Profiling the Mixed Breeds

Love Dog

In This Chapter

  • Deciphering the mixed breeds
  • Looking at the history of mixes and crossbreeds
  • Taking on designer dogs
  • Getting to know some popular crosses
What is a mixed breed? A mutt? A devoted companion? A Cockapoo? How about a Chiweenie? The answer to all these questions is yes. Although mixed breeds sometimes get an undeserved bad rap from the more snooty purists, these types of pooches have legions of devoted fans and are becoming increasingly popular, no doubt because of the relatively recent trend of so-called “designer dogs,” such as Goldendoodles, Puggles, and Schnoodles.
Mixed breeds are nothing new. From the dawn of canine history, intact male and female dogs have met and, during the heat of the moment, started something new. The results of these couplings come in a rainbow of colors, weigh from 5 to 95 pounds, and have coats that are wiry or silky, long or short, straight or curly. But what they do have in common is their uniqueness — no two are alike.
Mixed breeds taken to the next level are called designer dogs, combinations of two purebred dogs. These pups are purposely crossed (no random unions, thank you) to create a specific appearance and temperament. The idea of designer mixes took off in the 1990s, thanks to a crossbred pioneer called the Labradoodle, a mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Once an accessory of celebrities, today’s crossbreeds are often sought after by people with deep pockets who are looking for small, agreeable, or low-allergy versions of purebreds.

This chapter tells the story of mixed breeds, from Heinz 57 to designer, including the famed Labradoodle. Though trendy today, designers are not without controversy, so their pros and cons are both considered. Because all mixes — intentional and unintentional — combine the characteristics of the parent breeds, this chapter covers the general characteristics of the various dog groups and gives profiles of 17 mixed breeds and designer dogs.

Introducing the Mixed Breeds

The mixed breeds are a diverse lot — mutts and designers, companions and competitors. By definition, a mixed breed is a dog conceived by two different purebreds or mixed breeds (or a purebred and a mixed breed). Because the terminology is important and can seem confusing, some additional definitions may be in order:

Purebred: Dog with ancestors who are members of a recognized breed; the ancestry of a dog remains consistent over many generations.

Crossbred: Dog who is the offspring of two different purebred dogs of different breeds. The Cockapoo, a cross between a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel, is a well-known crossbreed.

Hybrid: Although the word hybrid technically refers to the result of crossing animals of two different species (horse and zebra, for example), it is generally accepted to use the term interchangeably with crossbred.

Designer dog: The name associated with crossbred dogs deliberately developed, most during the last few decades (see this chapter’s “Delving into Designer Dogs” for more information).

Some mixed breeds may be more mixed than others. In fact, a mix may have some purebred ancestors in its lineage; other mixes come from a long line of mixed breeds. In many cases, a mix’s ancestors are vague, at best, and some are simply identified by the most recognizable breed of the mix — “Shepherd mix,” “Beagle mix,” or “Lab mix,” to name a few.

Making sense of mixed breed history

Take a look at the history of nearly any purebred dog, and you’ll read about breeders who played the mating game, introducing other breeds to early purebreds to improve coat, temperament, height, weight, strength, and so on. Along the way, some accidental intermingling occurred as well.
So if mixed breeds have been around for so long, then what’s all the fuss about crossbreeds, hybrids, and designer dogs? Consider the Silky Terrier, developed in Australia in the late 1800s by crossing native Australian Terriers with Yorkshire Terriers imported from England. The breeders were successful in improving the Australian’s coat color, and a standard was developed and accepted in 1926. Although the breed hasn’t topped the Yorkshire in terms of popularity, the Silky earned its place with the AKC as a breed and continues to attract followers.

The mix heard ’round the world

When Wally Conron, a breeding manager for an Australian guide dog association, set out to help a visually impaired woman find a guide dog that her allergic husband could live with, he had no idea he was embarking on an adventure in genetics that would change the way people think of mixed breeds. It seemed simple enough: Breed a Labrador Retriever (the center’s choice for guide dogs) with a Poodle, a breed known
for a low-shed, curly coat.
After a good deal of trial and error, in the late 1980s, Wally found himself with the Labradoodle, a crossbreed with a Poodle-type coat and Labrador-type temperament. The Labradoodle has led to a great deal of change in the dog breeding world. This dog was the first mixed breed that people were willing to pay thousands of dollars to have. It’s the breed that launched the careers of many other Poodle hybrids. It’s also the breed that replaced the classic Scottish Terrier game token in a special edition of the Monopoly board game. Go figure.
The mating game continues today. In the 1950s, it was the Cockapoo and the Pekapoo. Then came the Labradoodle in the late 1980s (see “The mix heard ’round the world” sidebar). Breeders discovered that certain crossbreeds had traits that made them popular companions, so they worked to produce dogs who had these characteristics:

