Hush Basset

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Hush Basset
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The Hush Basset, also known as the Cocker Basset, is a hybrid dog breed that is a cross between the Cocker Spaniel and Basset Hound. This makes for a sturdy, medium-sized dog that is longer than they are tall. Despite a doleful expression these are happy dogs that love being with people and other animals. Their shorter legs mean they tire easily, and although the Hush Basset needs daily exercise, you won’t have to walk too far.

The working-dog parentage of the Hush Basset gives them an excellent sense of smell, which can be a distraction to them at times. Although they have a laidback character this can be a disadvantage when it comes to training, as they may not to bother to obey. Another potential drawback is a coat that sheds heavily. But all this said, the Hush Basset makes a great family dog that gets along with other pets.

About & History

As with most new-hybrid-pups-on-the-block, the story of the Hush Basset belongs to the parent breeds.

The Basset Hound

The Basset Hound originated in France when 16th century monks needed a dog to hunt rabbits. The breed was called the St Hubert’s, after their founder. After the upheaval of the French Revolution, this hound’s ability to follow scents made them popular with French peasants, as a scent hound they could keep pace with on foot.

In the 1860s, the distinctive St Hubert’s hound was brought to England as a gift to an aristocrat, Lord Galway. The latter then crossed the dog with Beagles and Bloodhounds to produce a dog recognisable as the modern day Basset.

The Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel belongs to the spaniel group of working dogs, which have been around since the 15th century. This group originated in Spain, where they were broadly divided into land and water dogs, and then further diverged to create the distinctive spaniel breeds we know today. The Cocker Spaniel has their origins as a dog used to flush out woodcock from the undergrowth. They share common ancestry with the Springer Spaniel, with the two breeds diverging around the 1870s.


In a litter of Hush Bassets, some pups will take after one or other of the parents, whilst some will be a blend of both. Those pups that are a true mix will be a long, low, heavy set dog, with sturdy bones, short legs, and a barrel-like chest.

An outstanding feature is their long heavy ears, covered in silky fur, whilst the other end is topped off by a long straight tail with feathering. Their coat is short to medium length, tending towards the silky. Coat colours include tri-colour, ruby, or roan, with or without white patches.

Character & Temperament

A well-socialised Hush Basset pup will grow into a happy, laidback fellow that loves their owner’s company. Although easy-going, they can be so laidback as to appear stubborn and may be distracted by scents. This is a dog that likes the sound of their own voice, so be prepared for a sound reactive dog that likes to bark or howl at the drop of a hat.


The Hush Basset has a working heritage, which makes them a mixed bag with regards to training. They like to use their intuitive and follow scents, which can make them deaf to their human's cues. Also, they have sufficient bulk that they can’t be forced to move if they don’t wish to, which means finding the right motivation for training is the difference between success and failure.


It takes several generations of statistics to assemble reliable information about breed-related health disorders. As a newbie, such data is lacking for the Hush Basset. However, it is reasonable to look at the conditions linked to the parent breeds and assume they may show up in their pups.


Both Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels are prone to greasy skin. This condition is known as seborrhoea and affected dogs have greasy feeling skin and a lank coat. As well as not looking their best, this predisposes the dogs prone to yeast infections, which make them itchy and scratchy.

Seborrhoea can be controlled, rather than cured, with the use of medicated shampoos and dietary supplements to improve skin condition. If the skin becomes infected then a course of antibiotics may be required.


Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid glands, means affected dogs have a sluggish metabolism. These dogs lack energy, feel the cold, and gain weight. Left untreated they develop a dry, sparse coat, and sometimes have a ‘tragic’ facial expression due to mild fluid retention of the face.

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a simple blood test and easily corrected with a daily pill containing a supplement of thyroid hormone. Retesting is required from time to time, to ensure the dose is correct.

Disc Disease

The long, low back of the Basset Hound makes them a martyr to slipped discs. This painful condition requires rest and pain relief, sometimes for several weeks. The worst affected dogs may lose sensation in their legs, which is an emergency that require urgent surgery to remove the extruded disc material from the spinal cord.

Entropion or Ectropion

These conditions relate to the eyelids. With entropion, the eyelids curl inwards, pressing eyelashes against the cornea; whilst ectropion refers to droopy eyelids which allow the surface of the eye to dry out. Both conditions cause discomfort, which can range from mild to severe depending on how badly affected the eyelids are. Many causes require corrective surgery to make the dog comfortable.

Gastric Torsion (Bloat)

The Hush Basset’s deep chest makes them prone to twisting of the stomach, a condition known as bloat. This life-threatening problem happens when the stomach flips over on itself. To reduce the risk of bloat it’s essential to feed a good quality food, have the dog to eat slowly, and always rest the dog for at least one hour after eating.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The sturdiness and short legs of the Hush Basset mean they tire easily on walks. They do require regular daily exercise, but won’t cope well with long walks. Exercising off the lead is a good idea, as this gives them a chance to sniff and explore at their own pace. Indeed, playing fetch or similar, allows them to stretch their legs but stop when fatigued.


Both parent dogs have a reputation as heavy shedders (despite the Basset’s short coat). To avoid a maelstrom of shed hair, the Hush Basset owner is advised to brush their pet daily with a slicker or deshedding tool. Those dogs that take after the Cocker, have a longer, silky coat, prone to knots or matts. Regular combing helps avoid this, paying special attention to areas where fur rubs against fur, such as behind the ears, armpits and groin.

Those Hush Basset’s with a greasy skin, require regular bathing with a medicated shampoo. The latter are designed to remove the grease (which reduces the chance of infection) without over drying the skin.

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