Labrador Terrier: Getting to Know a Hybrid
A Labrador Terrier is a hybrid dog that is a mix of two breeds of dogs, the Labrador Retriever and a dog in the Terrier family. While we hear much about hybrid automobiles these days, the term did originate from genetics and it refers to the baby or offspring of two genetically different breeds of parents. In the cases of hybrid dogs, which are also referred to sometimes as designer dogs, breeders have taken to bringing together two species to create a new breed which will display some mixture of character traits of both the parents.
Hybrid dogs like the Labrador terrier can be attractive because they are generally healthier as the breeding is not driven only by considerations of maintaining breed purity. Breeders also talk of the hybrid vigor of these dogs or heterosis effect which means that as any two breeds come together they exert physical and mental strength to establish a new breed. Hybrid dogs tend to be moderate in their characteristics in that they are not merely extensions of the genetic type of the parents of the same breed. While some mixed breed dogs are less expensive, if you go seeking a specific hybrid dog the chances are that you will find the prices fairly high because you are looking for a customized mixture of traits.
Hybrid dogs can be a crossing of two first generation dogs or they can be a more mixed multi-generation crossing. What this means is that your Labrador terrier may not be 50% Labrador Retriever and 50% Terrier. It is possible that the mix is more 75% of one and 25% of the other. This kind of mixing of breeds allows breeders to create dogs that have a certain kind of temperament with a certain set of physical characteristics. The reality with hybrid dogs though is that there is no real predicting of the way a dog will turn out. That unpredictability is one of the charms of these kinds of dogs.
Hybrid dogs are a great idea for those of us who do not want our dogs to exhibit only certain kinds of characteristics. If you are comfortable with the broad genetic traits of the breeds that are mixed and are willing to deal with the surprise package that you may get, a Labrador terrier can be an exciting companion and an incredible adventure. The mixture of traits is hard to predict but you can get a broad idea of the character traits you are likely to see in a Labrador terrier by assessing the traits of Labrador Retrievers and the Terriers. Labrador Retrievers are considered great family dogs because of their easy going temperament. They love physical activity and enjoy human interaction and companionship. Labradors are compared to teenagers sometimes in their curious mixture of spiritedness, sense of fun and stubbornness. They do have a tendency to chew on things and shedding and body odor are known problems with this breed.
What do we know of the Terriers? This broad category includes many different individual breeds, but in general this group has dogs with some common characteristics. They were bred to be hunters and they are relentless in focus. They are known to enjoy plenty of physical activity and they are also spirited dogs who will need patience and an owner able to exert control. Terriers like human interaction and they need everyday grooming. The list of characteristics of both dogs suggests that a Labrador Terrier will be a spirited and energetic dog which will require plenty of physical activity and exercise. The dog is likely to be trainable although it may take some time and dedicated attention from the owner to reach a good level of control over the dog. The mixed breed promises to be a friendly companion. So, while we cannot know for sure whether the dog will be big or small or if it will shed or not, there are some important clues to the temperament of the hybrid.
All dog experts advise that a dog should not be chosen for its looks but for its temperament after researching whether its characteristics are likely to fit your family. In the case of the hybrid dogs like the Labrador Terrier you have a real opportunity to focus on that most important of details.