– Low-shedding, low-dander coats, a benefit for people with allergies

– Fewer physical problems found in some purebreds, such as the breathing issues of short-nosed breeds like the Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Pug

– Improved temperament and trainability

At play here is the concept of hybrid vigor, which means that careful breeding of mates from two different breeds can result in a stronger or improved mix. Although some breeders use the term indiscriminately when discussing mixed breeds, offspring likely will have a combination of good and bad traits from both parent breeds.

Hitting the big-time

With all the attention focused on mixed breeds these days, it’s no surprise that organizations are getting involved. Since 1978, the not-for-profit Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (MBDCA) has supported owners of mixed breeds. Unlike the American Hybrid Club of America, the MBDCA is an actual club, not just a registry, and has members and elected officers as well as a code of ethics. Under the code, all members must agree to spay and neuter their mixes. Through the club, which has a limited number of local chapters throughout the United States, owners of mixed breeds can enter their dogs in competitions of obedience, conformation, tracking, and more.
After years of consideration, the American Kennel Club announced in 2009 that it was creating a program for mixed breeds. Owners of mixes can now enroll their pets and receive an AKC competition card. Since April 2009, enrolled dogs have been able to compete in mixed breed classes at stand-alone AKC agility and obedience events, as well as in rally events, the organization’s newest performance competition. Although the mixed breeds will not be registered as breeds with the AKC, this move signals a big step for all mixes.

Delving into Designer Dogs

With catchy names and celebrity owners, designer dogs have certainly captured attention. Some people are taken by the dogs’ unique looks; people with allergies are interested in particular designers strictly for the promise of a low-sneeze companion. Why else, some would ask, would anyone pay thousands of dollars for a dog they could just as easily find at an animal shelter?
Now, most mixed breeds — as wonderful as they are — are products of unplanned coupling. When handled responsibly, designer dog mixes are bred for specific characteristics, whether appearance, temperament, or both.
Although they have quickly risen in popularity, designer dogs are not without controversy. This section covers the pros and cons of designer dogs.

The Pros

Because such a wide variety of designer dogs are available, prospective owners may be able to find a dog who suits their individual needs — size, coat, temperament, protective nature, and so on.
Many of the designer dogs are bred to have specific characteristics, and in doing so, breeders may reduce or eliminate certain problems associated with the purebred parents.
Some people believe that the offspring of two different breeds will have hybrid vigor and, because of greater genetic diversity, may be less likely to inherit generic diseases carried from one purebred generation to the next — problems including epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and dental issues. Of course, this theory applies to all mixed breeds, not just hybrids and designer dogs.

The Cons

Although each designer dog is bred to have specific traits, there are no guarantees. The mating game is a game of chance, and breeders can’t determine which traits the hybrid offspring will inherit from the parents. This truth applies to both appearance and personality. In fact, in some cases, offspring may inherit negative traits from both parents.
Designer dogs are pricey, which is a major drawback for many people. Many designer dogs cost as much as or more than purebred dogs, with price tags that can reach into the thousands of dollars, particularly for trendy breeds.
Although the idea of hybrid vigor — that mixing two breeds can improve the offspring’s health — has some truth, it is not an absolute. A designer dog’s health cannot be guaranteed to be better than the health of the purebred parents.
Many people believe that the practice of breeding designer dogs is contributing to the already overwhelming problem of unwanted dogs in this country. Dogs who are less than desirable or unsellable may end up in shelters, taking up much-needed space and resources.
Some people worry that the trendy nature of designer dogs will lead to unscrupulous breeding practices by breeders who see this fad as a quick way to make a buck. This type of breeder is not concerned about health, of either the parents or the offspring.

