27/11/2019 12:00 AM
So many delightful dogs, so little space in your home to keep them or free time to walk them all!
Choosing family pets is a tough job when you just want to adopt every adorable mutt you see.
However, it’s a decision that will hopefully add to your family life for the best part of 20 years, so it’s essential that you keep a cool head as you pick the perfect pooch for you.
Read on for our guide to the best crossbreed canines – and make sure you protect your new family members with the very best multi-pet insurance.
You might have heard that crossbreeds have better characters and are healthier and cheaper than pedigrees. However, the truth is a little more complex.
Firstly, let's look at their characters. It's true that they or their ancestors were specially bred to combine the best characteristics of two breeds – making crossbreeds more than the sum of their parts.
But heredity is more random than that. It's entirely possible that the opposite will be true, and that a hybrid dog can get the worst characteristics from both sides of its family tree. Others simply have watered-down character traits, making them generally mellower – but perhaps not what you were looking for.
Responsible breeders will only breed from the best of the bunch, so subsequent generations should feature more of the desired qualities and fewer of the less attractive traits.
Secondly, you may well have heard that crossbreeds' “hybrid vigour” makes them healthier than their purer cousins.
Mongrels and mutts do indeed have some genetic advantages over purebreds. A pedigree has a smaller gene pool, and therefore a higher chance of inheriting a faulty gene from both its sire and its dam (father and mother), which can cause serious long-term illnesses.
However, a pedigree’s ancestry is meticulously documented, and accredited breeders will not breed from an animal with known health issues.
If, on the other hand, you buy a mongrel, you may not know if its parents or grandparents suffered any conditions that might be passed down through the generations.
It can also suffer the common health conditions associated with both breeds.
Finally, are crossbreeds really cheaper to buy? Often, the answer is yes – but sometimes co-called ‘designer breeds’ become suddenly fashionable and prices shoot up.
Plus, the cost of buying a puppy is nothing compared with the costs of keeping one! Make sure you get great multi-pet insurance to cover you for unexpected vet bills and other unwelcome expenses.
Whether you choose a pedigree or a mutt, the key is to do your homework.
Choose an established crossbreed with known characteristics rather than a newer designer dog from the first generation of offspring, whose traits can be unpredictable. There are some examples of both below.
Buy from a reputable breeder who knows your pup's ancestry if possible. If you're taking on a rescue dog, any good shelter will give your canine a thorough veterinary check before releasing it to you.
Good multi-pet insurance will keep all the mutts and moggies in your household covered for accidents and illnesses.
Over recent decades, dog breeders have mated numerous types of dogs in the quest to develop new crossbreeds, or designer dogs.
However, bear in mind that each pup is an individual: a lot depends on how it is treated in its early life, how it is socialised, and how well it fits in with your family and other pets.
Here are some of the most popular crossbreeds to get you started.
Walk through any park or woodland and chances are you’ll see this adorable mutt bounding through the grass.
Cockapoos are one of the most popular pooches around, and no wonder. They are thought to combine the loving, friendly personality of the Cocker Spaniel with the low-shedding, low-dander hair of the Poodle.
They’re easy to train, they love fetching balls and sticks and will happily jump in a river for a good swim on a hot day. Plus, one look from those big, soppy eyes peeking up from under that shaggy coat will melt your heart forever.
Health-wise, like many small dogs, they tend to be robust and live to a ripe old age – but it's always best to get specialist multi-pet insurance.
All those qualities give them the reputation as the perfect pet for a family and they may well be suitable for those who are allergic to dog hair, too.
Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Bernedoodles, Schnoodles – the list of crossbreeds with Poodle in the mix is ever-growing.
In part, that's down to the reputation that Poodles have of being suitable for those who are allergic to dog hair. It's also, no doubt, due to the fact that you can make some darn cute names ending in ‘doodle’ or ‘oodle’!
This breed of pooch has a reputation for being good-natured, low-shedding, laid-back and intelligent. As ever, it depends also on the other half of the mix, the individual pup's personality, and how it's handled in its early life.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their gentle natures, while Bichon Frises are bundles of fun. Put the two together, and you’ve got a playful furry friend for your whole family.
These small fluffy dogs are great with kids – but do consider whether you've got the time and energy to meet their high exercise and grooming needs.
If socialised together from an early age, Cavachons can get on well with cats. Remember – you save money by covering all your pets together with multi-pet insurance.
They're fit for the Queen, but are they the right fit for your family? Dorgis are a mix of a Corgi and a Dachshund, giving them a distinctive sausage-dog look.
They're considered loyal, friendly, intelligent and easy to train, plus they're playful and love small children.
