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Everything you need to know about mixed breed dogs

Breed. It’s everything and nothing in the world of dogs. We use breeds to describe our dog’s personality, to judge how much exercise they should do, or to find a dog with the right temperament.

But what about the mixed breeds? Those pups with a bit of this and a bit of that? 

Well, there’s plenty of variation and plenty to say. So, whether you’re thinking of giving a home to a mixed breed dog or you already share your home with one of these wonderful mutts, we’ve answered all your questions about them – and then some!

What is a mixed breed dog?

Mixed breed dogs have two or more different breeds in their lineage. They are sometimes called mongrels or mutts, especially when it’s not clear what breeds make up your dog.

Do mixed breed dogs make good pets?

In many circumstances – absolutely. Of course, it all depends on the dog’s personality and the lifestyle you lead. 

When you get a pedigree dog, you can often make better predictions of their temperaments based on the breed and the characters of the parents.

With mixed breed dogs, it’s much more difficult to do. They will inherit character traits from their parents and grandparents that could be from a broad range of breeds, making it hard to know what sort of personality they might have.

Even so, much of their personality will come down to their socialisation and training. With any dog, mixed breed or pedigree, you need to be prepared to commit to plenty of training and socialisation to ensure they become happy, confident, and friendly dogs.

Do mixed breed dogs have health problems?

Mixed breed dogs may tend to have fewer inherited health issues than pedigrees as they have greater genetic diversity. However, whilst many pedigree dogs will have genetic testing for common disorders before being bred, this is less common when two dogs of different breeds are mated, meaning inherited issues can still occur.

Of course, like all dogs, there are still health problems that can develop which are not inherited. That’s why it’s still important to insure your dog to make sure they get access to veterinary care when they need it.

Can mixed breed dogs be Kennel Club registered?

The Kennel Club has two registers for dogs. The first, most well-known, is the Breed Register. This is only open to pedigree dogs who can demonstrate their lineage. Mixed breed dogs are not eligible for this register.

The second register is the activity register. This is open to all dogs, whether mixed breed or pedigree and allows them to compete in Kennel Club licensed competitions such as agility, flyball, heelwork to music, obedience, rally and working trials. 

It’s worth noting that there are other registration bodies that may be open to mixed-breed dogs, particularly in the activity space. Depending on your reasons for wanting to register your dog, these may be more appropriate.

Where can you get a mixed breed dog?

Just as with pedigree dogs, there are multiple avenues to getting a mixed breed dog. 

Rehoming a mixed breed dog

We highly recommend visiting a reputable rehoming centre, like our friends at Dogs Trust, as they often have plenty of wonderful mixed breed dogs and puppies looking for homes. 

They’ll match you with the pawfect dog and provide plenty of support throughout the process to help your new dog settle in.

If you decide to use a charity that rehomes dogs from abroad, make sure you do your research. Make sure they have registered charity numbers and that you will be able to visit the dog in the UK at a foster home or UK-based centre before making the decision to bring them home. Never send any money (donation or otherwise) before seeing the dog in person.

Buying a mixed breed puppy

If you decide to buy a mixed breed puppy you need to make sure that the breeder has taken good care of the parents’ and puppies’ health and welfare. 

Read this advice from Dogs Trust before making any decision to buy a puppy, mixed breed or pedigree.

Are dog DNA tests accurate?

Exciting scientific developments mean it’s now easy to check your dog’s DNA to find out what breeds make them up. But how accurate are these tests?

According to the major DNA testing brands, these tests are between 95% – 99% accurate, meaning you can get a really good idea of the breeds that make up your mutt. This can be useful for predicting future health issues or personality traits, but it is mostly fun for their owners!

Mixed breed dog out for a walk

How much exercise does a mixed breed dog need?

The amount of exercise a mixed breed dog needs is highly dependent on the individual dog and the breeds that make them up. If you own a mixed breed dog, you’ll need to be attentive – making sure you can recognise when they need a bit more exercise or when they are exhausted so that you can find a balance. Your vet may also be able to help you choose an appropriate activity goal.

You can keep track of your mixed breed dog’s activity, weight, feeding and location (in case they ever run off) with a PitPat Dog GPS Tracker for just £149. Now that’s what we call peace of mind!

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