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Mixed Breed Dogs

By: Sandy Bolan - Updated: 1 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Appearance Mixed Breed Temperament

Mixed breed mutt, crossbreed, mongrel, random-bred or Heinz 57. No matter what you call them, these dogs are a mix of two or more breeds.

Why would you want to own a mixed breed dog? One walk through a shelter, where most mixed breeds end up – through no fault of their own - and you wouldn’t have to ask that question. Mixed-breeds, just like purebred dogs, can grow up to be happy, healthy, well-trained dogs. Getting a mixed breed from a shelter or rescue organization not only saves the life of a dog, but you don’t have to pay a fortune for him.


If you want to know exactly what your puppy is going to look like – coat texture, colour and/or length, weight and size – then a mixed-breed dog is probably not for you as every offspring from mixed breeding has its own individual look. There is always the possibility that the puppies will resemble one or both parents, but there is a better chance the puppies will be a mix of both.


When it comes to choosing a dog for a specific reason, purebred or mixed, temperament is key. For example, if you want a guard dog, a Basset Hound/Shih Tzu mix probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a companion/family dog, a Bassett Hound/Shih Tzu mix may be the perfect match. No matter the combination, how the dog relates to people, including children, is key.

According to the Dog Owner’s Guide (DOG), offsprings of retriever, pointer, setter, some spaniel and hound breeds, the Collie, Mastiff and Great Dane make for good family dogs. On the other hand “terrier mixes or crossbreeds tend to be yappy, high-strung and stubborn, but are happy, perky companions for those who enjoy a bouncy, cheerful pet,” adds DOG. “[However,] some terrier mixes are nippy with children.


There is a common misconception that mixed breeds are of superior health to purebreds. It is known as the theory of hybrid vigour.

The theory is that because there has been much inbreeding among purebreds to achieve the ideal specimen of its breed, some breeds have become prone to genetic problems. On the other hand, mixed breeds come from a wide gene pool, therefore, they are less likely to suffer genetic deficiencies.

“Since most genetic defects are common to many different breeds, it is impossible to guarantee that a breeding of any two dogs will not result in defects unless you know the health history of those two dogs’ ancestors and/or have had genetic testing on the dogs,” according to Wikipedia. “Because of this, the most common genetic problems are nearly as common in the mixed-breed population as they are in the purebred population.”

Designer Dogs

Yorkie-Poos (Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle), Lhasa-Poos (Lhasa Apso/Poodle) and Bi-Tzu (Bichon Frise/ Shih Tzu) are all being hyped as exotic, one-of-a-kind, registered and/or best-bred dogs. But are they?

Just as with any mixed breed, these dogs all have the ability to possess the best and absolute worst characteristics of their combined parentage – just like the mixed breed dogs you find at the local shelter and who were most likely the product of an accidental encounter, versus a planned one.

There is also a huge misconception regarding the Poo mixes and shedding. Breeders who mate any type of dog with a Poodle claim the offspring will be hypoallergenic because Poodles don’t shed, therefore, neither will these XYZ-Poos. Unfortunately, that is not the case. No breeder can guarantee which characteristics, including coat texture and shedding or non-shedding capabilities, these puppies will possess.

If you really want to own a designer dog, first do some research. Find out the best and worst characteristics of both breeds and determine if the puppy you chose happens to possess all of the worst character traits – can you handle them?

You should also research the genetic deficiencies of both breeds to prepare yourself for any potential healthy problems your puppy may one day suffer from.

Every dog, whether it is purebred or of mixed heritage, is a unique creature and should be brought into a household and cared for as such.

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The mongrels might have health problems of the breeds from which they come, but in some cases they do seem to be more resilient and longer-lived (and Wikipedia isn't always the most reliable source of information!). The point you make at the beginning about taking in a rescue dog is vitally important, as shelters are always full, and finding a pet there can stop it being put to sleep. That has to matter, really.
Albie - 4-Jun-12 @ 11:21 AM
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