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A month ago we added a fifth dog to our family. Apollo is 8 months old and he's a Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever mix (aka Goberian).
When I learned about the pending arrival of a fifth dog, I did some research to see if I could figure out why someone would purposefully breed a Husky with a Golden Retriever. There are some crossbreeds that are created because people think they shed less or have friendlier personalities. When we were looking for a herding mix (which led us to Scout and Zoey) we found several breeders in California that were crossing Blue Heelers with Australian Shepherds to amp up the herding traits.
So, why would someone choose to crossbreed a Golden Retriever with a Siberian Husky?
I was disappointed to learn that someone thought they could create a dog with the temperament of a Golden and the eyes of a Husky.
Okay, so I'm not a scientist, but how can someone guarantee that a puppy will only have the eyes of one of the breeds in the mix unless they're tinkering with DNA in a lab? I can promise you that the “breeder” where Apollo came from is not a scientist. Not trying to throw shade here, just being honest.
So I'm writing this post to share what we've witnessed in our puppy so far and maybe it'll help anyone else who is tempted to get a Goberian puppy.
Note: Throughout this post, I write “breeder” in quotes. The reason for this is because I don't believe that the person who bred Apollo and his littermates was a reputable breeder.
The Goberian Breeder
Before I delve into the breeds, I wish I could tell you more about the “breeder,” however, I never met her. Apollo was originally a family member's dog and due to time constraints, the puppy was surrendered to us so that he could have a happy home.
I have no idea who came up with the idea of crossing a Siberian Husky with a Golden Retriever. I'm not a breeder so I'm hesitant to comment on whether or not it's a good idea to cross two pure-breed dogs. I know that there are pet parents who vehemently disagree with this practice (I blocked several of them after we welcomed Apollo into our home).
My questions to anyone who decides to create a new breed by cross-breeding two purebred dogs are:
- Why? What do you hope to accomplish?
- What experience do you have with both of the breeds?
- Is this responsible? What if the cross is an epic fail?
- Are you doing genetic and health testing on the dogs before breeding?
- How long have you been breeding dogs?
I suspect that the person where Apollo originated wasn't a reputable breeder. I never met her, but a few things I learned helped to shape my opinion:
- The breeder's home was a hot mess.
- The breeder made claims about the puppy's future personality and traits that weren't true.
- No health checks were done on the parents nor was proof provided that the parents were pure breeds.
Golden Retriever Traits
Golden Retrievers originated from Scotland and are one of the most popular family dogs in the US. This is also my dream dog. I've always wanted a Golden Retriever because of their amazing personalities. They retain that puppy playfulness long into the adult years. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to retrieve ducks and still require daily exercise both mentally and physically.
In my research, I learned that Goldens…
- weigh between 55-80 pounds
- have a life span of 10-12 years
Reaching out to others who are raising Golden Retrievers, I was warned of the following…
- Goldens are heavy shedders and require grooming.
- Goldens love to be with their people and shouldn't be left alone in the yard.
- Goldens require daily exercise, at least an hour a day.
- Goldens love to eat and will get fat if their diet isn't maintained responsibly.
Siberian Husky Traits
Siberian Husky's originated in Russia and the breed was exported to Alaska during the Gold Rush of the early 1900s. This breed has always been a working dog, but it was raised as a family dog too.
In my research, I learned that Huskies…
- weigh between 35-60 pounds
- have a life span of 12-15 years
Reaching out to others who are raising Huskies, I was warned of the following…
- Huskies blow their coat twice annually (more often in warming climates) and require regular grooming.
- Huskies are escape artists and they love to run. Several people told me stories of finding their dog 30 miles from home when they finally stopped running.
- Huskies require a lot of exercise and aren't a great apartment dog; they do best with active families and in homes with big yards.
- Huskies can cause damage both inside and outside the house; they love to dig holes and shouldn't be left unattended.
- Huskies aren't the best “first dog” for new pet parents; they can be stubborn to train and require a strong, confident leader in their owner.
Goberians are a designer breed; a cross between a Siberian Husky and a Golden Retriever. Because of the cross, it's not clear what personality traits a Goberian puppy will inherit from their parents. A Goberian can exhibit traits that are primarily Golden Retriever, primarily Siberian Husky, or a combination of the two.
In my research, I learned…
- Adult Goberians can weigh between 45-80 pounds
- Goberians have a life span of 10-15 years
- Goberians may be prone to hip dysplasia, heart problems, eye problems, and cancer
Basically, it looks like someone took the range of both breeds and created one for the cross.
And, PS, Apollo doesn't have the eyes of a Husky. He just has gorgeous puppy eyes that you fall in love with instantly. Oh well.
10 Things You Should Know About Goberian Puppies
I tried to find people who were raising Goberians, but didn't have much luck. So, instead of sharing what people think a Goberian is like, I'm going to share our experience to date (which isn't much).
1 – Apollo is super affectionate and when he sees one of us, he acts as if he hasn't seen us all day even though we were just talking to him 30-minute prior. He loves to cuddle, he loves hugs, he loves massages and loves chin and ear scratches. And I love giving them.
