Dachshunds and Basset Hounds may look cute as they scurry around on their short legs, but the familiar shape of these short-legged breeds is actually due to a congenital defect that results in a form of dwarfism. Specifically these animals have achondroplasia, an improper development of the cartilage at the end of the animal's long bones. It's a defect that can occur in any breed of dog, and is always present in certain breeds like the two mentioned above.
Achondroplasia is one of several types of chondodystrophies, in which the cartilage does not develop properly in the womb, distorting the animal's bones. A dominant genetic defect, achondroplasia appears in about one out of every 10,000 births, and can usually be diagnosed at birth, since the deformities are easily visible. Any dog with the defective gene will be affected, and if the dog is bred, its offspring have a 50 percent chance of being achondroplasic. [...]