Welcome to your complete guide to the basset hound Lab mix, a crossbreed that is sometimes referred to as the “Bassador”—also “Basador,’” “Bassetdor” or even the “basset Lab.”
The Labrador and basset hound mix is a relatively new hybrid that has only appeared within the last few decades.
They are guaranteed to be high-shedding dogs, but it’s very hard to determine what they’ll look and act like. They are generally short and stout dogs, but some are larger or smaller and taller or shorter than others.
In this guide, we’ll dig into the Labrador retriever and basset hound breeds, what the basset x Labrador hybrid may look and act like, possible inherited health problems, and how to pick a puppy.
What Is a Basset Hound Lab Mix?
The Lab and basset hound mix combines two beloved hunting breeds to create the ultimate “sniffer” in a short-legged, long-bodied package.
Let’s take a look at where the Bassador gets his looks and scenting capabilities.
Where Did the Basset Lab Mix Come From?
The basset hound was developed in France. It’s thought that monks developed a dwarfed hound who could navigate various types of not-so-friendly terrain in pursuit of rabbits, hares and other small game.
Hailing from a mountainous region may explain why the basset (which is French for “low”) was bred to have short legs and large paws.
His long ears, which help to stir around the scent that he’s tracking, along with his baying howl, can be attributed to his hound dog heritage.
As basset hounds became popular among French aristocrats, they eventually made their way to America, possibly with the Frenchmen who served during the French and Indian War.
Once basset hounds were introduced in America, the breed became increasingly useful to farmers and huntsmen. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the basset hound as a member of the hound group in 1916.
Although you’ll still find basset hounds hunting in Europe today, in America, most Bassets are coddled family pets and sometimes can be found in field trials.
(I can speak for at least one basset hound—my mom’s beloved basset, “Sammy,” currently enjoys spending her days napping on her favorite cushion, preferably in the sun, with one of her long ears covering her eyes. She wasn’t always this lazy, as she was a farm dog in her youth, but I think she’s earned her peace and quiet time.)
Another hunting-bred dog, the Labrador retriever comes from Newfoundland, Canada.
His ancestors were retrievers of water fowl, which were later mixed with Newfoundlands, a combination that produced the classic black Lab that graces many a household today.
Like the basset hound, Labs made their way to the United States, where people continued to use them for water game hunting. The AKC accepted the breed as a member of the sporting group just one year later than the basset hound, in 1917.
While many Labs today are still used as hunting dogs, a large number of them are found in American households—after all, the Lab holds the coveted number one spot on the AKC’s most popular registered dog list.
With their people-pleasing and super friendly personalities, Labradors are also commonly used as seeing-eye dogs, search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, and a host of other positions.
Basset Hound Labrador Mix Temperament
When it comes to mixed-breed puppies, it’s hard to determine exactly which parent they will look and act the most like, or if they will be an equal mix of both.
With regard to the black Lab basset hound mix, the outcome could be even more unpredictable—he could be lively and eager to please, or a little bit stubborn and prone to doing what he wants, when he wants.
Bassadors with more Lab than basset will more than likely be high-energy with a propensity for play and an eye for mischief when they don’t get enough of the former.
Labs thrive on human interaction and do not enjoy being cooped up or left alone for long. They love physical activity, such as going on walks, jogs, runs, hikes or even swims.
They are generally outgoing and rarely do they know a stranger.
If you need to crate a Lab or Lab mix for more than a couple of hours each day (which is wise, as a Lab left to her own devices may get into trouble), then you’ll need to work on crate-training to ensure that the Lab won’t try to turn the crate into a giant chew toy while you’re away.
If crating isn’t an option, then you’ll need to make sure that someone is able to let a Lab out multiple times each day, preferably for at least one long walk, to manage their energy and tendency toward chewing.
On the shorter end of the spectrum, basset hounds are a bit more mild-mannered than Labradors. They are not overly demonstrative of their feelings of love toward their owners, but they are among the most loyal dog breeds.
As such, some Bassets can be a bit protective of their families, which may make them aggressive toward people who they perceive to be strangers.
Case in point, “Sammy,” the basset hound that I mentioned earlier, has known my husband for eight years, and she still does not care for him when we visit my mom.
So, it’s best to socialize a Bassador with new people and animals as early as possible. With proper socializing, they should be fine to be around children, although we recommend that you supervise any new dog interacting with children initially.
Basset hounds are known to be pretty independent, but they’re not necessarily disobedient. It just takes lots of repetition with their training, as well as providing proper motivation (typically in the form of food), for them to remain interested.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we neglected to mention that an enclosed area will be needed for a Bassador, as these dogs may rather faithfully follow their noses.
How Big Will a Basset Hound and Lab Mix Get?
A Lab and basset mix will be a medium-sized dog that will typically reach 15-18 inches tall at the shoulder, with females staying even shorter.
However, some specimens with more of a Labrador influence may be a little bit taller, but not by too much.
No matter their height, these dogs will be rather stocky (and therefore prone to obesity—more on that later), with most Bassadors reaching between 50 and 70 pounds.
