Remember when dog choices were limited to purebred or mutt? Now there are “designer” mixed breeds—from Labradoodle (Labrador retriever and poodle) to schnocker (miniature schnauzer and cocker spaniel) to dorkie (dachshund and Yorkshire terrier). You may hope that the desirable characteristics of each breed will prevail, but you can’t select genes à la carte.
Take the puggle, the worst designer dog you can buy. It’s a cross between a pug and a beagle. Pugs, loyal lapdogs, are prone to hereditary defects such as breathing and joint problems; to maintain good health, they’re best kept calm, clean, and in a controlled climate. Beagles were bred to hunt and explore outdoors. When one breed’s purpose is counterproductive to the other’s wellness, the frustrated urges can produce an anxious or neurotic animal.
If you’re set on getting a designer dog, a Westiepoo may be the best choice. The West Highland terrier and poodle are more compatable than other breeds, as they have similar dispositions and there’s less risk that their genetic flaws will compound one another.
But most experts agree the best place to find a mixed-breed dog unburdened by false promises is an animal shelter or rescue group.