For decades now, people have been cross-breeding to create different species of dogs that have the positive attributes of the two-parent dogs. A hybrid dog or mixed-breed dog is the product of controlled cross-breeding of two purebred dogs.
Controlled cross-breed mixed-breed dogs are quite different from the regular ‘mutt’ because their breeding process is deliberately engineered. Some of these hybrids have grown to become new breeds of their own, for example, the Labradoodle.
One of the main reasons why mixed-breed dogs are popular is because a lot of celebrities are interested in these kinds of dogs. This is what led to the popular media term ‘designer dogs’ as a way of describing mixed-breed dogs. They are also usually very cuddly and family-friendly.
Know Your Mixed Dog Breeds
Mixed-breed dogs are becoming more popular because people see a lot of advantage in them; for example, the possibility of eliminating unwanted traits such as shedding, and genetic problems like hip dysplasia. These hybrid dogs usually have more vigour, that is, better health, if crossed properly. Here are a few popular designer dogs:
- Bugg: Boston terrier and pug
- Aussiedoodle: Australian shepherd and poodle
- Cockerpoos or cockapoo: cocker spaniel and poodle
- Schnoodle: schnauzer and poodle
- Puggle: pug and beagle
- Labradoodle: Labrador retriever and poodle
- Irish mastiff: Irish wolfhound and mastiff
- Golden Saint: Golden retriever and Saint Bernard
- Yorkipoo: Yorkie and poodle
- Bassetoodle: basset hound and poodle
Whilst these are more homely and friendly dog breeds, there are other kinds of dogs known as wolf-dog hybrids. There is still a lot of research going on about what breeds of dog and wolf make up these mixed-breed dogs, but we know for sure that the Pomsky is a mix of Pomeranian and husky. Whilst some of these dogs are used as guard dogs, we can still find a lot of them as pets in homes. Some examples are:
Factors to Consider When Getting a Designer Dog
When buying a mixed-breed dog, you need to ask some questions that will give you full information about the kind of dog you’ll get. Some mixed-breed have more inherited traits from one parent breed compared to the other parent breed. Usually, such dogs are not first-generation hybrid dogs.
Sometimes mixed-breed dogs are crossed with each other, that is, multigenerational cross-breeding. This often leads to a whole different dog breed, for example, crossing a Labradoodle with a Goldendoodle. Other times, the dog is cross-bred with a purebred, which alters the ratio of breed traits, for example. crossing a cockerpoo with a pug.
Whichever way the dog is bred, always be prepared for a different outcome than anticipated. For example, crossing with a poodle doesn’t mean the dog will be a non-shedding type.
Purebred dogs have different physical traits, characteristics, and temperament. Mixing them would mean that some of these traits would be fused, whilst others would get lost in the process. You have to take note of the characteristics of the original dogs when getting a hybrid.
Training a Mixed-breed Dog
Puppies are a very energetic lot. Dog training is non-negotiable except when you want it to grow into an adult dog that craps anywhere and gnaws your furniture. You can either choose to hire a professional dog trainer or do it yourself (most times, this decision depends on your budget).
Every dog, mixed breed or not, needs proper training and socialisation skills. The first thing you need to do as you train a hybrid dog is to understand its temperament. Studying the parent breeds will give you an idea about what to expect regarding personality and behaviour.
Building your mixed-breed dog’s socialisation skills will help it become more accepting of new people, environment, and other animals that aren’t dogs. The dog also needs to understand basic commands like sit, come, go, run, fetch, and others. Depending on how you intend to raise the pet, it also needs house and crate training, clicker training, and lead training.
How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Pet Dog?
You can either get a dog from an adoption home, a pet store or a breeder. Cross-breed dogs like the Labmaraner (a cross between a Labrador retriever and Weimaraner) are not commonly sold at pet stores. You have to order them from a skilled and experienced breeder. This is why they are more expensive compared to purebred dogs.
When feeding dogs, one thing you must consider is the size of the dog. For example, the Pyredoodle puppy, a mixture of the Great Pyrenees and a poodle, can grow to be a rather large dog. Large dogs eat more, which means you need to spend more on dog feed.
The Goldendoodle, a cross between the Golden retriever and poodle (a medium-size dog), costs averagely £240 to feed in a year. The cost may increase if you are feeding it regular nutrient food or premium dog food.
When buying dog food, you have to consider that these mixed-breed dogs are primarily carnivores, so their diet must contain fats, protein, carbohydrate, mineral, vitamin, and water just like humans. However, dogs can’t create fatty acids by themselves. Therefore, they need food that contains a lot of fat.
Feeding isn’t the only cost to be concerned with; you also have to consider initial costs like adoption or purchase fee, vaccination, dog training, and others. You also have additional recurrent expenses like routine vet visits, toys, grooming, dental care, and much more. In total, it costs an average of ₤3000 yearly to raise a dog. This should give you an idea of how much you may spend when taking care of a dog.
In conclusion, having a pet dog requires a lot of time, commitment, and money. When you get him as a puppy, it is almost as though you have a child. So, if you are thinking of getting one of these ’designer dogs,’ make sure that you check the parent breeds’ hereditary health problems.