A Mix or a Mutt?

Who am I — Purebred or Mixed-Breed?
(See answer below)

Standing in line behind a woman in a wheelchair, I was fascinated by the service dog attached to her.  Knowing how difficult it is to get through a busy day without having to answer questions from curious onlookers like me, I quietly studied the animal trying to decipher what breed he was.  Pale, almost cream colored and the size of a golden retriever, his hair was wiry and at the very end of his tail was a great plume as though someone had stuck a bit of cotton candy on it.  With pictures of dogs flipping through my memory bank like flash cards, I simply couldn’t pin down what breed dog this was or even what type he most resembled.

Fortunately, the salesclerk entering her purchases asked the question: “What kind of dog is he?”

The woman answered, or I think she answered: “He’s a gabor-alan-doodle.” Obviously, I didn’t catch the name correctly although it was enough to know this wasn’t a particular dog breed. He was clearly a mix – like the Labradoodles or Puggles, designer dogs that have become increasingly popular.

For dog purists, of course, this goes against the primary purpose of having a purebred dog, since the ability to predict size, temperament, skills and instincts is largely based on breed.  This is valuable information. In defense of mixed breeds, however, is the fact that purebred dogs are often prone to genetic disorders like hip dysplasia, eye or breathing problems. The pejorative sounding “mongrel” actually has an advantage since mixed breeds tend to have lesser health problems. This is because their multiple heritage often breeds out many of the more common breed-specific health issues.

Yet, for people with allergies, asthma or other reactions to dog fur or dander (skin cells), certain breeds have proven providential. While no dog is 100 percent nonallergenic, if you’re allergic to dander, you may be able to tolerate a so-called “low-dander” dog. These breeds, such as the Poodle, have made it possible for many people with allergies to have a dog, since their “fur” is actually hair. Furthermore, dogs like the poodle are relatively non-shedding, and have minimal dander compared to other types of canines.

Warning Note: While allergies to pet dander are well known, less obvious but equally important is the fact that many people may be allergic to a dog’s saliva or urine. If you are allergic, then before adopting a dog, find out if your allergy is to saliva. If so, you need an adult dog that doesn’t lick people. Puppies are not advisable, since their behavior has yet to become permanent. Urine usually isn’t a problem assuming the dog eliminates outside. Finally, it is important to wash your hands after playing with or petting a dog, especially if your hands came in contact with toys that have been in the dog’s mouth.

Not so long ago, people with a mixed breed dog would simply refer to him as a “mutt.”  But NOW they are designer dogs!  In case you’ve missed the leap from purebred to mixed-breed dogs, here’s the most popular ones today (and their rather funny names).  Certainly, with the increasing popularity of mixed-breed dogs, this list is not complete. There are now dozens, if not hundreds, more. So, I’m wondering if somewhere, out there, is a fabulous gabor-alan-doodle that should have been included here:

Mixed-breed - cropped-2The names of many mixed-breed (dual-breed) dogs usually take part of the name of each breed.  Can you think of some funny or unusual ones?  Here’s one to get you started:

Poodle and Rottweiler: Poodlerot  (or, Rottenpoodle?)

Happy Summer
and remember to keep your dog out of the heat so you will have a “cool dog” whether it’s a designer dog or not.


Photo answer:  This dog, with a coat that looks like flower petals, is a Bergamasco Shepherd.  A purebred dog!

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5 Responses to A Mix or a Mutt?

  1. Marie Grime August 6, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    ALL dogs are precious, no matter how many questionable ancestors they may have. I would hate to delve too far into my own blood line! We know of a couple of crooked politicians, an aunt I could swear was a witch, so we’d probably find a horse thief or two.

    Dogs – mutt, pure, or any of those “designer dogs” – are my kryptonite. They all have the ability to capture my love at first sight.

    Love at first sight is not nearly as common as humans. If God made the truly perfect creature, it is the dog.

    A bagel, huh? I would love that one for the name alone.

  2. Kathleen Kaska August 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    My vet used to identify my dogs on their cards as “mixed hound.” That pretty much described them. Every time I looked at my dog, Jenny, I saw a different breed: dachshund, whippet, beagle, chihuahua, so I guess “mixed hound” was a great way to classify her. I noticed how much poodles are used in breeding dogs; interesting.

  3. Cliff Mueller` August 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    I used to have a Westie. Now I have a Dachshund. I wonder what a West Highland White Weanie would be like?

  4. Chelly Wood August 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi Patricia,

    We recently discovered that my 11-year-old daughter gets hives when a dog sheds near her. I wonder if she’s allergic to the pet’s hair or the dander? Now that I’ve read this post, I have a lot more questions about her allergy. And I’m wondering what kind of dog would be a good choice for her, if at all.

  5. Hemlata Vasavada August 12, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    Hello Patricia,

    Thank you for the informative article about allergies to pets. My grandson is allergic, but I didn’t realize he could be allergic to saliva, dander or hair. Mixed breed names can be funny, but you came up with the best.

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