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Mixed Breed Dogs: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Mixed breed dog temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Mixed Breed Dogs

Also read The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs.

Whether purebred, crossbred, or mixed, all dogs are individuals. But when it comes to predicting what any given individual will be like, mixed breed dogs are the hardest to pin down.

A dog of mixed breeding might be energetic or placid. He might be sweet-natured or hard-headed. He might love everyone, or be wary of strangers. He might be dignified or a goofball.

I will say this: the extremes of temperament and behavior so often seen in purebred dogs are less common in mixed breeds.

This is because purebreds were developed to do a certain type of work. Purebreds located pheasants and rabbits for the hunter to shoot. They herded sheep, drove cattle to market, guarded farms and mansions. They pulled carts and sleds, killed vermin in the barn, assisted police officers, and tracked missing people.

To help purebred dogs accomplish their work, useful "working behaviors" were bred into their genes. High energy, endurance, independent thinking, strong instincts to chase, to bark, to dig, to guard.

Certainly these behaviors can occur in mixed breeds, too, but they are by happenstance, on an "individual dog" basis, rather than by deliberate design into a breed as a whole.

This tendency of mixed breeds to be less strongly "programmed" by their genes can make them more flexible and better able to fit into a variety of households and living conditions.

Unfortunately, when you acquire a mixed breed puppy, you can't know what he or she will grow up to be like, because he has inherited a virtual smorgasbord of genes. When you acquire a puppy, you're acquiring potential – what he one day will become. On the other hand, if you acquire an adult mixed breed, you're acquiring what he already IS. This is much easier to see and judge.

So if you want a dog who...

  • Is unique – doesn't look or act exactly like any other dog
  • Is often "middle-of-the-road" in temperament and behavior.
  • Usually has good genetic diversity (has inherited a variety of genes from several different breeds), which can result in better long-term health
  • Doesn't cost much to acquire
  • Is readily available
  • Really needs a home (may be put to sleep if no one chooses him)

A mixed breed dog may be right for you.

Read The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • The unknown. Typically you don't know anything at all about a mixed breed's parents. Knowing and meeting both parents can yield important clues about the physical, behavioral, or health traits a dog might have inherited.
  • Shedding. Most mixed breeds are average to heavy shedders. It's uncommon to find a mixed breed dog who sheds lightly.

A mixed breed dog may not be right for you.


Dog Breed Traits – Which Traits Are Right For You?

In this brand new series, I'll help you decide which dog breed traits would best suit you and your family, your home and yard, and your lifestyle, so you can choose the best dog breed for your family.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament  is less predictable than the inheritance of physical  traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

FREE eBooks by Michele Welton

dog icon"Respect Training for Puppies"  and "Teach Your Dog 100 English Words"  are free step by step guides to teaching your pup to be calm and well-behaved.

dog icon"11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy"  is a free guide to keeping your dog mentally, physically, and emotionally happy and healthy so you can enjoy a longer lifetime of companionship.

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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.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
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. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.

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