Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Basselier
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The Basselier, a cross between a Basset Hound and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, looks just as you would expect: Long-eared, short-limbed and with brown eyes that could melt the heart of a snowman! Generally, either brown and white or tricolor, this hybrid tends to have a short and sleek coat.

Thanks to the creation of the Basselier, you no longer have to choose between a hard-working hound and a family-friendly Spaniel. This is an affectionate dog that craves the company of both humans and other animals. Kind-hearted and gentle, they are known for being tolerant of young children and make an excellent addition to most households.

About & History

The Basselier is what is known as a ‘designer dog’ – a product of crossing two established pedigrees. Frustratingly, unlike what happens with pedigrees, when it comes to the breeding of these hybrids there is no paper trail and it is impossible to prove when and where the very first Basselier was created.

The Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is perhaps most widely associated with the cartoons Fred Basset and the aptly named Droopy Dog, but they have a lot more going for them than simply appearing in animations.

These scent hounds would have been used by the French in the 1500s to pursue small prey, such as rabbits. They were of particular use for those huntsmen who could not afford horses and had to hunt on foot; the short-limbed Basset was able to keep up with them at least!

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a reputation for being good-natured and patient, making it an especially popular pet for those with children. A British Breed, their name derives from King Charles II, who would use them to hunt.

However, it should be noted that the King Charles dog of yesteryear would have been longer-limbed, less snub-nosed and more athletic. Nowadays, this breed is a more of a lap dog and is not as active as it once was.


Basselier dogs will develop some physical traits from the Basset Hound and others from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. As with other hybrids, it can be tricky to predict from whom they will inherit their most prominent physical characteristics. As the breed matures, they will develop a more uniform look and we will better be able to predict their appearance.

The Basselier will grow to heights of 25cm to 35cm and will usually weigh around 15 to 25kg. They are, thus, a small to medium-sized dog. Their skull is rounded and their stop should be relatively defined. They have deep brown eyes that are remarkably expressive. Their pendulous ears hang closely to their face and may face forwards somewhat. They typically inherit the short, bow-legged stance of the Basset Hound but the bowing should not be as pronounced as their parent. Their body is compact and not especially well-muscled. Their long tail may have a slight kink at the end.

The Basselier’s fur will be short to medium in length and either straight or with a slight crimp. Most dogs will be tricolor (black, brown and white) but brown and white variants are also possible.

Character & Temperament

There are few dogs more gregarious than the Basselier. They are a social dog who love to be in the company of just about anyone; two-legged or four-legged. They don’t have a nasty bone in their body and are well-known for their love of children. Basseliers like to be in the same room as their family and won’t say not to a cuddle, whatever the time of day.

Given the history of both parent breeds as hunters, it should not come as a surprise that the Basselier has retained some modicum of their prey drive and still enjoys trailing scents and chasing. Their playful nature and general curiosity means they also enjoy a wide range of other activities and games.

While it is widely seen as a bonus that the Basselier is so people-friendly, it can mean that they are more prone to separation anxiety than the average canine. This can largely be avoided with the right training from a young age and by ensuring they are not left alone for prolonged periods too often.


It should not be especially difficult to train the Basselier as they are good-natured, eager to please and come from working stock. It is not unheard of for them to get distracted by different scents when being trained outside, so it is a sensible idea to work on their recall from puppyhood.


Both the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Basset Hound have reputations for ill health, so outbreeding is seen as a sensible idea within the veterinary community. It is thought that this should help to lessen the degree of inherited disease within the canine population. Despite this, there are still a number of conditions that the Basselier can be prone to.

Mitral Valve Disease

A heart disease that affects the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle, blood is unable to flow properly and this condition will eventually lead to heart failure. Medications can be used early on in the course of this disease to slow down its progression.


Entropion is a painful condition caused by eyelids that grow in towards the eyeball and scratch on the cornea. This can lead to discomfort, as well as local infection. A procedure to correct the position of the eyelid is often successful in correcting the issue completely.

KCS (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)

KCS is colloquially known as ‘dry eye’ and is a condition whereby there is not enough tear film produced to keep the eye lubricated. Signs can vary but tend to include thick ocular discharge, squinting and localised rubbing. There is a specialist surgery available, though most patients will be managed on topical eye drops.

Otitis Externa

Ear infections are common in the Basselier thanks to their droopy, heavy ears that make the ideal home for bacteria and yeast to thrive. Tell-tale signs include a bad smell within the ear, red skin within the canal and a thick, brown discharge. The sooner an infection is treated, the better the chance it will resolve completely rather than linger and cause chronic issues.

IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease)

Those with longer backs are more likely to develop IVDD, which leads to compression on the spinal cord and associated neurological signs, such as paresis (muscular weakness) and paralysis. Milder cases will be managed with medication and strict cage rest, while surgery will be needed for those worse affected.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Despite their hunting dog background, the Basselier only has moderate exercise requirements and should be more than happy with an hour of walking or jogging each day. It is important to prevent obesity with diet and exercise as this can lead to orthopaedic disease, especially in later life.


These dogs shed, though not especially heavily. Brushing two to three times a week should be plenty to keep on top of things. Owners should focus on the ears, removing any waxy build-up that could lead to an infection if left for too long within the canal.

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