Service Dog Central Community

Training => Puppy Raising (publicly viewable board) => Topic started by: Nala on December 04, 2017, 01:34:02 PM

Title: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 04, 2017, 01:34:02 PM
I got my prospect, Nala, from a rescue situation (not a rescue though). Long story, but she was a multi-sire oops baby from a "pure-bred" litter of Staffordshire Terriers (a breed commonly mistaken for Pitbull Terriers). Nala was clearly not purebred, but I wanted something a bit bigger anyway. She had all the hallmarks of a staffweiler (Stafforshire/Rottweiler) except that instead of a solid black coat she was a very dark sable. Strange but not impossible. Except as she grew she started looking a little funny. She has way too much leg and her temperament isn't right. She has way too much energy and drive for a staffweiler. Staffies and rottweilers are both pretty chill. Chill is not even in her vocabulary. Long story short, at 6 months, she has grown enough for me to deduce some characteristics that she must have inherited from her sire seeing as I saw her dam in person.

After consulting with my vet and several knowledgeable friends, it has been concluded that mama must have been cavorting with a belgian malinois.  :blink:

Fortunately we have been getting along fine. I've put off training classes until spring because she was just not mentally ready. We spent the last 4 months addressing potty training, impulse control, more impulse control, how not to chase the chickens, ducks, horses, cats, and pigs, and did I mention impulse control? She's doing really well for 6 months and I'm proud to say that she has not killed a single duck, chicken, or baby kitten (even by accident). The biggest thing she needs is time.

As long I take my time, I think she'll turn out great. I'm just lucky I moved back in with parents on their farm so she has 23 acres to run on. My parents are having a good laugh at my expense. They joke that she's my horse in dog form. I guess I'm just attracted to stubborn, drivey, too-smart-for-their-own-good animals. She and the horse adore each other. I go out riding and Nala runs along with. Great way to burn that mali energy!

I wish I could post a photo, but I haven't been on here long enough for that. Do you think I could get one of the mods to post it for me?
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: OlgatheGSD on December 04, 2017, 01:53:56 PM
You can upload the picture to Imgur and post the link here :smile:

Nala sounds like a good kick in the pants!
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: SandyStern on December 04, 2017, 01:57:44 PM
Oh, geez. What a handful.
I'm told that DNA testing is cheap these days. Maybe it will become standard, just to assess breed. Later, we can hope for temperament prediction.
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Azariah on December 04, 2017, 02:57:15 PM
I'm very sorry that she didn't turn out how you expected. I'm glad that you two are getting along so well.

Have you taken a step back now that you know more about her personality and structure to evaluate whether she'll work well as a service dog for your needs? I know that is a hard question to have to answer but since things are changing from what you expected I think it is a good one. For example - impulse control is going to be absolutely essential in any service dog. You're working on that with her and she may end up with great impulse control but she doesn't have it now. She sounds like she has a lot more energy than you expected. As long as there is an "off" switch that might be just fine. I would struggle in public with a high energy dog without an off switch. My 3 year old Cosmo fits into that category (as well as having limited impulse control) and it is a key reason why he wasn't selected for my service dog in public. He helps my husband with tasks at home and does great there but I'd never want us to have to take him places with us!
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 07, 2017, 10:54:56 AM
Olga, I can't upload pictures until I've reached 50 posts. Understandable, but still a little frustrating. :sad: She is indeed a kick in the pants. :laugh: Sandy, it will be interesting to see what DNA testing shows once I save up enough for it. The problem is she was a multisire oopsie. I don't think they even wanted to know what she was. They just wanted her gone before people started to come look at her purebred siblings.

Fortunately I already lead a very active life and Nala seems to be settling in nicely. While obviously her impulse control isn't perfect, it has come a long way since I got her.

Azariah, for all the energy she has, she also is developing a "working mode". As soon as we start training, it's like a switch flips and she has a laser focus. When we go away from home she loves to just watch everything around her. At 6 months I haven't really started doing public access yet, but sometimes if my mom needs to make a quick trip to the store or something, we'll hitch a ride and I'll stay outside with Nala and let her just watch the cars and the people coming and going. We just go over to the grass by the side of the parking lot so we're out of the way. She's a completely different dog. She just sits there and watches, drinking it all in like a sponge. She's alert, but not afraid. The first time we did this she was 10 weeks. That was the first time I realized she had that switch in her. At first she watched from the safety of my lap, but now she'll sit a foot or two away and just look and you can see the wheels turning. Sometimes someone will come over and ask to pet her. I'll usually say yes to a quick pat, no cuddles though. She just give a polite tail wag and goes back to watching. I think she's doing awesome. As long I stick to her routine, she's not bouncing off the walls much at all. I keep a huge stash of nyla bones and durable kong stuffing-free kong toys because she is a chewer, but when managed properly she's a gem. I think she is going to be one of those that is super focused on duty, no nonsense, but then as soon as that vest comes off she goes completely looney and needs to blow off all that pent up energy.

