Designer or “Hybrid” dogs are steadily becoming more and more popular, a good part of that popularity is driven by Hollywood celebrities. Jessica Simpson has a Maltipoo which is a Maltese Poodle mix, Cindy Crawford has 2 Morkies which are a Yorky Maltese mix and even the late mob boss “Soprano” James Gandolfini had a Puggle which is a Beagle Pug hybrid.
A hybrid dog is not a breed of dog, it is a mix of 2 purebred dogs of different breeds, for example a Border Collie and Jack Russell (BorderJack). A couple of the most popular designer dog breeds these days are the Labradoodle and the Puggle. Poodle crosses are especially sought after due to the hypo-allergenic properties of their low shedding coats which are ideal for allergy sufferers.
Some hybrid dogs came about as the result of accidental breeding and some breeds are the result purposeful crossbreeding, the Labradoodle was initially bred as a guide dog for blind people with allergies.
This mixing of breeds causes a lot of anger among the purebred enthusiasts who argue about inconsistent temperament, vanity purchases, the lack of a pedigree and outrageous prices. Labradoodles have been known to sell for $1500 or more and a Puggle can easily command a thousand dollar price tag. Critics also say that the label designer dog is nothing more than a fancy word for mutt.
In most cases breed mixes can be healthier and exhibit the desirable traits of 2 distinct breeds. That being said it is still important that the hybrid puppy buyer does their homework and investigates the breeder thoroughly to help make a smart purchase of a healthy pup.
There are many different hybrid breeds, the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) recognizes well over 400 different cross breeds. Much like a purebred dog hybrids can also be registered and have papers.