Pets

Mixed breed dogs making a comeback


Mixed breed dogs can make ideal companions, and many people have recognized the advantages to owning a mixed breed dog.

Certain dog breeds, such as golden retrievers, American bulldogs and Siberian huskies, have long been popular companion animals. While purebred dogs will never go out of style, new breed combinations have spurred renewed interest in mixed breeds.

According to the independent Costa Rican adoption agency Territorio de Zaguates, new breed names have helped increase the profile of mixed breeds. The group has begun the process of renaming its shelter pets with new, unique names. The monikers are based on physical characteristics of the animals as well as supposed breed makeup. Breeds such as the chubby-tailed German dobernauzer or the Alaskan collie fluffyterrier are just two of the organization's newly dubbed dog breeds. According to Territorio de Zaguates, newfound interest in their mixed breeds has been staggering, with adoption rates jumping 1,400 percent since the campaign began a short time ago.

The ASPCA says more than 75 percent of dogs in shelters are mixed breeds. Though the widespread interest in dog rescues continues to grow, the number of adoptions has waned in recent years. It could be because most of the dogs in shelters are mixed breeds, and there has long been a stereotype that such dogs are not as valuable as their purebred counterparts. But many dogs that are now registered with American and international kennel associations can trace their genetic origins to a handful of popular purebred dogs. For example, in the 1990s the mi-ki was developed and shares the bloodlines of the maltese, papillon and Japanese chin, while the kyi leo is a small companion dog breed that resulted from a cross between the maltese and the lhasa apso.

New breeds are frequently created for miniaturization, breed enhancement or genetic mutation or to adapt to local climates and geography.  Many of the popular mixed breeds of today have been crossed with poodles, long known for their intelligence and also their reduced propensity to shed. Yorkipoos, schnoodles, cockerdoodles, and labradoodles are just a few of the newer breeds that have been paired with poodles. According to Animal Planet, many of these poodle hybrids are among the most popular of the mixed breeds. Additionally, cavachons, a cross between cavalier King Charles spaniels and the bichon frise breed, as well as chiweenies, a cross between chihuahuas and dachshunds, are growing in popularity.

Many mixed breeds living in shelters were not intentionally crossed. Nonetheless, the resulting animals are still attractive to dog lovers, many of whom find mixed breeds more attractive than purebreds for a variety of reasons.

* Mixed breeds tend to live longer, healthier lives because they may not be subjected to the inbreeding of some of the purebred varieties.

* Mixed breeds may have a lower risk of some of the genetic diseases that plague certain pure breeds, including hip problems or eye diseases.

* Very often mixed breeds are much less expensive than purebred animals. Mixed breeds are in abundance at area shelters and are frequently given away free to good homes.

Mixed breed dogs have become increasingly popular thanks to clever marketing tactics and the public's realization that mutts can make equally lovable pets as purebred pups.