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The vast majority of dog lovers in the UK know exactly what is meant by the terms “Cockapoo” and “Labradoodle,” which is fairly impressive when you consider the fact that neither of these dog types are actually pedigrees, and their names simply mean “a dog produced from the crossing of two other predetermined named dog breeds.”
Thee so-called hybrid dog types and many others are in fact way more popular than many pedigree dog breeds, to the point that a lot of dog lovers don’t even realise that such hybrids are not formally recognised as pedigree breeds at all.
Every year, a huge number of dog lovers in the UK that are looking to add a new canine companion to their homes begin looking around to narrow down their options, and hybrid dog types are becoming ever more popular year on year among puppy buyers.
If you are wondering why hybrid dog types are so popular and in demand, what makes people choose them, and whether or not you should consider a hybrid dog type yourself, this article will give you some of the main reasons behind their popularity. Read on to learn more.
Hybrid dog types are known by all sorts of names from hybrids to cross breeds to mongrels, and just one of these many terms is “designer dogs.” This is sometimes said with some negative connotations, but is also quite an accurate reflection of how and why hybrid dogs are bred, and a part of their appeal.
When you have the opportunity to cross two dogs of any two breeds you like and fine-tune the breed line via selective breeding in subsequent generations, you can produce or “design” a dog type with just the traits you want them to have.
Every puppy buyer has different requirements, and even within named hybrid types, different breeders breed for different traits. For instance, the Schnoodle can be found in a wide range of sizes, as both parent breeds (Schnauzer and poodle) come in three very different size variants.
Hybrid dogs inherit hybrid vigour, and this is the tendency for hybrid offspring to be superior in an evolutionary sense to either parent. This is reflected in terms like health and the reinforcing of positive traits that aid with survival, and reduction of harmful traits that might hamper the dog in the wild.
Buying a hybrid does not guarantee that they will live a long life or not inherit or develop any health issues – but hybrids as a collective are healthier than pedigrees that have a limited level of genetic diversity.
If there are two traits that are both widely considered to be good ones but that are rarely, if ever, found in one individual dog breed, crossing two breeds to produce a hybrid can enable you to combine said traits in one dog.
This is never guaranteed, particularly in early generation crossings – but as later generations are produced and selective breeding reinforces the traits desired in the first place, the level of uniformity of the desired traits increases.
A lot of hybrid dog type names are portmanteaus of the two breed names that make up their parentage, and you may have noticed that a great many hybrid dog type names reference poodle ancestry.
One of the reasons why poodles are so widely used in hybrid crossings is because the poodle coat is very low-shedding, which is a desirable trait for a huge range of people, from the house proud to acute allergy sufferers.
This low-shedding coat trait is found in many hybrid dog types as a result, and enables people to pick a dog with a coat they can live with but also, with traits of another breed they might have liked but discounted due to their coat type – or simply because the final hybrid result appeals in and of itself.
You might fairly expect that buying a hybrid dog type would be cheaper than buying a dog of either named parent breed (particularly a pedigree parent) as a hybrid is not a pedigree – and whilst this is sometimes true, it is not always the case in reality!
The general public tends to perceive hybrids as less costly to buy than pedigree dogs, although in reality, there isn’t usually a huge saving to be made and some hybrids like the Cavapoo actually cost more on average to buy than pedigrees of either parent breed!
However, hybrids are almost universally cheaper to insure than pedigrees, due to the benefits of hybrid vigour.
It is true that if you want to show your dog with the Kennel Club you need a pedigree, and even if you don’t, pedigree status is very important to some puppy buyers, which rules hybrid dog types out.
That said, the Kennel Club and even the concept of pedigree breeds as a whole certainly has something of a PR problem in terms of how the Kennel Club views the health and welfare of dogs, the steps they take to set and enforce rules on health for pedigree breeders, and the level of exaggerations permitted and even encouraged in the conformation of dogs of some breeds.
This means that some dog lovers don’t only not care about pedigree status, but even see it as undesirable – along with Kennel Club input or interference into dog breeds and types.
Within some of the longer-established hybrid dog types with large, stable populations, there is even a lot of divergence between enthusiasts, breeders and owners who wish the hybrid dog type in question to achieve pedigree status itself, and those that are vehemently against this happening.
Another very clear but often overlooked reason for why hybrid dog types are in such demand and getting ever more popular is because familiarity becomes self-reinforcing.
Someone interested in dogs and particularly, looking to get one is much more likely to have dogs that they see around regularly on their radar, and start looking into them once they’ve met a few and gotten to know their personalities than they are to set their hearts on less common breeds they’ve never met and can only see pictures of on the internet – if they’ve even heard of them at all.
This level of self-reinforcement helps to keep the most popular and common hybrids growing in numbers, and also helps to raise the profile of hybrids as a whole, generating interest in other crossings too.
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