However, they have high levels of energy and hate being left alone – all very well if you have an entourage of round-the-clock servants, but less suitable if your home is left empty while you are out at work all day.
You think that Yorkshire Terriers are cute? Wait until you see their hybrid cousins. All five of these toy breeds are Yorkie crosses, with the other half of the mix being Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Maltese, Dachshund and Schnauzer respectively.
With their big dark eyes and button black noses, these tiny dogs can win over any heart – even confirmed cat people.
Purebred Yorkies are big characters in tiny, fluffy packages. They fit happily on your lap or even in your handbag – but their alertness, confidence and loyalty make them great watchdogs, too.
These crossbreeds are likely to combine some of those characteristics with some from their other original breed, so you're bound to find the right mix for your home.
Many dog owners rave about the Pug's laid-back personality. However, today's Pugs have generally been overbred to have a flat face, which often leads to breathing problems.
By crossing Pugs with Beagles, you are likely to get an animal with a longer muzzle and, therefore, less chance of developing respiratory problems, while keeping the wrinkly appearance that Pug owners adore.
Beagles themselves were originally bred as scent-hounds, but are now better known as a great family pet. They can be stubborn and hard to train, so the mellow Pug influence is welcomed by many owners.
Plus, Puggles sound like they belong in the Harry Potter books! What more could your children want?
There's no dog more beautiful and noble than the Siberian Husky, with its thick coat and startling blue or multi-coloured eyes. They're friendly, intelligent and usually healthy animals, too.
However, there's no getting round the fact that they're loud, relatively large, demanding, independent and energetic – none of which will endear them to your neighbours if you keep them in a flat all day!
By crossing the Siberian Husky with a Pomeranian, you get a smaller, fluffier crossbreed that's somewhat more manageable yet retains its ancestors' good looks.
They've only been around for 20 years or so, yet are better established than many other designer dogs. However, their newness means that it's not yet known what common health problems might occur.
Make sure you get specialist multi-pet insurance from Purely Pets to offer cover for your pooch's vet bills.
As all breeds of dogs are interfertile – meaning they can produce offspring with another breed – there's really no limit to the possibilities.
However, newer types of crossbreeds are unknown quantities: it's impossible to predict what the result will be.
And if you cross two very different types of dog, you could result in some awkward, bewildered or downright unhealthy hybrids.
Responsible breeders carry out their research and will breed only from healthy, happy animals, so less attractive character traits should be bred out in subsequent generations.
However, there are plenty of puppy farms out there keen to cash in on the latest doggy craze, regardless of the results.
Remember – no matter how conscientious you are in your quest for the perfect pet, problems can arise. Specialist multi-pet insurance covers you for unexpected bills, helping you keep your pooch happy and healthy.
This Poodle-Labrador cross was first developed in the 1980s as a guide animal for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to long-haired canines.
They're not necessarily a bad breed at all: they've become very popular for their curly coats, and have a reputation as healthy dogs, which make great family pets. Most owners regard them as a well-established crossbreed.
However, the breeding manager responsible recently revealed that the creation is his "life's regret", saying that most Labradoodles today are "crazy" or have major hereditary health problems.
He also believes his good intentions, and particularly his coining of the "doodle" portmanteau name, sparked the whole designer dog craze.
If you cross a small animal with a larger one, you're likely to get medium-sized offspring – such as the Pomsky, featured above. These are part of a general trend to breed smaller animals, in part to create pets more suitable for life in smaller homes in cities.
However, using a dam from a small breed and a sire from a large breed is unfair on the mother, who is not physically suited to carrying medium-sized puppies. She is likely to suffer during pregnancy and need a Caesarean.
The problem is particularly acute in puppy farms, where dams are not given enough time to recover fully between pregnancies.
Some dogs are herders. Some are hunters. Cross the two, and you can end up with very confused offspring, unsure of which instinct to obey.
The aim of cross breeding is often to create more hypoallergenic animals, usually through putting a Poodle in the mix.
However, you can also end up with a dog whose coat is a mish-mash and gets horribly matted – a common problem with the popular Golder Retriever/ Poodle cross, the Goldendoodle.
Choosing a new dog for your family is a major decision. There are no guarantees that even puppies from specialist breeders will be healthy and problem-free.
By choosing multi-pet insurance from Purely Pets, you can cover all the pets in your household, whatever their breed.
Depending on the type of policy you choose, your canine companions and feline friends can be covered for vet bills for accidents, illnesses or both, up to a specified amount.
Add-ons include cover for dentistry, loss of your pet, third party liability and overseas travel.
Purely Pets' service includes access to a free 24-hour vet helpline, so you can address any concerns about your pet as soon as they arise.
Contact us today to make sure all your beloved pets have the specialist multi-pet insurance they deserve.