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How will a bc/lab mix be like?

I am thinking of adopting a bc/lab mix. While I can appreciate the herding characteristics of the bc, I am concerned with the yelping, barking and behaviour problems that also exist. I have two great cats that take up a lot of our energy and are fun to play with. Will the mixture of the bc/lab defuse the behaviour characteristics associated with the bc side, or not?

About the bc/lab mix: it's hard to tell what the characteristics of such a dog are. You write about yelping, barking and behaviour problems as typical of a Border Collie (at least I understand it that way). Yelping and barking are not a common characteristic. It is not appreciated when a BC barks while he is herding. The eagerness to work may cause a BC to bark when he sees another dog working (agility for example), while he cannot (yet) do that, but this is not uncommon in dogs of almost every breed. The amount of barking a BC does depend on the individual characteristics. One of our BC's barks when we come home while another one hardly ever barks at all.

Also there are no real behaviour problems in Border Collies, except for the fact that they may start unwanted behaviour if they end up in a home that doesn't provide enough mental work for them. They are not suitable as living carpets. A BC needs a mentally challenging 'job'. This can be herding sheep, agility, flyball or even a 'job' as hearing dog for the deaf. A BC has a strong 'will to please' and really wants to work for you. If you deny him of a mentally challenging activity he may end up trying to herd cats, children or even cars. He may even check the interior of your living room couch for flaws in the construction. In my opinion this is not a behaviour problem of the Border, but more a behaviour problem of the owner. Remember that this breed was bred for centuries to have a rather extreme working instinct. Something you cannot ignore when you get yourself such a dog.

The variation in working instinct and herding instinct also varies enormously within the Border Collie breed. Some BC's have hardly any urge to herd and make great family pets, while others need to work sheep at least every other day.

Behavioural characteristics are inherited in a practically unknown, but most certainly very complex way. It certainly does not work like a watercolour die: mix a bit of yellow and red and you end up with orange. In other words a BC/Lab mix may look like either one of the parents or anything in between and may have the behaviour of a lab or bc or anything in between. If you can visit the dog you may want to take an experienced bc owner with you. He may be able to tell you more about the characteristics of this particular dog.


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