best mixed breed dogs

8 Best Mixed Breed Dogs for Lovers of Big Canines

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While most resources that attempt to describe and rate the strengths and weakness of different types of dogs concentrate on purebred examples, many owners would prefer to obtain mixed-breed dogs.

And, while mutts often make excellent pets, and they occasionally exhibit more positive traits than their purebred counterparts do, you must still select one that is well-suited for your family and lifestyle.

8 of the Best Mixed Breed Dogs

Below, you’ll find a list detailing eight of the best mixed-breed dogs, which are deserving of consideration when selecting your new pet. Typically, these mixed-breed dogs will exhibit some of the characteristics of each parent breed. But, because each dog is an individual, you’ll want to spend some time with any canine you are considering before making your choice.

Note that some breed combinations are more common than others, so you may not be able to find each one of those listed below at your local shelter. Some of the most popular mixtures enjoy a well-established name (for example, Labradoodles), while others do not, and are simply referred to by their parent breeds.

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1. Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever X Poodle)

One of the most popular mixed breeds in the world, labradoodles are fun-loving, intelligent and adorable. Often cloaked in a curly coat, labradoodles are often a bit more reserved than typical labs are, yet they have a warmth that some poodles lack.

Unlike many other mixed breed dogs, which are the product of inadvertent, one-off matings between two dogs, labradoodles are often deliberately produced in an effort to combine the hypoallergenic-like qualities of poodles with the rough-and-tumble personality of labs.

2. Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever X Poodle)

Like labradoodles, goldendoodles are often deliberately created by breeders who want to combine the family-friendly qualities of golden retrievers with the low-shedding coats of poodles. This, it is often hoped, will result in an excellent family pet, which does not cause the allergy problems that golden retrievers do.

Aside from their appearance, which is sometimes characterized by a slightly longer coat, goldendoodles are relatively similar to labradoodles.

3. Rottweiler X Doberman

Aside from the differences in their builds, Dobermans and Rottweilers are relatively similar dogs, who tend to be loving, loyal, intelligent and brave. And as you’d expect, mixes of the two typically embody these same personality traits.

They are typically clad in black-and-tan colors like their parent breeds, and their build is usually intermediate between the long and lean body type of Dobermans and the stocky builds of Rottweilers. In many cases, these sweet-natured mutts could be mistaken for either of their parent breeds.  

4. Pit Bull X Labrador Retriever

If you are looking for one of the friendliest mixed breed dogs possible, you may want to consider a pit bull X Labrador retriever mix.

Labs are widely known for their good-natured personality and friendly demeanor, and pits – despite notions to the contrary – are typically just as friendly toward people when properly raised and socialized. Additionally, the Labrador retriever influence can help temper some of the problems pits may experience with dog aggression.

5. Husky X German Shepherd

Both Siberian huskies and German shepherds exhibit plenty of wolf-like traits, so it shouldn’t be surprising that mixes of the two often resemble small wolves.

Like both of their parent breeds, these mixes typically have relatively fluffy coats, which can make them appear larger than they are, but they usually only reach about 75 pounds or so in weight. Just be sure that shed hair isn’t a problem for your family before adopting one of these dogs, as they can quickly coat your entire home in a layer of fur.

6. German Shepherd X Labrador Retriever

Two of the most popular breeds in the world, German shepherds and labs both make excellent pets; so, it makes sense that mixes of the two breeds are often lovely and loving dogs.

Like any German-shepherd-based mix, you’ll have to deal with plenty of shed hair, but thanks to the influence of the Labrador retriever parent, these mutts are often friendlier to strangers than some German shepherds (who are occasionally aloof around those they’ve not yet met) are. Most of these mixes bond strongly with their families and do not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time.

7. Boxer x Pit Bull

Poorly raised pit bulls are sometimes implicated in attacks on children, but properly raised individuals can be some of the best playmates for older kids (pit bulls can be too rambunctious and playful for their size to be trusted around young children) among all breeds. So, when you combine them with boxers (who are famous for their child-friendly ways), you often get a beloved playmate that follows the kids everywhere they go.

Just be sure to teach these dogs the proper ways to behave around children, as they are exceptionally enthusiastic and playful with their families, and you’ll want to prevent accidental injuries.

8. Goldador (Golden Retriever X Labrador Retriever)

Most golden retrievers and labs make fantastic family pets, and they are two of the most popular breeds in the world. So, it should come as no surprise that combinations of the two often make great pets too.

Goldadors often have longer hair than labs, so shedding problems can be a concern, but they exhibit few other problems for owners. However, like both labs and goldens, goldadors require plenty of exercise to prevent the development of destructive behaviors.

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The Problem with Identifying Mixed-Breed Dogs

It is important to realize that many mixed-breed dogs are likely improperly identified by the shelters and owners who offer them for sale or adoption. This is rarely the result of malice or a deliberate attempt to defraud prospective owners; instead, it reflects the fact that dogs do not always resemble their parents – even among purebred animals.

Additionally, many mixed-breed dogs that populate shelters and rescues are the offspring of other mixed breed dogs, rather than two purebred canines. In other words, a given mutt may be the result of a male Labrador retriever X golden retriever and a female husky x German shepherd. This makes it more difficult to identify the dog in question and predict its likely personality and temperament.

Accordingly, it often makes the most sense to seek out mixed breed pups that were produced by known parents. This way, you’ll have the best chance of obtaining a dog that will fit in well with your family.

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What kinds of mixed-breed dogs have you spent time with? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Be sure to tell us about the various pros and cons of the mixture you noticed, as well as the source from which you obtained the dog. Your stories may just help another dog lover to choose a good pet for their family.

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