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Azz
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19-03-2011, 10:33 PM

Are crossbreeds healthier?

Before replying, I guess at first you need to bear in mind the two main types of crosses:
  • Crosses of unrelated breeds - eg Poodle x Lab
  • Crosses of related/similar(ish) breeds - eg Belgium Shepherd x German Shepherd

I would class temperament as different to health - but feel free to comment on that too.
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Tassle
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19-03-2011, 10:38 PM
....well....cop out answer...

They can be

On a personal level I cannot really say. From a Work point of view I would have to say yes, but again, that is personal experience.

However, I would say the majority of dogs probably 75% of the dogs who come training are purebred.
Some well bred, some not so.
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DevilDogz
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19-03-2011, 10:45 PM
Personally in my opinion there is no yes or no answer..Depends what cross you are comparing to what pedigree, where dogs from health tested parents - and a whole lot of other factors.

The logic is test - no matter if you are breeding crosses or pedigrees - without knowing the dogs status or ignoring the status - You can and will get the same results regardless of the dogs breed/cross.

If you breed two different pedigree breeds dogs together - that can both suffer the same disease who have not been tested, you would not know their status so puppies can go on to be affected resulting in unhealthy, suffering puppies.

Same as if you breed two pedigree dogs together that had not been health tested - then you again have no idea of either dogs status. Therefore you could well go on to produce affected puppies who may suffer.

You could also cross two breeds together that suffer from different health issues for example you cross a dog that suffers heart issues, with a breed that suffers with eye diseases and bad hips - you have a high chance of producing puppies that suffer from the heart, eyes and hip issues - and some puppies may suffer just one or two of the issue, sometimes I guess none.
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MerlinsMum
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19-03-2011, 10:59 PM
If two breeds are deliberately crossed then the onus must be that the person doing so, does so with care - i.e. making sure both parents are tested for conditions or diseases that may affect the offspring.

If it's an accidental cross then - just as you know with a rescue dog of any variety, breed or pedigree - you understand it is going to be a lottery.

To pick up on one of your crosses then, Belgian Shepherd X German Shepherd. I'd want to know the hipscore of the GSD parent - most Belgians have good hips BUT it depends on the Balgian breed variety - Malinois have a mean hipscore of 9 I think while the Groenendaels and Tervuerens are 11. (Just a note Azz: there are four separate breeds of Belgian Shepherd so it does help if you state which).

Epilepsy is common to all BSDs and also German Shepherds. It can't be tested for. While the BSD breeders are open and honest to the main degree, it is a lot harder to find out which GSD lines may/may not be affected by it. The only way to avoid epilepsy is by avoiding lines where it is known to occur.

Eye problems - I am not well up on these but it would be wise to check if any are common to both breeds and if both parents have clear tests.

Finally you have something which cannot be tested for and which all the deliberate cross-breeders cannot predict nor quantify - and that is temperament. When crossing two pure breeds you can get the best of each or the worst of each, or something which isn't representative of either parent breed. This is the unknown X-Factor which can occur, and can't be predicted.

Character and temperament of pure breeds has been honed and fine-tuned over many generations to a certain predictablility (very necessary when dogs were working animals). Throw a spanner in the works and by crossing to another breed and you have lost at least 50% of that reliability, perhaps more, perhaps the particular puppy you pick has inherited the worst of both, and the combination of those traits mean it's not what you expected at all.....

So while someone may be paying great attention to physical health when breeding crosses, who can be sure that the mental health and stability is going to be easy to live with?
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rune
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19-03-2011, 11:07 PM
from personal experience---some breeds I'd avoid like the plague as I know a lot with problems---notably GSD's, pugs, flatties.

Of the two pure bred thought about dogs I have had one was very healthy the other a disaster.

Of all the x breeds and wsd's some have been fit and well all their lives, others have had epilepsy, hip problems and most have had arthritis when older.

I really think it is a lottery whatever you do.

rune
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Sara
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19-03-2011, 11:23 PM
I think it all depends on the reason WHY the cross is bred.

If you're attempting a healthier dog, be it less wrinkles in a Shar Pei (cross with a bull breed), less angular hips in a GSD (cross with a husky), less kidney disease in a Dalmatian (cross with a pointer), shorter back in a Dachshund (cross with a Chi), and you choose the cross carefully, with all the appropriate health testing done, then yes, they can be healthier.

If you're crossing 2 breeds 'cuz you can make money from them, than no, they're not. As crosses bred for those reasons have no testing done (why would you waste money on health testing when Hybrid Vigour happens???) and alot of breeds carry similar inherant health issues.

There's alot of inbetween reasons, i just gave the 2 extremes as examples.
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Ripsnorterthe2nd
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19-03-2011, 11:48 PM
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Pickles was a cross breed, possibly even a mongrel and he was the unhealthiest of all the dogs I've owned. Bad nails, terrible teeth and a heart murmur that in the end caused his death, albeit at the age of approx 15.

As much as I love mongrels I would still say they were a lottery.
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Dobermann
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20-03-2011, 12:31 AM
Ive known cross-breeds that have lived a long time and Ive known pedigrees live a long time.

We had a cross breed that (sadly) only lived 3 years. We had a pedigree that lived 14 years.

I suppose it also depends on whether you want to include things that all dogs get. I dont think cross-breeds are any less or more suseptible to eye infections, injuries, kennel cough etc than pedigrees.

Dogs are individuals whether they are a pedigree or a cross-breed or a good ole heinz 57!

Whichever group you class your dog as there will be a chance that some in the litter will be more 'sensitive' than others. Health testing or not - there are a lot more for dogs to suffer than known genetic diseases within a breed but at least thats one benefit of a pedigree, the chances of this are limited through health testing, knowing the background of dogs....

I dont think you could get any type of cross-breed, pedigree or mongrel and class it as straight off healtheir than the other two groups, if you get what I mean.
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Velvetboxers
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20-03-2011, 03:18 AM
We had 2 Boxer x Labs & they definitely werent healthier. Illnesses that one or other parent were known for, they had.

My answer -no they are not any healthier, not the two we had anyway

Harvey pure bred Boxer on other hand (touch wood) goes from one year (booster) to another without a vet visit, yet Katie his half sister is terminally ill with renal disease
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Pilgrim
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20-03-2011, 07:18 AM
Originally Posted by Sara'n'Scout View Post
I think it all depends on the reason WHY the cross is bred.

If you're attempting a healthier dog, be it less wrinkles in a Shar Pei (cross with a bull breed), less angular hips in a GSD (cross with a husky), less kidney disease in a Dalmatian (cross with a pointer), shorter back in a Dachshund (cross with a Chi), and you choose the cross carefully, with all the appropriate health testing done, then yes, they can be healthier.

If you're crossing 2 breeds 'cuz you can make money from them, than no, they're not. As crosses bred for those reasons have no testing done (why would you waste money on health testing when Hybrid Vigour happens???) and alot of breeds carry similar inherant health issues.

There's alot of inbetween reasons, i just gave the 2 extremes as examples.

This my take on it too.

In some circumstances with all the appropriate health tests and a complex study into suitable matches etc then I do believe that with some breeds, as Sara highlighted above, that out-crossing would produce healthier dogs.

Yet as most crossbreeds that are around nowadays are bred purely for the designer 'comedy name' and for the money with no health tests or research, then no I cannot see why on earth they would be healthier, in fact I can easily see how they would in fact be unhealthier as they could well inherit different defects from both parents.

Without knowing the history of both the breeds or the individual parents then it is impossible and down right irresponsible to state that crossbreeds are healthier than pure breeds.
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