Different Breeds Have Different Needs

Posted on by Leeza Castle

When we first met Hazel, we were sure she was an Australian Shepherd puppy. The adoption counselors and vet techs felt the same way. Of course, this was all conjecture. She was abandoned in a field; no one truly knows her genetic history.

Now that she’s 7-months-old, we’re thinking she may be a mini or the runt of her litter. Right now, she’s about 37 lbs and maybe 16 inches tall (at her back). She’s totally proportionate, so we don’t think she’s mixed with a Corgi or small dog, and she still looks exactly like pictures of red merle Aussies. However, she is much smaller than any Aussie I’ve been around, and my parents have had AKC registered Aussies and they were much bigger.

Of course, her size doesn’t matter to us. She’s perfect just the way she is. But curiosity set in so we did a little research on the web. We learned that female Australian Shepherds can be anywhere from 18”-22” tall and weigh from 40-55 lbs. So, with another few months to fill out, she is exactly where she should be.

This information alleviated our concerns about her size, but it did raise the question of if we should attempt to confirm Hazel’s breed. If our curiosity continues, we can have a Wisdom Panel done. This is a simple DNA blood test that reveals the breeds detected in your dog by comparing to the genetic signatures of more than 225 breeds. This would satisfy our curiosity, but it could also help us plan for Hazel’s future nutrition, exercise and training needs. Different breeds have different needs, and some have predispositions to certain diseases or health issues. I know we’ll love Hazel no matter what mix of breeds she turns out to be, but the more we know about her, the more vigilant we can be with her care.

About Leeza Castle

Leeza Castle has been with the practice for 5 years and manages print production and inventory for all hospitals. She and her husband, Ken, have 2 dogs; Rudy & Hazel, 3 cats; Stewie, Grizzly & Panda and a leopard gecko; Luke Skywalker. View all posts by Leeza Castle →

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