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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I don't think there is anything wrong with mixing breeds, firstly who doesn't love a cute mutt, and secondly some breeds are mixed to create helpful qualities in a dog, for example those labradoodles that everyone seems to have now are better for people with allergies.

The main bad thing I can think of when it comes to mixing breeds is irresponsible and selfish breeders, but the when it comes to the dogs themselves, I think they're great.

I personally have a couple mutts, one of them I know as being a dachshund chihuahua cross with maybe some terrier (a male found it's way into the owners yard). I picked her because I was looking for a little dog that was lower maintenance, but I did not want a chihuahua or a dachshund or a terrier or a min pin and definitely not a fluffy dog. In fact, I have never found a dog breed (and I've looked through them all) who really suited me personally. I am a fan of a lot of breeds (dobermans, corgis, chinese crested hairless) but none of them actually are a good match for me.

Sometimes I imagine the perfect dog for me and I think about what kinda of dogs put together would make that.

What do you think about mixing breeds, do you think it's wrong? If you could mix any breeds, what breeds do you think would make a great dog?

I kind of think that by mixing breeds, dogs are born with less pieces of the dog genome missing and that's what creates hybrid vigor that some people swear by. I think we've been breeding out so many things in dogs that their DNA has so many genes turned off and it's not as healthy. This is just my idea.
 

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If I want a mutt, I'll adopt one from the shelter and save my self $800, TYVM!

The biggest problem I see with designer breeds is that the breeders have this 'end product' that they want in mind. Never has that happened with other breeds; they are about breeding the dogs that are best and most sound in their purpose at the time. So when someone wants to create a 'hypoallergenic family dog', they think that their job is done when the dog comes out hypoallergenic and friendly. Nevermind that 2,3 years down the road the dogs are developing Cushing's disease, or behavioural problems like dog aggression are beginning to make themselves apparent. They've already pumped out 15 litters by then, because they have a goal in mind that they can't wait to reach.

You might be interested in this article, one of the many revealing the regrets of the man who created the labradoodle: Labradoodle creator regrets the ‘damage’ he started with designer dog craze | National Post

The initial project to use them as guide dogs was actually scrapped, as they were found temperamentally unsuitable for such a job. The guy even wrote the white house when Obama was considering adopting one, warning him that not all -oodles are hypoallergenic! Resultantly, the Obamas settled on their Portugese Water Spaniel, a dog breed developed in the traditional way of breeding the best of breed to the best of breed until slowly, a distinct dog emerged from the myriad of retrieving breeds that go into its foundation.
 

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I love a good mutt. But I wouldn't buy one from a breeder - just me. There are so many in shelters and I've always grown up under the wisdom of my parents and grandparents ("who would pay for a mutt? mutts are free!") - though I amended that to being willing to pay an adoption fee :).

Doodles mixes shed, often quite a bit and since most people are allergic to dander/saliva of dogs, they're not really any more hypoallergenic than any other breed. Additionally, "hybrid vigor" is a myth - I've had both purebreds and mutts and have actually had more health issues with my mutts. You just don't know what is floating around genetically, and GOOD purebred breeders pay closer attention than most mixed-breed breeders do, or ever will.

I think a lot of the super-positive myths floating around about the benefits of mixed breeds are put out there just so that bad breeders can make money.

There are some people who are willing to buy a mixed-breed from a breeder - even people who are willing to shell out thousands to do so! - and that's their right. But I wouldn't ever do that, personally.

*Though I will say, if it were a knowledgeable breeder who was breeding mixed breeds for purely working purposes, that would be a different thing. Probably still not a route I would go down, but it's something to consider. And FWIW, I don't really consider service dogs in such a category - service dogs are absolutely working dogs, but there's a wider range of dogs that could perform the services so mixing breeds isn't really necessary.
 

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I think mixing breeds to create a new breed for a specific purpose is no different from how we got most of the breeds we have now, and in today's world, "hypoallergenic family pet" is a far more relevant role than "vermin hunter". I think you could achieve that desired with labradoodles, but not from crossing any old lab with any old poodle. You'd have to cross well-bred, healthy labs with well-bred, healthy poodles and then pick the first generation crosses that are closest to your ideal and breed them, then pick the best second generation crosses and breed them or cross them back to the first generation etc - essentially creating a new breed. I believe that there are breeders who are doing just that and I think that is great - breeds should evolve as society evolves.

The problem is, as always, with irresponsible breeders who cross random lab with random poodle - producing first-gen mixes that vary wildly in every characteristic (including shedding) and may not be all that healthy. I think the variability of these first-gen designer mixes is what makes BYBing of 'designer dogs' worse than BYBing of purebreds - you are even less likely to get what you wanted. But they are both awful.

