What is the history/roots of Basset Hound Rescue?

May 8th, 2013 - 3:03 pm KY Time

Howllo Fellow Basset Hound and Basset Hound Rescue Lovers!

I want to pick everyone’s brains about the past. What are the roots/history of basset hound rescue? I have been working with some of the old timers in Rescue, the BHCA, The Bugler, and just anyone else that I can ask. From what I have learned in my research, bassets were fairly rare before the mid-50’s when “The People’s Choice” aired and starred the basset named Cleo. I have heard from several of my sources that this show kind of jump started the basset hound popularity during the late 50s/early 60s.

People's Choice Cleo


Cleo became so popular that a Little Golden Book (Simon and Schuster) was quickly developed and rushed into the hands of the new basset hound lovers…


I know my friend, Evelyn Leavens, who has recently passed away, adopted Boswell in 1953 from Lyn Mar Acres in NJ because of the popular TV show mentioned above.

Boswell Pedigree

It was a perfect time to write and illustrate her wildly popular children’s book, Boswell’s life of Boswell, (Simon and Schuster) which was number 2 on the New York Times Best Seller List for a brief period of time. I am sure many a kid wanted a basset after pouring over the amazing artwork and fun words.

So, with the combination of these 3 events bassets became more popular and entering more and more families. One thing is for sure, when a dog gets popular on TV and in books it is not always a good thing.

I was thinking that this would be about the same time that demand created a supply.

So, what do you know about the roots of basset hound rescue?

More loving the history of bassets later…Cat, Daisy Lynn (Chaps and Emma ATB) knowing the answers to every question…

PS – I have the entire People’s Choice TV series on DVD.  I have not watched it yet but I will soon.  I will try to share a few clips with the residents.


  1. Maureen Halleran
    May 8th, 2013 | 5:23 pm

    The voice of Cleo was played by the woman who was a friend of Lucy’s in the Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy. I believe she played a character named Mary Jane. I will see what I can find out.

    Elvis Presley sang the song “Hound Dog” to a Basset on the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember a couple of other Basset sitings, but nothing before the 1950s even in movies.

    What inspired me was a book I had as a child. It was a Dick & Jane and there dog (a Basset), that Dick and Jane did everything with. Then Dick and Jane got bicycles, and forgot about there dog (the sad looks of the illustrations were heart wrenching). Dick and Jane forgot to feed the Basset, left him alone and the Basset was so sad. I thought that I would get a dog like that and he/she would smile all the time.

  2. May 8th, 2013 | 6:08 pm

    1958 was the birth of Hushpuppy Shoes in Rockford, Michigan, with a basset hound for a mascot. (I grew up very near there … maybe that’s why I can’t resist the short hound dog).

  3. Cat
    May 8th, 2013 | 6:16 pm

    OM – that is another example of the basset skyrocketing to fame in the mid to late 50s. Of course, the Hush Puppy. Isn’t that odd? I was born in 1957. Maybe I was born under the sign of the basset hound! hehehe

  4. Cat
    May 8th, 2013 | 6:18 pm

    Maureen – I have never heard of the Dick and Jane book with the basset. Of course, I have heard of Dick and Jane but I will have to look for that book.

    Yes, we have Elvis singing to the basset. It is really interesting when you add all of these things up!

  5. Cindy, Jethro, Oz, Harriet and (Rugs ATB)
    May 8th, 2013 | 9:22 pm

    I don’t have anything to add to basset hound history but I remember those hush puppy shoes for sure! I was born in 1961 and they were alive and well when I was a young girl. We wore them for years.

    What a cool blog! I look forward to reading more about the basset hound history.

  6. May 9th, 2013 | 12:26 am

    I fell in love with Basset Hounds when I met “Sam the Dog” who lived on Dumphries Avenue, which was the street behind Sterling Avenue in Ft. Thomas. He would stop by every week or so, just checking in…

  7. Maureen Halleran
    May 9th, 2013 | 11:18 am

    This link tells all about Jason, the Hushpuppy Basset.



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