Crossbreeding: Why Purebred Breeders Are Mad and Shouldn’t Be!
Purebred Breeders often attack Cross Breeders or as many refer to them ‘Designer Dogs’. I want to look at the most common arguments for why you shouldn’t Crossbreed.
Crosses are destroying our already established breeds out there.
Let us be very clear. EVERY dog is a cross breed at some point in it’s origin. Let’s look at a few popular breeds out there, when they were recognized as a breed by AKC and what they are a cross of.
American Eskimo – recognized by AKC in 1995 – a cross between various Spitz European Spitz breeds.
Australian Cattle Dog – recognized by AKC in 1980 – a cross between Smooth Merle Collies, Dingoes, Dalmatians and black and tan Kelpies.
Black Russian Terrier – recognized by AKC in 2004 – A cross between Giant Schnauzer, Airedale Terrier, Rottweiler, Newfoundland and 13 other breeds.
Bluetick Coonhound – recognized by AKC in 2009 – a cross between English Fox Hounds and French Staghounds (Grand Bleu de Gascogne).
Boston Terrier – recognized by AKC in 1893 – a cross between Bulldogs and White English Terriers.
Brussels Griffon – recognized by AKC in 1910 – a cross between Affenpinscher, Pug and English Toy Spaniel.
Curly Coated Retriever – recognized by AKC in 1924 – a cross between the English Water Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, Poodle, retrieving setters and the native water dogs of Newfoundland.
Dogo Argentino – recognized by AKC in 2011 – a cross between ten breeds, including Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Boxer, Great Dane, Bulldog, Spanish Mastiff, Bull Terrier, pointer and now extinct Cordoban Fighting Dog.
Giant Schnauzer – recognized by AKC in 1930 – a cross between Standard Schnauzer, Sheepdogs, Great Danes and possibly Bouvier des Flanders.
Golden Retriever – recognized by AKC in 1925 – a cross between the Tweed Water Spaniel, Irish Setter and possibly Bloodhound.
Great Dane – recognized by AKC in 1887 – a cross between Mastiffs and Irish Wolfhounds.
Keeshond – recognized by AKC in 1930 – a cross between European spitz breeds, such as the Pomeranian and Finnish Spitz.
Labrador Retriever – recognized by AKC in 1917 – a cross between a variety of Setters, Spaniels, Retrievers and local dogs to Newfoundland.
Miniature Schnauzer – recognized by AKC in 1926 – a cross between Standard Schnauzers, Affenpinschers and Poodles.
Pointer – recognized by AKC in 1884 – a cross between Greyhounds, Foxhounds, Bloodhounds and Spaniels.
Shetland Sheepdog – recognized by AKC in 1911 – a cross between Collies, Pomeranians, King Charles Spaniels and Spitz breeds.
Standard Schnauzer – recognized by AKC in 1904 – a cross between Poodles, Spitzen and wire-haired Pinschers.
As you can see all these breeds were crosses of two or more already established breeds together to create a new breed. This was done in each of these cases to fill a need that was not met by other breeds. Could you imagine if nobody ever created one of these amazing breeds because ‘it might have ruined the breeds used to create it’.
It is also important to note that many of these breeds have very recently been accepted into AKC (Some of which are also poodle crosses). Why then would we think it was impossible for Goldendoodles for instance to be accepted as AKC registrable someday?
They cost too much compared to Purebreds.
It doesn’t cost any less to breed Crossbreeds, in fact more often than not it costs more. Whoa… did you read that right? Yes, Yes you did. Consider this… when you are breeding purebreds or crossbreds properly you should be using excellent examples of both parent breeds, so your costs to buy the parents of your puppies should cost the same whether you are breeding purebreds or crossbreeds. But, when breeding two breeds together, now you need to pay for health testing on two breeds instead of one. Yes, the chances of those health issues lessens with the cross, but you still need to health test both breeds health issues anyway. On top of this, with poodle crosses you need to coat test as well. These tests can cost hundreds more on each parent dog. Also, if you are a good breeder, you will be doing the same vaccinations, health checks, microchips, socialization, whelping supplies, toys, crates, beds, training, high quality food, among other things. So why shouldn’t a crossbreed cost as much or more than a purebred, if they actually cost more to raise on average.
Note: There are many breeders that do not use the same quality when breeding crosses, but we see this in both purebreds and crossbreds. It is very unfortunate and everyone should do their due diligence to avoid those breeders regardless of what they breed.
People that breed Crosses do not Health Test.
