Advantages and Disadvantages To Crossbreeding
There’s no doubting the popularity of crossbreed dogs, such as Labradoodles, Bernedoodles, and the countless other Doodle varieties that have appeared in the last decade or so.
But what are the pros and cons of crossbreeding, and is the practice of mixing and matching purebred dogs right and ethical?
Read this guide to learn the advantages and disadvantages of crossbred dogs.
Crossbreeding refers to the practice of breeding two different dog breeds together to create a hybrid or “designer” dog breed.
For example, one of the most popular mixed-breed dogs is the Labradoodle. To breed a Labradoodle, the breeder mates a purebred Labrador retriever with a Poodle.
In theory, you can breed any combination of dog breeds or even mixed breeds since dogs are all one species. It’s also possible to crossbreed a dog with another “interfertile” Canidae species. So, coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and golden jackals are all interfertile. That means these animals share sufficient common DNA and biology to be able to interbreed and produce puppies.
However, other members of the Canis genus are not able to crossbreed with domestic dogs, including African wild dogs and foxes.
First, let’s discuss the advantages of crossbreeding dogs.
Many dog owners don’t want a dog that looks identical to all the other pups at the dog park, and crossbreeding will certainly produce a unique pooch!
Hybrid puppies take a percentage of DNA and genes from each of their parents. If both parents are also crossbreeds, it’s a complete lottery as to how the puppies will turn out! Even two puppies from the same litter could be totally different colors and have a different coat types.
Clever breeders choose purebred dog breeds that both have certain characteristics that are especially appealing to dog owners.
For example, Golden retrievers are loyal, friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs that make excellent family pets. Poodles are also sociable types that are considered intelligent and trainable.
However, retrievers have thick double coats that shed, whereas Poodles have a single coat that barely sheds at all. So, by crossing the two breeds, the breeder hopes to produce friendly, trainable puppies with light-shedding coats that appeal to allergy sufferers.
Thanks to a health advantage known as “hybrid vigor,” crossbreed dogs are generally considered to have a longer lifespan and suffer from fewer congenital health issues than their purebred counterparts.
Purebred dogs have been interbred for generations as breeders strive to produce a dog that conforms as closely as possible to the specified breed standard. That can result in many congenital health problems being inherited by subsequent generations of puppies, leading to poor health and physical deformities in some cases.
By crossbreeding two purebred dogs, it’s possible to remove much of the risk that their offspring will inherit the same health conditions.
If you’re happy to take an unwanted mutt from a rescue center, a crossbreed dog is much cheaper to buy than a purebred. That said, trendy so-called designer hybrids can command prices that are just as high as those for a pedigree pup.
For example, you can expect to pay from $1,500 to $5,000 for a well-bred Labradoodle puppy. In contrast, a common-or-garden mutt from a rescue or shelter will only cost you a few hundred dollars in the form of a donation to the center when you adopt the dog.
So, you can see that many good things can be said about adopting crossbreed dogs. Unfortunately, there are disadvantages, too.
Purebred dogs have been developed over many generations to have specific personality traits.
For example, the Pit Bull terrier is descended from the original English bull-baiting dog, which was bred to hold and bite bears, bulls, and other large animals. So, these dogs are naturally aggressive, tough types. Compare that with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which was bred purely to be a ladies’ companion dog.
If you crossbreed a Pit Bull with a Cavalier King Charles, what kind of temperament could you expect? The outcome of such a mating is virtually impossible to predict! The dog’s temperament would depend entirely on each parent’s temperament and the crossbreed puppies’ genetic makeup.
A puppy’s adult size is a pretty important consideration for potential pet parents, especially if you live in an apartment or a small house with limited outside space.
If both parent dogs are similar in size, you can make an educated prediction of what size the puppies will likely be. However, guessing the size of a Golden retriever/Chihuahua crossbreed is pretty much impossible!
Breeding dogs of different sizes can present real problems if the mother dog is much smaller than the stud dog or if the dad is a large-headed breed.
That combination could lead to difficulties in delivering the puppies, potentially necessitating surgery to save the mom and her puppies.
Despite hybrid vigor, there’s still the potential for congenital health issues to affect certain crossbreeds, especially eye diseases, hip and elbow dysplasia, and epilepsy.
So, if two purebred dogs that are predisposed to the same hereditary health conditions are used to create a crossbreed, it’s possible that the puppies will inherit those problems.
Although a mutt from a rescue center will be cheaper than a purebred, some crossbreeds can be extremely expensive to buy.
In some cases, desirable designer breeds can cost up to $5,000, which is more expensive than many purebreds!
As you can see, there are pros and cons to crossbred dogs.
Although it’s possible to screen out certain genetic health problems by crossing two different dog breeds, that doesn’t guarantee a puppy’s perfect health.
When it comes to looks and temperament, it’s almost impossible to predict how the puppies will turn out since the percentage of genes from each parent taken by an individual puppy can’t be accurately predicted.
However, no matter whether your puppy is a designer dog, a purebred, or a mutt, you can look forward to sharing your life with a loyal, loving companion.