Oct 23 2014

Mixed Breed Dogs & Wordsmithing

Can someone tell me when we made the transition from referring to our mixed breed dogs as “mixed breed”, “mutt”, “Heinz 57” or “sooner dog” and began calling them by a host of new, completely fabricated monikers? We’re all probably familiar with the Labradoodle (labrador and poodle mix), and the Peek-a-poo (pekingese and poodle), but I think we have breached what should be a boundary in the name game. Not every mixed breed dog of known ancestry needs to have the names of both or all of the predecessor breeds melded into a new name.

The infamous Dober-huahua of Super Bowl fame gave us all a chuckle, and still makes me laugh.  http://youtu.be/VetG_3_xF0c

Below is a list of some of the more chic mixed breed dogs (also known as “designer” or “boutique” breeds).

  • Chiweenie: Chihuahua + Dachshund
  • Pinny-Poo: MinPinscher + Poodle
  • Yorkie Poo: Poodle + Yorkie
  • Bogle: Boxer + Beagle

Or for a more extensive list and a dose of mental exhaustion, click here  – http://bit.ly/1nmXnqT

It’s hard to understand the purpose of such interesting names. Although, after reading the list at the link above, I have to think there may be some degree of cache that doesn’t come with “mixed breed” or “cross”. Maybe it strokes the ego to tell your friends your new dog is a Schnoodle rather than to say she’s a Schnauzer & poodle mix. And, a Boxita sounds more majestic, and rolls of the tongue easier than “a Boxer and Akita mix”.

Please don’t confuse my commentary with dislike or judgement. These are often some of the most unique, best mannered dogs you’ll ever meet. They tend to be well-loved and well-cared for. What amazes me is not only the shift in public perception, but the price tags that often accompany these fashinable breeds. While some are offered at little or no cost (often accidental “backyard” breedings), it is not unusual for folks to pay $900, $1200 and up for these combination dogs. So, while you might pay $500-600 for a pedigreed poodle or a similar price for a purebred Yorkshire Terrier, if you want a mix of the two you’re going to come out of pocket that price for each half of the genetic material. Also, keep this in mind – unlike a standard AKC/Kennel Club breed, these mixes are often quite different from one another. It is uncommon to see two designer breeds that have the same size, coat characteristic, or general shape. No surprise, the genetic makeup is often mixed for only one generation. At least the Labradoodle has a long history of (in most cases) precise breeding and mating standards.

My favorite entry in these name gymnastics is the Gerberian Shepsky – A German Shepherd mixed with a Siberian Husky. How creative! It’s one thing to combine two single word breed names, but to combine two double word names into another two-word name, and have it actually sound sensible is a remarkable feat. Hat’s off and two thumbs up to the lady or gentleman that came up with the Gerberian Shepsky. You are a fabulous wordsmith. Keep up the good work.

– Todd Worrell, DVM

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