Getting Some Breed Insight

A certain degree of the unknown arises when it comes to predicting the outcome of a pairing between mixed breeds. The same is true, perhaps to a lesser extent, with crossbreeding. Will your Shepadoodle be more German Shepherd or Poodle? Your Beagalier more Beagle or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
Compounding the unpredictable nature of crossbreeding is the sheer number of combinations that are possible (just because a hybrid is possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea). The American Canine Hybrid Club, a registry service for hybrid dogs, currently lists nearly 600 different crossbreeds (www.achclub.com/modules.php?name=Breeders). This chapter can cover a mere fraction of these crosses, but understanding the personality and appearance of some of the breed groups can help you understand a mix, whether it’s a cross of two breeds or a mixed breed of unknown descent. Other chapters in this book profile the seven groups the American Kennel Club uses to categorize dogs. Although all dogs are individuals, look to these chapters for insight about the general characteristics of each group:

Sporting: Includes the Retrievers, Setters, and Spaniels; 27 breeds.

Hound: Includes Sighthounds like the Greyhound and Afghan, and Scenthounds such as the Basset and the Beagle; 23 breeds.

Working: Includes breeds such as the Bullmastiff and Newfoundland that were developed for guarding and pulling sleds; 26 breeds.

Terrier: Includes energetic dogs such as the Bedlington and Scottish Terriers that were bred to hunt and kill vermin; 27 breeds.

Toy: Includes small breeds such as the Maltese and Pekingese that were developed as lapdogs and companions; 21 breeds.

Non-Sporting: Includes an eclectic variety, such as Dalmatian and Poodle crosses; 17 breeds.

Herding: Includes a variety of dogs, like the Chow Chow and the Shiba Inu; 17 breeds.

Tip

In addition to the 20 crossbreeds profiled in this chapter, looking at some general characteristics of some of the popular types of mixes may be helpful when it comes time to choose your special mix.

Poodle pairings

Beginning with the Cockapoo and the Labradoodle, some of the most popular crossbreeds have been dogs with a Poodle parent. Poodles have a lot to offer when it comes to crossbreeding — four sizes, high intelligence and trainability, and a low- to no-shed coat that makes the breed very appealing to people with allergies. Other poodle crosses include the following:
  • Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle)
  • Yorkiepoo (Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle)
  • Shepadoodle (German Shepherd and Poodle)
  • Pekapoo (Pekingese and Poodle)
  • Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle)
  • Terripoos (various terriers and Poodle)

Pug pairings

Currently the most popular cross is the Puggle, an appealing mix of Pug and Beagle that first rose to stardom in cities, often attached to such celebrities as Uma Thurman and James Gandolfino. Pugs typically are sweet, loyal, and intelligent, with easy-to-care-for coats. Unfortunately, their short noses make them prone to respiratory problems. The Puggle often inherits the longer snout of the beagle, which reduces or eliminates the breathing problems associated with the Pug. Other Pug mixes include these:
  • Pugland (West Highland Terrier and Pug)
  • Pugshire (Yorkshire Terrier and Pug)
  • Bassug (Basset and Pug)
  • Buggs (Boston Terrier and Pug)

Toy pairings

The Puggle appeals to many because of its compact size. Other diminutive and Toy breeds have become popular crossbreed candidates because of their small stature. Known as pocket dogs, they are usually a cross between two Toy breeds, such as Maltese, Pekingese, and Shih Tzu; many tend to have good personalities and longevity. Though they may look like fluffy accessories, these Toy crosses require the same care as any dog. Some of the smallest hybrids include these:
  • Silkese (Maltese and Silky Terrier)
  • Yorkinese (Yorkshire Terrier and Pekingese)
  • Poshies (Pomeranian and Shetland Sheepdog)
  • Snorkie (Miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terrier)

Bichon Frise pairings

With a low-shed, low-dander coat, the Bichon Frise is a likely candidate for crossings. A small, white dog with a perky personality, the Bichon has been matched with Toy breeds to produce dogs who may inherit some of the breed’s qualities. Bichon hybrids include these:
  • ChiChon (Bichon Frise and Chihuahua)
  • Havachon (Bichon Frise and Havanese)
  • Maltichon (Bichon Frise and Maltese)
  • Pekachon (Bichon Frise and Pekingese)
  • Poochon (Bichon Frise and Poodle)
  • Shihchon (Bichon Frise and Shih Tzu)

Playing detective

Not sure of your mixed breed’s ancestry? Join the club. It’s not uncommon for mixes to be a puzzling blend of a little of this and a little of that. But you may just figure out the breeds that make up your dog by doing a bit of research. Look at photos of purebreds to see if you can find similarities in appearance. You say that your dog’s tongue is spotted? Chances are, a Chow Chow or Chinese Shar-Pei is part of your pooch’s family tree. Your canine companion has a short nose and snores like your grandfather? Hmm . . . check out the Pug, Pekingese, or other brachycephalic types. The same goes for personality. Traits associated with Herders, Hounds, Terriers, and the other groups can tip you off to your dog’s origins. If you’re willing to put down some cash, you can check out companies that test dog DNA for you, such as www.canineheritage.com.

