Hybrid dogs, sometimes also known as “designer dogs”, are the result of controlled cross-breeding between 2 dogs that are purebred. The word ‘hybrid’ generally means ‘something of mixed origin or composition’.
Hybrid dogs are technically not a ‘dog breed’ but a mixed-breed dog. However unlike the average mixed breed dog (or mutt with uncertain ancestry), a hybrid has purebred parents that have been deliberately bred to create the desired offspring.
The main reason to create a hybrid dog is to have the positive attributes of both the parents’ breeds. They are becoming very popular!
Some people like a mixed breed dog that is crossed with a poodle so they are low-shedding. You can also get a great mix of personalities with a hybrid dog.
The first generation hybrid dog is known as an F1 – the direct result of breeding 2 purebred dogs of different breeds. The second generation is called F2 and is the result of mating 2 F1 dogs. And so an F3 puppy is bred from 2 F2 hybrid dogs.
Can you Register Hybrid Dogs?
Purebred dogs have to meet certain standards met by the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. For hybrid dog breeds there is now a registry called the National Hybrid Registry.
The National Hybrid Dog Registry has been established for dogs with parents who are purebred but not the same breed of dog. The NHR feels designer dogs deserve to be registered but both parents must be eligible to be registered in the National Kennel Club.
The percentage of hybrid dogs with genetic problems is lower than purebred dogs. They draw from broader gene pools, so reducing in-breeding which can cause health problems. They can still have some genetic health problems though as you are crossing 2 first generation dogs.
If you’re looking for a relatively low-energy Poodle hybrid – a “Doodle” – check out our page on the best Doodle breeds for families HERE.
Type of Hybrid/Designer Dogs
Each variety of hybrid dog is typically called after a combination of parts of their original dog breeds. There are now hundreds (maybe thousands!) of hybrid dog types but below are some of the most popular.
A Labrador Retriever crossed with a Poodle.
Originally bred in Australia, the Labradoodle became popular in the 1980’s when used as an allergy friendly guide dog. They combine the low-shedding poodle coat with the gentle, friendly nature and trainability of a Labrador Retriever.
A Golden Retriever crossed with a Poodle. Can also be known as a Groodle! An excellent family dog being gentle and affectionate, but also a versatile working dog. Goldendoodles are successful guide dogs, therapy dogs, sniffer dogs and service dogs.
A Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle. The Cockapoo was the first of the ‘designer dogs’ and dates back to the 1960’s. An adorable small dog with a huge personality. An intelligent dog, easy to train and hardly sheds – an affectionate, perfect companion! The colour of this hybrid dog can of course vary greatly – depending on the parents’ colours.
A Jack Russell crossed with a Miniature or Toy Poodle. A low-shedding, full of energy little dog that despite their smaller size love lots of walks and exercise. Very sociable and being highly intelligent are quick to learn. Henry in the photos above can even walk on hedges to retrieve his ball!!
The definition of a Lurcher is a sight hound crossed with any other breed. The sight hound is frequently a Greyhound. Sometimes 2 sight hounds can be crossed, such as a Greyhound with a Scottish Deerhound. Lurchers are fast and athletic, but also make great companion dogs and family pets. After playing with the kids, they will find a warm spot and curl up into an impossibly small ball and snooze the afternoon away!
A Golden Retriever crossed with a Labrador Retriever. This cross-breed is growing in popularity as a sociable and easy to train dog. The Goldador is a large, athletic dog and can be smart and sensitive enough to work with anti-narcotic and bomb detection squads.
Being a Retriever/Labrador cross they are of course also excellent family pets – great with kids and sociable with other pets.
A Pug crossed with a Beagle. Suitable as a family dog as they are very affectionate and do like to be around children. They can be a variety of colors depending on the parent breeds. The Puggle combines the inquisitive and active nature of the Beagle with the companionable nature of the Pug.
A Jack Russell crossed with a Pug. Jugs have a fun-loving, active character but are quite high energy dogs so need to be kept active both mentally and physically. They make great companions and if a family dog, are better with older children.
We have an interview with a Jug owner – find out about this hybrid dog from a genuine owner! Read more about Mojo the Jug here.
This dog is a Shih Tzu crossed with a Toy Poodle and has proved very popular with people wanting a shih-tzu but not all the hair all over the house! Being crossed with a poodle the hair shed is reduced and these hybrid dogs are classed as hypoallergenic.
Shih-Poos make great companion dogs and can be curly or straight and a mixture of color combinations. They do need lots of attention and to be spoiled!
This popular hybrid dog is a cross between a Maltese and a toy or miniature poodle. Being very affectionate and gently the make excellent companion dogs. They can be a good choice for first-time owners being easy to train.
They are active little dogs needing daily exercise and can be prone to being ‘barkers’ so a good watch dog! Being a poodle cross, they shed very little. Be aware the Maltipoo is a companion dog so shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.
The Aussiedoodle is a cross between an Australian Shepherd and a Poodle and can vary in size depending on the size of the Poodle. They are super smart and have inherited the best qualities of their parent breeds. They can also be known as the Aussiepoodle or the Aussiepoo.
Being a very active dog, they need plenty of exercise, and also make great family dogs.
Maltese Shih Tzu
A cross between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu – one of the few designer dogs that isn’t a ‘doodle’ or a ‘poo’! Also known as Mal-Shi, Malti Zu and the Malt-Tzu.
A cute lapdog that doesn’t shed much and is family friendly. The cross-breeding leads to a friendly, outgoing dog – a companion dog that shouldn’t be left on its own for long periods of time.
The Morkie is a cross between a purebred Maltese and a purebred Yorkshire Terrier originating from the United States. They can be black, white, tan or a combination of the three, and have a fine shaggy coat so be prepared for quite a lot of brushing!
Their average life span is 10 – 13 years old and being a small dog they will fit perfectly into an apartment or smaller home.
The Papijack is a cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Papillon and will have physical traits from both the breeds. They may look more like one than the other. They are a small, intelligent dog with a big personality! They are easy to train but can be quite territorial.
A Schnauzer crossed with a Poodle, usually the smaller breeds of each. Low-shedding so considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. Appearances can vary a bit, with either the thinner shape and curly hair of the Poodle or the stronger body shape and rough hair of the Schnauzer – or a combination!
They are willing to please, playful and adorable – a good family dog, a lap dog and also a therapy dog.
The Sprocker is a hybrid dog combining the popular springer spaniel and cocker spaniel. They are a medium sized dog and as with all spaniels are very intelligent and easy to train. Being super energetic they will need a lot of exercise.
They do need space to run around and would not therefore be most suited to apartment life. The Sprocker is very sociable and makes a loyal, loving addition to your family
A Pekingese crossed with a Poodle. A lovely companion who will adore sitting on your lap or by your side – but also very protective for such a small dog! Height is only up to 11 inches small.
The Peekapoo may be small but is an excellent watchdog with a very loud bark for his size!
A Yorkshire Terrier crossed with a Miniature Poodle. This hybrid dog can come in a variety of colors depending on the parents’ genes. A fun-loving, affectionate dog but has plenty of energy for such a small character! Intelligent and a quick-learner so can be easy to train.
Be aware this dog does like to bark – so hence a good watchdog!
The Frug (also know as the Frenchie Pug) is a mixed breed dog crossing a French Bulldog with a Pug. Both these breeds have HUGE personalities so crossing them results in adorable dog! Frug’s temperaments can vary and they can be stubborn so sometimes a bit more difficult to train.
Their ears can vary too, sometimes down like a Pug or up like a Frenchie – the Frug above seems to have one of each! But they are a happy, friendly hybrid dog and quite a new mixed breed.