To put their stockiness into perspective, the above weight range is actually the typical weight range for female Labs, just with a longer body and much shorter legs.
Labrador Retriever Basset Hound Mix Colors
Depending on which parent a half Lab, half basset hound most closely resembles, she may be solid-colored like her Lab parent, or she may be bi- or tri-colored like her Basset parent.
So, if a Bassador has a strong Labrador influence, then you’re likely to get one of the following:
- Black Lab basset hound mix
- Chocolate Lab basset hound mix
- Yellow Lab basset hound mix
Conversely, if a basset cross Labrador has a strong basset hound influence, then she may be any of the following color combinations (the first color listed for each entry is the primary color, with accent colors listed after):
- Black and white
- Black, brown and white
- Black, tan and white
- Black, white and brown
- Black, white and tan
- Brown, black and white
- Lemon and white
- Mahogany and white
- Red and white
- Black and brown
- Black, red and white
- Blue and white
- Blue, tan and white
- Brown and white
- Tan and white
- White and lemon
- White and red
- White, black and brown
- White, black and red
Labrador basset hound mix puppies may also have black, white or ticked markings.
Basset Hound Cross Labrador Grooming and Shedding
Basset hound black Lab mix puppies are guaranteed to be high-shedders, regardless of whether they inherit the Labrador’s double-coat or the Basset’s short and smooth coat.
Don’t let the basset hound’s smooth-looking coat fool you—both basset hounds and Labradors are vigorous shedders, so a Bassador is going to need some maintenance when it comes to grooming.
The Lab’s double-coat may be short, but its thickness requires weekly grooming, more during periods of active shedding. The basset’s coat may not be as thick, but it too requires weekly grooming to remove dead hair.
Basset Labrador Mix Health
Dogs of mixed lineage are at risk of inheriting health conditions that are common in their parent breeds.
Generally speaking, both basset hounds and Labrador retrievers are prone to obesity, hip or elbow dysplasia, and cataracts.
To learn more about the diseases and health conditions that commonly affect Labrador retrievers, refer to our article on Labrador retrievers.
Bassadors may also be at risk of developing the following conditions common to basset hounds:
- Structural issues—The basset hound is known as an osteochondrodysplastic breed, which means that it has dramatically shortened and often curved legs. According to a 2007 study, this body type is actually a form of dwarfism that results from abnormal leg bone development. Combined with an elongated body, this can result in various health problems:
- Spinal issues—Unfortunately, an elongated spine can result in structural unsoundness or congenital deformities due to lack of support of the spine. According to a 2012 study, Wobbler syndrome is a genetic condition commonly observed in basset hounds that causes compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots in the neck. This leads to neurological issues and severe neck pain.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia—This is a malformation of the hip and/or elbow joints that can be inherited or may develop as a dog ages. Basset hounds and Labs are both prone to this disease, which is also not helped by their propensity toward obesity. Check out our articles on puppy elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia in dogs to learn more about how to prevent or lessen the symptoms of these conditions in Bassadors.
- Globoid-cell Leukodystrophy (Krabbe’s disease)—This fatal disease is caused by the abnormal processing and storage of the myelin sheath, an enzyme that protects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately, Krabbe’s disease commonly impacts basset hounds. Puppies may have muscle tremors or weakness. Then as the disease progresses, they stop growing normally and often lose control of their legs and other body systems.
- Nasal health issues—Basset hounds are dolichocephalic, or simply put, they have longer noses than some of their shorter-muzzled brethren. Having a longer muzzle definitely has its perks, but it sometimes can put a dog at risk of developing nasal tumors, sinus problems and other conditions. Check out our article on long face dogs to learn more.
- Bloat—Dogs with deep and narrow chests are most prone to bloat, which is a potentially fatal condition where the stomach twists, fills with gas, and suffocates itself. Given their structure, basset hounds are prime candidates for developing bloat. Surgery can prevent this condition from occurring, as well as feeding several small meals each day.
- Bleeding disorders—In a 1979 study, a family of basset hounds was affected by an inherited bleeding disorder (blood clotting issue) that resulted in recurrent bleeding episodes that were clinically determined to be unrelated to the commonly diagnosed Von Willebrand factor.
- Ear infections—Basset hounds are much-loved for their signature droopy ears, but those long ears are especially good at harboring bacteria and other nasty substances that can cause ear infections. To help prevent a Bassador from developing frequent ear infections, he’ll need his ears cleaned out.
- Ectropion—Dogs with excess skin around the face, especially around the eyes, are prone to ectropion, or unnatural drooping of the lower eyelid. This is not good, as it exposes the eyeball and sensitive conjunctiva to the elements. Just think of how many foreign substances would get caught in your eye if the human eyelid was not close to the eye like it is.
- Glaucoma—According to a 2015 study, basset hounds are especially susceptible to primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG). Glaucoma causes progressive loss of vision until the dog goes blind.