Border Collie pairings

Border Collies are hardy, intelligent, and highly trainable dogs, and hybrids of this breed are often developed to take advantage of these qualities. Bred more for intelligence than coat type, Border Collie crosses are typically focused and hardworking. The Borador, a cross with the Labrador Retriever, is one of the most popular of the Border mixes.
The Border Jack is a cross between the Border Collie and Jack Russell (now Parsons Russell) Terrier. With the speed of the terriers and the trainability of the Border Collies, the Border Jack has the best of both breeds — and loves to prove it in the competition arenas of flyball and agility.

Remember

For more information on many of these crossbreeds, read this chapter’s individual breed profiles, which include details on size, temperament, history, and needs.

Aussiedoodle

History/Evolution: Also known as the Aussiepoo, the Aussiedoodle is a cross of the Miniature or Standard Australian Shepherd and the Toy, Miniature, or Standard Poodle. Although the Australian Shepherd is a heavy shedder, the Aussiedoodle may inherit the Poodle’s low-shedding, low-dander coat — a plus for people with allergies. Aussiedoodles may also retain the Australian Shepherd’s herding skills and merle coat colors.
Size: Varies: A miniature Aussiedoodle is about 13 to 18 inches, 15 to 30 pounds; a medium or large Aussiedoodle is about 20 to 30 inches, 25 to 50 pounds.
Color: A variety, including black, blue merle, red merle, and red.
Temperament: Intelligent, even tempered, energetic, loyal. Reserved with strangers; patient with children when raised with them.
Energy level: Active without being hyper.
Best owner: Active family in a rural or suburban home.
Needs: Daily exercise (brisk walk, agility), leash, fenced yard, socialization, regular grooming (shaggy or poodle clip), training, ear cleaning (removing hair).
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
Photograph © Pecan Place Kennels/Joyce M. Wallace

Bagel

History/Evolution: The Bagel is a cross between the Beagle and the Basset Hound. Though not as popular as some of the more well-established mixes, the short-coated Bagel has the loving personality one would expect from two Hounds, plus the potential for some stubbornness. The crossing may prove beneficial to some problems associated with the long-backed Basset. Potential owners should ask about back problems as well as epilepsy, inherited in Beagles.
Size: Small to medium; 10 to 15 inches, 20 to 50 pounds.
Color: Tricolor hound colors.
Temperament: Loving, devoted, even tempered. Also independent and willful. Usually good with children and other dogs and pets.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Active family.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, fenced yard, early socialization, training, regular brushing.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © Chelle Rohde /www.DesignerDoggies.com

Beagalier

History/Evolution: A cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Beagle, the Beagalier was first bred in Australia in the 1990s, focused on reducing the Beagle’s scent-hunting drive and wandering tendencies. The crossbreed may have a positive effect on health problems associated with the Cavalier, including heart conditions and other issues related to the shortened face. The typical Beagalier has a good temperament and resembles both parent breeds.
Size: Small to medium; 12 to 16 inches, 10 to 25 pounds.
Color: Black, white, or tricolor.
Temperament: Sweet, intelligent, playful, good natured, calm; good with considerate children. May get distracted by scents. Does not like to be alone.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Active individual or family in suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, fenced yard, regular brushing (both parent breeds are shedders), obedience training.
Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
Photograph © Louise Moon

Borador

History/Evolution: The Borador’s combination of Border Collie and Labrador Retriever seems to make sense. The two breeds excel at agility and trainability, raising breeders’ hopes that they’ll come up with a flyball or agility champion. Plus, the Lab influence may help to mellow out the Border Collie’s need to chase and work all the time. The Borador pairing typically yields a friendly, easy-to-train breed with an attractive short or medium-length coat.
Size: Medium to large; 17 inches, 35 to 45 pounds.
Color: Varies; typically black with white Border Collie markings on nose, paws, and neck.
Temperament: Sweet, affectionate, friendly. Some herd children; may be overexuberant at times. Loyal to family, not usually aggressive to strangers.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Active owner in suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily mental and physical exercise (long walks, fetch, agility), leash, fenced yard, chew toys, weekly brushing.
Life expectancy: 12 years.
Photograph © Corbin Collins