Re: hybrid vigor, I think while it may be true that on average, mixes/mutts may be healthier than purebreds, there is HUGE variation within both groups - by breed or combination of breeds, by quality of breeding, etc - and you can't use that to predict how healthy any one dog will be. (Nor can you conclude that it doesn't exist based on the small sample of dogs that you have owned).
 

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Re: hybrid vigor, I think while it may be true that on average, mixes/mutts may be healthier than purebreds, there is HUGE variation within both groups - by breed or combination of breeds, by quality of breeding, etc - and you can't use that to predict how healthy any one dog will be. (Nor can you conclude that it doesn't exist based on the small sample of dogs that you have owned).
i think that actually the health difference between purebreds (we're talking about purebred that come from registered breeding clubs that breed following standard and a breeding program and health test their dogs, breeding with typeful dogs that don't show inheritable health issues. Means dogs were you can track back their ancestry and know that they're purebred) and mixed breed is not necessarily that big.
I think one thing that should not be forgotten, is that most mixed breed are not tested as thouroughly as a dog you want to breed with. So you don't know what kind of inheritable deseases the mixed breeds may carry in their genes.

my purebred boxer had a sound temperament and the only deseases he had was a sore throat (because he ate too much snow) and a cancer as a grandfatherdog shortly before he died.
My mixed breed has a difficult personality and strong HD. If you go by who'll probably be the older, it will probably be the purebred. And if you go by who'll probably have the easier and less painful life it will probably also be the purebred.
doesn't mean that i don't like the mixed breed. but when the owners of his unknown parents would have healthtested and made sure that their HD-dog doesn't produce puppies the puppy wouldn't have HD and would have to screem and bite everytime it tries to stand up. (It's better now, but that's were we started with our teenage dog.)

when you have a dog that carries an inheritable desease, regardless of them being a mixed- or a purebred, there's a chance that the children and grandchildren will have the desease too.
If you breed a mixed breed for a specific task, and you breed them to be healthy and do their job as good as possible, they'll probably end up being a similiar type of dog and they become a new "breed".
If you breed with a respective big base of dogs (and this is why you need a breeding club to "invent" a breed) and you test and breed over generations alwas the best fitting for the task, I don't mind "mixed breed" at all.
that is what happened with the Eurasier for example.
but, except from animal welfare, I would not take a dog from a breeder, that doesn't prove these things to me
-the dogs and it's ancestry is healthy (pedigree)
-the dog and it's ancestors have a personality (while variating from dog to dog) that is fitting for the "job" that I want my dog to do
-the dog has a certain look and size ( when i buy a puppy form a breeder and they tell me it will be around 10 kg I don't want to end up with a dog that has 50 kg or the other way around. when I want a dog with long fur, I don't want to end up with a dog that is naked.)

the most people that breed mixed breeds can't prove these things to me, so the next dog will most likely be a purebred or a rescue.
 

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Hybrid vigor is not a myth. For some reason dog people say it is but I studied genetics in college and trust me, it's a real thing in genetics. Along with inbreeding depression and even outbreeding depression.

It does not mean ALL mixes will be healthier than ALL purebreds. It is simply referring to the instances where mixed animals (mixed on breed or simply heterozygous for a gene) have an advantage over the pure/homozygous parents. It makes a lot of sense because so many traits are recessive so if you cross breed A x breed B and breed A and B don't share a lot of health issues then the offspring is much less likely to have those issues. If you cross two breeds that share health issues, then yeah you'll likely still have the health problems.

In most research I am familiar with mutts do come out with a health advantage and slightly longer lifespan compared to purebreds. Even the UC Davis study which is often used to dispute 'hybrid vigor' actually does show more health problems in purebreds compared to mixed breed dogs. Remember this is on AVERAGE. It is impossible to know if an individual will be more or less healthy than another individual.

Genetic diversity is an important thing in breeding any animal or plant. In most cases there are ways to outcross but in dogs it is not so because of the closed studbook.

To me if health is the biggest concern then breeding health tested mixed breeds makes the most sense.
 

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I don't have a citation on hand at the moment so I may be misremembering, but I seem to recall that hybrid vigor is present primarily in first generation mixes of breeds with sufficiently divergent genetic backgrounds. After the first generation cross the effects begin to drop off, and if the parent breeds are too genetically similar it never really occurs.