- Dermatitis—You may love the wrinkled folds of a basset hound’s face and legs, but the ugly truth is that those folds of extra skin can harbor an excess of Malassezia, a type of lipophilic yeast that causes dryness or greasiness, redness, and/or flaking of the skin. The condition often requires lifetime treatment to keep it at bay.
With the plethora of medical conditions that may be passed on to a Bassador, we recommend finding a breeder who uses genetic testing to help increase your new best friend’s odds of living his or her best life.
Labrador Basset Hound Exercise Requirements
As we’ve mentioned a few times so far, the black Lab Basset mix may either be a lap dog or a very active dog (but one who doesn’t mind cuddling sessions). You just can’t be for certain until the puppy is born and starts showing his or her special personality.
Regardless of their energy level, all Bassadors will do best with a fenced-in yard, as they are likely to wander off after a scent or a tasty-looking rabbit.
How Long Will a Lab Basset Hound Live?
A Bassador may live to be about 10 to 12 years old.
Buying Basset Hound Lab Mix Puppies
Before buying a black Lab and basset hound mix, we recommend that you carefully research breeders of Basset Lab mix puppies—don’t buy from just anyone.
Good breeders use genetic testing to prevent undesired traits or health conditions from being passed down multiple generations.
They also ensure that all of their breeding stock and puppies are housed in clean facilities, with plenty to eat, fresh water always and lots of ventilation.
Be wary if a breeder is unwilling to show you their entire facility or if they have dogs that look ill or depressed. These are all good indicators that something unsavory is going on behind the scenes.
Cost of Lab Basset Puppies
The cost of basset hound Lab puppies will vary depending on the value that a breeder places on their breeding stock, the availability of puppies and how much money the breeder has invested into the puppies’ health.
You might pay a few hundred dollars, give or take, for a Bassador. It’s likely that you’ll pay a lot less for a Bassador than you would for one of the more popular Labrador mixes, such as the Labradoodle.
Basset Hound Lab Mix Rescue
If you’re looking for a full-grown basset Lab or if you wish to adopt a puppy, then you may be able to find what you’re looking for at a local animal shelter or humane society.
You may also be able to find a Bassador at a Labrador- or basset hound-specific rescue.
Designer Dog Controversy—Pros and Cons of Hybrid Dogs
Some people mistakenly believe that hybrids are somehow lesser in quality than purebred dogs because they are “inbred” and/or are always filled with health problems.
Fortunately, both of these perceptions are false.
Responsible breeders create very healthy mutts through the use of genetic testing of breeding stock. They only cross healthy purebred dogs that are unrelated to each other to ensure that only good genes are passed down to the mixed breed generations.
In fact, it’s actually inbreeding that creates health problems, be it between purebreds or mutts. This article explains how specific breed combinations and creating future generations using dogs from separate families produce the healthiest hybrid offspring.
Continuing to breed dogs with known health issues always results in more dogs with health issues, be they purebred or mutts. For additional information, check out our article on Purebred vs. Mutts.
Basset Hound Lab Mix—A Summary
A basset hound Labrador mix may seem impossible to resist, with their short stature, long ears and slightly funny appearance, but there are a few things that you should consider before making the choice to bring one home.
A Bassador may have a Labrador’s overzealous and hyper personality, with a possible love for chasing after birds and other game. Or, he may have the basset hound’s slightly more relaxed (and occasionally standoffish) demeanor with an independent spirit.
The point is, you need to be prepared for either outcome. You’ll also need an enclosed area to keep your scent-hound mix from straying too far.
Additionally, a Bassador will shed—a lot. Weekly grooming will help keep the hair to a minimum.
There are also quite a few health problems that may be passed on to a Bassador, especially skeletal issues related to the dog’s confirmation. Genetic testing may be able to identify some of the less obvious issues in breeding stock.
Remember that Bassadors will put on weight easily, so keeping their weight in check and giving them a little bit of exercise will be necessary for their overall health and to keep their joints limber.
With a little bit of training and some socializing, a Bassador could be your next furry friend.
References and Further Reading:
Ahram, D., et al., 2015, “Variants in Nebulin (NEB) Are Linked to the Development of Familial Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma in Basset Hounds,” PLOS One
“Bloat in Dogs: A Potentially Life-Threatening Condition,” American Kennel Club
Bond, R., Patterson-Kane, J.C., Perrins, N., Lloyd, D.H., 2006, “Patch Test Responses to Malassezia Pachydermatis in Healthy Basset Hounds and in Basset Hounds with Malassezia Dermatitis,” Medical Mycology
De Decker, S., et al., 2012, “Cervical Vertebral Stenosis Associated with a Vertebral Arch Anomaly in the Basset Hound,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Downing, R. “Globoid-cell Leukodystrophy in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
Johnstone, I., and Lotz, F., 1979, “An Inherited Platelet Function Defect in Basset Hounds,” Canadian Veterinary Journal
Martínez, S., et al., 2007, “Histopathologic Study of Long-Bone Growth Plates Confirms the Basset Hound as an Osteochondrodysplastic Breed,” Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research