Border Shepherd

History/Evolution: Like the Borador, the Border Shepherd’s combination of Australian Shepherd and Border Collie was made in the hopes of creating a canine performance champion. Also known as the Border-Aussie, the Border Shepherd is high energy and intense and may not be particularly friendly; look for parents with good temperaments who enjoy human companionship. The breed has a short-tomedium coat that sheds.
Size: Medium; 15 to 22 inches, 35 to 55 pounds.
Color: Varies; includes black and white, blue merle, red merle, and tricolor.
Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, intense, trainable. Reserved with strangers; some can be snappy and less tolerant of children.
Energy level: High.
Best owner: Athlete or someone who enjoys performance training.
Needs: Daily strenuous exercise, job or activity (flyball, agility), socialization, obedience, weekly brushing (more when shedding).
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © tbkmedia.de / Alamy

Cavachon

History/Evolution: The Cavachon (or Cavashon) is a cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise. The Bichon, like the Poodle, has a high-maintenance but low-shedding and low-dander coat. The Cavalier is small and sweet tempered, so Cavachons may suit allergy sufferers looking for a small, good-natured companion. Research and careful screenings help identify potential health issues, such as eye problems found in both breeds.
Size: Small; 11 to 17 inches, 12 to 25 pounds.
Color: Black and white, red and white, sable and white; solid or tricolor.
Temperament: Affectionate, intelligent, lively, good natured. Family oriented, nonaggressive. Good with considerate children. Loves family activities.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Family or owner who enjoys grooming.
Needs: Daily exercise (walk, fetching games); leash, socialization, housetraining; regular bathing, brushing, clipping, and grooming.
Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years.
Photograph © Silver Paw Kennels

Cockapoo

History/Evolution: Bred since the 1950s, the Cockapoo is one of the older crossbreeds. Two types exist: the American Cockerpoo (Poodle crossed with American Cocker Spaniel) and English Cockapoo (Poodle crossed with English Cocker Spaniel). The cross varies in size, depending on the size of Poodle. Cockapoos may inherit the Poodle’s low-shedding, lowdander coat and the sweet disposition of the Cocker. The Cockapoo Club of America was founded to assist breeders.
Size: Small, but ranges: Teacup, less than 6 pounds; Toy, less than 12 pounds; Miniature, 13 to 18 pounds; Maxi, more than 19 pounds.
Color: All combinations of colors.
Temperament: Affectionate, vigorous, loyal, friendly. Intelligent and trainable. Usually fine with children and other animals. People oriented; may bark if left alone.
Energy level: Low to medium, but playful.
Best owner: Active family.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, early socialization and training, daily brushing and combing plus professional grooming several times a year, regular ear care.
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
Photograph © Chuck Franklin / Alamy

Goldador

History/Evolution: Two extremely popular breeds — the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever — are crossed to get the Goldador, a large dog known for its good temperament and intelligence. Bred for its ability to serve as guide, search-and-rescue, and drug-detection dogs, the Goldador is increasingly popular as a social and trainable family dog. Generally healthy, the Goldador may be prone to eye disorders, as well as hip and elbow dysplasia.
Size: Large; 22 to 24 inches, 60 to 80 pounds.
Color: Usually yellow, but can be any shade of gold, red to yellow, and black.
Temperament: Loving, devoted; family oriented, would rather not be alone. Intelligent and trainable. Good with children and other pets. Good watchdogs.
Energy level: Moderately high.
Best owner: Active family, someone interested in training a working dog.
Needs: Physical and mental exercise (retrieving, swimming, work as therapy dog), leash, fenced yard, early socialization and obedience, regular brushing, care to prevent obesity.
Life expectancy: 10 to 14 years.
Photograph © Seth Casteel /LittleFriendsPhoto.com

