American Bulldog /American Pit Bull Terrier Hybrid 

Designer Dogs
 (Hybrid Dogs)


Designer Dog?? What the heck is a designer dog you ask?? A "designer" dog (as the media has labeled them) is a cross between two purebred dogs. A purebred dog is one that has been bred over many generations to breed true. Meaning each puppy that is born looks and has the same temperament and characteristics as one another. In most cases a standard is written and breeders must follow this written standard. Only dogs which make the written standard are to be bred. Purebred dogs are beneficial in that, when you buy a purebred dog you know what you are getting. You know how big your puppy will grow and you know basically what type of temperament and care the dog will need. You know the dogs limits, whether it is capable of agility, hunting, search and rescue, police work, herding, flock guardian, or just simply a companion dog. You have a pretty good idea if the dog will be good with your kids, you know if they will have a tendency to wander or if they will stick close to home. You have a pretty good idea if they will like strangers, or if they will fear them. When one breeds purebred dogs great care must be taken to insure the lines to not become too thin. Even with all the best DNA testing available, genetic problems can occur, however with the proper testing these problems can be greatly reduced. To give you a simple analogy, let's say there was a law passed that stated only people with red hair and green eyes with a high IQ could have children, with the end goal, everyone in the USA to be smart with red hair and green eyes. If this were to happen, as you can imagine, our gene pool would eventually become thin, and many genetic problems would occur. This is why it is very important to ask breeders breeding purebred dogs what types of genetic testing they perform.

What's the difference between a designer dog and a mutt? Generally, a mutt is of uncertain ancestry. A designer dog has documented purebred ancestry, and one knows for sure what it is. The ACHC is  the leading registry for designer dogs.

So what's up with these hybrid, "designer" dogs? Are they healthier? Hybrid dogs can still have genetic problems because you are still crossing two first generation dogs, however the percentage of hybrid dogs with genetic problems is much lower than purebred dogs because the gene pool is mixed. Breeders who breed purebred to purebred creating a first generation hybrid believe in the heterosis effect and hybrid vigor. Vigor means, "Physical or mental strength, energy, or force." Unlike purebred dogs, when you adopt a hybrid, you do not know exactly what the temperament, size of the dog, or exact look of the dog will be.

When you breed two different types of purebred dogs together you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. If you are stuck on a hybrid dog how do you know which one to choose? Read the temperament and care for both breeds in the cross and be prepared for any combination of the two. If everything about both breeds matches you and your families personality and lifestyle, than you can most likely assume this cross will work for you. If there is ANYTHING about either breed in the cross that you do not feel matches what you are looking for, avoid that cross. Do not assume or take the chance that only the good characteristics will emerge. You may be in for a big surprise and it is not fair to the puppy to chance that.

It is also important to be aware; not all of these designer hybrid dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generation crosses. While a simple F1 generation cross is said to produce the most hybrid vigor in the dog and the further down the multi-generation chain, the more vigor is lost in the hybrid; there are some benefits to multi-generation crossing. If you want to greater your chances of certain traits, such as non-shedding, sometimes it is necessary to move further down the generation chain, risking less vigor.

To help you understand this concept we will use the Goldendoodle as an example. A Goldendoodle is a cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle (usually the Standard Poodle). In general we will call the first purebred "purebred-A", and the second "purebred-B". Note, the examples of the differences in coat only apply to the Goldendoodle hybrid, all other hybrids will vary in their own way depending on what is in the cross.

F1 = 1st generation puppy - 50% purebred-A and 50% purebred-B - for example, a Golden Retriever to Poodle cross, this is first generation, resulting in healthier offspring. In this particular Goldendoodle cross hair type can be smooth like a Golden, wirey look like a Irish wolfhound or Wavy/shaggy, they can shed or not shed, pups in the same litter can vary. This is not the best cross for people with severe allergies.

F1b = backcross puppy - 25% purebred-A and 75% purebred-B. For example, an F1 Goldendoodle and Poodle cross; this is Goldendoodle bred back to Poodle, Wavy Curly shaggy look doodle very consistent in coat types. F1b is the MOST likely of any to be non shedding and allergy friendly then ANY doodles (poodle crosses) and is the easiest coat to take care of.

F2 = second generation puppy - F1 hybrid crossed with an F1 hybrid - for example, an F1 Goldendoodle crossed with an F1 Goldendoodle. This combination you get the same percentage of purebred-A as purebred-B as you would an F1 hybrid. In the case of the Goldendoodle, they are more likely to shed.

F2b = second generation backcross puppy = F1 bred to a F1b (hybrid backcross)

F3 = F2 hybrid to F2 hybrid

Multi-generation = F3 or higher generation hybrid crossed with F3 or higher generation hybrid

To sum things up

Purebred-A x Purebred-B = F1 Hybrid Dog

F1 x Purebred-A = F1b Hybrid Dog

F1 x F1  = F2 Hybrid Dog

F1 x F1b = F2b Hybrid Dog

F2 x F2 = F3 Hybrid Dog

Dogs are not to be disposed of like old toasters when they do not perform as you wish. They are living creatures. Cross a Labrador with a Poodle (Labradoodle) and you may or may not get a dog that sheds. Most experienced breeders can give you a pretty good idea what characteristics in a pup will emerge as the puppy grows. For example, in the Labradoodle, some breeders are able to tell which coat the pup will have, the Poodle or the Labrador, but still, this cannot be guaranteed. Sometimes it is harder to tell what type of temperament the pup will take on, as some characteristics do not appear until the pup is older, past adopting age.

Whether or not you choose a purebred dog or a "designer" hybrid mix, do your homework and research, research, research. Remember, adopting a dog should be a life long commitment and not something that should be taken lightly. Before you adopt a dog ask yourself, Are You Ready for a Dog?



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