Call them hybrids, mutts, crossbreeds, mongrels or mixed-breeds, dogs that aren’t pedigrees have become such an integral part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine where we would be without them. Estimated to be almost 150 million in number, they come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique personality to color up what would otherwise be a dull world.
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While not everyone is a fan of these odd creatures, there is no denying that they come with certain qualities that give them a distinct advantage over their purebred cousins.
For a start, they are known to be less prone to hereditary health problems normally associated with pedigree dogs because of their greater hybrid vigor.
It’s also safe to say that mixed breed dogs, in general, live longer than pedigrees, again due to their genetic vigor.
Lastly, they are highly individual in character. You may not have a breed standard against which you can compare them, and therefore know what to expect from them, but thiscan be perceived as a good thing, part of the charm in that the pet you end up with will always have his own unique, inimitable features and personality to go with it.
Unlike crossbreed dogs which are intentionally bred from two different parent breeds, most mongrels cannot be traced to any purebred ancestors. Identifying their lineage can be quite difficult because of their diverse genetic makeup.
Sometimes two mixed breed dogs can bear offspring with completely different characteristics from their parents especially when they inherit their recessive genes. For example two black mixed-breed dogs can produce a blond coated puppy if they pass on the recessive genes responsible for coat color. This is well explained in the Black Labs, Chocolate Labs, Silver Labs and Yellow Labs article.
Using DNA testing one can narrow down the genetic make up their dog to certain breeds by studying their genetic sequence. However, these tests are quite limited in scope and cannot be used to test for breed purity. They simply serve as an indication of which purebreds your dog shares his common ancestry with.
It should be noted that mixed breeds or mongrels are different from crossbred dogs in one respect: although both are a product of crossing parent breeds, mongrels arise out of natural selection – without human intervention. Crossbred dogs, on the other hand, are usually the product of artificial selection.
The Puggle is a cute little canine that has grown in popularity due to his great personality and charm. This cross between the Beagle and Pug is a fun loving creature that gets along well with kids and other animals, making him a great family companion. Pet owners should beware, though, that he does like to bark, although he more than makes up for this with his sharp intelligence and eagerness to please. Puggles are also easy to train.
This adorable canine dates back to the 1960s and has the honor of being the “original design dog”. A cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a poodle, this tiny dog has a shoulder height of just over a foot and weighs around 19 pounds. Considered as the clown of the dog world, the cockapoo is people-oriented and acts a good therapy dog. She’s also easy to train and hardly sheds any fur, making her suitable for hypoallergenic pet owners. She is also full of energy and happy to run around the obstacle course.
Labradoodles have grown in popularity over time thanks to their affectionate and intelligent personalities, as well as irresistible looks. A genetic combination of the Labrador Retriever and Poodle, these medium-sized dogs with a shoulder height of around 1′ 9″ and weigh in at anything from 50 to 65 lbs. These fuzzy pets were originally developed to be hypoallergenic guide dogs by the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia resulting in a bright and outgoing canine that is highly suitable as a family dog.
Also referred to as Groodles, these pooches came about from cross-breeding Golden Retrievers with Poodles, the idea being that they would be an alternative to the admirable Cockapoo. Popular for their great looks and personality, Goldendoodles are fairly large dogs that measure around 1′ 8 “ at their shoulder and weigh 50 to 90 lbs making them the perfect family pet. They are also known to live long between 10 and 15 years.
As the name suggests this breed resulted from crossing the Maltese with the Shih Tzu. Standing at around 10″ tall at the shoulder, this smart little dog weighs just 6 to 12 pounds and boasts a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. The Mal-shi, or Malti zu, as it is sometimes called, is the only member of the crossbreed family that doesn’t have a Poodle in its lineage. This adaptable creature makes a wonderful companion and doesn’t shed much, making her suitable for pet owners with allergies. She’s also a sweet lapdog that makes very good playmates with children.
A cross between the Pekingese and the Poodle, these lovely animals have been around for almost half a century. Measuring up to 11” tall at their shoulder, and weighing between 4 to 20 lbs, Peekapoos make wonderful companion dogs and are known for their loyalty and protectiveness of their pet owners. They adapt well to apartment living but do not tolerate being alone for too long. They have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
What do you get when you cross a Poodle with a schnauzer? A Schnoodle, of course. These petite dogs that measure almost 1 to 2” tall at their shoulder make wonderful therapy dogs and also excel at showing off their talents as performance dogs. Clever, energetic, and dynamic, Schnoodles serve both as lap dogs and family pets. They come in many colors and combine the willingness to please of a Poodle with the sturdiness and verve of the Schnauzer.
A smart, loving and gentle dog, the Yorkipoo makes the perfect companion for apartment life. This outgoing designer dog is the result of crossing the Yorkshire Terrier and the Miniature Poodle and measures between 7” to a foot tall at the shoulder. Although she’s prone to barking a lot, this gorgeous canine is quite irresistible and loves her playtime when not sitting on your lap.
The Goldador is a good-hearted canine that comes from crossing a Golden Retriever with a Labrador Retriever. Hovering around 2’ in shoulder height, the Goldador is a fairly large dog that weighs between 60 and 80lbs. He’s highly trainable and makes a good family member, who is especially sociable with people and other pets. Thanks to his great intelligence, this canine can act as a valuable service dog, guide and bomb detection agent. He is also highly active and combines the characteristics of a working dog from his Golden Retriever lineage while exhibiting the tolerance of his Labrador Retriever ancestors.
The Maltipoo is a cross between a Maltese and a Poodle that gives rise to a smart little canine that is extremely loving and great fun to have around. This petite creature stands at 8″ to 1′ 2″ inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 5 and 20 lbs. She is highly active and adaptable and makes a wonderful choice as a family pet especially for people living in apartments.
Although pedigree dog enthusiasts contend that crossbreeds are still mutts, there is no denying that mixed breed dogs have changed the dog world for the better. With their unique personality traits and variety of colors and shapes, these dogs have truly come into their own and it’s no wonder they now command a huge fan base around the world.
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his mischievous, mixed breed rescue Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy. A leading authority on all dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.