Goldendoodle

History/Evolution: The Goldendoodle is a relatively new mix, a cross between the Poodle and the Golden Retriever. Like the Labradoodle, the Goldendoodle may inherit the Poodle’s low-shedding, low-dander coat. Bred in different sizes, depending on the size of Poodle, the Goldendoodle is a larger alternative to the Cockapoo. The cross is the product of two intelligent breeds and is an able working dog, serving as a guide dog, sniffer, and therapy dog.
Size: Varies: Miniature, up to 20 inches, 15 to 35 pounds; Medium Standard, 17 to 20 inches, 40 to 50 pounds; Large Standard, 20 to 24 inches, 50 to 80 pounds.
Color: Usually golden, but with red and cream variations.
Temperament: Gentle, eager to please, even tempered, friendly. Intelligent and highly trainable. People oriented, good with children. Disapproves of being alone.
Energy level: Medium to high.
Best owner: Active family in a suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily exercise (retrieving and swimming), leash, fenced yard, consistent training, combing every week or so, regular ear care.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © istockphoto.com/Jennifer Sheets

Labradoodle

History/Evolution: The Labradoodle is the product of the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle, developed as a dog who could assist visually impaired people with allergies. The cross was a success, yielding some dogs with low-shed and low-dander coats; the Labradoodle has become popular, and breeders have continued with multigenerational crossings. Labradoodle associations try to establish the multigenerational Labradoodle as a recognized breed.
Size: Varies: 15 to 65 pounds; Miniature, 14 to 16 inches; Medium, 17 to 20 inches; Standard, 21 to 24 inches.
Color: Varies: chalk, cream, gold, apricot, red, black, blue, silver, chocolate, and cafe.
Temperament: Energetic, sociable, friendly, joyful; affectionate, gentle, and sensitive. Clever and highly trainable. Excellent with children.
Energy level: Medium to high.
Best owner: Active family in suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, fenced yard; early, fair and consistent training; regular grooming (varies according to coat type), regular ear care.
Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
Photograph © Jerry Zimmermann

Maltese Shih Tzu

History/Evolution: A cross of two low-shedding, low-dander dogs — the Maltese and the Shih Tzu — the Maltese Shih Tzu was developed in Australia in the 1990s. Also known as the Mal-Shi or Malt-Tzu, this small crossbreed may be a good choice for people with allergies; the cross may also avoid the eye and breathing problems associated with the Shih Tzu’s flattened face. With enough exercise, the Maltese Shih Tzu is content in an apartment situation.
Size: Small; 10 to 20 inches, 15 and 30 pounds.
Color: Varies; usually white or a mix of brown, white, and black.
Temperament: Good natured, affectionate, playful, clever. Devoted to family, but best with older children. Alert, cautious with strangers. Needs chew toys).
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Attentive owner with time for grooming.
Needs: Daily exercise, early and consistent socialization and training, regular ear and dental care, daily brushing and clipping every three or so months, patient housetraining.
Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.
Photograph © istockphoto.com/ Jani Bryson

Maltepoo

History/Evolution: The Maltepoo (or Maltipoo or Moodle), a cross between the Maltese and the Poodle, adorns the arm of more than a few celebrities. The Maltepoo may inherit the low-shedding, low-dander coat of the Poodle, making the cross attractive for people with allergies. The diminutive dog can be a successful therapy dog, especially with the elderly. Responsible breeders are alert to health issues such as endocrine disorders, skin diseases, and eye disorders.
Size: Small; 7 to 14 inches, 5 to 17 pounds.
Color: Varies; black, but light colors such as white and cream more common.
Temperament: Affectionate, loving, loyal, and sweet. Some prone to barking and aggression. Alert, active, and trainable.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Attentive individual or family with considerate children.
Needs: Daily exercise (walk, play session), leash, early socialization and patient training, regular ear care, daily brushing and combing plus clipping.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © Lauren Garson

Puggle

History/Evolution: A recent star in the world of crossbreeds, the Puggle is a cross between two popular breeds, the Pug and the Beagle. This sturdy dog with a distinctive face may inherit the Pug’s good nature and the Beagle’s longer snout, which may help to reduce the breathing problems often associated with the Pug’s brachycephalic head. Urban dwellers attracted to the compact size of the Puggle need to provide it with plenty of exercise and attention.
Size: Small; 13 to 15 inches, 18 to 30 pounds.
Color: Fawn, tan, red, black, lemon; may have white markings and a black mask.
Temperament: Active, affectionate, good natured, playful, sociable. Will bark/bay if bored or lonely. Good with children and pets.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Active owner or family.
Needs: Daily exercise (brisk walk), mental stimulation (play and toys), leash, secure yard, patient housetraining, socialization and training, occasional brushing, daily facial (wrinkles) washing, ear care.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © Chelle Rohde /www.DesignerDoggies.com

