Breeders Cross Two Popular Dogs to Create the Latest Fashion Mutt

basador

Story at-a-glance -

  • The basador represents two of the most well-loved purebred dogs: the basset hound and the Labrador retriever. Basadors represent another wave of “designer” dogs that have come about in the last 50 years, stirring up love and loathing for lots of pet lovers
  • Because of the genetic diversity of the two breeds, owners hope it may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases, but this is difficult to predict for mixed-breed dogs
  • Physical problems basadors may face include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, hypothyroidism and a number of serious orthopedic problems
  • As with all of the other trending, intentionally engineered mixed-breed dogs, there are hybrid “breed rescues,” so visit a basador rescue organization if you’re thinking of adding one to your family, or find another equally charming mixed-breed pup at your local animal shelter

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Described as "extremely adorable," amiable, independent and a devoted family dog, the basador represents two of the most well-loved purebred dogs — the basset hound and the Labrador retriever — but has been a favorite in the world of hybrid dogs for the last few decades. Sometimes "basador" is spelled with a double S. This particular cross is relatively new, so there's not a lot of history to draw on.

And as always, the basador, along with all of the newly created designer mutt "breeds" draws a lot of emotion from all pet lovers, ranging from excitement to anger. And the truth is, regardless if you agree with the ethics of people blending breeds (or breeding at all), these hybrid lovelies are showing up in our veterinary hospitals, training classes and grooming facilities with owners asking questions, so education about these newly created crosses is necessary (and hence my articles about them).

Owners of these hybrids often conclude that by mixing purebred dogs (in this case bassets and Labs), the resulting dogs will reflect the best of both parents. However, when a dog's forebears belong to two totally different dog breeds, aspects of the two dogs' physical, genetic and personality characteristics can emerge, and it's not always guaranteed which of those characteristics will "rise to the top," in a matter of speaking. Spock the Dog notes:

"The main aim when mixing two breeds is to bring together the best traits of the two parents, but this cannot be guaranteed so far. Sometimes there are significant variances in personality and appearance even for puppies born from the same parents. However, it is very important to know the background and characteristics of both the Labrador and the Basset Hound."1

As stated, in order to determine the traits that might emerge in the basador breed, one naturally has to examine the separate (but equal) purebred aspects of the mom and dad, including their history.

Bassets and Labs: History and Temperament

A book dated 1585 and associated with French nobles was the first to mention the basset hound, which purportedly occurred as a mutation of the St. Hubert breed, but resulted in a smaller version. Early breeders had a purpose for the mix, which focused on hunting and tracking rabbits and hares.

Fast forwarding to more recent history, basset hounds achieved recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1916. They became a favorite very quickly, especially because they gained a reputation of being very calm, sociable and played equally well with other pets and children. Bassets have a tendency toward stubbornness, though, so training them may be slightly complicated at times, as they can be easily distracted if they happen to catch an enticing scent.

Labrador retrievers hearken back to Newfoundland, where they made themselves useful to 18th-century fishermen. They helped retrieve fish, but they were also recognized as amiable companions. However, certain laws in Canada almost led to the demise of the breed. It may have been the English who helped saved them: a century later, nobility in England reportedly appreciated this dog's hunting prowess.

In 20th century America, Labrador retrievers have proved useful in such endeavors as drug and bomb detection for law enforcement, as well as search and rescue. Again, their pleasing personalities make them well-suited as therapy dogs, as they, too, work well in family situations, and they're quick learners.

Comparing bassets and Labs is interesting: The former can be clownish; both are beggars of treats, forgetful of rules, good at using their cuteness to charm anyone and everyone into giving in; and bassets can develop serious barking issues. They love social interaction and are quick learners. Labs are generally approachable, eager to please, energetic and, without plenty of activity, can be destructive. In addition:

"A Basador can have a wide range of personalities. Both Labs and Bassets tend to be good-natured and love to hunt, but the Basset is more of a rambler and independent thinker, while the Lab is a hard-charging go-getter. A Basador might be calm but stubborn or highly active and always ready to seek out an interesting scent.

