Views on Intentional Mixed Breeds

Recently there was a discussion that I was a part of that was kind of shocking. It was regarding crossing rare hounds to popular hounds in the states in order to improve one aspect. I was so terribly against on so many levels that it shocked me. I feel that intentionally breeding 2 purebreds together of different breeds should be avoided at all costs, no matter the reason.

When the Australian Labradoodle experiment started, it had the best intentions but now it has been twisted beyond belief. The founder of the labradoodle has even regretted doing it. The reasons are vast and profound. The main reason is that hybrid vigor is nothing more than a myth. If you breed 2 unhealthy dogs together, their resulting offspring will not be magically healthy just because they are different breeds, they will be unhealthy. Another reason is that most people doing these breedings don’t have a clue about genetics or the intent beyond one litter of puppies.

The genetics of diseases are complex and should be the over-ruling factor in a breeding. Hip displaysia is the big one that people have tried for year to eradicate but simple phenotypical testing has done nothing to prevent the spread of the disease. The main reason that has been discovered is that there are multiple genes that control hip displaysia and environment plays a huge factor in the spread of the disease. Some experiments have taken a litter of puppies from tested parents and changed one thing, weight, and the rates of hip displaysia were shocking. Other diseases such as epilepsy also have a genetic component but the genes are unknown.

Breeding two dogs together should have the intention of bettering the next generation as a whole, instead of one part. Mother nature is rarely so kind to even grant a simple wish of a certain color, let alone an improved sense of smell or a better front angle. Most of those changes take multiple generations because those improvements happen gradually. Mixing two different breeds together that both have superb noses but have hip displaysia, weak front angles, eye issues, and weak pasterns will probably produce incredibly unhealthy puppies that can smell no better than their parents.

In this day, we do not have the ability to treat breeds the very real ways that breed founders did. If a breeding wasn’t up to par then the breed founders would cull them or the puppies that didn’t make the cut. It was eugenics at its absolute worst. Thankfully, culling is banned. However, that means that every single breeding must be done with care because the puppies that the breeder doesn’t keep will go on to other things. No breeder should be allowed to knowingly sell a puppy that is riddled with disease, ever. No breeder should also be allowed to dump a litter of puppies that didn’t turn out to a shelter or on the side of the road either.

Unfortunately, when I hear of breeders experimenting with cross-breeding, my opinion of them dramatically changes. The main reason is that on some level they either have to be willing to tell future owners that the puppies that they are selling are not worthy or have to be cruel and get rid of the “unworthy” ones. As a breeder, I never say that any of my dogs are unworthy. I also feel that a breeder who is selling mixed breed dogs are no better than the retail rescue that does the exact same thing but hates everything about breeders. Mixed bred dogs make amazing pets but they should come spayed/neutered and from a shelter. They should never be intentionally bred to be a mixed breed and then sold for thousands. No matter which way you look at it, a mixed breed is a mixed breed no matter if you spent $100 at the shelter or $2500 from a backyard breeder. So if you want a mixed breed, save a life instead of lining some misinformed person’s pocket.