While much is written about the different personality and temperament traits of the various different types of pure breed dogs, mongrels, mutts, mixed breeds and so-called hybrid dogs are also incredibly popular within the UK, and should not be overlooked! There are lots of advantages to choosing a mixed breed dog over a pedigree if you do not have your heart set on any particular breed, but it can also be more complicated, as you might not be able to find out as much about the traits of a Heinz 57 dog as a pedigree.
If you are considering buying or offering a home to a mixed breed dog of any type, read on for some more information.
There are a lot of good reasons for choosing a mixed breed dog over a pedigree if you are not concerned about owning a dog with pedigree status, such as the greater availability of mixed breed dogs, their lower purchase cost, and of course, the benefits of hybrid vigour. Hybrid vigour is the term used to refer to the strengthening of the gene pool and general health of any given type or species of animal that comes from the crossing of different breeds, leading to a more robust dog that is less likely to suffer from any genetically inherited health problems.
If you are looking for a puppy or young dog, the chances are that you will be able to find out relatively easily from the breeder or owner what the makeup of the dog’s breeding is, and what two or more breeds are contained within the dog’s ancestry. This can be much simpler than trying to work out the breeding of an adult dog simply by looking at them or trying to assess their personality traits, which can be rather hit or miss. It also gives you the opportunity to shape the temperament and personality of the dog from the get-go, rather than inheriting their previous traits and experiences of life, and the potential problems that can go with that.
It may also mean that you can buy a puppy that has one pedigree parent and may display many of the traits of that breed, but without the associated high price tag.
Dog rehoming shelters are packed to the rafters with mixed breed dogs, some of which are clearly mutts with incredibly mixed breeding, but some of which might appear very similar to the breed traits of certain pedigree breeds, but without the accompanying pedigree papers.
Taking on an adult mixed breed dog will give you the opportunity to see what the dog looks like as an adult, and removes the gamble that comes with buying mixed breed puppy, which may potentially grow up to be much larger or in general, different to what you initially predict!
However, you may also inherit with the dog any problems, issues or health conditions that they already have, and as with any other adult dog, need to work with them to deal with these problems. There is something of a gamble in play here, but then buying a pedigree dog or one with a known history is no guarantee against future problems either!
Dogs that are referred to as hybrid dogs or sometimes, designer dogs, might have a rather fancy-sounding title and are sometimes in great demand, but the fact of the matter is that they are not a breed in their own right (despite breed-similar titles like Labradoodle or Cockapoo) and are genetically no different to any other cross breed or mutt!
However, breeding hybrid dogs is a deliberate endeavour to produce a dog with the most desirable traits of the two parent breeds, and is undertaken with as much thought and planning, or sometimes more, than breeding a single-breed pedigree dog.
Hybrid dogs are fast rising in popularity within the UK, and despite the fact that they are not formal breeds and are not recognised by breed registries, often command similar prices to pedigree dogs. However, they do also have the same advantages over purebred pedigree dogs as all other crossbreed or mixed breed dogs, including the ever-important hybrid vigour.
Selective breeding to cross two breeds is not an exact science, however, and while the goal of the process is to combine the desirable traits of both dogs into one, hybrid dogs, even from within the same litter, can differ from each other significantly.
If you are considering buying a hybrid dog and have a good idea of what you want, by all means go ahead, but remember that the resultantdog will not be classed as pedigree and should not be hugely highly priced.