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Designer Dogs; the purebred lie

Updated on July 18, 2011

My Mutts

Olive is a brussels griffon and border collie mix
Olive is a brussels griffon and border collie mix
Spike is a papillon and dauchsund mix
Spike is a papillon and dauchsund mix

Because I work with animals and their humans, I often hear people bragging about their new designer breed dog, touting that it is some rare and special type of dog that is better than other people's mutts. I find it hilarious and can hardly stifle a giggle when they tell me what they paid for such a special dog. I have news for you! You have been ripped off! Financially at least.

There are 157 AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized breeds here in the United States. None of them are named Shihpoo, Yorkiepoo, Goldendoodle, Pekehuahua or any other such nonsense! If your new puppy, or one you are considering buying, has two different breeds of "purebred" parents, your puppy is a good old fashioned mutt. Period. Mixing two breeds may get you a designer dog, but the puppy is truly a purebred nothing. It is a purebred, bona fide mutt.

I agree that they are really cute. I even agree that these designer dogs often have the best of both breeds that they are a mix of. Changing up the bloodlines of purebred dogs by mixing in blood from a different breed is a creative way of helping to diminish undesirable traits and bring in traits that you like. Personality, longevity, health factors, body type and structure, all these things are greatly affected, many times for the good. But doing this does not make it a new breed of purebred dog. Purebred dogs are achieved over decades of intentional cross-breeding to specifically selected animals in order to create a specific, new and distinct breed of dog that can be replicated exactly. Breed guidelines must be established and breeders must be able to replicate the standard consistently, not to mention that a national breed club must be established. The AKC must be petitioned to accept the new breed, with proof of the standardization of the breed. Then the AKC will put the breed on a list called Miscellaneous Class. Finally, after much time and consideration, the AKC and it board of directors must accept the new breed and add it to their official roles. This does not happen every day. In fact, it is very far and few between that a new breed is officially recognized. Here is a link to the AKC's official list. You can scroll down and see the Miscellaneous Class also.

There are several mixed breeds that have been around for a long time that you are probably even familiar with that are not AKC recognized yet. Ever heard of Cockapoos and Labradoodles? Although widely accepted it is important to note that even these are not officially registered breeds. Now it is true that these are some of the breeds further along in development and may even be considered "purebred" by the people who breed them. But the term "purebred" should be reserved for AKC recognized breeds for several reasons. Purebred dogs come with papers, (which are validated by the AKC) that will show their lineage to all the other purebred dogs in their past. A purebred dog has a specific set of characteristics that don't change from generation to generation. A purebred can be shown in AKC shows and competitions. Obviously, expensive, fancy mutts cannot be shown, and do not have papers, and may change dramatically in appearance in just one breeding.

Ironically, the designer dogs of today are being sold for outrageous prices as rare and special. The truth is that they really should be worth half or less the price of a true purebred dog because they aren't AKC registrable. These "breeders" are just people looking to make a quick buck by combining cute and lovable traits into one dog that they can sell for a profit. So buyer beware. Don't get taken in by the purebred mutt. If you think it is cute, by all means buy it! But don't pay too much for something that is not what it seems to be. And don't get caught calling it a "purebred". You'll make me giggle.


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      zoee and savannah 5 years ago

      i have a dog that looks just like spike but he has one floppy ear! his names Maxx and hes five years old.

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      Dee 6 years ago

      I have owned several different breeds of dogs over years, either through purchasing them or resucuing them. Some we kept as longterm members of our family and some we placed in more appropriate homes. We have had a little bit of everything from more common breeds like a Sheltie and a Miniature Schnauzer to more uncommon breeds like a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (prior to them being AKC recognized) and a Giant Schauzer. Currently we have three mixed breed dogs, a Greyhound/Scottish Deerhound, a Chihuahua/Bussels Griffon and a Yorkie/Maltese. The different dogs we have had have all had different characteristics and we have loved them all. It frustrates me how some purebred breeders turn their noses up at mixed breed dogs. Not everyone wants a pure bred dog. I suppose the whole backyard breeding issue does become frustrating and may be the cause of that atitude. It is frustrating that some mixed breeders choose to create ridiculous hype around their dogs. Mixed breed dogs can be wonderful pets and be incredibly unique in appearance but people have to realize that they are not some amazingly rare new kind of dog and certainly not worth the dollars some people ask for them. It's really important whether one is looking to purchase a mixed breed puppie or a pure bred puppie to really do your homework and make sure the dam and sire are healthy and that you are dealing with reputable people. There are shady types no matter what sort of dog you are looking for. We have loved all the dogs we have had in our home, pure bred or mixed breed. It's just really important not to get sucked in by the cute factor and approach the matter with a clear head. I have heard awfully sad stories about people who fell for the cute factor and ignored the warning signs that a "breeder" might be questionable. Pure bred or mixed breed a healthy well bred dog can be a great addition to one's home as long as you choose a dog that matches up well with your lifestyle.

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      Mrs. Obvious 7 years ago from Northern California

      Nope, not true Sally. You can't show a mix dog at any AKC conformation (breed standards) events, and because the dog is a mixed-breed, neither of the parents papers does the poor puppy any good! The AKC is very slow to recognize any new breeds until a long history of being able to reproduce the same characteristics has been proven. It's a long process that takes many generations of dogs to accomplish. But what the heck, we all know they are cute, right? That's all I need to love my dogs.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the informative Hub. Not being a dog person, I've just discovered designer dogs and am quite fascinated by all the hype surrounding these hybrids (which is what they are). I agree, a mutt is a mutt, but when it has two AKC registered parents, then it must be worth a little more, right? ;)