Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Two not dissimilar breeds, the Basset Hound and Dachshund are both European ‘dwarf’ dogs known for their sweet temperaments that have been historically used to hunt. Breeding these two dogs together has resulted in the Basschshund, an equally gentle dog who loves nothing more than to spend time with its family in the comfort of its home.

With a heart of gold, the Basschshund makes an excellent family dog that has only moderate exercise requirements. These dogs are not particularly easy to train, so do benefit from an owner with experience. The conformation and floppy ears of the Basschshund can predispose it to certain health conditions, which owners should make themselves aware of ahead of time.

About & History

When your parents are the docile, sweet-natured Basset Hound and the loyal, outgoing Dachshund, it is an inevitability that the Basschshund turns out to be a feisty little ball of love! As with many designer dogs, it is difficult to know when exactly the Basschshund came to be, though many think it was only in the last few decades. With regards to country of origin, things are not so clear, though most feel that they may have first been developed in the United States. Though the history of the Basschshund is cloudy at best, we know plenty about their ancestors.

The Basset Hound is a scent hound that was developed in France in the late 1500s for the express purpose of hunting the local rabbits. Their short legs mean that they are not the fastest, although this has traditionally suited hunters that work on foot rather than on horseback. They are known to have some Bloodhounds and Beagles in their bloodline. The Dachshund too, has hunting in its heritage, though comes from Germany, not France. A more versatile hound, they were used to hunt a range of prey, including foxes, badgers and boar. It is thought that they have been in existence in their modern form for around three to four hundred years. There is a great variety within the breed with longhaired, smooth-haired, wire-haired and miniature types.


Predicting the appearance of any hybrid is no easy task and there can be a great variability even between siblings. While some will look physically more like their Dachshund parent, others will take on more physical traits of the Basset Hound. It is assumed that as time goes on, the breed will standardise more and more.

Of course, with both parents displaying chondrodysplasia (cartilage malformation resulting in stunted growth) in their breed standard, the Basschshund was never destined for great heights, with most individuals standing at between 22cm and 30cm. Robustly built, fully mature dogs reach weights of 12kg to 20kg.

The soulful brown eyes of the Basschshund are one of their most attractive features, only enhancing their adoring personality. As with their parents, their ears are long and floppy, although for many they will never reach the great lengths and widths of the famed Basset ears. The long torso of the Basschshund is well-muscled and supported by short limbs.

The short coat of the Basschshund can be a multitude of colours and patterns, including black, white, grey, brown, chestnut. Colour mixes are common, such as black and tan or brown and white.

Character & Temperament

Probably the best thing about the Basschshund is its sweet and affectionate personality. A gentle soul, this dog loves to be surrounded by people and can be trusted with children. They fawn over their owners and dedicate themselves to them, making them a great companion for those that live alone. Content the majority of time, as long as their needs are met they should not create too much of a fuss and should make easy house guests.

The desire to hunt is never far from the surface and with both parents making first-rate hunting hounds, the Basschshund could not be expected to pass up the opportunity to scent and track. Due to this, they should not be homed with smaller pets, such as rodents or rabbits. It can also mean that their recall is not ideal, as when they catch a scent it is often ‘game over’. Owners must be aware of this trait if planning to walk them off lead.

Alert and moderately territorial, the Basschshund does make an effective watch dog and will make it known if a new person arrives. However, they are far too kindhearted to ever act on their empty threats and should not be relied upon as guard dogs.


Though the Basschshund lives to please their owner and has no issues with being obedient, they sometimes come across as stubborn and slow to learn. This moderate resistance can often be overcome with the use of an experienced trainer and tried-and-tested training methods.

As this breed enjoys its independence, it can take a lot of persuasion to make them understand that they should be obedient at all times and not just when it pleases them. Starting training from a young age can help to improve their responsiveness.


With a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, the Basschshund is a relatively long-lived dog that can enjoy good health. That said, there are quite a number of conditions that their parents are predisposed to and which they are likely to experience at higher rates than the general population. With any mixed breed, adding ‘new blood’ can help to dilute the issues experienced by the pedigree parent.


IVDD, Intervertebral Disc Disease, is an orthopaedic disorder suffered by a range of breeds, with dwarf breeds and those with long backs being more commonly affected. In simple terms, a slipped disc compresses the spinal cord to varying degrees, causing symptoms which may be anything from mild to severe, depending on the degree of compression.

In some dogs, they will experience localised pain only, while those with severe injuries may be completely paralysed. Treatment depends on a number of factors and while those with mild IVDD may be managed conservatively with rest and pain relief, many dogs will require surgery. Obesity can predispose dogs to developing IVDD, so it is essential that the Basschshund retain a healthy weight.

Entropion or Ectropion

Entropion (folding in) or ectropion (folding out) of the eyelids can cause a dog significant discomfort and may even damage the eyes. For many, a corrective surgery is performed in early life to resolve the problem.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

In some dogs, the mitral valve in the heart will wear out and ‘leak’ blood over time, eventually resulting in heart failure. For most, this is a disease that worsens over time and may be asymptomatic for many years. It is estimated that around 8% of all dogs will develop MVD at some stage. Once the disease has progressed past a certain stage, cardiac medication will be prescribed to reduce the symptoms.

Ear Infections

While those dangling ears may look absolutely precious, they can be the bane of some dog’s (and owner’s!) lives. Infected ears may produce a bad smell and cause local reddening and inflammation. Affected dogs will often rub their head on the ground or scratch at their ears incessantly. Medicated drops are typically needed to get the infection under control. To prevent recurrent infections, regular ear cleaning is necessary.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While no-one could ever describe the Basschshund as ‘sporty’, they do enjoy their time spent outdoors and would be grateful for a couple of 30 minutes outdoor play time sessions or hikes each day. Owner beware, as soon as a Basschshund is let off the lead in the woods or park, they will be straight on the hunt for squirrels!

Well-suited to life in a small flat or home, the Basschshund does not require an extensive amount of space or a large back yard. They should not be allowed to become lazy and it is essential that they remain lean and trim to keep them in tip top shape and prevent potential health problems, such as slipped discs.


A moderate shedder, less fur will be lost around the house if these dogs are groomed outdoors a few times a week. As their fur is quite short, it is not prone to matting and is easy to maintain. Regular claw trimming is essential to prevent ingrown claws and ensure that the claws do not interfere with their movement.

The biggest commitment when it comes to the maintenance of the Basschshund is the ear cleaning involved. Their pendulous ears have large canals that tend to become moist and humid, leading to the proliferation of yeast and bacteria. Owners must get used to checking the ears daily and using an ear wash once to twice a week to remove any wax or build-up. After any swim or bath, it is vital that the ear canals are dried completely.

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