Choosing a Mixed Breed

People who decide they want a dog and then acquire a mongrel rather than a pedigree fall into two groups those who have thought very carefully about it and those who haven’t. People who search their hearts and finally choose a mongrel usually do so for the right reasons.

Choosing a Crossbreed or Mongrel dog needs the same care and consideration as choosing a pedigree dog.
In fact it is a lot harder to choose the right mixed breed dog for your family. Remember Mongrels come in every shape & size they are the most varied in colour and conformation. Add to this the possibility of your chosen dog being from a rescued centre it is one of the hardest decisions you and your family will have to make.

What’s the difference between a Crossbreed & Mongrel Dog?
A Crossbreed dog is the result of a pure bred bitch mating with a pure bred dog of another breed.

A Mongrel is the result of a Crossbreed bitch mating with a Crossbreed dog.

How do I decide on the type of dog I want?
Even though you have decided you want a mixed breed dog, it is important to study the more popular breeds from books or ask experienced dog owners and decide on the general type and size of dog you think would suit your family.

It is also important to understand what breeds are working dogs which have been bred to hunt, herd, guard, scent, gun/field etc. these breeds need to be understood, they have been bred to work and not sit at home all day.

You need this information to give you some idea of what type of dog you may be adopting, sometimes there are crosses which are best suited to the more experienced handler e.g. Collie x German shepherd and their are some crosses which because of their breed put together would make experienced dog owners shudder in their boots such as a Boxer x Labrador, both breeds noted for their exuberance and need for exercise and entertainment and not reaching maturity till at least three years old!

Remember you can get the worst of both breeds coming out as well as the best

I want a shaggy dog like you see on the television and in films.
Are you sure you want a muddy, wet, smelly long coated dog on your furniture. The shaggy mongrel that you see on television takes a great deal of hard work and dedication to keep groomed.

Mixed breed dogs are not perfect and some may need their coats regularly trimmed because:-
• Their coats are too heavy or long for the size of dog.
• Their coats are too curly or thick to get a brush through it.
• The dog will be happier, healthier with a regularly trimmed coat.
We do not have books telling us what is right for your dog, you have to make the decision with the help of a recommended dog groomer sometimes the “natural look” is not often the best for your dog.

How big will it get?
For some people half the fun of owning a mixed breed dog is not really knowing how it will grow or develop, but for most people with limited space or set ideas on size of dog it is important. This is why it is important to have studied your breed books.
If your puppy is a first cross between a Border Collie and Golden Retriever then you will have a guide line of how big it will get, if you do not want a dog as big as a Retriever then you do not take the risk. It is all dependent on which breed are the strongest genes. Alternatively you can end up disappointed, by expecting a dog to be big and fluffy as it mum was a Samoyed and it ends up small and wire haired because dad was a terrier.
With mongrels if you know the basic size of mum and dad then you have an idea puppy is going to be either small, medium, large. Although be warned of throwbacks it can happen!

Experienced kennel staff at rescue centres can generally advise on size, but if in doubt, leave it.

My friend has a smashing crossbreed , I want one just like it.
This theory does not work. Just because one type of cross has worked out for one owner does not mean it will work out the same again. A lot of influences make up a dogs temperament and type, and you must be aware of these from how the dog was bred, its parents, what environment it has been brought up in its life history. No two dogs are ever the same.

I want a crossbreed / mongrel dog because they are healthier.
It is important to know what type of hereditary diseases are common amongst the most popular breeds of dogs as you must be aware that in first crosses hereditary diseases can carry across.

With mongrels where you get random mating hybrid vigour is maintained, whereas with pedigree dogs they are likely to be highly related, with mongrels 99 % of the time crossings are happening to unrelated individuals. This means that mongrels should have a higher resistance to canine diseases and possibly shake off infection slightly easier.
Mongrels are survivors of often extreme conditions and hardship.

But:- ALL crossbreed /mongrel dogs despite their hardness, need protection against the killer diseases, the same as pedigree dogs.

It’s cheaper to have a crossbreed or mongrel dog!
If you think this you must seriously reconsider your motifs for having any dog at all. You could quite possibly fit into our second category of why people acquire mongrels, they do so because they are cheap, amuse the children for five minutes and can be easily got rid of when the novelty wears off.

Once you have acquired a mixed breed dog it will cost you the same to feed and maintain its health and give it a happy life style the same as any pedigree dog. There are no discounts for crossbreed & mongrel dogs.

How long do crossbreeds & mongrels live?
You must give serious thought to a long term commitment with all dogs especially with mongrels. If you have done your part in giving your crossbreed or mongrel an ideal lifestyle with plenty of exercise, activities and the right balanced diet, then their is no reason why it should not go on into 15+ years. In our club we have mongrels which are 18+ years.
First crosses can have life expectancies similar to those of its closest pedigree breed.
So when you decide you want a dog now, think ahead, will you still want it in 15 years time or do you see change ahead in your life.

There are two major drawbacks to owning a mixed breed dog.
1. If you acquire a mongrel pup without seeing its parents you will have no idea what it will look like when it gets bigger – and it may get a lot bigger.
2. Once your mongrel has passed away it is not repeatable, they are unique.

Mongrels are loved for their uniqueness and individuality. They are just as loyal, faithful and intelligent as any other breed of dog. But you must give great care and consideration when choosing your dog, this dog will be with your family for at least the next ten years.