What is a Hybrid Breed Dog and Why Own One?
The most recent dog craze is hybrid dog breeds. The en vogue term for hybrid breeds is designer breeds. While the idea seems a little silly — the most obvious question being why not just adopt a mutt!? — the fact is, there are actually practical reasons to purchase a hybrid breed dog.
One of the most logical reasons to buy a hybrid breed dog is for health, both that of the owner and of the dog.
Health and the Hybrid Breed Dog
It is almost common knowledge that mutts are healthier and live longer than most pure-breed dogs. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, that axiom about dogs holds true. The reasons are varied as to why, but the biggest issue that creates health problems for dogs is selective breeding or in-breeding or both.
Selective and In-Breeding
The reason dog breeders selectively breed and in-breed dogs is to reproduces qualities in a litter that people desire: for example, a particular size or a body design trait or a certain color. Entire breeds have suffered from such practices.
The hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is a result of breeders trying to produce dogs with a steep slopes from their shoulders to their hips. The English Bulldog is notorious for having reparatory problems and those problems are a result of breeders trying to produce litters of flat-faced dogs. There are specific problems with almost every type of pure-bred dog breed.
By mixing two breeds, the individual issues associated with each of the breeds is eliminated. In other words, hybrid breed dogs are the genetic solution for eliminating breed specific health issues.
In addition to the health of dogs, hybrid dogs can often have positive health effects on humans. One of the more obvious effects on humans that hybrid breeds have is a reduction in stress if a dog leads a healthy life and lives longer. While the health benefits of hybrid dogs may not always easily be quantified, some of them are.
For example, some hybrid breeds hypoallergenic coats. The fact that Labra-doodles have long, yet hypoallergenic, hair is one of the reasons they are one of the most popular hybrid breeds. Labra-doodles have the physical and personality traits of a Standard Poodle, but the hypoallergenic traits of a Labrador Retriever’s coat.
Predictable Traits Differentiate Hybrid Breeds from Mutts
Unlike mutts, the blood-lines of hybrid breeds are known. That means that many of the traits of the two breeds remain and are predictable. The litters of two different pairs of dogs — if the same mixture of hybrid breeding is performed — will exhibit the same physical and dispositional traits.
It is this predictability that separates hybrid dog breeds from mutts.
Problems with Hybrid Breeds
The one thing that separates hybrid breeds from mutts will eventually be the ruin of all hybrid breed dog breeds: known blood lines. The fact that a hybrid dog breed becomes popular means there will be an incentive for puppy farms and unreputable breeders to commit the same poor breeding practices that they commit with pure-bred dog breeds, selective and in-breeding.
While the odds of a hybrid breed dog having been selectively or inbred are less in relation to those of a pure bred dog, the incentive for people whom are only in the business of selling dogs for money is still there. That is why it is vital to the health and humane treatment of dogs that every person that purchases a dog evaluates the breeding practices of the kennel from where the puppy they want originates.
+Neil Kilgore is a dog owner, dog lover and the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about puppies, breeders and dog care tips on the Greenfield Puppies website.