Let’s be very clear. Whether you are breeding Purebreds or Crossbreds it is essential to always health test and track your bloodlines to ensure not only the parents of a litter are healthy, but also that their line in healthy. There are going to be breeders that just don’t care no matter what breed you choose. I know many, many breeders of crosses that health test and actually when searching for breeding dogs, have found it easier to find breeders of Crosses with health testing than that of the purebred dogs. Bottom line: when buying a dog don’t buy from breeders that don’t health test, whether purebred or crossbred.
You can get the same ‘mutt’ at the local shelter for way cheaper.
First of all getting a dog from a shelter is great if you are able to do this, but for many this is not an option for many reasons. A shelter dog can come with a huge variety of issues many families are simply not able to deal with or risk with their family.
You really have no idea what you are getting as far a health issues and temperament, as often you don’t know what the parent breeds are. It can be dangerous to cross certain breeds when you don’t know what you are doing. To cross a high prey drive breed with a guardian breed can meet with dangerous consequences, at no fault to the dog, as these are traits that are bred into them that are not always compatible. Also, responsible breeder rarely ever have a puppy in a shelter, as they either microchip their dogs to ensure they get returned to them or they have a contract stating they would take their puppies back for any reason. So, it is safe to assume that the dogs in the shelter in most cases were carelessly bred, which can amplify health issues, costing families thousands of dollars in vet bills and (more importantly) huge heartache losing a loved one. Many are not willing to take this risk. On top of that, you have no idea if that dog will have a natural tendency to be good with children or other dogs or visitors. If you have children especially, most want to make sure they have picked breeds that are compatible with children. On top of all that, most of the time you don’t know why the dog that is at the shelter is even there. There could be a multitude of issues you are dealing with as a result of that, including aggression, previous abuse, training issues, etc.
On top of that the dogs in the shelter are not purposely bred for specific purposes, with careful consideration to their specific traits. They are not tested, they are not raised in a home with proper socialization, training and care (especially during such important developmental time in their lives).
Also, as stated above, the term ‘mutt’ although used generally offensively, it simply means a dog of mixed breeding. We can talk semantics all you want about this but ultimately all dogs are crosses of at least two breeds at any given point. Most would use the term ‘mixed’ for when many breeds of unknown origin are mixed together, whereas a ‘cross’ is usually referring to intentional crossing of known breeds. But, if you feel mixed and crossed mean the same thing, we can just call all dogs ‘mutts’ I guess.
There is no need for a new breed. We already have breeds that meet every needs.
I am often told this. But, this simply is not true. If there wasn’t a need for a breed people wouldn’t buy it, no matter what marketing you put out about the breed. A great example of this is with Goldendoodles. We see over and over that Golden Retrievers make excellent therapy and service dogs. The problem is we have had a drastic increase in allergies among those needing these dogs. On top of that, service dogs in some cases are with people that simply can’t handle the extra work of a dog that sheds excessively like the Golden Retriever. So, most would say, ‘Then why not a Poodle?’. Well, it is very simple. Poodles do not pass their certifications at the same rate as Golden Retriever’s are. But, Goldendoodles are passing at a rapid rate. There is not another breed out there that is suitable for this kind of work, that also has the non-shedding and allergy friendliness of the Goldendoodle (when bred properly). There are also many other reasons people buy the cross, including the quieter, loves everyone, laid back temperament of the Golden Retriever, with the non-shedding, allergy friendliness of the Poodle. Poodles also provide multiple different sizes and colours. But, people don’t want a Poodle or they would buy a Poodle. Also, other breeds, such as the Portuguese Water Dog are excellent and have the non-shedding and allergy friendly coats, but their high activity level and working drive can be too much for some families.
Crosses lack consistent conformation.
There is a common misconception that when breeding two dogs together without the exact same build that you will get weird looking dogs with bad conformation. Plainly put, genetics do not work that way. For instance with regards to Goldendoodles, you will not get the long legs of the poodle with the stalky body of the Golden Retriever when breeding them together. You will get a combination of the two dogs. When breeding multiple generations, you can selectively breed for certain traits, but if you are breeding conformationally sound dogs of both breeds, you will generally get conformationally sound offspring. With all this considered though, it is important when breeding two dogs together that their conformation allows for consistency in what they are bred to do. You wouldn’t want to breed two dogs that are not compatible temperament wise, conformation wise or health wise.
So Now What?
Instead of breeders fighting with each other about what breed we breed, wouldn’t it be great if we focused on improving the health, temperament and conformation of all our breeds by working together, educating others and promoting good breeding practices. Just think of what we could accomplish!