If you’re raising a big dog, don’t ask for tips from someone raising a small dog. Because while they are technically the same species, as a dog owner, you’ll have to treat big and small breeds differently. For example, bigger dogs require more food (which means added costs on your part) and are not allowed in some hotels or retail stores that set a limit on the size of the pet allowed in their premises. On the other hand, small dogs are generally more difficult to train and are usually more aggressive.
But when it comes to dogs that are bred from small and big dogs, it may be more difficult to decide how you ought to raise it. When it has characteristics from both big and small dogs, you’re going to have to find a balance between the two to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Take, for example, a Shepherd Terrier mix. All Shepherd Dogs require enough exercise and mental stimulation to avoid getting restless over time. Small breeds, however, require less intense exercise. And when you mix a small breed with a large breed, you can never really tell what size you’re going to get when they grow into adult dogs.
If you own a Shepherd Terrier mix or are planning to get a mix from any Shepherd breed, here’s everything you need to know or expect after welcoming a new furry friend into your home.
Estimating Your Dog’s Size
Dogs’ genetics work slightly similar to humans in the way that they inherit the dominant and recessive traits from their parents. When it comes to their physical appearance, each of their genomes have around six or seven factors that affect their overall appearance.
If a dog were a purebred born from two German Shepherds, for example, you can expect them to grow around 20 to 40 kg and up to 65 cm tall. In comparison, a healthy Shih Tzu would only weigh around 4 to 7 kg and grow up to 30 cm.
When it comes to Shepherd Terrier mixes (and mixed breeds in general), it’s difficult to predict the fully grown size when it comes from both small and large breeds. In some cases, a mixed breed may resemble one parent and have recessive traits of the other parent which they may pass down to future offspring. In other cases, your dog may show characteristics of two breeds (take a look at this mixed Corgi German Shepherd). So, unless you hire a geneticists to produce the perfect dog (this isn’t cheap), you’re playing the genetic lottery when breeding mixed breeds.
A Terrier, depending on the type, can weight around 1.4 (Maltese) up to 38 kg (Bull Terrier). The same goes with Shepherd dogs which can weight around 14 (Schnauzer) up to 65 kg (Anatolian Shepherd). Your Shepherd Terrier mix can range between any of these weights.
Providing for Your Dog
Unless you’re adopting a fully grown Shepherd Terrier, you can’t be sure about its adult size as a puppy. If you’re adopting a puppy, one way to determine if it will grow big or small is to look at its paws. Puppies that are destined to grow big will have relatively bigger paws. However, this isn’t a sure thing, and a puppy with small paws may still grow up to be twice the size than you originally thought.
But if you’re adopting a puppy and are unsure of the size, the best thing to do would be to prepare for the worst case scenario. Research what mixed breed you’re getting and look at their average size. If, for example, your dog is a White Shepherd breed, you can expect them to grow up to 40 kg.
Knowing how big their weight is can help you prepare enough for the future. PetMD offers a recommendation on how often and how much you should be feeding your pet. If your dog is 40 kg, that’s around 90 lbs. or within the range of a large dog. Using an 8-ounce measuring cup, based on PetMD’s calculation, your dog should be eating around four cups of dog food a day. That’s a lot more than a toy-sized dog that requires half a cup a day.
Knowing your pet’s weight when they mature is also a great way on making investments for pet supplies. Instead of buying equipment such as leashes or beds that match your puppy’s size and they’re bound to outgrow, estimate the maximum weight they might be and then get something adjustable to reach that maximum weight or height.
Your calculations may not come true and your puppy may grow into a smaller dog, but it’s much better to be overstocked and prepared than to get an underfed pup and having to spend more because you did a poor estimation on their grown-up size.
The Shepherd Terrier Mix Temperament
While size does affect certain behavioral aspects, it’s wrong to assume that temperament and lifestyle is totally affected by size. For example, stereotypes dictate that big dogs are actually very lovable despite their size while small dogs are a yapping nightmare with a bark worse than their bite. This video about dogs that protect their owner even seems to prove that smaller dogs make a better guard dog despite their size.
However, breed size is only one of many factors that affect temperament. A dog showered with love and affection and given walks daily are likely to be more relaxed than dogs that are mistreated and locked in small spaces every day.
It may be in a Shepherd Dog’s nature to want to herd, but overall, if you live alone in the city, provide everything they need, and introduce them to other dogs, they won’t have trouble adjusting to your lifestyle. Terriers, on the other hand, are normally used to remove outdoor pests. It’s alright if they don’t serve that purpose. However, both these dogs tend to be active due to their build, so expect to have an active lifestyle if you want to provide this type of dog with enough exercise. The bigger it is, the more frequent exercise it requires.
Remember, welcoming a dog into your home is like welcoming a new family member into your life. You’ll want to take good care of them and try to provide all of their needs. Doing otherwise may result in accidentally mistreating your pets by not providing enough to satisfy their needs. Even if you’re not getting a Shepherd Terrier mix, still take the time to do your research and see if you’re capable of giving your pet a healthy lifestyle and environment.