The Border Aussie is an excellent example of the hybrid breeds that have become popular in recent decades. Given its name, interested individuals might have guessed that it comes from crossing Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, both of which are herding breeds. Indeed, it should be mentioned that these two breeds are related to one another, which is a product of how they came into existence. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about the Border Aussie:
1. Not Quite a Hybrid
It is common for crosses of purebred dogs such as the Border Aussie to be called hybrid dogs. However, this isn’t correct in the strictest sense. Even though dogs come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and other characteristics, every single one of them is considered to be a member of a wolf subspecies. Instead, a much better example of a hybrid would be the mule, which is born from the union of a male donkey and a female horse. For those who are curious, the hinny would be the result of a union between a female donkey and a male horse, though hinnies are rarer because such unions are rarer.
2. Would-Be Dog Owners Need to Understand Both Sides
People who are thinking about getting a Border Aussie should get a good understanding of both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. This is important because hybrid dogs aren’t as fixed as their purebred counterparts, which makes sense because they haven’t been subjected to generation after generation of strict breeding for consistent characteristics. Due to this, a Border Aussie can inherit traits from both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, which can make for rather unpredictable combinations.
3. Can Lean Towards One Side Over the Other
On the plus side, it is possible for a Border Aussie to lean towards one side of their heritage over the other. After all, while people tend to think of first-generation crosses when they think of hybrid dogs, it is very common to see both first-generation mixes and multi-generation mixes when it comes to hybrid dogs. Thanks to this, it is possible to get a multi-generation cross that has a higher chance of inheriting characteristics from either the Border Collie or the Australian Shepherd side of their heritage because they have more descent from it than the other. Something that can be very useful for those who are looking for something specific from their Border Aussie.
4. More Uniform-Looking Than a Lot of Other Hybrid Dogs
There are some hybrid dogs that can be very wide-ranging in appearance. This is because some of them were created by crossing very different-looking purebred dogs, thus making for incredible variation in how the outcomes look. Border Aussies can’t be counted among those hybrid dogs because they tend to be rather uniform-looking. Something that can be explained by the fact that Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are close relatives. As a rough rule, these dogs tend to be somewhere between the two sides of their heritage, which is relevant because Australian Shepherds tend to be a bit taller as well as a bit heavier than Border Collies.
5. Has a Double Coat
Border Aussies are a double-coated breed. Essentially, this means that there are two layers to their coat. The short hairs of the undercoat provide them with exceptional protection from extremes in temperature. Meanwhile, the guard hairs of the top coat are very useful for keeping away dirt, moisture, as well as other unwanted substances. It tends to be very easy to tell whether a dog has a double coat or not because it results in a thicker, fluffier-looking coat. On the downside, interested individuals can expect to spend more time on grooming.
6. Not an Indoor Dog
Interested individuals should have no problem guessing that Border Aussies aren’t meant to be indoor dogs. Both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are herding dogs, so it is natural for Border Aussies to share a lot of the same characteristics. As such, these dogs do best when they have a lot of space in which to run around as well as engage in other physical activities. Without this, it is possible for interested individuals to see tail biting, tail chasing, excessive barking, as well as other issues associated with a lack of stimulation.
7. Has Roots in the Anglo-Scottish Border
The “border” in Border Collie refers to the Anglo-Scottish border. Nowadays, this region is calm. However, before the union of the English and Scottish crowns, the Anglo-Scottish border was a very lawless place because of the regular raiding that was carried out by both sides. In any case, the Border Collie is thought to have come into existence on the Anglo-Scottish border, being a descendant of the landrace collies of the British Isles.
8. Can’t Claim Australian Roots
Meanwhile, interested individuals might expect Australian Shepherds to have come from Australia. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Instead, Australian Shepherds are known to have come into existence in the western United States, though how this happened isn’t quite clear. Some people have speculated about them being named thus because they were used to herd imported sheep. Others have suggested that “Australian” was an adjective used for any kind of dog that came in blue merle.
9. Somewhat Affectionate, Somewhat Aloof
There are more affectionate dogs than the Border Aussie that can be found out there. However, these dogs can get along just fine with their family members. In contrast, they tend to be much more aloof when it comes to strangers, meaning that it can take some time for them to get past that initial barrier when meeting new people. Amusingly, some Border Aussies have been observed wanting to herd children, so this is something that interested individuals will need to watch out for.
10. Smart Dogs
Working dogs that learn well tend to make for better working dogs. Thanks to this, it is common for them to be smart, with the Border Aussie being no exception to this rule. Still, interested individuals shouldn’t get complacent when it comes to their dog’s training and socialization, which is why it is a good idea for them to get started sooner rather than later.