This cross-breed mixes two very different dogs, Labrador Retrievers and Basset Hounds, for an unusual looking result. It’s assumed that a hybrid will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not always subject to a breeder’s control, even less so when two different breeds are crossed. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering adopting a Bassador.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

A Bassador can have a wide range of personalities. Both Labs and Bassets are 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 Bassador might be calm but stubborn or highly active and always ready to seek out an interesting scent.

As long as he is well socialized as a puppy, there is little doubt that he 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.

In appearance, he is usually short but stocky, with front legs that turn inward like those of the Basset, hanging ears and a moderately long tail. A typical Bassador weighs 50 to 70 pounds, although some are smaller. Because he is a cross breed, his traits are not fixed, so there is no guarantee that a Bassador puppy will fall into the size range predicted by the breeder or adoption agency.

While a Bassador may inherit the good looks or hunting ability of his parent breeds, he may also inherit not-so-desirable traits, such as the Basset's tendency toward back problems or the heavy shedding of both breeds.

Bassadors are smart and learn quickly, but they can also be stubborn or have a short attention span. Keep training sessions short and fun. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, you can successfully train a Bassador.

Bassadors have a moderate to high activity level. They will enjoy a nice walk or active playtime each day, and if you're interested and talented at training, they can participate in such dog sports as agility, obedience and rally. Bassadors can also make great therapy dogs.

If your Bassador takes after either of the breeds used to create him, you can bet that he will enjoy his meals, perhaps a bit too much. Take care not to over-feed him. Excess weight can exacerbate health problems, including hip dysplasia and back problems.

A Bassador will have a short, smooth, dense coat that sheds heavily and may have a "houndy" odor. Brush the Bassador daily to remove shedding hair, bring out shine and reduce the amount of dog hair floating around your home.

If your Bassador has facial wrinkles, it's important to keep them clean and dry. Wipe them out with a damp washcloth or baby wipe, dry the folds thoroughly, and apply baby powder or corn starch to help them stay dry. Some Bassadors require this wrinkle treatment daily, while others can get by with having it done once or twice a week or every three to four weeks. He may also do a little drooling, so be prepared to wipe his mouth after he eats or drinks.

In addition, trim a Bassador's nails at least monthly --more frequently if necessary --keep his ears clean and dry to prevent ear infections, and brush his teeth as often as possible. Bassadors are companion dogs. They love their people and need to live in the house, never outdoors. Bassadors are inveterate hunters, so confine them to the yard with a solid fence to prevent them from wandering. An underground electronic fence will not hinder a Bassador if he smells a really interesting scent.

If you do choose to buy one, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won't carry the genetic diseases common to both Bassets and Labradors. And while there are no guarantees in life, it's also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills in the future.

Health Issues Common to Bassadors

All hybrid dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as purebred dogs can and just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the Bassador is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the Bassador and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Bassadors may develop health conditions common to both Bassets and Labradors, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease or back injuries, and eye diseases such as glaucoma. Because of his deep chest, the Bassador is also prone to gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as gastric torsion or bloat.

Ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have hip clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PennHIP and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia Medium $1,500-$6,000
Bloat Medium $1,500-$7,500
IVDD Medium $2,500-$7,000

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Bassador Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Bassadors aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Bassadors can live 10 or more years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your Bassador to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Bassadors

Pet insurance for Bassadors costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Bassadors are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Bassadors are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Bassador is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.