We have a new litter of puppies that will be available at 8 weeks old. They are a hybrid cross of Freight Husky and Akita. It is sometimes asked, "Is this an accidental breeding?" whenever a crossbreed litter is born. Many people assume that, "purebred," means better. Conversely, "mixed breed," means that the puppies are a regretful accident. From the start I want to make it clear that these Hybrid crosses were planned about a year and a half ago, and they are as good as any purebred dog breed of similar purpose. In fact I go so far as to say they are better. Why?
A good example might be the famous and iconic Dalamtion. Many have seen the adorable Disney cartoon, "101 Dalmations." Well not to long ago it became clear to breeders that the Dalmation breed was going deaf. A common genetic defect of deafness had become so common, that many feared the entire breed was doomed to become crippled by deafness. Some feared this may even lead to the extinction of the breed. They also discovered the breed as a whole was plagued with Hyperuricemia, the inability to break down uric acid leading to chronic gout. The solution was to crossbreed them with an English Pointer to save the breed.
I could go down a list of dozens of pure bred breeds that are all chronically plagued with genetic health disorders that threatent the preservation of these breeds. Many are prone to cancer, hip dysplasia, mitral valve disease, canine syringomyelia and a host of other disorders. Finding good breeding stock to maintain so called, "pure bred," dogs becomes increasingly difficult and stringent.
Some breeds have degenerated so badly that they can not naturally reproduce, requiring veterinary intervention to concieve. The cause of this is that a pure bred gene pool is one drawn from related dogs. We know the same practice with humans results in mentally ill and physically defective people over many generations. That is why many of the royal and aristocratic families of Europe have bleeders in the family at much higher rates than the regular population.
Years ago I observed this with purebred Malamutes and Great Pyrenees. I see it in many Karelian Bear Dogs in the diminishing stature as newer generations of puppies are born. A little line breeding can be beneficial once in many generations, but eventually the practice ruins a breed. So I have purposely freshened up the genetic pool of my freight dogs with hybrid crosses of similar breeds. If one uses breeds of similar stature, temperment and, purpose; the hybrid vigor is almoist always superior to the pure bred dog. After I began this practice I ceased to have any serious health problems with my dogs. The pinicle of my breeding program was Drooge, my 120 pound freight dog. He has always had perfect health and was working heavy sled work long distance up to 14 year old. He had good vission, hearing, no arthitis, hip problems or any obvious health defects.
He is primarily Malamute as the base breed. I also added in Malamute/Great Pyrenees cross early on and have kept that in the gene pool. I also aquired an Athabascan Husky/Malamute/Akita cross that was rumored to have some Irish Wolf Hound in it. I once had a German shepherd/Akita/Malamute cross that came into our gene pool. Finally I found a young female Malamute that was pure white(which I suspect has some Samoyed sled dog mixed in thus the pure white coat). She was the mother of many more pups.
After having many purebred dogs and also having hybrids over 16-20 years of breeding; I have come to strongly believe in cross breeding similar breeds to make better dogs. They are healthier, smarter, and longer lived. It also makes it possible for a kennel to adapt new dogs to new needs and environments. Some elitest breeders turn up their arrogant noses at hybrid cross breeds calling them, "mutts," and, "curs." But if they are honest, they have to admit that many so called, "pure breeds," began as cross breeds. The Akita is considered a pure breed, but in the post european contact Japanese breeders crossed indigenous Akitas with European breeds. This was to make bigger, fiercer fighting dogs. So the Akita of today is not really a pure breed. The German Shepherd, Doberman Pincher, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and many other familiar breeds began as hybrid crosses.
Breeders from ages past needed to adapt the dogs they had to new situations and environments as they advanced through history. Distinctively North American breeds are fine examples of this practice. The famous Black Mouth Cur, and Labrador Retrievers, and Chesapeake Bay Retriever had origins of ambiguous crossbreeding in the New World. We could also mention the famous coon dogs of the Appalachian mountains. In modern times the most successful sled dog teams in racing are a mixture of many breeds euphemistically called, "Alaskan Huskies." In the world of dog racing no one has won the Iditarod or Yukon Quest with pure bred dogs. Some day the Alaskan huskey will be declared a pure breed and registered as such, but for now all champion dogs are basically mutts.
Now that I have made my point about hybrid vigor making superior dogs, I want to explain my reasoning and purpose for my particular breeding plans. I live in the Alaskan Bush, and there is no road to my semi-remote property in the mountains. I need to haul firewood often, and perhaps water from a water hole after freeze up. Bears, wolves, and moose occassionally wander onto my property and I have children to protect. Finally I hunt for subsistence, not sport. I need a dog adapted to all of these tasks. I will never race dogs long distance, so small high metabolism Alaska Huskies are not appropriate.
My needs are 1.) heavy draft dog, 2.)gaurdian/watch dog for bears and human intruders, 3.)dogs that have some measure of scent hounding, treeing and holding at bay game, and finally 4.)winter hardy frost resistent coats.
Malamutes from properly bred stock are great draft dogs, but lousy gaurdians. Some hunt a little but most don't have that trait, having it bred out of them by show breeders. Akitas are great gaurdian dogs, intelligent and well mannered with the family; but they are not known for draft work. They do have a hunting past, but again, show breeders have bred that trait away to make them more docile in shows. Great Pyrenees are excellent gaurdian dogs with excellent winter coats and large powerful frames; but again, show breeders have ruined their physical proportions making them unable to run and work long distances without sore hips and shoulders. Siberian Laikas and Karelian Bear dogs are similar to huskies, but are traditionally pure hunting purpose dogs, and too small for heavy draft work.
By eventually fusing all these breeds together and selectively keeping puppies with the desired traits, I plan to have a new breed fit for my purposes. And I suspect that many other rural people of the North may want such dogs for their homestead lifestyle. What will I call this new dog? Well let's make the dog first and then make a name when it shows up in the kennel.
Our new puppies are the next step in this plan, as I am 16 years into the process. Their purpose is to be a draft sled dog that has a suspisious nature towards strangers, and aggression towards intruding animals such as bears. I plan on crossing this generation with Siberian Laika/Karelian Bear Dog hybrids which I am planning for next year. Of course I also will have pure bred puppies of these breeds available, but they will all be sent to new homes. It will be the Hybid crosses that keep.