This article also relates to: Mixed-breed
Unbeknownst to many of us, a cross-breed and a mixed breed are not the same thing. Although terminology differs greatly, the name ‘cross-breed’ usually applies to dogs with purebred parents of distinct varieties (in terms of size and coat) or different breeds. For instance, the popular ‘Labradoodle’ is a cross-breed because its bloodline includes a purebred Poodle and a purebred Labrador. Generally speaking with the most widely recognised, first-generation cross-breeds, the parentage is known and the breeding has been sanctioned. Because of this, many like to refer to cross-breeds as ‘designer breeds’ that have been selected for appearance alone. Amongst some canine registries, the issue of cross-breeding is highly controversial.
A mixed breed is generally accepted to be a dog of unknown parentage. The breed’s parents might be first-generation cross-breeds themselves – a Labradoodle, for instance, paired with a Puggle (a cross between a Beagle and Pug). In other words, a mixed breed has non-purebred parents and has had a variety of breeds contribute to its development. The term ‘mongrel’ or ‘mutt’ is sometimes applied to these dogs, although ‘mixed breed’ is thought more appropriate.
Although many people disagree with crossing dog breeds, citing the many incidences in which two unsuited breeds have been thoughtlessly mated – producing offspring with an unnatural appearance and structure or with a myriad of health conditions and defects – others argue that in general, cross and mixed breeds are far healthier and longer-lived than purebred or pedigree dogs due to years of inbreeding. Whether this is true or not is purely speculation.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly recognised cross-breeds – what they look like and what their temperaments are like:
This breed was initially developed in Australia in the 1980s and arose from selectively crossing the Poodle and the Labrador. The size is dependent on the size the Poodle (i.e. whether it is a Standard or Miniature) and a Labradoodle is usually characterised by a wavy, fleece-like coat. As with any hybrid dog, it is difficult to consign a generic appearance or set of behaviours and all dogs will vary. Generally speaking, a Labradoodle will possess the behavioural traits of its forebears, with a friendly, affectionate and animated personality. The Labradoodle is highly intelligent, active and has a natural love of people.
The result of crossing between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. Breeding began in the 1990s in Australia and North America and the Goldendoodle immediately became a ‘designer dog,’ with its name being adopted in 1992. Similar in appearance to the Labradoodle, this breed boasts a calm and affectionate demeanour, whilst being highly active and easy to obedience train.
Ever since the 1950s, Cockapoos have been recognised in the United States. A hybrid of English or American Cocker Spaniel and Standard Poodle bloodlines, the Cockapoo possesses a thick, wavy coat in colour variations of merle, black, brown, tan, sable, roan, brindle, white, cream and silver. The coat only sheds moderately – a trait inherited from its Poodle parent. Typically, a Cockapoo will require lots of human interaction and companionship, becoming distressed if left alone for too long, and will return this love and attention gladly. Many unscrupulous breeders attempt this cross due to its wide popularity, so it is important to bear this in mind when purchasing a Cockapoo puppy.
A cross between the Pomeranian and the Miniature or Toy Poodle. Many people favour this particular cross-breed due to its cute, compact size and its amiable temperament. With a thick, wavy coat that is typically low-shedding and often thought to be hypoallergenic, the Pomapoo is a desirable breed choice for families or dedicated sole owners. Although there are great variations, the Pomapoo is usually friendly with a moderate level of activity, and should not be unduly shy or aggressive.
A cross between the Miniature Schnauzer and the Poodle. This cross-breed is similar to its Schnauzer parent in general appearance and structure, with a dense, often curly coat that is inherited from the Poodle. Usually quite small, with a low-shedding coat, this is a suitable breed choice for the house-proud. The temperament of the Schnoodle is very desirable – it is intelligent, bold, affectionate and trainable, and benefits from both mental and physical enrichment.
This compact cross-breed combines the Pug and the Beagle and was first bred in 1980s America. It has risen to high popularity in the last two decades and is considered a ‘designer dog.’ The general appearance of the Puggle is small, proportioned and muscular, with a short muzzle, large pendant ears and a narrow tail that curls over the back. The coat is usually observed in colours of black, tan and fawn. Despite variations, the Puggle is typically loud, out-going and stubborn, requiring training and firm leadership from an early age. Otherwise, this cross-breed can be friendly, affectionate and sociable, enjoying plenty of companionship with its owner and family.