Purebred or mixed breed? That’s the question many would-be dog owners ask when deciding about adding a four-legged friend to their family. Hybrid dogs – resulting from the crossing of two different canine breeds – have certain advantages over purebreds. They are generally not as expensive to buy, and also benefit from hybrid vigor. That means that a dog of mixed genetics is likely to have fewer health problems than one from a long line of purebred dogs with shared genes.
Four tips for picking a hybrid dog are:
The Best Dog for Your Lifestyle. Analyze your lifestyle before bringing any dog into your home, and how that may affect the type of dog you want. Working hours, family members, and the type of home–apartment, house, or country acreage—plays a role in choosing the best dog for each situation. Research the various breeds of dogs, since a hybrid dog is a cross between types. For example, the puggle – a cross between the beagle and the pug – is a mix of two breeds of similar size but very different temperaments. The pug is a couch potato who loves nothing more than to hang out with his family. The beagle generally has a good disposition, but his nose rules his life and you can’t trust him off-leash.
Canine Considerations. Think about what you want or need in a dog. Is anyone in the home allergic? Poodles are often crossed with other breeds to produce a hypoallergenic coat. A hybrid with “poo” or “oodle” in the name indicates a poodle cross. Common crosses include:
Labradoodle – a Labrador retriever/poodle mix, with the poodle parent usually the large, standard poodle
schnoodle – a cross between a schnauzer and poodle
cockapoo – a cross between a cocker spaniel and poodle
When deciding on a hybrid dog, try to determine the breed of both parents and consider the health problems of both breeds. For example, a Golden Retriever/Labrador mix will still be prone to developing hip dysplasia since both breeds carry the genetic disease. Every breed of dog has some genetic issues, and these diseases could affect hybrid dogs, potential hybrid vigor notwithstanding.
“Every breed of dog has some genetic issues, and these diseases could affect hybrid dogs, potential hybrid vigor notwithstanding.”
Finding a Hybrid Dog. Find a hybrid dog by visiting a pet store, animal shelter, breeder, or rescue group. Sharon Gaboff, the founder of Adopt A Pet, a New Jersey based organization that finds new homes for shelter and other dogs in need, has been matching hybrid dogs with new owners for more than 20 years. She says that shelters and rescues are filled with both purebreds and hybrids. Mixed-breeds will take the traits of the more dominant breed present, according to Gaboff.
Not Necessarily a Puppy. Consider adopting an older dog from a shelter or rescue group. If size is important, remember that unlike a purebred, the size of a hybrid dog can’t always be determined until the animal is full-grown.
After choosing your hybrid dog, take it to the vet for a thorough examination. Ask the vet for information about feeding, vaccinations and deworming. Any dog benefits from obedience training. Enjoy the new member of the family!
If you enjoyed this post, you should read “Sports Training For Dogs And Handlers” here.
My hybrids are accidents (mutt terrier/lab mix, mutt doxie/collie mix, mutt chihuahua/cattle mix)-do you have a hybrid? What is the mix? Share below!