Confused about what makes an animal a hybrid

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Toddrick, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,251
    89
    138
    Sep 28, 2014
    Indiana
    Specifically, take a Production RIR as example, and explain why--if most have Leghorn mixed in--they are not considered a hybrid. Why do they breed true, but crossing with a Barred Rock is a hybrid that does not breed true?

    Another example, is with dogs. I was reading that an AKC champion in the Shetland Collie (Sheltie) class was actually crossed with a Rough Collie to better meet Sheltie breed standards. I don't understand how this was considered a pure bred or how the paperwork could make it acceptable for competition.

    What magic powers do animal breeders have to cross breeds without creating "hybrids"? What am I missing?
     
  2. Matthew3590

    Matthew3590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,087
    19
    178
    Apr 10, 2011
    Middle, TN
    A hybrid is a cross between two different species of animals usually resulting in infertile offspring. Any chicken mixed with another chicken will not be a hybrid and any dog mixed with a dog will not be a hybrid.

    A tiger crossed with a lion will result in a hybrid.
     
  3. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,251
    89
    138
    Sep 28, 2014
    Indiana

    Okay, well technically we throw the word hybrid around a lot I know. It surely isn't the best word, because I think it actually refers to plants. But we commonly call the Red Sex Link chicken a hybrid, although it can reproduce normally, right? The offspring will be varried though, as opposed to breeding true. I can breed Production Reds true, even though I know they've been crossed with Leghorn (or similar), and I've never heard Production Reds referred to as a hybrid either. Hence the confusion.

    To reinvigorate certain breeding stock, or enhance it in some way, crosses are done all the time I believe, as opposed to simply selectively breeding offspring (which is solely how I always used to think it was done). How do different breeders get away with such crosses and still maintain purebred status?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    25,582
    2,139
    438
    May 14, 2014
    Montana
    Whether or not the offspring are fertile has nothing to do with it being a hybrid. The dictionary definition of a hybrid is "the offspring of two animals or plants of different breeds, varieties, species, or genera, especially as produced through human manipulation for specific genetic characteristics." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hybrid?s=t). The offspring of any two different chicken breeds such as a RIR and a Barred Rock is a hybrid and the offspring can interbreed with each other although their offspring will not carry the same combination of genetic characteristics as the parents. The same is also true of lion x tiger (liger) and tiger x lion (tigon). Ligers and tigon have been bred both to pure lions and pure tigers and have produced offspring (ti-tigons, li-tigons, ti-ligers, li-ligers, etc.). Technically Production Reds are also hybrids, although since two red gene parents are used in the cross, there is very little visible variation in the offspring, and when the offspring are mated, they will carry red genes from both parents as well.
     
  5. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,251
    89
    138
    Sep 28, 2014
    Indiana
    So, as long as the phenotype isn't changed, a breeder can cross whatever he wants into a breed and still compete in shows, and sell its offspring as pure?

    I still don't get how this is allowed in shows where lineage must be proven...
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Lineage, pedigree, stud books and blood lines are for the dog and horse world but not for the poultry world.

    In chickens, most of the breeds are composites, made up of several base birds blended into the breed. The breed is not a species, but a man made composite. Thus, the breed is described in great detail in the Standard written for the breed upon acceptance by the sanctioning body, such as the American Poultry Association.

    If the bird meets the Standard in appearance, than it is said to be a "true" bred representation of the breed. This includes many, many features of the bird, it's size, shape, feather, color, back line, under line, eyes, comb, shanks, etc.

    Breeding is always needed, as these birds do not "stay put together" in their composites all by themselves. The genetics will drift and within just a generation or two, the bird no longer fits the Standard well.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,062
    323
    186
    Oct 23, 2014
    Michiana
    This is an interesting subject as I have been wanting to know the same thing. I have done reading from breeders about line breeding, and I do that with my Production Reds and they do breed true mostly.

    I have some rose comb RIR hens (they are the type not bred with Leghorn, but show quality), that were obviously inbred because some chicks had problems, and my hatchery chicks did not. I have the hens with an American Buff Orpington rooster and they bred. There was only one offspring, a male. He has what would be described as the "hybrid vigor". He is 7 months old now and heavy. He has the qualities of both parents, has a rose comb, fluffy Orpington feathering, light pink legs, is beautiful with great temperment. I would like to breed him back to his mom and aunts, to get more of the RIR characteristics. Also would be interesting to breed him to an Orpington also. This is for my own use. I would never sell any offspring as pure, if they are not.
     
  8. Matthew3590

    Matthew3590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,087
    19
    178
    Apr 10, 2011
    Middle, TN

    You are correct hybrids can be fertile. Fertile or infertile is not what considers something a hybrid. If that's how you interpreted my statement I am sorry for not being more clear.
     
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    25,582
    2,139
    438
    May 14, 2014
    Montana
    No problem. :eek:)
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,522
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    IDK if this is going to help or hinder, but in my mind the word hybrid is used in the chicken world to talk about crossing two specific breeds or types with predictable, reproducable results every time. If I put a Red rooster over a barred Rock hen, I'm going to get the same results no matter how often I do it, or what specific rooster and hen I use. Same for the red sex links, and the Cornish cross.

    In my mind, this is what differentiates a hybrid from a plain old barnyard mix.

    Hatchery birds don't come close to the SOP anyway, and folks clamor for the high egg production, so adding Leghorn or production blood doesn't really make a difference. A SOP breeder won't bring in Leghorn blood to a RIR to boost production, so that's a non issue. They may bring in another, more productive strain of RIR, but you can bet it's going to meet the SOP.

    A nice thread to check out is the Rhodebar thread where they're breeding back to quality RIR to improve type and color. Maybe not your breeds of choice, but it's great reading from some dedicated breeders who know their stuff, and talks about exactly what you're asking about.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by