Schnoodle

History/Evolution: A cross between the Schnauzer and the Poodle, the Schnoodle was developed in response to demand in the 1980s for Poodle mixes. Schnoodles vary in size and temperament, depending on the parents involved. Schnoodles may inherit the Poodle’s coat and intelligence; health issues such as skin conditions, eye problems, and epilepsy may occur. Some breeders work with multigenerational lines, with the goal of developing the Schnoodle as a recognized breed.
Size: Varies greatly — parents may be Toy, Miniature, or Standard Poodles crossed with Miniature, Standard, or Giant Schnauzers.
Color: Gray, silver, black, apricot, brown, white; often a mix.
Temperament: Loving, affectionate, devoted. May bark or become destructive if bored. Wary of strangers. Better with older children; may not be good with other pets.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Family or active owner in a suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, fenced yard, daily brushing and regular clipping, early training and socialization, ear care, patient housetraining.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © Michael Beach

Shepadoodle

History/Evolution: With less than a decade of breeding, the Shepadoodle is a relatively new mix — a cross between the German Shepherd and the Poodle. The Poodle parentage may help reduce the shedding associated with German Shepherds. Both breeds are intelligent and do well with a dominant owner. Some believe the cross has potential as a working dog, perhaps in herding or as a therapy dog. Be aware of genetic problems such as eye disease and hip dysplasia.
Size: Varies: Standard size 20 to 28 inches, 50 to 90 pounds; Miniature 17 to 20 inches, 20 to 50 pounds.
Color: Black, chocolate, chalk, cream, apricot, silver, blue; may have markings.
Temperament: Energetic and sociable. Family oriented; may herd family members. Intelligent and highly trainable. Wary of strangers; better with older children.
Energy level: Medium to high.
Best owner: Active family or individual in a suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily vigorous exercise, mental stimulation (herding trials), early socialization, firm training.
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
Photograph © Kimberly Babins

Shihchon

History/Evolution: The Shihchon (also Bi-Tzu and Zuchon) is a cross between the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise. The Shihchon coat may have the low-shedding, low-dander qualities of the Bichon; it may also benefit from having fewer problems associated with the brachycephalic head of the Shih Tzu. The mix doesn’t like to be alone and enjoys the company of humans, whether on a lap or on a neighborhood walk, making it an ideal companion for retirees.
Size: Small; 8 to 11 inches, 9 to 16 pounds.
Color: Any.
Temperament: Energetic, social, outgoing, and affectionate. Good with older children. Usually nonaggressive but alert; will bark to announce visitors.
Energy level: Medium to low.
Best owner: Attentive owner with time for grooming.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, training, brushing and combing two to three times a week, regular trimming, patient housetraining.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © Donna Roach

Yorkiepoo

History/Evolution: The Yorkiepoo (also Yorkipoo) has been bred for a decade or so, the result of a cross between the Yorkshire Terrier and the Toy or Miniature Poodle. Like other Poodle crosses, the Yorkiepoo may be low-shedding and is often soft and silky. The typical small size of the dog is appealing to older owners and people who live in apartments; keep in mind, however, that the Yorkiepoo is a lively dog who still needs exercise.
Size: Small; 7 to 15 inches, 4 to 14 pounds.
Color: Many, including white, sable, cream, silver, tan, chocolate, and black.
Temperament: Energetic, playful, curious, self-confident; Intelligent and trainable; some may be stubborn. Alert and watchful; tends to bark.
Energy level: Medium.
Best owner: Attentive owner or family with older children.
Needs: Daily exercise, leash, training, daily brushing and combing plus regular clipping (keep eyes clear of hair), ear care.
Life expectancy: 10 to 15 years.
Photograph © istockphoto.com/ Stan Conti

by Eve Adamson, Richard G. Beauchamp, Margaret H. Bonham, Stanley Coren, Miriam Fields-Babineau, Sarah Hodgson, Connie Isbell, Susan McCullough, Gina Spadafori, Jack and Wendy Volhard, Chris Walkowicz, M. Christine Zink, DVM, PhD

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