A Breed is a written set of specific characteristics that in combination, define a certain Type of Dog.  No other type of dog has all the same characteristics.


A breed also implies that the offspring of two parents of the same breed will show the same breed  characteristics. 


The purpose of a breed is to have predictability in the individuals.  Dogs of a breed will share a  common, size, coat, color, head shape, tail shape and length, temperament, and training tendencies.  While individual dogs may have slight variations on the “theme” all of them will be of the same “type”.


Purebred Dog

A Purebred Dog is a dog whose parents for at least 3 generations are documented in a reliable way as all being of the same Breed. At a minimum, both parents, all four grand-parents, and all eight great-grand-parents are all of the same Breed.  In many cases, many more generations are also of the same breed.


If a dog or puppy has predictable characteristics (within the parameters of the breed) it can be easier to find it a good home with people who appreciate its uniqueness and its needs. 


The purpose of breeding a purebred dog is to create offspring that have the predictable looks, manners, and temperament defined for that specific Breed.


Breeders of purebred dogs typically work very hard to maintain breed characteristics (called “Breed type”) in their breeding stock, and to ensure that the offspring they produce are placed in suitable homes appropriate for their size, energy levels and grooming needs.


Mixed Breed Dog

A Mixed-breed dog is a dog whose ancestors are not of the same Breed.  Mixed-Breed dogs may look like one of the parents or like the other or may look completely different from both.    While certainly mixed breed dogs are also usually loving family members, it is less possible to predict, with complete accuracy, what they will look like or act like or how large they will get as they mature.


Traditionally, most Mixed-Breed puppies are produced by chance matings of any two dogs who simply happened to be in close physical proximity..  Randomly breeding Mixed-Breed to Mixed-Breed on purpose produces even less-predictable offspring as time goes on.


In the past, Mixed-Breed puppies were typically given away rather than being sold for money because most people who  had a mixed-breed litter did it by accident and had invested no real time or money themselves in the process.  Besides, they were mostly interested in finding new owners who would take good care of the puppies. 


In the modern world, however, it is common for people to expect to pay money even for Mixed-Breed puppies.


Cross-bred Dog

A Cross-bred dog is a Mixed Breed dog whose two parents are Purebred Dogs but of two different Breeds.


In the past,Cross-Bred dogs were simply called Mixed-breeds and puppies were given away to good homes.  However, with the introduction of the term “Designer-Breed” the mating of dogs to produce Cross-Bred dogs is now often done and it is typical for people to be charged fairly considerable amounts for the puppies.


Designer Dog

A Designer Dog is a Cross-bred dog with a cute name assigned to describe the puppy.


For example: 

Puggle is the offspring of a Pug and a Beagle.

Labradoodle is the offspring of a Labrador and a Poodle


It is inaccurate to call a “Designer Dog” a “Breed.”  A Breed implies predictability of the offspring….that the puppies will look like the parents.  Since a Designer Dog is really a Cross-Bred Dog, which is a Mixed-breed dog, the puppies might look like one or the other of the parents but just as often look entirely different.


With a few notable exceptions, most of the “Designer Dogs” are of the smaller dog types, and they certainly can be quite cute.  Many of them are crosses of Poodles which gives these smaller mixed-breed dogs a curly coat often advertised as “hypoallergenic.”  In fact, the Poodle, a true Breed, has this same “hypoallergenic” coat and there is no need to get a cross-bred poodle-mix to have this benefit.


People do want to be able to identify their dog as being such-and-so type.  And Designer-dogs have such cute names that it is very attractive and appealing.


People expect to pay money for dogs now, and while Designer Dogs can cost considerable dollars, most people believe they are somewhat cheaper than Purebred Dogs, and thus more affordable.


Breeders of Designer Dogs usually often do not do the same testing on the breeding parents because they are relying on the myth of “hybrid vigor” to ensure the puppies are healthy.  In fact, no dog is perfect, and all dogs carry whatever faults are passed to them from their parents. 


The purpose of breeding Designer Dogs is to create cute puppies with a cute name that you can sell for more money than you would be able to sell a puppy advertised as a Mixed-Breed or a Cross-breed Dog.

“Designer Dogs” vs ‘Purebred Dogs”


When I was a kid, it used to be that there were two kinds of dogs:  Purebreds or mixed breeds. 


Many families had mixed breeds.  They would usually get ‘em from the local neighborhood family who had a female dog that wandered freely (for of course, there were no fences) and who came home and had a litter under the back porch.  Since we kids knew all the local dogs, we could usually also tell who the father of the litter was, or have a good guess.   And you might mention that your dog was such-and-such a mix, but there was neither shame, nor pride in saying so.  After all, a dog was a dog.  And all the kids were happy and all the dogs were happy. 


Other families had purebred dogs.  Usually this really meant that they’d paid money for the puppy.  And that they knew that both father and mother were of the same breed.  But not much else was different if you were a family with a dog.  And all these kids were happy.  All these dogs were happy too.


Of course no one spayed or neutered any dog in those days.  Or gave ‘em rabies shots.  Or usually even regular vaccinations.  No one did.  And, people were either happy with their dogs or not happy with their dogs but this usually had more to do with the dog themselves, not with the breed.  Some dogs were better trained than others and that was always recognized as having to do with the people, not with the dog.  And if a dog got sick (as indeed many did) it was put down and another dog was gotten.  Most people spent little money on their dogs, but you have to remember, most people spent little money on much back in those simpler times.


Yes, those were different times indeed.


Back in those days, perhaps, just perhaps there was a slight perception that if you’d paid money for your dog it meant your dog was “better” because really, as I’ve said above, it probably meant your dog was purebred.  Being purebred might mean your dog’s breed had a history you could read about.  Or maybe another dog, recognizably of the same breed, was in a movie or a book and you’d get a “thrill” of being connected to something famous.


But really, most people didn’t care.  Their dog was their own and everyone loved his or her dog whether it was mixed or purebred.


But at some point in time, things changed.  Maybe things got more competitive, or maybe money became more available, or more casually spent.  I don’t know.


At some point, somehow the connection of “spending money” on a dog got linked to the thought that the dog was ‘better” and probably “worth more.”   


And the idea that a dog had a definable breed began to mean that the dog was “worth more money.”


And somehow, someone came up with the idea of spending money on mixed breeds.  Oh, no, not as much money as on a purebred dog, but spend some money.  So, maybe it’s not “top drawer” but it’s better than a simple “mix.”  Why not, after all, charge some money if you can name the breeds?  So some enterprising people started taking two purebred dogs, and producing mixed-breed puppies, but giving the puppies a “new breed name” and charging some perhaps smaller amounts of money for these breed dogs.


Well, if you’re going to charge money, you can’t be calling ‘em “mixed breeds” so for a while they were called “cross-breeds.”  This sort of made sense since a “mix” could be made up of any number of different breeds, and a cross-bred was usually two different breeds crossed to make a puppy.