Traits, Personality and Behavior
The Aussiedor is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever. At his best, he is intelligent, friendly and affectionate. An Aussiedor is a medium-size to large dog, weighing 40 to 80 pounds.
Given their heritage, Aussiedors are likely to have a high activity level. They need at least one long walk, run or active playtime each day, and they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, flyball, obedience and rally. They can also be excellent therapy dogs.
Both of the breeds used to create Aussiedors are smart and willing students when it comes to training. Do yourself and your Aussiedor a favor and give him jobs to do around the house. Teach him to find and bring you things, pull your gardening equipment around the yard, or anything else you can think of. Keeping him occupied will ensure that he doesn't go off and find his own (likely destructive) entertainment. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, you will be rewarded with a wonderful companion.
Aussiedors can have different types of fur. Some have the long, straight hair of the Australian Shepherd, others have the short coat of the Labrador Retriever and some fall somewhere in the middle. Depending on his coat type, plan to brush the Aussiedor every other day or weekly.
Aussiedors are companion dogs. They love being with people and need to live in the house, never outdoors.
Aussiedor puppies are adorable, and it's one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Aussiedor a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. But there's no need to pay big bucks for a Aussiedor. You can often find a wonderful example of this hybrid dog at your local shelter or through adoption organizations.
If you do choose to buy one, however, select a breeder who has done the health testing to ensure that her puppies won't carry the genetic diseases common to both Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. 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 Aussiedors
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 Aussiedor 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 Aussiedor and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
Aussiedors may develop health conditions common to both Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, cataracts and autoimmune thyroiditis.
At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have hip certifications from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals 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.
5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Aussiedor 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 Aussiedors aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Aussiedors can live 10 to 13 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.
Puppy or adult, take your Aussiedor 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. Ask specifically about dental care, as most toy breeds suffer from dental problems, as well as tips on dealing with tear staining.
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 Aussiedors
Pet insurance for Aussiedors costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Aussiedors are much 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 Aussiedors are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Aussiedor 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.