A … well-socialized Basador will be friendly. He can get along well with children and other pets if he is brought up with them, but he may be too rambunctious for families with toddlers. Caution is also warranted around cats, as both component breeds have strong hunting instincts."2

Basset Hound Health Tendencies

Genetic problems that may affect a basset hound, according to Vetstreet,3 include:

Elbow dysplasia

Patellar luxation

Von Willebrand's disease, a bleeding disorder, for which most veterinarians can use factor antigen testing

Immunodeficiency

Thrombopathia, for which there's a test through the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine

Skin infections (in skin folds and paws)

Glaucoma

Hypothyroidism

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), a painful spinal problem

VetStreet notes several other tests and health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for their thyroid glands and hip or elbow problems.4

Labrador Retriever Physical (Genetic) Dispositions

Genetic orthopedic problems that can take place in Labrador retrievers include:

Panosteitis (growing pains)

Heart disease

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)

Elbow dysplasia

Progressive retinal atrophy

Cataracts

Exercise-induced collapse

Osteochondrosis

Epilepsy

Allergic skin disease

Arguably the most serious problem is canine hip dysplasia (CHD), as well as elbow dysplasia. Often seen in larger breeds, CHD is a polygenetic multi-factorial disease stemming from malformed ball-and-socket hip joints that causes the two bones of the joint to separate. This usually means the socket is not deep enough for the ball to fit snugly into place. Chafing and grinding on the joints can then lead to degenerative joint disease (DJD).

The severity of CHD or the expression of the disease depends on genetics, environment and nutrition, so there are things you can do to alleviate downregulate expression epigenetically, through wise lifestyle choices. The amount of calories a dog consumes, the macronutrient profile (and energy density), and amount of calcium fed between 2 and 10 months of age can impact whether a puppy with CHD genes will eventually develop the disease.

Allowing a pup of any breed free access to food will increase the chances of them developing not only future bone problems, but set them up for obesity. The last thing to do is to feed them a high-calorie/high-carbohydrate diet, as it can cause their frames to grow too fast for the cartilage in their bodies to keep up with, especially in large-breed dogs neutered before adulthood.

Exercising your dog by swimming and running can help maintain good muscle mass and lower the incidence and severity of CHD. In addition, dogs who weigh more than they should can accelerate the degeneration of their joints and the severity of dysplasia. A balanced, portion-controlled, species-appropriate diet throughout your dog's life will give them everything they need.

Basador Health

In theory, you can expect them to have a fairly long life that reaches between 10 to 12 years. Health issues not directly related to Labrador retrievers or basset hounds can also develop. Here's the upside, though, as VetStreet explains:

"There's also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies."

This is true whether your mixed-breed pup is a "designer" variety like a basador or any of the other charming mixes that can be found at your local animal shelter.

Other Basador Traits: 'Good Looks and Personality'

Some believe the basador mix results in a very interesting-looking dog. They'll be large, compact dogs, weighing around 70 pounds and about 19 inches high. Floppy ears, long tails, and a dense but short coat in black, white, yellow, brown and chocolate that's sometimes wavy are general descriptors.

Basadors are often most successfully trained using food rewards, because they appreciate meals about as much as any dog breed. Note that drooling may be an issue after eating or drinking. They can exhibit several types of personalities due to their genetic history, but you can usually count on them to be calm but stubborn.

Both basset hounds and Labrador retrievers have a tendency to shed, so you'll probably need to brush them once daily to minimize floating fur. They may emit a slightly hound-like odor, too, so brushing will help. Facial wrinkles should be kept dry with a baby wipe or damp towel, followed by a dry towel. If they have a long body, you'll want to provide steps for them to get down from high perches like chairs or beds in order to protect their backs.

A well-balanced basador can reflect all the most desirable personality traits that most people desire in a dog, such as friendliness, playfulness, intelligence and an overall good family dog that's both devoted and pleasant to be around.

All puppies require early socialization and positive training classes from the start: these will make all the difference in helping to encourage a well-adjusted canine companion for years to come. Visit a basador rescue organization if you're thinking of adding one to your family, or find another equally charming mixed-breed pup at your local animal shelter.

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