Anyway, I also have no problem with responsible mixed breeding and would be as willing to buy the right cross breed as the right purebred. Well-bred crosses aren't even uncommon in certain circles (mainly the ones trading in hunting and stock working dogs).
 

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I recall reading somewhere that pet insurance companies do have lower premiums for mutts, all other things being equal. That would be pretty convincing to me, since they have the necessary large datasets and financial incentives to
However, since I never actually checked out the source, I am not sure on that.

On general principles I would expect some overall effect of hybrid vigor because of (a) the recessive conditions that were mentioned before, and (b) mixes are likely to have less exaggerated features, and the health problems that go with them, i.e. a pug mix will have a less squashed face than a purebred pug and therefore fewer breathing problems…unless it's mixed with another squashy faced breed. But I'd expect this effect to play out on the scale of tens of thousands of dogs, and to be overwhelmed by all the other factors that influence health - the particulars of breed/breeding, environment, stress level, etc. So I don't think that hybrid vigor is something that should be used to market designer dogs.

Personally I think I'd always go for the shelter mutt as a companion animal, but I fully support responsible breeding of established and emerging breeds. I once heard a breeder say that rescuing is all about the present (saving existing lives) while responsible breeding is about the future of dogs (i.e. making better dogs), both are worthy causes in my book.
 

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On the whole, there are exceptions, I HATE seeing people advertising crosses, as some cute new breed. Nearly all of those breeders are either backyard breeders or puppymills. Nearly none of which are trying to create a new breed, they are just pumping out crosses which they in turn sell for double or more the cost one would pay if the buyer had went to a reputable breeder of an actual breed. 99% of those breeders have not done any type of genetic health testing on the breeding stock, meaning the parents could be riddled with genetic diseases that they pass on to their offspring.

I own a Chihuahua x Dachshund (he was given to me I didn't set out to get a Chi x dach), I've yet to see another of that cross that looks anything like him.

Pick out the Chiweenie
http://www.dogforum.com/general-dog-discussion/what-your-opinion-mixing-breeds-designer-194593/#post2289521
Pick out the dachshund
https://www.google.com/search?q=dachshund+pictures&biw=1138&bih=548&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=0VyYVMj9MNT_yQSv9YGYAw&sqi=2&ved=0CB0QsAQ
Pick out the Chihuahua
https://www.google.com/search?q=chihuahua+pictures&biw=1138&bih=548&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=DV2YVNHmBoq8yQSKtoGoAw&sqi=2&ved=0CB0QsAQ

My point with that is the cross is a mixed bag of looks because they have no breed standard, the pure breeds look very similar in body structure.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE mutts, they're my favorite, there's just something about the uniqueness, but they have no business being purposely bred. Neither do the crosses, and to me the crosses are even worse because most people who breed them are only after money, they don't care what happens to that puppy once it leaves the home, and many of those puppies are dumped at shelters, once they are no longer cute.
 

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My point with that is the cross is a mixed bag of looks because they have no breed standard, the pure breeds look very similar in body structure.
The cross is a mixed bag of looks because they are mostly first generation (F1) crosses of two different breeds. You can't get the (relative) uniformity in looks and temperament without several generations of selection + backcrossing. I think the breeders who are serious about developing these 'designer breeds' have all gone beyond F1 crosses to multiple generations of selection and so their dogs are more similar - approaching a breed standard. i.e. they are actually doing some designing of the breeds. Versus the backyard breeders who are all selling F1 crosses of random dogs.
 

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The cross is a mixed bag of looks because they are mostly first generation (F1) crosses of two different breeds. You can't get the (relative) uniformity in looks and temperament without several generations of selection + backcrossing. I think the breeders who are serious about developing these 'designer breeds' have all gone beyond F1 crosses to multiple generations of selection and so their dogs are more similar - approaching a breed standard. i.e. they are actually doing some designing of the breeds. Versus the backyard breeders who are all selling F1 crosses of random dogs.

Yes, I know all of that, but can you point out some breeders who are trying to really develop a Chiweenie, a Puggle, some of the doodles, etc?

I've tried finding those breed standards but I cannot, here's what i got on the Chiweenie... Chiweenie - Dog Breed Standards That same site has breed standard info on the Chihuahua and the dachshund.
Puggle breed standard Puggle - Dog Breed Standards again there's no set standard, yet the mix has been around for at least 20 years. In all that time no one set up a real breeding program.
Labradoodle Labradoodle - Dog Breed Standards at least they are trying to come up with a standard with that one, but still in all these years there's no set one. Cockapoos Cockapoo - Dog Breed Standards again, some are trying to set up a standard but there's yet to be one.

