Question from Reddit: Is there a such thing as a superbreed?
Thinking of a mixed breed dog with the best possible characteristics of the purebreds in his gene pool? Active, athletic people wanting a high drive companion dog can look into the Shepinois, a mix of the steadiness of the German shepherd and the intense drive of the Belgian Malinois. The combo is popular with law enforcement and military handlers for their brains, work ethic and ability to leap over vehicles and snare the bad guy before he can take more than three panicked steps in retreat.
Camelot shepherds has been breeding Shepinois for about 5 years. “It started as an accident!” Angie Young, trainer and breeder at Camelot, tells me. “We got into it backwards, but it was a happy accident. When the pups started to mature, we were just amazed.”
Shepinois puppy photo courtesy of Camelot Shepherds.
In souped-up scenaio, sex doesn’t matter. Angie says whether you mate a female shepherd with a male Malinois, or a female German shepherd with a male Mal; you still get a consistently good dog. “You get the tenacity of the Malinois, with its vim and vigor not seen in other breeds; and the more easygoing nature of the German shepherd.”
Young male Shepinois photo courtesy Camelot Shepherds.
Belgian Malinois Pros: Sharp, sleek workaholic that won’t quit. Seal Team Six level working dog. Smaller than the shepherd, lighter on their feet, bodies are sturdy but can literally fly.
Belgian Malinois Cons: Intense. Reactive. If it moves, the Mal will chase it. More protective of territory.
Belgian Malinois practicing Down and Stay, a counter-intuitive behavior.
German Shepherd pros: Classic movie star looks. Loveable, affectionate, loyal, large sized, good with children, solid work ethic.
German Shepherd Cons: possible physical traits that can come down through a line like Degenerative Myelopathy and hip dysplasia. Double coated so they shed a lot. Vocal, too, and will let their opinions be known.
The pressing drive of both breeds is still present in the Shepinois, so breed enthusiasts must have a lifestyle to match: active, outdoorsy and want to do things with the dog. Lots of things. “These dogs are curious, active and busy”, Angie tells me. “Give them a job or they will find one for themselves.”
Mixing two purebreds, Angie says, doesn’t necessarily pull the undesirable genetic traits of each parent. Angie is not seeing as many typical shepherd maladies in pure bred Malinois or in the Shepinois.
Camelot Shepherds sees the pure bred Malinois as being more in demand for military or law enforcement as their personal dogs, or for retired handlers that miss the working breed they loved in the force. If you have energy to burn and a lifestyle to match, a Malinois can be a wonderful companion.
Confused? Confounded? Just plain clueless? It’s not you. Dog trainer Amy Robinson answers your burning questions about what the heck your dog is doing. Email your questions to email@example.com or tweet to @sniffandbarkens #AskAmyRobinson