Aussie-Flat (Australian Shepherd & Flat-Coated Retriever Mix): Info, Pictures, Facts
Brown, cream, tan, white, black
Guide dogs, companionship, families
Energetic, intelligent, friendly, patient
The Australian Shepherd Coated, or the Aussie-Flat, is a hybrid combination between the Australian Shepherd and the Flat-Coated Retriever mix. It is a lovely hybrid with a docile and friendly temperament.
The Aussie-Flat is a large breed dog because both the Flat-Coated Retriever and the Australian Shepherd are medium to large breed dogs. They do not get that heavy, though, since their bodies are made more for agility and endurance than for brawn.
These dogs have longer hair, since both parents do, and their coloring tends to be a mottled mixture of both parent breeds as well. They are considered only a moderate maintenance dog and are often used as guide dogs for the blind.
The price of the Aussie-Flat will be determined by the reputation of the breeder and the price of the parent breeds. The Australian Shepherd is a popular breed, being initially bred in America and quickly spreading around the country. They warm the hearts of everyone they encounter with their funny antics.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is similar to the Golden Retriever. One of the most obvious differences between the two is the coat color. Flat-coats have solid black coats, while Golden Retrievers have gold, red, or cream coats.
If you can find one up for adoption, they tend to be much more manageable at a rescue shelter.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Aussie-Flat
1. This hybrid is so new or rare that they are not registered with the major hybrid clubs or registries.
The Aussie-Flat is a recently developed hybrid. Since the Flat-Coated Retriever is already a rarer purebred to find in the United States, it is even more difficult to locate their hybrids.
Because of this newness and rarity, they are not yet registered with any Club or Registry. The most recognized club in the U.S. is the AKC, or American Kennel Club. This club is only for recognized purebreds, though.
Hybrids are typically recognized through hybrid clubs until they become much more established over many years of breeding. Their traits need to balance out and be consistent for them to be claimed by the AKC.
Instead, the American Canine Hybrid Club or the National Hybrid Registry is where the hybrid pups are registered. The Australian Shepherd Coated is not yet registered with either of these, though.
2. The Australian Shepherd Coated is often used as a guide dog for the blind.
Even with their relative rarity to other breeds, they are still sought out as a guide dog, specifically for the blind. They have many characteristics that are sought after for these kinds of dogs. Their patience and loyalty are essential. Their intelligence is another aspect of their temperament that makes them such a good fit. They are friendly and don’t easily get perturbed.
They were quickly recognized as able dogs to be trained as guide dogs because their parent, the Flat-Coated Retriever, is commonly used as one. They are deliberate and careful in their movements.
3. Most Aussie-Flats are an F1 cross.
Many times, a hybrid is not a 50/50 cross between two different breeds. Instead, to get just the right combination in each dog, they cross another hybrid with a purebred and so on until they obtain the desired results.
Aussie-Flats are fairly unique in that they are almost always an F1 cross. This means that they have two purebred parents, and there is no hybrid involved in their breeding.
The reason for this is the health problems that are more typical of hybrid and purebred mixes. The F1 cross avoids many of these, like blindness and deafness. It would come from having a double copy of the Merle coloration gene, which cannot occur in an F1 cross.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Australian Shepherd Coated 🧠
The Aussie-Flat is a calm dog with a gentle demeanor. That being said, they have a great deal of energy and like to be active, especially when younger. They remain steady under pressure and are a good dog to have around in any situation.
Just the fact that these dogs are used as dogs for the blind should show how stable and intelligent they are. They have a higher capacity to think for themselves and make on-the-spot decisions to keep their charge safe.
The Aussie-Flat does have a bit of a stubborn streak, but it is not as prevalent in these dogs as in other highly intelligent pups. In fact, their desire to make you happy greatly outweighs their stubbornness.
The Aussie-Flats are social but prefer to wait and withhold judgment on strangers. They can be protective, especially of their family, and are wary of anyone new until they know they are safe.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡
These dogs are a practically perfect family dog. They have the calmness and patience to deal with kids of any age. Still, stay close to your pup and the kids, especially during their first interactions. They need to become accustomed to each other to determine exactly how they should behave.
Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽
Early socialization is important with any dog breed, especially those that feel a sense of duty when it comes to protection. However, these dogs are docile and rarely react in aggression. They do well around other dogs, and even around cats.
Things to Know When Owning an Australian Shepherd Coated
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
As a medium-sized to large dog, these require an average amount of food for their size. Feed them about 2 cups each day, and their nutritional needs should be met. Find a food that is high in protein to get them the fuel they need to continue throughout the day.
These dogs do like to be active, but keep an eye on their weight through all their fluff. Don’t give them too many treats; these should only be 10% of their overall diet.
The Aussie-Flat has an energy level that matches their food intake, about average or moderate. They prefer to be active but are not overzealous and bouncing from the walls.
Give an Aussie-Flat about 60 minutes of consistent exercise each day to wear down their reserve. It does not have to be strenuous activity. Take them out for long walks, for a run, hiking, swimming, or agility training.
Since they are intelligent, it is best to give them mental stimulation. Any dog, no matter how naturally well-behaved they are, prefers to be kept busy. Work on tricks with them or teach them how to play a game. Nowadays, there are many treat-based toys that are like games for dogs.
The Aussie-Flat is one of the easier dogs to train. They listen well, and their intelligence makes it easy for them to understand new concepts. They can exhibit stubbornness, but rarely.
Establish yourself as the head of the herd with respect and love. They respond well to positive reinforcement. They want to make you happy, so let them know that they are doing a good job and they will feel more satisfaction.
The Aussie-Flat is high maintenance when it comes to their grooming requirements. They need to be brushed multiple times a week, but preferably daily. Frequent brushing helps keep their skin and coat healthy, minimize the amount they shed, and lessen the chance that they get mats and tangles.
These dogs have a double coat. When seasons begin to change, notably in the spring and autumn, they start to lose much more fur. Brush them more often to reduce the amount of hair that they lose around the home.
As with other dogs that have floppy ears, keep them clean and free of moisture to avoid ear infections. Don’t allow their nails to get too long, but instead, clip them every two to four weeks as needed. Brush their teeth multiple times a week to keep them free of dental issues.
Health and Conditions ❤️
The breed has not yet developed far enough for anyone to know exactly what they might suffer from. It is easier to look at the problems that their parents suffer from to know what their puppies have a higher chance of inheriting. Go to vet appointments regularly to catch anything before it becomes too serious.
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems
Male vs Female
There are no recognizable differences between the males and females of the breed because there are no standards set for them yet.
If trainers can trust these dogs to be excellent guide dogs, you can rest assured that you are getting an incredible canine companion. Whether you are looking for a friend to keep you company or for another member of the family, these pups go out of their way to please.
Although they are such a new breed, the similar characteristics of love and loyalty reside in both parents. There is a high likelihood that an Aussie-Flat will have the same mark of intelligence and protective air of those they love.
Featured Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock