask prospective buyers is , “Are you familiar with the breed in any way?”
What are the main qualities you look for in potential owners?
Nancy: I want people seeking a Basset Hound to be familiar with the breed, as this is very important with not just Bassets, but any breed. People may think Basset Hounds are lazy, slow dogs, but this is not the case, especially when they are puppies. They may tend to be that way as they get older, but don’t be fooled. If people are not familiar with the Basset, I encourage them to learn as much as possible before purchasing one.
I like to know prospective Basset owners’ reasons as to why they want one, including how their home life is, and how much time they can give their dog. I want to make sure that someone is home most of the time, so that the pup is not left to themselves all day. I want owners to understand that when they acquire a Basset, it is a forever family member and a lifelong commitment. They are not commodities to just have and brag about when conversations come up.
What is the best advice you would give to novice breeders?
Nancy: I would advise them to know the standard of their breed. Omit dogs that do not meet the standard – the breeder’s blueprint. Keep the breed thriving by breeding only those that meet the standard. Know the health issues in the breed. Using proper testing, make sure the lines you are breeding are free of the genetic health issues that Basset Hounds can carry.
It’s the responsibility of the breeders to do their best in maintaining the breed standard. Lastly, it is best to get your dogs in front of judges who may offer their stamp of approval, before any breeding is undertaken.
Do your dogs participate in AKC sports?
Nancy: Participating in AKC conformation shows is my passion. I started handling classes years ago, worked with some show breeders, and entered the ring with excitement. However, my very first time in the ring, I was disqualified due to my hound having a slight limp. Not realizing my anxiousness, I had over–worked my dog, but everyone ringside was very kind.
With a couple of days of rest, my Basset was fine, so I didn’t let that discourage me. Like any sport, it takes time, patience, hard work, and a tough skin, but it’s well worth it when you come out of that ring with that ribbon in hand.
What do you like best about breeding dogs?
Nancy: Breeding that next show dog is what I love best about breeding. Pairing up certain hounds in search of the qualities you are looking for makes waiting for a litter so exciting, and you just can’t wait for the pups to arrive to see what they will look like.
One thing I especially like about Basset Hounds is the coloring, as there is no color standard, so they can range in a wide variety, and that’s a little extra icing on the cake.
Do you have a favorite breeding story?
Nancy: I don’t have a specific favorite breeding story, but every Basset Hound breeding is an adventure, and one where we hope for, prepare for, and pray for everything to turn out well.
Learn more about Nancy and her dogs at Corkey Basset Hounds.