Mixed Dog Breeds

The term "mixed dog breed" is a misnomer when referring to dogs that are a literal mix of breeds. The terms crossbred, hybrid or designer dogs are used to define dogs that are intentionally bred from two or more separate recognized dog breeds.

The term mixed breed is a preferred synonym for the word "mongrel" in the United States. Some people jokingly refer to them as a "Heinz 57"or Heinz Hound dog. This term is a play on words in reference to the H.J. Heinz company's steak sauce product that is supposed to contain 57 ingredients.

Dogs that are not purebred are referred to as mongrels in the United Kingdom. In the United States and Canada, they are often affectionately referred to as "mutts." In Hawaii, mixed dogs are called "poi dogs." Some American dog clubs and registries use the term "All American" when referring to these dogs.

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Unlike crossbreds or hybrids, these mixed breed dogs are developed through natural selection without the planned intervention of humans. One exception is the little Sheltie from next door who accidentally becomes "involved" with your purebred Dachshund that goes into heat.

When different dog breeds are mixed, a wide variety of traits and appearances can occur. Some will resemble one breed closely while others have a few traits of each parent. As mixed breed dogs continue interbreeding, subsequent generations develop a roughly similar appearance. They are often fawn or black in color, weigh about 40 pounds and stand between 15 and 23 inches tall at the withers. They are also less prone to genetic disorders than purebred and hybrid dogs. They are most often quite intelligent and loyal. They are the preferred "dog breed" for many.