The Functional Dog Collaborative (FDC) supports responsible cross-breeding of dogs. Many pet owners today are interested in acquiring a crossbred dog. While many of them do not have enough information to know what they’re getting (as is also true of many owners seeking purebred dogs), many do. It is not true that a breed exists for every need, as evidenced by the demand even among well educated pet owners and dog sports enthusiasts for crossbreds. Additionally, crossbred dogs, on average, have lower risk of genetic health issues than dogs from many popular breeds, which is an attractive trait to many potential owners.
While many breeders, dog trainers, and pet owners have negative perceptions of cross-bred “designer dogs,” the FDC maintains that this is because current fads in crosses have provided incentives for irresponsible breeders to produce those crosses. The FDC’s proposed approach to this problem is not to attempt to suppress crossbreeding, but to a) support responsible crossbreeders, b) provide responsible crossbreeders with high quality breeding stock, and c) provide less responsible crossbreeders with educational materials and incentives to improve.
The FDC’s position is that crossbreeding does not harm the breed that is crossed. Responsible crossbreeders can provide excellent homes for dogs who would otherwise be neutered as not appropriate for the show ring (e.g., off standard color or body shape). Many crossbreeders are breeding dogs to fill specific niches as pet, sport, or service dogs, and supporting them means supporting people who have needs that the parent breed itself is not appropriate for.
Despite this, many individuals who have bred purebreds to other breeds have, in the past, been removed from breed clubs and been the subject of intense online harassment. People who intend to breed purebreds to other breeds report difficulties in acquiring breeding rights to purebred animals, partly because many breeders object to their plans and will not provide their own animals (as is their right), but also because those breeders who do want to support them are often unable to do so for fear of being themselves removed from their breed clubs. This makes crossbreeding socially challenging.
The FDC encourages breeders of purebred dogs to, ideally, provide breeding stock to crossbreeders (including outcrossers). For those who are unwilling (or unable due to breed club rules) to provide stock, we encourage them to provide a friendly and supportive environment for crossbreeders on FDC discussion forums and elsewhere. We encourage breed clubs to edit any codes of ethics that prohibit cross breeding, potentially replacing them with prohibitions of irresponsible breeding.
For more information on crossbreeding we recommend listening to the following Functional Breeding Podcast episodes:
- Julie Norman Jenkins: Breeding Dogs as Athletes and Pets
- Sara Reusche: Breeding Mixy-Mix Sports Dogs for the First Time
- Doodles Part 1 – Amy Lane: The Goldendoodle Association of North America
- Doodles Part 2 – Alicia Hobson: The Bearded Retriever Project
- Doodles Part 3 – Kim Palermo: Boots on the Ground with Doodles