yourpurebredpuppy logo

Buying or Adopting a Mixed Breed Dog

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Mixed Breed Dog

Interested in a mixed breed dog? Read each post on this page. Make sure the breed is right for you (and that YOU are right for the breed). Decide on sex and age. Then begin the exciting adventure of finding and evaluating breeders and rescue groups and selecting the right dog. Don't be in a hurry!



Don't set your sights on a mixed breed dog until you read my advice in these posts.

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Should You Even Get a Dog? Are You Sure?
Important – I've been helping people choose and find dogs for nearly 40 years, and honestly, some people who decide to get a dog are making a big mistake... [read more]

Purebred dogs The Truth About Purebred Dogs
Pros and cons... (most people don't know about the cons)

Crossbred dogs The Truth About Crossbred Dogs
Pros and cons... (don't get taken by breeder hype)

Mixed breed dogs The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
Pros and cons... (are mixes inferior to purebreds and crosses?)

Is a mixed breed dog the right choice for you?

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Mixed Breed Review
I'll tell you what's good about 'em, and what's bad about 'em... most honest review you'll ever find

Are YOU the right owner for a mixed breed dog?

Can you provide what a mixed breed dog needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence) – the height of the fence depends partly on how athletic the dog is, yes, but should also depend on whether there are other dogs in your neighborhood who might try to get IN and attack your dog
  • No young children in the household – if the dog is very small, fragile, or sensitive
  • No large dogs in the household – if the new dog is very small and could be injured simply by a large dog playfully jumping around
  • No very small dogs in the household – if the new dog is large and/or vigorous
  • No dogs of the same sex in the household (or being even more cautious, no other dogs at all in the household) – if the new dog is dominant/aggressive toward other dogs; many dogs do best as an only dog; if in any doubt, don't put your existing dog at risk
  • No cats in the household – if the new dog is a confirmed chaser
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your mixed breed dog stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (like dog agility, or rally obedience, or flyball.... there are many fun sports to try); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing, trimming, clipping – however much is needed
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat health problems– pet health insurance can really help here!
  • An owner who is okay with however much the dog sheds or slobbers
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your mixed breed dog, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Which sex? What age?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Where can you buy or adopt a mixed breed dog?

It's estimated that just over HALF the dogs in the United States are mixed breeds. And most of these are wonderful dogs.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Lots of mixed breeds are available from Dog Rescue groups. Owners may give up their dog because of a physical mismatch – the dog is too small or too large, needs more grooming or sheds more than the owner wanted. Sometimes there are behavioral issues, although these are often the result of the owner failing to provide the proper exercise, socialization, companionship, and training.

Many mixed breed dogs are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Shelters and humane societies are filled with mixed breed dogs. Just be aware that the labels on the cages can be very misleading. A dog is not necessarily a shepherd mix or a shepherd/collie/husky just because he looks a bit like those breeds. Only a DNA test can reveal which breeds make up a mixed breed dog.

Buying From a Seller
If you check the classified section of local newspapers, or craigslist online, you'll find lots of people selling puppies, some of which are crossbreeds or mixed breeds. But don't assume that a person knows what he's talking about when he declares that his puppies are some specific combination of breeds. Most people really have no clue.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
I have seen mixed breed puppies in small town pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Which puppy?

Symbols for male and female Choosing the Right Mixed Breed Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of mixed breed puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Dog Quest book Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams
My dog buying/adoption book will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.