A Dog for the Family
The Perfect Pet
Of Mutts and Men
The Terrible Ten
When Less is More
Glossary of Dog Terms
Types of Breeders
Dog Personality
Dog Behavior
Little Shop of Horrors
The AKC Pure Bred
Breeding Your Dog
The Top Ten
Frequently Asked Questions


Of Mutts and Men (cont)
With that said, choosing a mixed breed dog includes all the challenges of choosing a purebred without any guarantee.  As a matter of fact, it's a good idea to research purebred tendencies as you look for your perfect mutt (assuming he/she hasn't found you first by wandering in and adopting you).   

That Rottweiler/chow mix puppy who is such an adorable ball of fluff today will probably grow up to challenge your position as "pack leader" on a regular basis.  

In this case,  Rottweilers and Chows are both dominant, aggressive breeds and your cute little puppy will almost certainly grow up to be dominate and/or aggressive without the proper home and training. 

You must keep this in mind and avoid dominant mixes if you're the shy retiring type who can't imagine yourself correcting your pooch.

Speaking of temperament, evaluate yourself first to see what kind of dog "fits".  When shopping for a family dog, take into account the personalities of not only the adults, but the children as well.  

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As a general rule, if you have a child who is young (under 9) or shy/timid, assume he/she would be unable to assert him/herself over the family pooch and be sure to choose a submissive breed mix.  In general, spaniels (not Cockers, as a general rule though)  and retriever mixes tend to make good pets for families with small children, as do many hound mixes (Bloodhound, Bassett, Beagle).  

If in doubt, check several unbiased sources.   Since each breed seems to have it's enthusiasts who insist their breed is EXCELLENT with children, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, be sure to get more than one opinion.  Remember, it's going to be easier to predict the temperament of  a purebred/purebred cross than a true "Heinz 57" whose "pedigree" doesn't sport a purebred dog for several generations.    

Ah, there's the rub and the biggest drawback to a mixed breed.  Which parent's genes will dominate?  A Newfoundland/ lab mix puppy may end up being a smaller, less hairy version of the calm, lovable Newf.  While a littermate, through the hi-jinx of genetics, may end up to be an equally lovable but a very large, very hairy, very, very active hairy Lab. 

Note: If the thought of a Labrador's activity level in a Newfoundland size body doesn't frighten you, nothing will. 

So even if you've chosen to rescue a dog from your local animal shelter, you're still faced with a lot of research into which breed(s) you want represented in your mixed breed.  Adopting any dog is a huge commitment.  Don't spend more time researching your next automotive purchase (an inanimate object that won't be physically or emotionally harmed if you decide to trade it in two years from now) than you do choosing your dog!


If you can't find the perfect breed maybe it's because you're not really ready for the commitment to bring home a puppy.  Even if you have found the perfect breed or mix of breeds, remember that puppies,

  • will chew on everything they can get in their mouths, no matter how valuable or irreplaceable,
  • will find ways of ruining your carpet/floors/furniture/walls in ways you never imagined, 
  • will require more supervision than even the most precocious toddler,
  • and will eventually do grow up into adult dogs who occasionally indulge in periods of puppy like destruction or behavior.  

It's a big decision, mammoth in it's proportions.  Almost as big as deciding to have children.  Don't make this 8-18 year commitment lightly.