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What Are Designer Dogs? Then vs Now

What Are Designer Dogs? Then vs Now (2024) - Premier Pups
Published Friday, September 16, 2022 by Premier Pups Team

Designer dogs are modern crossbreeds between two or more purebred dogs. They are also known as hybrid dogs.  

In the past 50 years, designer dogs have completely taken over the world with their stunning looks and winning personalities. They've hit popularity records year after year, and never fail to impress with their unending qualities. These dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and there is a breed for every taste.  

Not many people know what designer dogs really are and what makes them so popular. Contrary to what most believe, designer dogs haven’t been around for centuries. They are somewhat new, most designer dog breeds date back to the end of the 20th century.  

So, what are designer dogs? Are they the same as old-time crossbreeds? What makes them different from purebreds and why is there a craze around them? Keep reading to find out! 

Designer Dogs Then  
Dating Back to the 14th Century 

A misconception about designer dogs is that they have existed for hundreds of years. The truth is these dogs are no older than 50 years, some even as young as 20 years. Designer dogs are not the same thing as 14th-century crossbreeds.  

The main difference between designer dogs and past crossbreeds is that designer dogs are bred for desired looks, improved health, and specific personality traits, while old-time crossbreeds were bred for working purposes and to define certain breeds into what we now know as purebreds.  

Working Dogs 

black and white photo of a group of working dogs

Even earlier than the 14th century, different breeds were crossbred to define some of the purebreds we know and love today. Even breeds like Toy Poodles are believed to have emerged from crosses with Bichons Frise. To be considered purebreds, generations of selective breeding are required. The puppies as well as the adults must display similar sizes, personalities, and physical features.  

Selective breeding has been done for centuries to produce litters of dogs with certain qualities, which in the 14th century, were mostly for working dogs. 

During those days, crossbreeding was done to enhance some desirable traits in dogs used for working purposes. Some were crossed to be more agile, others faster or stronger. The jobs they were bred for included hunting, retrieving, and herding. Some were even crossbred to be better at sledding or racing, which were quite popular sports back in those days.  

Designer Dogs Now  
20th and 21st Century 

Modern designer dogs are bred for quite different purposes than they were centuries ago, although some are still bred to enhance qualities that aid in sports or jobs for dogs. Some larger designer dogs are bred for search and rescue, others for guiding and assisting. Smaller designer breeds are mostly bred for looks, specific personality traits, and hypoallergenic coat qualities.  

Poodle Mixes 

brown doodle puppy sitting on a wicker chair

One of the most popular categories of designer dogs is Poodle mixes also known by many as Doodle dogs. These designer dogs/poodle hybrids are typically crossed for their hypoallergenic coats, high intelligence, and endearing personality traits. These Poodle mixed breeds are believed to be the first designer dogs.  

Poodle mixes first appeared during the 1950s, with the first being the Labradoodle. As records attest, the first Labrador Poodle mix was bred in Australia for a blind woman who needed a guide dog that would also be hypoallergenic (her husband was allergic to dogs). As soon as the first Labradoodle was created, the craze around this new amazing type of dog began. The Cockapoo soon followed and became an icon during those times.  

Designer Dog Health 

tan mini goldendoodle dog smiling

One of the main reasons behind the creation of designer dogs is their excellent health. Reputable breeders will produce a healthy litter of designer puppies by crossbreeding two or more healthy purebred dogs. The improved health or hybrid vigor of these puppies is given by their expanded gene pool. When two different breeds are combined, certain health issues are canceled out, and the puppies born from the mix are typically healthier than their purebred parents.  

Recognition of Designer Dogs 

morkie puppy sitting next to books

Although their popularity is ever-increasing, designer dog breeds are yet to be recognized by major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club, even though their purebred parents are registered. There are quite a few kennel clubs that recognize hybrids. These include the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Designer Breed Registry, International Designer Dog Registry, and American Canine Hybrid Club.  

Designer Dog Prices 

tan poochon with blue eyes

The cost of a designer dog is given by factors such as the breeds used in the mix, colors, size, certain features, and generations, but their price can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to 8-10k dollars.  

List of Most Popular Designer Dogs in The United States 

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Scroll down to see FAQs about designer dogs!

Premier Pups Team

About The Author

The Premier Pups team is composed of lifelong dog enthusiasts and experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge on dog behavior, care, and training. Dedicated to staying on the cutting edge of dog care and training advancements, their articles provide readers with accurate, insightful, and valuable information. With extensive knowledge and an unwavering devotion to all things canine, the Premier Pups team enriches the community with a unique blend of expertise and creativity, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for dogs and the incredible bond they share with humans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a designer dog? Designer dogs, also known as hybrid dogs, are an exciting blend of two purebred dogs from different breeds. This unique combination allows you to enjoy the best traits of both breeds, such as adorable looks, sweet temperament, and good health.

Are designer dogs bad? Absolutely not! Designer dogs are just as loving and loyal as any other breed of dog. Each dog, regardless of breed, has its own unique personality and behavior that is shaped by factors such as genetics, training, and socialization. With proper care and attention, any designer dog can grow into a wonderful companion that brings joy and happiness to your life.

Are designer dogs healthier than purebreds? It's a common misconception that designer dogs are healthier than purebreds, but the truth is that both types of dogs have the potential for good health. Designer dogs can benefit from hybrid vigor, where the offspring is healthier than either parent breed, or they may be prone to certain health problems that are common in both parent breeds. Either way, as long as you provide your dog with proper veterinary care, nutrition, and exercise, your dog will live a happy and healthy life.

Can you register a designer dog? Designer dogs are not typically recognized by kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), but that doesn't make them any less special or valuable. There are countless designer dog registries and kennel clubs that do recognize hybrid breeds.

Which designer dog breed is right for me? The designer dog breed that is right for you will depend on your lifestyle, preferences, and the specific characteristics of each breed. Do your research, get to know the parent breeds and any other breeds involved in the cross, and find the breed that best fits your needs. When you meet a few examples of the breed in person, you'll be able to tell if they have the happy, friendly personality that you're looking for. Choosing a designer dog as your next companion is an exciting journey, and with a little research, you're sure to find the perfect fit for your family.