Chief is part beagle and part labrator retriever, two of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. His coat has a thick underlayer like a lab and the length of the top coat is also long and soft like a lab. But the color is tri-color like a beagle. His body is shaped more like a lab, but smaller, like a lab puppy. His head looks more lab. He likes to sniff like a beagle but doesn't track a scent. If he has "hunted" anything, it has been birds, like a lab. He barks like a lab but howls like a beagle. He has the laid-back, gentle nature of a lab, but he can be stubborn and independent like a beagle.
In short, he's a mix in every way, shape, and form.
Experts say to get purebreds so that you'll know their personality. True. But I know Chief's personality just fine and which set of genes to praise or blame certain characteristics. However, the best part of his mixed genetic make up is that he does not have allergies that beagles are prone to. Nor does he have the hip problems that often plague labs. He is extraordinarily healthy. Some will argue, but I had another cross-breed or mutt that lived 16 years, so I'm going with the contention that mixed breeds are healthier.
Now, whether he has the best or worst of those two popular dog breeds, I'll let you decide. But we think Chief is perfect just the way he is! And we're glad we rescued him from doggy death row in rural, southern Indiana. I'd encourage any dog owner - past, current, or future - to do the same when getting their next canine companion.