Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds


The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

A crossbred (or crossbreed) dog is what you get when you breed one purebred dog to another purebred dog of a different breed. For example, a Golden Retriever crossed with a Standard Poodle, produces crossbred offspring, like the "Goldendoodle" to the right.

Some people call them hybrid dogs, but that's wrong. A hybrid is the offspring of two different species. For example, a horse bred to a donkey produces hybrid offspring (we call it a "mule").

But dog breeds are NOT different species. "Breed" is simply the term we use for an inbred group of dogs within the same species, canis lupus familiaris. Crossing "breeds" does not produce hybrids.

Some people call crossbred dogs designer dogs, but crossbreds are no more designed than purebreds. For example, Border Collie breeders designed their breed by choosing specific traits that would help their dogs be expert herders. Medium size, high energy, quickness, strong chasing instincts, weatherproof coat, etc. Border Collies are just as much designed as Goldendoodles.

Some specific crosses have been given names.

  • Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever crossed with Poodle)
  • Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever crossed with Poodle)
  • Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel crossed with Poodle)
  • Schnoodle (Miniature Schnauzer crossed with Poodle)
  • Puggle (Pug crossed with Beagle)

But whether a cross has been given a name or not doesn't matter. If a male Siberian Husky escapes his yard and discovers, just down the block, a female Dalmatian in heat, the resulting puppies will still be crossbred even though no specific name has been coined for a Siberian-Dalmatian cross. (Siberdal, anyone? Sibermatian?)

One purebred dog bred to a purebred dog of a different breed = crossbred puppies. No cutesy names required.

Advantages of crossbred dogs

Crossbred dogs tend to have a moderate appearance.

The deformities that have been inflicted on purebred dogs – tiny size, giant size, very short nose, protruding eyes, short crooked legs, a long back, loose jowls, long heavy ears, wrinkled folds of skin, etc. – can only be maintained by deliberately and continuously breeding such dogs TOGETHER.

When a purebred dog with a deformity is bred to a purebred dog without that deformity, the hybrid puppies tend to have an intermediate look. For example, crossbred puppies with only one Bulldog parent have more natural-looking faces and can breathe better than purebred puppies with two Bulldog parents. Healthwise, this is very good news!

Crossbred dogs tend to have a moderate personality.

Crossbreeding tends to produce a middle-of-the-road temperament that often fits better into the average household than the more "extreme" temperaments of many purebred dogs.

If you've already read my article on purebred dogs, you know that most breeds were developed to do some type of work (herding, hunting, guarding) and that these breeds inherit traits that helped them accomplish that work (high energy, aggression, chasing, digging, barking, independent thinking)....and that those traits can be, well, a bit of a nuisance when you just want a family companion.

But if you cross a breed that HAS a particular working behavior with a breed that doesn't have it, the chances are good that at least some of the puppies won't have it or will have it in a watered-down form that's easier to live with.

Crossbred dogs tend to be healthier.

All dogs have defective genes. All living creatures do, in fact, including you and me! But many defective genes don't cause any problems unless you have TWO copies of it.

A purebred puppy has a higher risk of inheriting two copies, since his parents belong to the same breed and share so many of the same genes, including defective ones. (See The Truth About Purebred Dogs if you haven't already.)

Crossbreed dog
Labradoodles usually make good family dogs if you can provide enough exercise and training.

But parents of different breeds (assuming those breeds are not similar to each other) each tend to have different defective genes. This minimizes the risk of a crossbred puppy getting two copies of the same bad gene. That's good.

Not only that, but this greater variety of genes that a crossbred puppy inherits tends to result in a stronger immune system and better physical and mental health. The genetic diversity of crossbred and mixed breed dogs is a healthy thing.

So now you might be thinking, "Yup, a crossbred dog with a moderate appearance, moderate temperament, and good health is exactly what I'm looking for." And now you're ready to head off and buy one....and that would be a huge mistake.

Because I haven't told you about the DISadvantages of crossbred dogs yet.

Oh yes, there are disadvantages! And we haven't talked about the misleading hype and outright lies that crossbred breeders are spreading across the Internet in an effort to sell their crossbred puppies. You need to know how to pick your way through this minefield of misinformation, or else you're going to end up with a crossbred dog who does NOT have a moderate appearance, moderate temperament, and good health.

book coverMy book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, picks up where we've left off – all the nitty-gritty, pros and cons, and my insider advice about crossbred dogs.

I'll explain how to tell whether a particular cross (Labradoodle, Cockapoo, Schnoodle, Puggle....) might make a good pet.

You'll learn how to tell which breeders are good sources from which to buy ‐ and which breeders you should run away from, as fast as you can!

You'll learn how to adopt a crossbred dog from the animal shelter or from to evaluate temperament and health.

And if you should decide, after reading all about crossbreds, that you might want a purebred, after all, or even a mixed breed, you're covered. In fact, Dog Quest is perfect for helping you sort out whether a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed is right for you. Learn more about Dog Quest