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(Complete Pet Owner's Manual)by Andre Calbert and Chelle Calbert
Fourteen of the Top Designer Dogs
by Norma Bennet Woolf (Introduction)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Designer Dogs(Paperback)
by Margaret H. Bonham
"Designer dogs" are mixed breed dogs or hybrid dogs that are purposely bred in the hope to combine the virtues of two existing breeds, but with fewer genetic faults. They have been riding a wave of popularity due in part to their cute names and the belief that hybrid dogs have increased strength and vigor, a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor. (For the difference between heterozygosity and heterosis, see Breeding Myths: practical genetics for dog breeders).
As opposed to mongrels, the parents of designer dogs are always of known ancestry and pure-bred. Designer dogs are often first-generation crosses. For that reason there is a great variability among specimens. Attempts to further breed their offspring have not always produced the desired results, in that the positive traits of the parent breeds do not necessarily become a fixed attribute in the later generations.
Some Popular Designer Dogs:
Puggle puppy, Beagle & pug mix
Photo: Rick Orrell
More about Pug mixes
Crossbreeds where one of the parents is either Poodle, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua or Pug are among the most popular. Poodle mixes are sought after because they tend to shed less, while Pug mixes and Shih Tzu mixes are popular because of their playful temperament and cute snouts.
Other popular Hybrid Breeds:
Dorgi, a dachshund-corgi mix;
Doxle, a dachsund-beagle mix;
Maltichon, a Maltese-Bichon mix;
Chi-Chi, a Chihuahua and Chinese crested mix.
Mauxi, a Maltese and Dachshund mix.
Brussels Griffon/Shih Tzu mix
For more Shih Tzu hybrids,
see Shih Tzu mixes
Photo: Lynn Paukovitch
Other popular designer dogs are hybrids where one of the parent is a Beagle (Beagle mixes), Bichon Frisé (Bichon Frisé hybrids), Boston Terrier (Boston Terrier mixes), Cavalier King Charles (Cavalier King Charles hybrids) or Cocker Spaniel (Cocker Spaniel mixes).
Alle the Maltichon, a Maltese/Bichon puppy
Photo by Jim Larson
Bull Boxer, a cross between a Boxer and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Bull boxer puppies mature earlier than boxers. The Bull boxer cross is also less likely to chase small animals.
(Maltese / Dachshund mix)
Photo: Damien Kaye
Some of the reasons for their success:
- as many of the designer dogs are Poodle-mixes, their offspring tend to shed less.
- for the same reason they tend to be good for people with allergies who are looking for a hypoallergenic dog breed. Beware: not all designer dogs or mixed breed dogs are necessarily hypoallergenic dogs !
- Mixed breeds are believed to be healthier and more intelligent than purebred dogs, a phenomenon known as hybrid vigor, or the increase in strength and vigor resulting from the combination of the virtues of both parents.
- some hybrids have become very popular through dog sports, such as flyball. These hybrids often combine the compact size and agility of one breed with the resistance, strength and trainability of the other breed. Examples are the Borderjack (Border Collie/Jack Russell Terrier) and Borderstaffy (Border Collie/Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
- they have catchy breed names.
Some of the drawbacks:
- the lack of predictability. It is impossible to know what the puppy will look or behave like as and adult dog.
- they are very expensive and many claim they are overpriced and not very different from mixed breed dogs you can adopt from a shelter. read more >>
Mixed breeds (Hybrids dogs)
Shih Tzu hybrids
(Cocker Spaniel / Poodle mix