A hybrid dog is one that is cross-bred from two recognized pure breeds. The pedigree or parentage of hybrids is known. The term is used loosely as a synonym for mixed breeds, tykes, mutts, and mongrels. They are all essentially the same except that in the case of hybrids and designer dogs, the parents’ breed is known while the others are of uncertain ancestry. It is worth noting that many of the pure breeds as we know them today were cross-bred for generations. Pick up a breed and there’s a good chance that it has traversed an eventful journey from being a hybrid to a pure breed.
Hybrids make great pets provided you are comfortable with the temperament and physical attributes of both parent breeds involved. If you find a particular hybrid or designer dog attractive check out its antecedents regarding the health of parents and breed attributes in general. Because of a mixed gene pool, hybrids are usually healthier than purebreds. Hybrid vigor is greatest with the first generation crossing. With further crossings down the line, some of the vigor is lost but attributes become more settled. Keep this in mind and confirm with the breeder.
Poodles are perhaps the most favored breed when it comes to crossing with other dog breeds. There exist many hybrids created as a result of the poodle being crossed with a hound, terrier, sheep dog, boxer, Chihuahua, etc.
As mentioned above, hybrids are also termed designer dogs, one explanation for the term being that these dogs were bred by design to obtain an animal best suited for a specific purpose or a set of attributes. It is a matter of concern that today we have puppy mills proliferating carrying out uncontrolled cross-breeding to come up with fancy designer dogs with catchy portmanteau names. As a generalization, hybrid dogs have been evolved and been bred for a specific purpose whereas the designer dogs of today are companion animals.
Some people hold the incorrect view that a pedigreed dog will display better physical and mental health characteristics as compared to a mixed-breed dog. Research has shown that in most cases the exact opposite is true. Cross-bred females have been seen to lactate more than purebred ones and hence mortality numbers are low in such litters. Similarly, breeders are apt to believe that mixed breed dogs have higher learning capabilities.
One advantage with purebreds is that experienced breeders will be able to tell with certainty about a pup’s traits and what it will be like when it reaches adulthood.