The world is full of different dog breeds. Each country seems to have come up with at least one breed of their own. Some breeds are still not recognized by some major canine associations but they still have breed status in their own right. However, although the possibilities of dog shapes and sizes seem to be endless, some people still demand something different to the norm. Here is where designer dog breeds come into the picture. Some designer dog “breeds” are created for specific traits. Some, with time, become established breeds in their own right. These traits might simply have to do with looks while others have to do with lifestyle and function. Usually these crosses involve popular breeds that people can’t decide on for one reason or another.
The poodle mixes
Whether it’s a Cockapoo, Labradoodle, Maltipoo, Goldendoodle, Schnoodle, Yorkiepoo or any other imaginative poodle cocktail, one thing is sure … the Poodle is a very popular breed to cross other breeds with. The main reason behind this is that the poodle is considered to be a somewhat “hypoallergenic” dog. While hypoallergenic might not be the best term to refer to the poodle and its crosses (as these breeds still release the allergen proteins that cause allergies in some people), these breeds do shed less hair then the average pooch. This results in significantly less symptoms and suffering in allergic owners. Breeders have been mixing everyone’s favourite breeds with poodles to deliver a desirable compromise to these unfortunate souls.
Some hunters still use pure breeds for hunting purposes but there are also those that prefer to cross a good hunting dog with another good hunting dog whatever the breed. This usually ends up with a lot of variation in how these sight hound mixes look but the recurrent trend is that these dogs end up being good at hunting game. The lurcher is traditionally considered to be a sight hound mixed with either a pastoral type dog or a terrier. However it is known that lurchers can be made by mixing sight hounds with other breeds such as pointers. However, this is less popular. Lurchers can even be bred with each other to produce good coursers over a number of generations. Remember, in this kind of hybrid getting an effective, good working dog is the desirable end product. Popular lurcher crosses are English Greyhound x Border collie, or English Greyhound x Staffordshire terrier mixes.
People that keep working dogs often approach breeding in a very utilitarian approach. The same could be said for those that are in the sport of dog sledding. Until some years ago the breeds usually used for dog sledding were huskies, and other spitz type breeds. However, because of some happy accidents and experimentation sledding enthusiasts soon started to realize that other breeds have a lot to offer to their sport. This led to the breeding of the Eurohound hybrid. Eurohound hybrids are usually produced by crossing an Alaskan Husky with any other pointing dog breed. A very popular mix is the breeding of Alaskan Huskies with German Shorthair Pointers. The offspring of this mix benefit a lot from the natural phenomenon of hybrid vigour and end up making exceptional sledding dogs.
The designer lapdog
Be it a Maltipoo, a Chug, a Pomchi; these dogs are meant to be small enough to fit in a bag or be held in your hand. These are bred to give potential dog owners an option to the usual dog breeds that inhabit people’s laps. Since these dogs are bred for their looks and size one should not be surprised at the sheer amount of variation that can come out of these numerous crossing possibilities.
Things to keep in mind
Although you might harbour the opinion that these dog crossings are welcome and should be encouraged, one must keep in mind the unintended consequences of these dog crossings and approach buying such a designer dog responsible manner.
Make sure that puppies from such litters are coming from a responsible breeder that has all of his dogs’ interest at heart. One must keep in mind that crossing two established dog breeds has a certain degree of unpredictability, and while a good number of the litter might have won the genetic lottery and display the right, desirable traits, their unluckier siblings might turn up to be completely unfit for the purpose they were bred for. A responsible breeder is one that has a humane backup plan and a fantastic home for these different (yet still very special) dogs.
Designer dogs are currently a trend in many western countries. Puppy mills are currently riding on this wave of interest in designer dogs to make as much money using irresponsible breeding practices. Buying from a responsible breeder that runs his kennels at a high ethical standard will make sure that puppy mills do not benefit from your money. This is the first and the most important step at discouraging and effectively curbing such unethical breeding practices.