What about mongrels?

Unlike mixed breed dogs, which are a cross between dogs of two different breeds or a purebred and a dog of undetermined lineage, mongrels are impossible to classify accurately since they are a cross between two dogs of unknown breed. It is estimated that up to 40% of dogs in the UK are mongrels or mixed breeds.

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Working aptitudes and rusticity


While not always beautiful, mongrels often have working aptitudes and a hardy character that their owners value highly.

Mongrels are medium-sized dogs that generally have the coat colour of wild dogs – grey or fawn – and are instinctively self-reliant, much like Tramp in the Walt Disney classic Lady and the Tramp, which makes them excellent hunters. Because of the various crossings, mongrels benefit from an extremely rich genetic inheritance, so undesirable genes (which are often recessive) are likely to be dominated by desirable ones.

Uncertainties of genetic diversity

The main inconvenience of this genetic diversity is that there is no guarantee that desirable traits will be passed on to subsequent generations. It is very difficult to anticipate the morphological and psychological traits of puppies born to mongrel parents, even if both parents have the desirable traits.

Though it is often said that mongrels are lively, intelligent, hardy and game, it is actually impossible to make this generalisation, since only the luckiest and best-qualified individuals find a place in society. The vast majority of dogs in shelters and dog’s homes are mongrels.

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A question of genes

As we have seen, quantitative traits like working aptitudes, which depend on the action of numerous genes, are less inheritable than morphological traits, such as coat colour and texture, which depend on a smaller number of genes. It is not possible to predict how dangerous a puppy might be by studying the crossings in its lineage. In some countries, new crossings have produced such curiosities as the Cockapoo (cross between a Cocker spaniel and a Poodle) and the Labradoodle (cross between a Labrador and a Poodle), which even have their own standard, dedicated breeders and are recognised by some clubs.

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What about mongrels?
    What about mongrels?

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