What is a Cross Breed?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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A cross breed, or rather a crossbreed, is an animal that is essentially a hybrid of more than one specific breed. Hybrid breeds are common amongst domesticated animals like dogs and cats. A crossbreed dog is also called a mutt or a mongrel, but the term cross breed applies when the different breeds of a dog’s parentage are known. A dog whose specific parentage is not known is called a mongrel.

Many people purposely and selectively cross breed dogs to create litters of specific puppies. Some of the most popular of these dogs today are the Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle), Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever and Poodle) and more recently, the Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle). More often though, crossbreeding occurs accidentally, and considerably more frequently with cats than with dogs. With respect to other animals, such as horses, it is less common to intentionally cross breed.

There is much controversy surrounding the intentional creation of a cross breed dog. While some of the oldest purebreds were once hybrids of two other breeds, many of the newer hybrid breeds are not recognized officially. The problem that most people have with intentional cross breeding is that the traditional temperaments and appearances of the original breeds are possibly unpredictable and compromised in a cross breed.


Many people seek out the intentionally crossbred dog and are willing to pay a higher price for them because they are novel. The popular cross breeds mentioned above sometimes sell for as much as a purebred variety. While paying this price is a personal choice, you should know that unless it is an AKC recognized breed, you are probably paying simply for the novelty and not for the quality breeding.

Many dog lovers prefer the cross breed, also known as a mutt or a mongrel, over a purebred dog. It is generally believed that perhaps mutts are healthier in the long run than their purebred relatives. This may or may not be true, but often times the price for a purebred dog deters many would-be owners who will in turn gladly settle for a loving mixed-breed dog.

There is a significant difference between a crossbreed and an inbred dog. An inbred dog is a dog whose parents were closely related to one another. This can result in brain damage, health problems, and physical development problems. While it occasionally happens accidentally, a responsible dog owner will avoid this mishap at all costs. If you are knowingly taking on an inbred dog from a breeder, you should not be expected to pay for the puppy and you should be pepared to incur higher than normal veterinary expenses.


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