Mixed Breed Dogs

A complete guide to mixed breed dogs

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When thinking about mixed dog breeds, it's important to understand that the term "mixed breed" itself is actually a misnomer. Technically, the term suggests that the dog is the product of two parents of known breeds, which were intentionally mixed. This is rarely actually the case. Most often, mutts come from unknown or untraceable parentage, which can make it difficult to predict a given animal's disposition.

Types of Crossbreeds

Broadly speaking, dogs of mixed breed fall into one of four categories:

  1. Crossbreeds. The term "crossbreed" is often incorrectly used as a synonym for "mutt" or "mixed breed." Technically speaking, a crossbred dog is the offspring of purebred parents of two different breeds.
  2. Functional breeds. This term is used to described dogs of mixed ancestry that have been selectively bred because they excel at a certain practical task, such as leading the blind or detecting drugs.
  3. Pariah dogs. "Pariah dog" is a generic term that originated in India, used to reference animals that are descended from many generations of uncontrolled mixed breeding. The classic pariah dog is medium in height and weight, with nondescript features and straw yellow or light brown fur.
  4. Mixed dogs. This category is the one most people mean when they use the term "mutt" or "mixed breed." These dogs show strong characteristics of one or more ancestral breeds, but are not purebreds. They're normally referred to as a mix of the dominant breed – for example, "Labrador retriever mix" or "collie cross."

Pros and Cons of Mixed Breeds

Studies indicate that mothers of mixed breed puppies provide more milk and more attentive care than purebred mothers give their offspring. As a result, infant mortality rates in mixed dog breeds tend to be lower. Many mutt owners also take pride in their pets' distinctive appearances; there tends to be very little variance from one animal to the next in purebred dogs. Some research also indicates that mixed breed dogs tend, on the whole, to enjoy better overall health than purebreds, possibly because of a lack of genetic diversity in dogs of pure breed.

However, mixed breed dogs can be behaviorally unpredictable. Many owners prefer certain pure breeds because of desirable physical characteristics or dispositional qualities.

Mixed Breed Dogs and Good Health

Studies performed in Germany, Sweden and Denmark all indicate that dogs of mixed breed have a significantly higher lifespan than dogs of pure breed. The data generated by these studies seems to indicate that mixed breeds require less veterinary care and have hardier constitutions. It's also believed that they are in a lower risk category than purebreds for developing common canine health problems like Cushing's disease and distemper.

If you're looking for mixed breed puppies for sale, make sure you don't give your business to puppy mills. These facilities ignore ethical practices and show little regard for the health and parentage of the animals they sell.