Profile of Joan Urban – CH basset breeder for 1/2 of a century

September 30th, 2008 - 2:02 pm KY Time

Howllo Fellow Hound and WOW! Lovers: I just found this article on the Internet and it is so interesting. I have no desire to show, but boy if I did, this is how I would wanna roll. Totally!


After you click on the link, give it some time to load. I have a very high speed connection and took me several minutes. Mine did not start playing automatically, I had to click the left arrow after it finished loading.


Buying a dangle-earred basset hound for her sons in 1959 changed a Flour Bluff woman’s life.

Three years later Joan Urban and her boys had led their pup, Pierre, into a hound hierarchy as Mexican and American champion basset. After the boys’ interest in breeding bloodhounds waned for baseball, she already was hooked on showing and breeding the bass-baying bassets.

Now almost half a century later Urban, 76, has trotted more than 65 stubby-legged bassets into the breeds’ championships.

“It became a doggy world for me because these guys are such comedians,” said Urban, while wrapping her hands around her house-hound Aggie’s ears. The basset breed of hunting dogs emerged about 400 years ago in France, she said.

Urban loaded nine of her champion canines this past weekend into her temperature-sensitive recreational vehicle to show them today at the Fort Worth Basset Club Show. She’s the guest speaker and will talk about her many years of showing the hounds. On Tuesday the Urban brood will compete in the Basset Hound Club of America National Dog Show in Plano, against about 500 other bassets from around the world.

All of her current dogs have earned enough show points to be classified as champions, and five of them have won top recognition in national mixed-breed competitions.

“People guess I just like ugly dogs,” Urban said. “But to me they’re beautiful. They’re just big dogs with droopy eyes and muzzles on short legs.”

Urban has become a legendary breeder in basset hound circles with her book “A New Owner’s Guide to Basset Hounds,” and other publications. She was co-founder in the late 1960s of the Basset Hound Club of Corpus Christi, which swelled to become The Basset Hound Club of Greater San Antonio. She and club co-founder Knox Williams produced the “Hound Crier” magazine that linked basset lovers coast to coast.

“Joan certainly has the respect of most basset breeders and members of the Basset Hound Club of America,” said Richard Nance, coordinator of the club’s national show. He met Urban about 12 years ago as she judged his dogs, he said.

She has been judging breed shows for about 30 years including judging in the famed 136-year-old Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the mid-1980s at Madison Square Garden and the first national basset show last year in Gumma, Japan.

She was invited to judge because it was her national champion dog, Bomber, that was bought by hound hunters from Japan who were interested in unveiling the breed there.

Other people from around the world come to Urban to buy her breed.

Most recent was Manfred Sons of Hellenthal, Germany, who stayed with Urban for pointers on showing bassets before he bought two winning dogs to compete in his country.

Manfred and his two new hounds walked through dense pastures among Urban’s cattle two weeks ago, before he strutted them along a concrete patio in show ring style for Urban’s feedback. She shared the nuances of her training success and instructed him on proper positioning of the dogs for judge inspections.

Since returning to Germany, Sons has won a competition with one of his new dogs.

As for Urban, she has never shown nine dogs at once, but because the show was in Texas she felt the need to “go for it,” she said.

“I don’t know how long I can keep going,” she said with a laugh. “Just hope when I die it’s in the ring showing a really good dog I bred.”


Urban shows today at the basset hound nationals. Good Luck Joan

More awe inspiring folks later…..Cat, Chaps and Emma


  1. September 30th, 2008 | 7:12 pm

    Joan, if you happen to read this, I am overwhelmed with your setup. How cool are you? Who drives that BUS?

  2. MaureenandSlinky
    October 2nd, 2008 | 11:10 am

    You can tell Joan loves her hounds, they would be treated well even if she didn’t show the Bassets.

  3. Earl Beavers
    October 19th, 2014 | 6:31 pm

    Just now read this article, and was impressed! You obviously have done a great job at what you love. Earl

  4. Audrey
    August 19th, 2015 | 1:16 pm

    Joan..I so loved working for you at Bluff Boarding.
    Thank You

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