What is a Mixed Breed or Hybrid Dog?

A mixed breed dog is a dog that is a mixture of two or more breeds. Often called a mutt, crossbreed, or mongrel, these wonderful dogs have been increasing in popularity for the last several years.

Crossbred dogs are often identified by combining the names of the parents' breed. For example, a cross between a Pug and a Chihuahua is known as a chug, and the offspring of a Golden Retriever bred with a Poodle is called a Goldendoodle. Many different body shapes are possible in mixed breeds. Extremes such as the curly tail of the Pug, or the flattened face of the Bulldog, rarely survive the first crossbreeding. The size of the resulting offspring is often midway between that of its' parents. Making assumptions about the future appearance of a mixed breed puppy can be very difficult. Even purebred puppies often don't look much like the adult dogs they will become. Some breeds pass on more of their physical traits than others. Border Collies and Spaniels produce offspring with similar coats and ears, and German Shepards pass on their facial characteristics.

The theory of hybrid vigor states that dogs of mixed ancestry should be healthier than their purebred counterparts. This is often the case because inbreeding among purebreds has led some to be prone to genetic health problems. Mixed breeds are far less likely to have genetic disorders, because their parents come from a more diverse genetic pool, however they are equally susceptible to ailments such as distemper and rabies etc.