More and more dog breeders and pet owners are showing interest in ‘hybrid pups.’ Whether they are cross-bred purposely or found at a rescue shelter, the genetic blending of different breeds of dogs are becoming more popular than pedigrees.
Although ‘designer dogs’ are often selected for their novelty, reputable breeders sometimes crossbreed to limit the incidence of hereditary problems found in purebreds, while retaining some of the more appealing traits of each species. However, there are disadvantages as well. Today, we'll explore the Good, Bad & Funny!
While purebreds may win awards at dog shows, one has to admit the similarity in look may no longer be as eye-catching as a cross-breed is today. Some pet owners prefer a dog that doesn’t look like the dog next door. When you combine two different breeds, it’s really a coin-toss as to what ‘gene soup gumbo’ you may produce. Even in one litter, each pup could potentially look different from his or her litter-mates.
On the health-side of the equation, while many purebred dogs suffer from genetic conditions passed down from one generation to the next, selective cross-breeding in many instances will lower the chances of passing on a specific malady — particularly if only one parent was the carrier.
Today’s cross-breeding could be purebreds in the making. Keep in mind that many of today's purebred dogs were found by crossing different breeds down through the centuries. And then refined through selective breeding have subsequently produced the characteristics you see today.
In fact, some of today's crosses could potentially evolve into tomorrow's purbreds of tomorrow. The Cockapoo is one example of cross breeding that demonstrated that potential.
On the negative side of cross-breeding, purebreds were the result of breeders wanting selective temperaments. For instance, Rottweilers were bred for their aggressive nature, and that characteristic makes for good guard dogs. Poodles, on the other are preferred by those wanting lovable family companions. So, in this instance, blending the two might not be the wisest thing to do.
Size is also an issue. Breeding dogs of different sizes can lead to difficult deliveries. This is especially true if the stud is much larger than the bitch, or he comes from a large-headed breed. In those cases, it might require a costly C-section in order for all the puppies to survive.
Other health issues might persist in the progeny. Many congenital health issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, epilepsy and kidney disease, are found across a good number of breeds. This may result in these conditions showing up in the crossbred pups, if both parents are carriers of one or more of the same genetic problems.
The primary identifier of a crossbred "designer dog' is its name. To underscore the blending of genes, pet owner have taken light-hearted liberties with their names — with a portmanteau. This is a descriptor that combines the two purebred parents, such as Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle cross), or Shepsky (German Shepherd/Siberian Husky cross).
There’s even complex crosses (denoting more than two breeds) such as German Chusky (German Shepherd Dog, Husky, Chow Chow).
You have to admit some of these portmanteaus are as creative as they are funny. For instance, if you allowed a Golden Retriever to fraternize with a collie . . . oh by-gosh, by-golly . . . you get your very own ‘Gollie.’ That mix possesses the best traits from both breeds. On the Retriever side, they are playful, intelligent, well-mannered and score high marks from their obedience training instructors. When crossed with a Collie, you can add loyalty, agility and their herding instinct, which is great characteristic for parents with small children.
Some of the other hybrid names that might bring a small to your face include:
- Chug (Chihuahua + Pug)
- Frug (French Bulldog + Pug)
- Whoodle (Poodle + Wheaten Terrier)
- Pitsky (Pit Bull + Husky)
- Cocker-pei (Shar-Pei and Cocker Spaniel)
Cross-Breeding vs. Purebreds
In the end, cross breeding dogs is a lot like breeding purebreds. It's important to select only the healthiest dogs with the best temperaments to use as breeding stock, and then make sure that each puppy produced goes to a permanent, loving home.
Does the “bad” really outweigh the the “good”? That’s very difficult to say. But what isn’t difficult is considering the number of different combos we can develop. Similar to America welcoming immigrants of different ethnic cultures, cross-breeding our dogs is just as much a ‘boiling pot' — as long as enough concern and forethought is put into the result you are seeking.
Primary Source: Dog Cross-Breeding