Today, over 190 breeds of dogs are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). These dogs range in size, coat, temperament, and intelligence. They are grouped by the type of job they were bred to do.
Make no mistake, even the dog that was bred to sit in your lap and keep you company is doing a job. His job is to be your companion. Not all big dogs are bred to be guardians, some of them are bred to pull a cart or a sled and don’t have mean bone in their body.
When it comes to genetics, dogs have been selectively bred for centuries, based on the genes that they exhibit for all of the things listed above. Some types of coats are preferred over others. Certain temperaments are preferred to others depending on the purpose the dog is to be used for.
Designer Dogs Are Not Pure Breed Dogs
A new trend is that of breeding one breed to another and calling it a designer dog. There is an ethical storm brewing among dog breeders and dog registries over these breeds. Many rescues and people who rescue and foster dogs that are filling pounds and animal control facilities are upset over what they see as unethical breeding tactics of people attempting to capitalize on a trend.
Designer dogs can cost upwards of $1000 to $3000 each and dog experts argue that you are effectively paying for a mutt. The breeders of the dogs defend their practices as enhancing the best of both breeds and working toward creating new breeds, which is how all other dog breeds were initially developed.
Both sides of the argument are valid and it simply depends on your own personal values and ethics as to where you stand.
Many dogs are bred to poodles to create crosses, hybrids if you will, that are less shedding with wavy to curly coats. Unfortunately, not all of the puppies will have the poodle coat and some will still shed just as much as the other parent. It’s a gamble when breeding two different breeds.
As puppies are born, they can help to breed the next generations and the breeders can mix their puppies back to the pure breed poodle to try to make that gene be more prevalent. There is a method to the way professional breeders choose to breed dogs and perfect new blood lines of new breeds.
Sadly, other more unscrupulous breeders that are solely in it for the money will attempt to breed as many puppies as they can and sell them for top dollar. These types of breeders should be avoided. You should only deal with breeders who can show you bloodlines, explain why they bred one dog to the other, and keep meticulous records. Puppies and parents should be fully vetted.
Good breeders make sure that parents are at least two-years-old and have had tests for possible genetic defects before they breed their dogs. Those who do not do this testing are passing on defective genes and selling puppies that could be financially devastating nightmares to families who are unsuspecting.
The moral here is that the author makes no judgement as to the ethics of choosing to breed dogs, provided that they are responsible in their practices. Do not support backyard breeders who neglect their dogs. It adds to the strain on the rescue organizations that often have to step-in and take hundreds of dogs when puppy mills are broken-up and raided.
Accidents and Rescues
Accidental breedings happen sometimes and many different mixes of dogs can be found as rescues. Some dogs are actually healthier as a mixed breed than purebred. This is due to the fact that they can draw from a much larger gene pool than a dog restricted to one breed and smaller gene pool.
Anyone who has had a mixed breed dog, or mutt, can tell you that they are hardy, healthy, and typically extremely intelligent. Some of the accidental breedings lead to dogs that have amazing qualities of two breeds. A great example is the Corgi-Australian Shepherd mix. Both of these breeds are herding dogs.
Herding dogs love a healthy competition. The make excellent flyball dogs, agility dogs, working herders, and obedience competitors in rally obedience which is open to mixed breeds. Corgis are short-legged with robust bodies. Sturdy and intelligent, they won the favor of Queen Elizabeth, who has owned corgis for many years.
They are a available in two types, as purebred dogs. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi or a Cardigan Corgi. The Cardigan has a tail, the Welsh Corgi does not. Australian Shepherds do not have a tail by breed standard, though some are born with tails and do not have them docked as a puppy. It’s possible to see an Australian Shepherd with a tail in this case.
A mix of these two breeds may or may not have a tail. The ears may be erect as those of a Corgi or lay over as those of the Australian Shepherd. Both dogs are keenly intelligent, which most herding breeds are. This working group of dogs, known as the Herding Group, by the AKC, will think for themselves and have amazing cognitive ability. In other words, these fellas can problem solve.
When you combine two herding breeds, you may see extreme intelligence and ability to reason things out. It might be hard to keep them locked in any gate as they will learn to open things. They are typically great with children but need to be socialized well when young. A bad habit of herding dogs is that they can be nippy. This must be addressed when they are young. Seek a trainer to help you if you’re not familiar with this type of training.
Herding dogs don’t typically have issues with digging or being overly aggressive chewers but they do require a lot of supervision and activity. Any dog that is under-exercised and bored will develop bad habits.
Both of these breeds can be yappers as they are used to barking a lot while doing their work. It’s instinctual to bark when they are happy and excited. Again, working with them as young puppies is recommended. All dogs can learn to not bark excessively. Getting plenty of exercise goes an incredibly long way in this respect and can’t be under-emphasized.
Both breeds have similar coats so it is extremely likely that your Corgi-Australian Shepherd mix will have a thick coat of fur that will shed. Each spring they will shed excessively and they do require regular brushing.
Well-socialized Corgis, as well as Australian Shepherds, are tolerant of other animals in the house and can be very sweet and friendly. That said, a lack of socialization can lead to negative behaviors that make it unsafe for a cat or other small animal to be near them unsupervised. As a general rule, with proper supervision early on, they accept the care of all members of the family, including cats and other critters.
Australian Shepherds are not an Australian breed, they are an American breed. Corgis are Welsh. A mix of these two breeds can fall anywhere between 20 to 30 pounds and stand up to 13 inches tall at the withers. This is not accounting for Corgis bred with full-sized working bred Australian Shepherds. These mixes can be much larger and weigh closer to 60 pounds at the high end.
Your mix breed will be a wonderful family dog and known for loving children and keeping them safe. Australian Shepherds are known for keeping children together and pulling babies by the diaper to keep them from crawling into danger.
This is not a type of dog for someone who doesn’t like to go outdoors and enjoy exercise. Both breeds are athletic and relish in a good game of fetch and chase. Corgis will fetch a tennis ball all day long if you will throw it. Australian Shepherds can be great at fetching or not care about it in the slightest, it depends on the individual dog and their prey drive.
Both breeds will yield puppies that grow to be loyal and loving companions with high trainability. They are known for off-leash obedience skills and desire to please their owners. The more time spent early-on with basic obedience training, the better. This will avoid potential behavioral issues with boredom behaviors later. Overall, this is a fantastic cross of breeds that result in a true joy to have as your best mate.