She lives a very structured life.


I am very proud of how far she has come. I play various group games with all threes dogs to practice impulse control around human food and Nala is actually showing up the older dogs. I can drop a piece raw chicken an inch from her face and she won't even look at it without my permission. We also are in the process of selling one of the horses, so we have perspective buyers coming to look at her. Nala is always getting compliments about how well behaved she is. She rarely jumps up anymore and never barks at strangers.

As long I don't do anything stupid and push her too fast, she'll be fine. But, yes, she takes management. She's got sass and attitude in spades. But then again, so does my horse. No wonder they get along so well. It would seem I have a type. :biggrin:
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: OlgatheGSD on December 07, 2017, 11:13:59 AM
You sound like you are doing beautiful with her!!  I did the people watching with Olga for about 6 months to sort of temperament test her along the way while doing in home obedience and socialize her. Sitting outside a store gets them familiar with the sights, smells, and sounds while also learning to remain calm outside of one. I liked sitting outside of Petco because the dogs were better behaved than the ones going into grocery stores lol

As far as the pictures, I don't believe it is against forum rules to post a link to one below 50 posts. Imgur is free and safe to use. I post my pictures to private so they are only viewable with a link. There's the website and also a mobile app.
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Ariel on December 07, 2017, 11:17:04 AM
Olga, I can't upload pictures until I've reached 50 posts.

No one on SD can upload a picture directly to the forum, that's been a long disabled feature. What you can do is upload a picture to a host site (Imgur is a popular one) and post the link to the picture or album for us to view.

So like this:
https://imgur.com/a/lnUUD
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 07, 2017, 11:24:40 AM
Oh, thought it said that in the rules. Must have been an old rule. Thought that's why i couldn't see a little button for attaching pics. :facepalm: Give me a few minutes to figure out this Imgur thing.
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Ariel on December 07, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Another thing you can do is add Youtube videos. If you have a Youtube video that you're proud of, share the link!
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 07, 2017, 12:00:47 PM
Ha! I think I figured it out!

Here you can see the long face. There are distinct staffie characteristics if you know what you're looking for, but it is way too long for a true staffie.
https://imgur.com/0p17GAu (https://imgur.com/0p17GAu)

Here's that lovely sable coloring across her back. It's actually not quite as dark as it looks, but my phone takes terrible pictures.
https://imgur.com/kbwai57 (https://imgur.com/kbwai57)

The best side shot I could find. Ignore the shaved belly, she is still growing the hair back from her spay surgery.
https://imgur.com/YqrZH3i (https://imgur.com/YqrZH3i)

Those ears!!! They are the shape of staffie ears, which makes them flop over and will eventually produce that nice staffie rose ear, but they are way too big and thick for true staffie ears.
https://imgur.com/1RS6y32 (https://imgur.com/1RS6y32)
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Ariel on December 07, 2017, 12:22:30 PM
I don't see any Malinois at all. Not a single Mal trait and I know quite a few Mals. You said she was sold to you as a purebred Staffie? I could actually see that. Not a well bred one (poorly bred doesn't always mean unhealthy or unsuited for service work) but I see all Staffie in her.

The ears and a few other little things wouldn't be traits of a dog that would be competitive in the breed ring, but that doesn't mean she wasn't purebred. They come in Sable, so it isn't like she's a color that the breed is not capable of producing.

