A designer dog is a cross between a purebred pedigree mum and dad. These mixed breeds have names reflecting both parents' breed names; for example, a poodle and a schnauzer make a Schnoodle. They also, hopefully, have curated qualities from their progenitors, such as an ability to shed less and a good personality. There are no guarantees about the result— the offspring can fall on one parent much more than the other or inherit less favorable traits. And The American Kennel Club often does not recognize these dogs as breeds. Still, designer dogs are adorable and tend to have fewer genetic defects due to so-called 'hybrid vigor.'
Labrador retrievers have the loveliest dispositions, but boy, do they shed a lot. If you've got allergies, this propensity to blow coat can make the change of seasons a nightmare. Enter the labradoodle. A cross between a lab and a poodle, this hybrid entered the fray in the 1980s in Australia. It's hypoallergenic, bright, and so sweet.
Poodles, you'll see, are popular picks in the world of designer dogs. Cross a poodle with a cocker spaniel, and you get an OG designer dog from the 1940s, the cockapoo. Cockapoos are fantastic housemates and get along with everyone, human and animal alike. They epitomize the word cute and shed little for all the hair they have. Active and easy to train, your cockapoo will likely live about 15 years and weigh no more than 30 pounds.
A cross between a bichon frise and a Lhasa apso, the La-Chon is a winning combination with enviable hair and a zest for life. This mix doesn't shed heavily, but regular brushing is a must. La-Chons are a little stubborn and aren't always keen on strangers, but they're fiercely loyal. They don't exceed 20 pounds and can live upwards of 12 years.
What do you get when you cross a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire terrier? Why, a chorkie, of course. Chorkies are understandably teeny and weigh no more than 10 pounds. They don't mind traveling, and with their small size, they're easy to bring along just about anywhere. Chorkies can have coats of various lengths, but they're not high maintenance when it comes to grooming. Wilful and energetic, you'll literally have your hands full with this designer dog.
Breed a pug and a beagle, and you get the friendly puggle. Puggles can receive a more flat-faced aesthetic from their pug parent, or they can inherit a longer muzzle from a beagle with fewer breathing issues and less of a tendency to snore. Expect snuggles galore and a lot of indoor or outdoor playtime. Puggles will take to the rest of your household with some socialization, and they live for about 14 years.
Designer dogs often come with a higher price tag, at least three times the cost of a purebred. But when you gaze upon a pomsky, we dare you not to fall in love at first sight. And love is priceless. Thanks must go to the Pomeranian and the Siberian husky for this rare dose of cuteness. The pomsky is diminutive but protective and might not be the best choice for a household with small children.
With golden retriever and poodle parents, the Goldendoodle is as affectionate and intelligent as you'd expect. They're hypoallergenic and on the larger side, depending on how big the poodle parent is. Available since the 90s, Goldendoodles are a tad calmer and more extroverted than Labradoodles. Goldendoodles also have thinner hair, in case you were wondering.
Mixing a Maltese and a Shih Tzu gives you a Mal-shi. This delightfully small combo weighs about 12 pounds and is an excellent fit for cat households. Mal-shis are gentle. They make good dogs for seniors and first-time pet owners, and they're sharp and active but don't need a ton of exercise—perfect if you live in an apartment.
A cross between a Dachshund and a Chihuahua, Chiweenies are low-maintenance dogs where grooming is concerned, but they're more challenging to potty train than larger breeds. Chiweenies are barkers, and early socialization and training can help keep the noise to a minimum. But they love cuddles and make marvelous lap dogs. This crossbreed can live for up to 16 years and weighs up to 12 pounds.
Cavachons are a cross between a cavalier King Charles spaniel and a bichon frise. Your Cavachon will enjoy giving you company, and if there are kids in your household, prepare for a veritable lovefest. Eager to please, the Cavachon is a quick learner and doesn't require a house with a yard. Cavachons tend to be non-shed dogs. Adopt one, rather than shop for one, if you can.
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