Genetic Disorders Seen in Basset Hounds

Genetic Disorders Seen in Basset Hounds

Health & Safety

Basset Hounds are great looking characters and unlike many other pure bred dogs, they are a pretty robust, living out long and healthy lives. However, there are certain conditions and disorders which they may suffer from which existing and potential owners should know about. The reason being that if any symptoms are apparent and picked up on early enough, the better the prognosis would typically be.

The average lifespan of a Basset Hound is between 12 and 15 years. There are a few specific health conditions which affect Basset's, one of which is a genetic condition known as Osteochondrodysplasia (which means the abnormal growth ofbone and cartilage). This is a type of Dwarfism and in dogs is known as Achondroplasia. Basset Hounds one of the few of the dog breeds classified as Achondroplastic.

Bleeding Disorders that Affect Basset Hounds

There are two hereditary bleeding disorders which commonly affect the breed which are as follows:

  • Von Willebrands Disease
  • Canine Thrombopathia

In both cases, should a dog injure themselves, the blood fails to clot causing excessive bleeding which in some cases is uncontrollable. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from either of these conditions, a vet would be able to carry out certain tests and then recommend the right sort of treatment to manage the conditions.

Bloat - Gastric Dilatation

Bloat is a very painful condition where the stomach fills with air which then rotates. It is a condition that needs to be taken very seriously because often it could prove fatal due to the fact that the supply of blood is cut off. Basset Hounds as well as large breed dogs which have deep, narrow chests are more prone to developing the condition. If you notice your dog showing any signs of a swollen stomach and restlessness, veterinary attention should be sought as soon as possible. Other symptoms include:

  • Excessive Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shallow, rapid breathing

Cherry Eye

This is a painful condition that affects a dog's third eyelid. The cause is not known but vets usually recommend surgery as soon as possible to prevent any infection taking hold and again, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the outcome. If dogs develop the condition in one eye, it's really important to make sure the other eye does not get affected too.

Ear Problems

Because Basset Hounds have such long ears, they drag on the ground a lot which results in them suffering from certain issues which are caused by bacteria, allergies, yeast as well as parasites. It's really important to check their ears on a regular basis and to watch out for any unusual behaviour like head shaking, ear scratching, discharge or nasty smells coming from the ears which is a sign there could be an infection going on.

Elbow Dysplasia

This is a common disorder that affects Basset Hounds where abnormal development occurs in their elbow joints. Dogs are typically lame on their front legs and it can affect dogs at any time in their lives, but is more typically seen in older Basset Hounds. Although the cause of the condition is unknown, it can be managed and treated.


Glaucoma is a painful condition where excessive pressure builds up in a dog's eye. It's an hereditary disorder that typically shows its ugly head when Basset Hounds are around 2 years old and once it takes hold it can very rapidly damage the eye causing total blindness. However, the condition usually only affects one eye at a time and not both. Immediate veterinary care is essential so that preventative measures can be put in place to protect a dog's other eye or to at least control the progress of the condition.

Hip Dysplasia

Another condition that commonly affects Basset Houndship dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip joint which typically occurs when dogs are still growing. Dogs with the condition tend to be extremely lame and in severe cases, arthritis sets in debilitating a dog's movement even more. Veterinary attention should be sought if you are at all worried about your dog because the sooner the condition is diagnosed, the sooner your pet would be made more comfortable.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

This is a condition that affects a dog's spine where the discs rupture or sometimes they become herniated. Because Basset Hounds have such long backs, they are more predisposed to suffering from intervertebral disc disease and although the cause is unknown, it it thought to be caused by trauma from an injury or age. Basset Hounds should never be encouraged to jump on or down from furniture as this puts more pressure on their spines which in turn increases the chances of them developing the condition.

Luxating Patella

This is a condition that affects a dog's kneecaps where they become dislocated or slightly out of position. Although it is a hereditary condition that Basset Hounds often suffer from, trauma and injury can also cause Luxating Patella. If the condition is very severe, a vet would recommend surgery.


This painful bone disease affects Basset Hounds when they are young between the ages of 6 to 24 months old. The condition can last anything from a few months to much longer but usually clears up on its own although there are always long-term after effects to have to cope with.


Although it might seem that Basset Hounds suffer from a lot of health issues, in reality, they are robust characters as compared to other pure bred dogs. Catching a health issue as early as possible is essential so that it can be treated as quickly as possible making life more comfortable for your pet. If you are thinking about getting a puppy, it's really important to contact a well established and reputable breeder who only uses healthy lines to breed from. If you are planning to adopt a Basset Hound from a rescue centre, it's important to be aware of any of the health issues they might suffer from so you can pick up on symptoms earlier rather than later making life more comfortable for your dog.



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