What Are Designer Dogs?

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
We answer the question: what are designer dogs?

You’ve probably heard the term designer dog thrown around. Also known as hybrid dog breeds, these dogs are bred intentionally for certain desirable traits. These traits could be lifestyle, health or size related, but sometimes these crossings can be purely accidental. But there’s much more to this doggy phenomenon. So what are designer dogs and what makes them so desirable? For that answer, we’re going to have to dig a little big deeper.

What Are Designer Dogs?

Making their debut in the late 20th century, designer dogs are a first-generation cross of two different types of purebred dogs. Different hybrids take its name by combining elements of its two contributing breeds (that’s why you’ll see lots of poo and doodle names). The idea behind this type of breeding is to create a dog that would inherit desirable attributes from each of the parents. As well, breeders believe it helps reduce certain hereditary problems found in the purebred breeds, all while keeping the traits that makes them popular. It’s not uncommon for a litter of hybrid puppies to look totally different from one another, even though they will inherit characteristics from both of the parents.

Even though their parents are purebred, these hybrids aren’t recognized breeds by the American Kennel Club. There are other clubs that recognize these new breeds, including the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) and Designer Breed Registry (DBR).

Designer Dog Downfalls

But even though these dogs aren’t purebred, it doesn’t mean they come cheap. Some people are willing to pay big bucks for these designer dogs. There is controversy surrounding these dogs – some people say they are just mutts, so you’re better off getting a dog from the shelter. And puppy mills have jumped on the trend, breeding hybrid dogs in poor conditions without regard for their welfare.

If you’ve got your heart set on a designer dog, do your research. Just because a breeder has a website, it doesn’t necessarily make them a reputable breeder. Ask owners of designer dogs where they got their pups and get referrals. Go online and research these breeders. Don’t just take the breeder’s word that they are reputable – go to the breeder, meet the puppy’s parents, inspect the dogs’ living conditions and ask for referrals from owners who have purchased dogs from them in the past. Check with the clubs that recognize these hybrid dogs (listed above), as they often have a list of approved breeders. And never buy your designer dog from a dog store – many pet stores buy hybrid dogs from puppy mills.

Why Choose a Designer Dog

Fans and owners of designer dogs choose them for many reasons. Some claim that since they are a mix of purebred dogs, they are healthier and don’t inherit many of the problems associated with the breed. A popular aspect of many of these crossbred dogs is that they are hypoallergenic (especially those crossed with a poodle). Many designer dog breeds are crossed to reduce their size or correct other appearance characteristics that are believed to be unwelcome or unhealthy for the dog (like a squished snout). And some say that these dogs are extra friendly and make better family pets and therapy dogs.

Popular Designer Dogs

Here are just a few of popular designer dog breeds available:

Are you a fan of designer dog breeds? Do you have a designer dog? Please share your comments, opinions and stories in the comment section below. We want to know why you agree or disagree on the topic of designer dogs.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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