Here's a page on a Alaskan Klee Kai's history, it's a relatively new breed. It's founder had a set goal in mind, how she wanted the dog to look, etc, she didn't just take 2 dog breeds and mate them, to produce a cross, then helter skelter breed the off spring together. Alaskan Klee Kai - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I see very few of that designer breeders doing what she did.

If no ones set a standard for a designer breed, and is actively trying to achieve it, then the looks are always going to be random, and most of the crosses are going to be F1 and F2.
 
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Actually a lot of F1 crosses (in general, not just dogs) are very consistent. But when you get to F2s you end up with a mixed bag where a lot of offspring revert back to the parent breed. That's why a lot of times in performance animals and also in livestock they tend to stick to just breeding F1 animals and not going on to create a breed.

As someone who loves borderstaffies (and borderjacks) the ones I see are pretty uniform. I don't really see a need to refine them into a breed.

Another good example would be lurchers and longdogs. Not a breed but consistent enough cross that has been around for a long time.
 

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I was thinking mostly about the Australian labradoodles. There is a standard, though not a universally recognized one. I actually don't think there needs to be a universal standard, as long as there is a group of breeders working towards a similar goal, so they know what they want and people know what they're getting.

I'm also working under the assumption that these are pet/companion/service type dogs, so they'd be bred more like working dogs rather than show dogs (in that perfect physical conformation may not be as important/well defined, but temperament and key desired characteristics e.g. coat and shedding are selected to be consistent)
 

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Nothing irritates me more than when someone tells me they paid $3k for their "designer maltipoo" or some purse dog and tells me how well-bred they are. I then roll my eyes because me telling them they likely got scammed by a BYB into buying a mutt will fall onto deaf ears.

I have no problem with mutts. They end up being some of the most ADORABLE dogs I've ever seen. One of Sam's best friends is a corgi-terrier mix and the cutest freaking thing. I die. Calling her "designer" is just arrogant and annoying. Almost as bad as "teacup".
 

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There are a ton of variants and variables.

1. Going to the pound and getting a mutt as a companion animal = Great!

2. Having an oops breeding between your dog and the neighbors dog? After the pups are born get your dog fixed, but in the meantime, raise them right then get them good homes with any sort of cash exchange being very minimal and not the purpose of the whole endeavor = Great!

3. Having your neighbor's dog and your dog mate to make puppies so you can sell them = BAD

4. Getting a dog of specific breed A and another dog of specific breed B to make puppies so you can sell them under a catchy nick-name and claim all sorts of falsehoods like 'they'll be healthier because they are mixes!' = VERY VERY BAD

5. Have working dogs, and select the best two dogs at doing a job and mate them hoping the pups will be even better, but disregarding breed when doing this (something commonly done in working hounds, racing sled dogs, terriers that are actively going into burrows etc) = No Problem.

6. Having a need for a dog with specific traits FOR WORKING PURPOSES and mixing various breeds to get the hybrid you need (Example, hog hunters who want a 1st generation Pit x Hound for the hound's better nose and scenthunting instincts and a pit for it's strength and endurance holding a hog....or a Staghound where stag or now more likely coyote hunters mix greyhound in for speed and Irish deerhound in for warm coat, strong feet, endurance) = No Problem.

7. Someone attempting to create a new breed who meticulously plans out what features, traits, abilities, they have for their target, who have the finances to undertake such an endeavor, have the time and have the commitment to work on this for at least 20 years if not the rest of their life, and who goes about it with measurements, a critical eye, compassion, a sense of reality, health and temperament tests, and keeps great records = No problem.

8. Someone who is attempting to create a new breed with only a rough goal, a plan to use discretionary funds (buying more dogs to mix in as they can afford it rather than as indicated on their 10 year plan) vs a dedicated budget, a handful of parent dogs, lacking the lifetime commitment a breed creator needs, and the mix of compassion and realism = bad
 

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Some hybrids like labradoodles had good intentions, or well, an actual purpose aside from "Haven't you ever wondered what a X dog and Y dog would look like mixed? It'll be sooooo cute!" But as some previous posters said, even those good intentions turned out not to work. Dogs are bred too pure, be they actual purebreds or hybrids. So many purebreds now share health problems that mixing them for a hybrid hardly prevents many health issues. In my opinion hybrid dogs are just a scam to get people to pay high prices for a mutt bred in a puppy mill when they could get a similar dog for cheap at the local shelter. Dog breeding now is so unethical and almost always just for looks, and not for any purpose. For the most part I'm against it.
 
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