DESIGNER DOG OR MUTT?

 
Popular mixed breed dogs

Mutt or designer dog?

Popular mixed breed dogs like the Labradoodle, Malti-poo and the Morkie have been bred for a reason – they’ve been “designed” to combine the best of both breeds (hopefully).

Why combine two different breeds?

Every single breed has its pros and cons – Golden Retrievers for example, are a favourite for families with children, but that hair!! Hair, hair everywhere!

The popular Goldendoodle combines the best of the Golden Retriever and the Poodle – a family dog with all the characteristics and temperament of the Golden – that doesn’t shed. And the bonus is, the Goldendoodle also has all the great qualities of the Poodle.

Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate

The aim is a lovely big family dog, easy going and great with kids, that doesn’t shed. But, you could end up with exactly the opposite of what you hoped for: a high-strung dog (from the Poodle side) who sheds a ton (from the Golden side).

But by breeding select Goldendoodles with one another in the following generations, with characteristics that people want, eventually the puppies will be consistent and reliable. Then they are true “designer dogs.”

Above left, the Goldendoodle and at right, the Labradoodle. 

Morkies seem to combine the best of Maltese and Yorkies

Popular mixed breed dogs

No one would call these popular mixed breed dogs mutts. That’s because these designer dogs have been bred for a reason, and they’re becoming more consistent in looks, temperament and health.




Is the Morkie a hybrid dog?

No.

That’s because all dogs are the same species. Hybrids come from TWO DIFFERENT SPECIES.

Dogs are from the canis lupus species, which has two subspecies – dog and wolf. Others in the dog’s family tree include dingos, foxes and different varieties of wolf. So our dogs are actually the same species as the wolf. 

Read this great article on Mental Floss about dog species.

A horse and a donkey can be interbred (with help) even though they are two different species. Their offspring, however, cannot breed.  

dogs are 99.96% wolf

Not a true hybrid

A true hybrid

Are cross-breeds like Morkies more hardy?

Nope. Another misconception about designer dogs is “hybrid vigour.” The theory goes that the gene pool is  “deeper” when different breeds are combined, so therefore, the offspring are stronger.

But again, because all dogs are the same species, there are no ‘new genes’ coming into the equation – they are all dogs, or canis lupus familiaris.

And sometimes, two similar breeds are prone to common hereditary illnesses, so chances of that particular problem can actually increase.  (Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs for example, can get a condition called patellar luxation or floating kneecaps, where the kneecap literally slips out of its groove in the legbone, causing pain and lameness. This is a condition to be watchful for if you have a Yorkie, Morkie or Maltese.)




There were no purebred dogs in the beginning – everyone was a ‘mutt’

Over centuries, differences have been selectively bred, so that dogs have become priceless working companions to man not to mention beloved companions. Just think of the value of herding dogs, or dogs who could carry or pull big loads in olden days. In fact, dogs and people have been hanging out out for about 16,000 years! (source)

From that one grey wolf, there are about 400 variations of dog breeds today, in an amazing array of sizes, shapes and colours.

Thousands and thousands of years ago, there were five types of dogs: the Mastiff; a Wolf-like dog; the Greyhound; a Pointer-type dog and Sheepdogs.

Hard to believe, but these two are the same species. No other species has more variety than dogs.

In summary….

A purebred dog is bred to be as close as possible to its breed standards, in appearance, temperament and characteristics.  Generations and generations of selective breeding result in a consistent result – the pure breed.

A designer or cross-breed dog, on the other hand, is the mixture of two different purebreds, chosen specifically for their unique characteristics. Over time, these offspring are selectively bred to one another, so that eventually a new breed forms, once the results are consistent from one generation to the next. Kennel Clubs in each country then decide if the breed is consistent enough to deem “registered.”

A mutt or mongrel is the happy combination of two dogs, usually not purebreds. Sometimes the father’s parentage isn’t known.

But at the end of the day, they’re all dogs and all have the potential to be wonderful lifetime companions.

 

Read more about cross-breeds

Not everyone agrees designer dogs are great

If you visit a message board like pets.ca — you’ll see that some dog lovers strongly disagree with the whole idea of “designer dogs” or so-called hybrid breeds.

What’s their beef? Some people worry that designer dogs are just someone’s get-cash-quick scheme, with little or no concern for the dogs produced. That kind of breeder may mass-produce puppies to meet the latest celebrity-driven trend, and will sell them to people who are buying the dog as a fad rather than based on an educated decision.