Every single temperament and personality trait you listed were all ones common to Staffies as well. Regardless of whether she's purebred Staffie with a lot of big Staffie attitude and all that comes with or a random mystery sire came out of the woodworks and disappeared just as quickly, she's adorable and I'm glad she's working well for you.
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 07, 2017, 01:05:05 PM
Hm. Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. She just hit 50 lbs at 6 months old and her mom was a very typey staffie and 45lbs full grown. There is no way she is purebred of even just poorly bred. As for what she is, mal is the current theory which is supported by the vet and several working dog experts who have seen her in person, but I'm hoping to get a DNA test at some point in the next year or two. Hey, maybe she's not or maybe she is only a 1/4 mal or something. I don't know. She's certainly not the rottweiler we first thought she was. :biggrin: But whatever she is, it doesn't really matter. I love her to bits and she's working out fine...even if she turns out to be something out of left field like a doberman (good heavens I hope not!).
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Ariel on December 07, 2017, 01:11:03 PM
She's not my dog and it doesn't matter to me one way or another what she is or what you think she is. If she's a good prospect, that's what matters.  :smile:
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 07, 2017, 01:25:17 PM
Agreed. Now it's just a waiting game for her little puppy peanut brain to settle down enough to start real PA training. That'll probably take a few more months. *sigh* Patience has never been more of a virtue.  :closedeyes:
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Ariel on December 07, 2017, 01:28:57 PM
Owner training is a long ride full of literal blood, sweat, and tears. Enjoy the puppy brain, teenage brain comes next.  :wink:
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Summertime.and.Azkaban on December 07, 2017, 04:40:37 PM
Owner training is a long ride full of literal blood, sweat, and tears. Enjoy the puppy brain, teenage brain comes next.  :wink:

I don't know that I'll ever get a puppy again, Rayner was a holy horror as a teenager. Adult dogs are so much easier.  :doublethumbup:

For what it's worth I'm not super familiar with staffies, but her coat does look odd to me. I'm not sure if it's just a poorly bred coat (outside of breed standard) or what, but it looks longer than most staffies I've seen.

Her face doesn't look remotely mal-ish to me. She looks like a straight bully girl in the face to me.

I would die if I found out I had a mutt with a large percentage of mal in there. I avoid mals like the plague, too much dog for me.
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: Nala on December 10, 2017, 03:36:47 PM
It's hard to see in the pictures, but she is developing a full on double coat. There is no way daddy was a staffy, pit, rott, or any of the usual suspects. She is shedding so bad I have to take a lint roller to my bed every night before I go to bed (sensory issues). I'm just waiting to see how soon she stops growing. I think we've hit another growth spurt because her butt shot up again. All I know is I have never met a staffie, pit, or rott with this temperament. She sure seems to have the activity level and energy requirements of a mal at least on paper and from the people I've talked to. It's not that bad now that I'm used to it and I've figured out what makes her tick. She'll do anything for food, including leaving the food, if that makes any sense. I've ingrained in her since day one that when you see food, you don't touch it because you're more likely to get some of it as a reward than if you had tried to eat it without permission.

I probably wouldn't have gotten so much dog on purpose, but now that I have her she's grown on me. I love her to bits...most days (except for that time she chewed up my one pair of nice leather dress shoes :dry:). We'll just have to wait and see how she turns out. I'm saving up for a DNA test because I'm really curious, but being a PWD on a limited income that might be a while. My parents have started calling her Clifford because she won't stop growing! :biggrin:
Title: Re: The dangers of getting a mixed breed prospect...(breed oopsie)
Post by: punstersquared on December 10, 2017, 04:02:49 PM
She's very cute. I just want to caution you that it's hard to tell in the pictures but it looks like she might be on the chunky side for a puppy. Being a Staffie mix who was poorly bred and having those straight hind legs, she's already at higher risk of having joint problems like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament degeneration in the future. You'll want to keep her on the skinny side for life but especially during development. Calorie restriction has been shown to decrease the risk of developing orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia and also making them less apt to have progression of and pain from these developmental orthopedic diseases. You should be able to see the last rib or two in a short-coated dog who's in their major growth phase. If you look up Body Condition Score scales, the veterinary orthopedists I learned from want to see pups that age at 4/9. Here are a few puppy pictures of Cricket to illustrate. He had good muscle but essentially NO intra-abdominal fat as a puppy and very little subcutaneous fat, hence the profound tuck inward of his abdomen. When you rest your hand on the back of her ribcage, you should feel ribs with no padding. As an adult, you can let them get up a bit more towards 5/9, but you greatly reduce their risk of joint problems by keeping them lean as pups.

https://i.imgur.com/3Uz0J03.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/6kWrXgX.jpg?1

https://i.imgur.com/nHCT1Mx.jpg

I'll be curious to hear what she turns out to be if you ever do the DNA test. Malinois are smaller than GSDs and females should be only 40-60 lbs when fully grown. Whatever she is, she sure if cute! I hear you about the trials and tribulations of puppyhood. Part of me has puppy fever but really I do not miss that phase. :wink: