Small Breed Designer Dogs

What are Designer Dogs? It has become very popular nowadays to breed two purebred dogs together and call the offspring Hybrid Dogs, Diva Pets, Purse Pets, Rare, Exotic, or Special in some way pets.

These crossbreeds are commanding a big price tag and many if not most different breeds are involved. This niche market is thriving and growing.

You have no doubt heard of Yorkie-Poo’s, Cock-a-Poo’s, Malti-Poo’s, Morkies, but have you seen a Cock-a-Shels, Malt-oodles, a Peke-A-Pom, or a Yorki-Huahua?

In fact, you can find these mixes of dogs in about every shape, color, and size.

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They have become so popular that many breeders specialize in one or more breeds and the possibilities of producing these cross-bred dogs are nearly endless.

There are so many different hybrid dogs, that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

History of Designer Dogs

Depending on your point of view, the history of these dogs can go back to the point in time when humans first began interacting with wolves. Most people consider the origins to be much more recent.

Before the term “designer” was coined, these dogs would have been called crossbreeds, mixed breeds, or mutts.

Another name that is commonly used to describe these crossbreeds is hybrid, although technically speaking, from a scientific point of view, this is an inaccurate way to use the word.

Some so called designer dogs have occurred without any human intervention. That is to say, that some are the result of unaltered dogs being allowed to roam freely mating at will.

This has happened throughout history and is where we got the names mutt, crossbred, mongrel, Heinz 54 variety dog or simply mixed breed dog.

These little ones don’t look anything like their Mama, a Maltese because they are Mal-Shi.

With human intervention, the historical time-line becomes much shorter.

The first and probably most popular hybrid to be produced was the Labradoodle, which is a mix between a Labrador and a standard poodle.

In this case, the name first appeared in the 1950s but did not become popular to the late 1980s.

At that time, the whole conception of the labradoodle was to produce a service dog with the wonderful characteristics of the Labrador retriever that was also somewhat hypoallergenic so that the dog could be accessible to people with allergies.

Since then people assume that the labradoodle might make the perfect family dog, taking characteristics from the poodle – intelligence and non-shedding, and mixing it with the good traits of the Labrador, playfulness and hard working.

The first and probably most popular hybrid to be produced was the Labradoodle, which is a mix between a Labrador and a standard poodle.

From there, the trend just mushroomed using any two purebreds to create a cross breed that could be called a hybrid.

Now these designers are often more expensive than their purebred cousins.

Was the trend the result of greedy breeders, curiosity among breeders, breeders who were truly searching for the perfect dog, or a population of pet lovers who wanted something new, different or unique?

People are intrigued with the so call dog du jour, especially if it has an exotic sounding name.

How Designer Dogs/Hybrids are Produced?

Shorkie Tzu is a Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu mix

When there is a deliberate attempt to create a cross between two breeds, registered purebred dogs are usually used, but not necessarily.

A true designer dog or hybrid has 50% of her genes from one purebred parent and 50% of her genes from the other parent. This would be considered a first generation hybrid and these dogs are more uniform than other types of designer dogs.

But, all breeders do not start with two purebred dogs. Rather, many decide to cross a purebred mother with a hybrid father resulting in offspring that may be passed on as hybrids without the genetic ratios one should expect.

You can get a Malti-poo by breeding a Maltese to a Malti-poo but the offspring will have more Maltese genes than poodle genes. Here, the offspring might be ¾ Maltese and only ¼ poodle.

Breeders who thoughtfully produce hybrid dogs do so with the hope of taking the best from one breed and matching it with the best of another breed to get an entirely new animal that is the best all-round pet.

In fact these dogs are often created for a new look, a healthier dog, a dog with a superior temperament or intellect, or a combination of all characteristics.

When this actually occurs, it is a WIN-WIN situation all around. But anyone familiar with genetics will tell you that there are no guarantees and the offspring can be anything but perfect.

When the breeding is done deliberately, the offspring command the name Designer Dog, and as a result; the puppy produced is perceived as being more valuable, more desirable, and often more expensive.

Whether it is a conscious attempt to breed or an accidental mating, the only way to determine the health and temperament of the new hybrid dog is to look up the characteristics found in the parent breeds and know that any combination is possible.

There is little certainty when it comes to genetics. So, rather than getting the best of both worlds, the offspring produced could end up with the worst characteristics of both parents.

This is a Puggle, a mix between a Beagle and a Pug

Debate of Designer Dogs/Hybrids

The whole notion of the crossbreed brings up much controversy in the dog world about the merits of mixing two purebred dogs.

Most dog fanciers and die-hard purebred breeders shudder at the mere thought of ever producing a dog that does not improve the quality of their chosen breed.

Their mantra has always been that no one should ever consider breeding two dogs unless they hope to improve the breed in some way (conformity, health, or disposition).

They look at their role of a purebred breeder as a fusion of art and science, pushing the limits to produce a purebred dog minus any flaws. They feel that any breeder who does less is somehow inferior.

Others will argue that breeders have been producing cross bred dogs for eons.

All of today’s recognized breeds were created through deliberate attempts by humans to mate certain breeds to create offspring with the desirable traits. Those desirable traits being a better hunting dog, a more effective herder, or a superior guard.

For example, today’s lovable Shih Tzu dogs came from a cross between a Pekinese and a Lhasa Apso.

Let’s face it, the breeds of today would all look like ancient wolves if it were not for the selective breeding of ancient people. Who knows, today’s hybrid will become tomorrow’s recognized breed.