An outcross, is the mating of two largely unrelated animals within the same breed. This type of breeding has been thought of by many breeders as very dangerous. They think this because outcrossing dilutes the qualities of a line and creates a disastrous situation. There have been numerous cases of where breed has gone extremely wrong because of outcross breeding. But before you make the judgement of whether or not outcross breeding is a good idea, it is important to have a good understanding of it. Again an outcross, is when two animals are mated but are completely unrelated. Most people do not realize that virtually every dog in a certain breed can be traced back through their pedigrees as being related. For example if you are mating two German Shepherds, look at their pedigrees to see if they have any family in common. If you do not look far back enough there is a chance that they will be related, making this not a apparent outcross. One of the best ways to determine whether mating two dogs will result in a outcross or not is by calculating their COIs. The COI is calculated over ten generations, fewer would not represent the background accurately. After calculating, if you find out that the cross is low (under 6.25%), or at least substantially lower than the lowest parental COI, then it will be confirmed as a outcross.
Outcross breeding has both advantages and disadvantages. Many specialists advise that an outcross should be performed only if necessary. When you perform an outcross one of the disadvantages that you will more than likely come across is having a “heterogeneous lot”. This mean that all of your offspring will display barely any uniformity. For example, if you breed two unrelated Belgian Malinois, their offspring will turn out one of three ways. Some will look like their mother, or their father, and some will look like neither at all. After breeding a outcross the appearance of the offspring’s similarities and differences are immediately noticeable in their appearance; however, in their health and temperament it will take longer. Breeders ultimately risk the danger of losing any breed type they desire to retain. One advantage of outcross breeding is Hybrid Vigor. Hybrid Vigor is a outcross resulting in healthier and stronger offspring. However, obviously not all outcross breedings will result in a Hybrid Vigor. This type of breeding is one that should be taken very seriously by all breeders, because the hopes of maintaining their breed may be at risk.
Remember that when purchasing a German Shepherd or any other breed for that matter it is always best to find a reputable breeder and be aware of things such as outcrossing, inbreeding, etc.