2 – Apollo has zero sense of personal space and likes to be near one of us. If I'm sitting on the sofa, he's either lying behind me, across my lap, or at my feet. When I'm making food in the kitchen, he's laying on my feet. When I am in the bathroom, he's right there or right outside the door.
3 – Apollo has separation anxiety and cannot be left home alone, even when we have four other dogs, for longer than a couple of hours. Whether this is due to his breeding or his life prior to living with us, we don't know. We're working with him on this and we've noticed improvement, but it's slow.
4 – Apollo is smart and training with him is a breeze. I like to give my dogs the opportunity to make choices rather than demanding complete obedience and it's fun watching him work things out. Of course, giving him this freedom means that I need to be prepared when he decides to run away with whatever is in his mouth. It takes a lot of patience.
5 – Apollo can be stubborn and requires training, consistency and, like I said, patience. He responds well when we train while playing and he's very food motivated, so training for 5-15 minutes prior to dinner time is ideal.
6 – Apollo is active and playful. He loves pack walks, playing fetch and tug, and swimming. He really loves swimming. Because of his activity level, which isn't as high as a pure-bred Husky, we enrolled him into doggy daycare where he goes daily as we work to build his confidence. Our goal is to get him to a point where he goes to daycare once or twice a week.
It's a surprise to have a Husky mix that loves to swim.
7 – So far, the shedding hasn't been an issue, however, I do brush him weekly to get him used to the sensation of brushing and he loves it. However, because he's still a puppy, it takes a bit to get them to settle down to be brushed. He thinks it's a game first. So I now brush him a couple of hours before bedtime or in the morning.
8 – Apollo doesn't realize how big he is and when I look at his paws, I wonder how much bigger he'll get. When I'm sitting in a chair, he'll do a running launch to curl up in my lap. It's hilarious, but I'm hoping that this doesn't last into adulthood.
9 – Apollo is a good jumper. We have baby gates and x-pens around the house to keep him out of certain areas and he walks or jumps over them daily, which presents another training opportunity. Because he's so smart, he quickly picked up that he's not supposed to do this and if I point, he'll jump back over the gate. We plan to re-fence the dog yard to make it bigger and we'll probably install an 8′ fence.
10 – Apollo isn't a big barker. If you've watched one of my Lives when I'm making food, you'll find this hard to believe, but he's actually a quiet dog. He's mainly vocal prior to mealtime and we figured out that he does this when one of the other dogs comes into the kitchen. He seems to think this is his domain. We're working on it.
Other than mealtimes, which has gotten a lot better (with the barking), he doesn't really bark on his own. However, being part of the pack, he has learned to bark when someone comes to the door and when we come home. Otherwise, he's happy to sit and watch while the other dogs bark. And bark and bark and bark.
11 – Apollo protects his toys and food – Apollo isn't food or toy aggressive, but he will protect his things. Not from humans, but from other dogs. He's happy to share a toy during play, but he's not down with Rodrigo taking a toy from him. And when it comes to food, he's not okay with one of the other dogs, i.e. Rodrigo, nosing in for a bite.
He hasn't bitten anyone, but he will growl like a Tasmanian Devil.
Is a Goberian Puppy Right for You?
I have mixed feelings on this question, however, I feel the need to add it because people coming across this post may be considering a Goberian puppy.
Best Food for a Feed a Goberian Puppy / Dog
If you're a follower of my blog, then it will come to no surprise that I recommend a diet of fresh food for a Goberian puppy and dog. However, I do have a reason beyond being a bit biased.
In my research, I found that like the breeds crossed to create Goberian puppies, Goberians may be prone to the following health issues:
- hip dysplasia
- heart problems
- eye problems
When I learned that we would be adding this puppy to our family, I immediately placed two calls to get advice on diet. I contacted Thomas Sandberg of the Long Living Pets Research Project and Krista Powell, owner of Vibrant K9. They both assured me that a fast transition to fresh food was best and I did this as well as increased the amount of calcium in Apollo's diet to support his rapid growth.
Training a Goberian Puppy / Dog
In my opinion, because it's impossible to determine which breed traits will dominate from one puppy to the next, I don't think a Goberian puppy is the right puppy for a first time dog owner unless this person is prepared to change their lives to ensure that this puppy gets the training needed to become a great dog. Of course, this goes for any dog, no matter the breed.
Apollo goes to Smart Dog Doggy Day Care during the day where the employees work with him on manners and he gets a heavy dose of daily socialization. This has helped tremendously with our home training and his relationship with our other dogs.
I work with Apollo for 5-15 minutes daily before dinner. He's food motivated so this is the best time to keep his focus.
I use the following for training treats:
- WINPRO Focus – he gets two treats a day; once when I drop him off at daycare and one when I pick him up. This helps with his excitement level. When he sees these treats, he immediately stops and calms down. And the treats serve to help him maintain focus so that I can continue to work with him on the way home (or to help the daycare employees who work with him after he arrives).
- CocoCharms Training Treats – I use these because I love and trust the brand and know that all of the ingredients are high quality. The treats are small, easy to use during training, and crazy healthy.
- Freeze Dried Green Tripe – I also use freeze-dried green tripe treats by Raw Paws Pet.
I'm not sure if this is breed-specific or specific to Apollo, but one thing that we find ourselves working on is “leave it” and “drop it.” Apollo loves tug toys and he loves to be chased around the house. Usually, he'll grab a toy and run around and we'll play – this is fine. But it's not fine when he grabs shoes, rocks, or other inappropriate things. So we're constantly working on getting him to release things that he shouldn't be chewing on.
Giving him a high-value treat or toy doesn't always work with Apollo. So we continue to train and we are seeing improvement.
This is probably a puppy thing.
Grooming a Goberian Puppy / Dog
Because a Goberian is a cross-bred dog, the coat may differ from one puppy to the next. Apollo does have an undercoat, but the amount varies throughout his coat. I've been warned that he'll have a natural blowout twice annually (more if the weather is hotter) and that it's easier to maintain his coat by brushing him on a consistent basis.
I've decided to brush Apollo weekly using the following tools recommended to me by a professional groomer:
That's crazy, right? He has as many grooming tools as I do!
Exercising a Goberian Puppy / Dog
Apollo is so smart and I've found that it's important to exercise his body and his brain. Because puppies needs tons of sleep (because they're growing) exercise doesn't have to be all day every day with Apollo. But it does have to be daily and this is what we're doing:
- Playing and socialization at his doggy daycare – 3-5 days a week depending on our schedule*
- Swimming – we have ponds on our property and they are safe for the dogs to swim in and enjoy.
- Fetch – one of the best outdoor toys we have are the Puller Rings. We have a lot of them and they do a great job of wearing the dogs out in no time.
- Walking – Apollo is taken for a 3-5 mile walk at least 5 days a week.
*Our goal is to reduce the time he goes to doggy daycare to 1-2 days a week as is confidence grows.
The Right Toys for a Goberian Puppy / Dog
Apollo is super easy to please when it comes to dog toys. He loves toys that squeak, he loves plush toys, he loves balls, and he loves tug toys. He's also a strong chewer, so I'm careful about the toys I choose for him.
Right now, the toys that work best with him are:
- Puller Rings
- ChuckIt! Ultra Balls
- Fluff & Tuff Georgia Gator
- Kong Squeeze Ring Dog Toy
- Tall Tails Ring Natural 7″ Dog Toy
- Multipet Nuts for Knots Ball Dog Toy
By the way, why is it so hard to find plush toys without a squeaker?
Is Creating New Dog Breeds Right?
As I stated, I'm uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on cross breed dogs because I don't have any experience with breeding and no matter what I say, I'm going to piss someone off.
But this is my blog and I'm sharing my thoughts so, here goes…
I struggle with the idea of designer dog breeds. Breeding two breeds together to create a cute puppy doesn't sit well with me. While I understand the idea behind a properly bred Goldendoodle and Labradoodle – to create less shedding, family-friendly dog – I think that the “Doodle” breeding has gotten out of hand. Recently, I saw that someone is breeding Poodles with Malinois (the dogs in John Wick 3).
I try not to judge what I don't know and I'm not passing judgment here. I simply don't understand the need for creating new breeds, especially if the “breeder” isn't doing health screenings on the dogs and it appears as if some “breeders” are taking advantage of a trend.
In my opinion, the increase in Goberian puppies for sales may be in response to Game of Thrones. Shelters are filled with Huskies that people couldn't manage because Huskies are a breed for confident dog owners. So, maybe someone thought that if they mellowed out the Husky characteristics with a family-friendly breed, aka a Golden Retriever, then they'd have a hit.
And according to BuzzFeed, Goberians are officially the world's cutest dog breed.
And, maybe someone is breeding Poodles with Malinois to appeal to John Wick fans. Of course, I don't know why someone would breed a hunting dog (the Poodle) with a guard dog (the Malinois).
Our Future with Our Goberian Puppy
If you've made it this far, then you probably realize that nearly everything I've shared could be applied to any dog, any breed.
So, what's the point of crossing a Golden with a Husky?
All in all, the jury is still out with Apollo. Like our other mixed breed dogs, we really don't know what we'll get, but I will continue to raise them naturally (or as naturally as possible) by feeding a diet of fresh food, minimizing vaccinations and exposure to toxins, and getting plenty of training and exercise.
Although I find it interesting, I don't care what breeds make up each of my dogs. They're all fabulous and I love them.
Update! Apollo may be a Husky/German Shepherd Mix!
The month following this blog post, we took Apollo to the vet and Dr. Cherie (of Helping Hands Veterinary Clinic in Lynnwood, WA) and she said that our puppy looked more like a Husky/Shepherd mix instead of a Husky/Golden Retriever mix.
So I asked Google “What does a Husky Shepherd cross look like?” and this is what I found!
- Can you tell me which dog is Apollo?
- Are you equally surprised by the images?
Now I'm curious to see if what breed mix or cross Apollo actually is and if the breeder produced his litter was being straight about the mix. I've decided to order a DNA test through Embark Vet to get to the bottom of this mystery.
So, what do you think? Is Apollo a Husky/Shepherd mix or a Husky/Golden mix?