by Veterinary Practice News Editors | November 19, 2015 12:48 pm
Breed a border collie with an Australian shepherd and what do you get when a puppy emerges? The most popular hybrid dog in the Pets Best Insurance Services database.
The pet health insurer teamed up with policy partner Farmers Insurance to determine which two purebred canines get together most frequently to produce offspring. Procreating border collies and Australian shepherds yield a hybrid known simply as a border-Aussie.
Hybrids are defined as the progeny of two purebred dogs. Mixed breeds, according to Farmers, are “the offspring of two or more different dog breeds where neither the mother nor the father is a registered purebreed dog.”
Mixed breeds are the most common dogs in Pets Best’s massive file of 140,000 canine insurance policies. Labrador retrievers are second, followed by hybrids.
A fashionable example of a hybrid is the Labradoodle, the product of a Labrador retriever and poodle. But Labradoodles aren’t No. 1—or even No. 5—on the Pets Best list.
Boise, Idaho-based Pets Best provided descriptions of the most popular hybrids from the perspectives of veterinary adviser Eva Evans, DVM, MBA, and the dogs’ owners.
The product of highly intelligent and agile livestock herders, the offspring excel at farm work. “They require plenty of exercise to run and play and need constant stimulation in order to avoid boredom,” Dr. Evans said. The owner of a border-Aussie calls him “The Mayor” because he’s always making new friends. The 4-year-old likes to poke his head inside strollers and kiss babies, the owner added.
Cavaliers are prone to heart disease and French bulldogs struggle with obesity and breathing difficulties, Evans said. But put them together and their babies’ health issues are minimized. The hybrids are known for “their smart, laid-back personality,” Evans said. “Because of their friendly, sweet nature, they can be a perfect family dog. They are also skilled athletes.” One owner described her Royal Frenchel as a fast, athletic dog with a 5-foot vertical leap and the ability to climb trees to retrieve balls.
The mom and dad are known for their athleticism, Evans said, so offspring need plenty of exercise. “Another plus is the shorter hair of the whippet will likely be expressed in the combination and may shed less than a border collie,” Evans said. They may not be good around children because of their high-strung, easily agitated behavior, she added. A border whippet owner said her 3-year-old runs with a Pawbusters Flyball team in Michigan and enjoys Frisbee, whippet racing and swimming.
Like the parents, a Labernese is a good family pet, but unfortunately it suffers from high rates of hip and joint disease. Regular grooming is needed because of the dog’s bulk and long hair, Evans said. A 20-month-old Labernese puppy is nicknamed “Big Goofy” because he weighs 100 pounds and thinks he’s a Yorkie who should be able to climb on people’s laps, his owner reported. “Buddy is large and in charge and is friendly with everyone no matter if they are human, dog or cat,” the owner added.
The combination results in an athletic dog, Evans said. They are excellent guard dogs, but the downside is they may frighten visitors. German shepherds tend to have back and hip problems, but the hybrid has a reduced risk. One Shepadoodle owner called his 6-year-old a gentle pet who likes to swim and cuddle.
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