Most purebred dogs are prone to breed-specific diseases, for example, hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers.

Mixed-breed (mongrel) dogs are said to be less prone to genetic diseases than purebred dogs due to higher genetic diversity.

  • Does this also hold true for crossbred dogs?
  • How likely are crossbred dogs (aka "designer" or "hybrid" dogs) to inherit breed-specific diseases of either or both parent breeds?
  • Are crossbred dogs healthier in general, compared to their parents?
  • 1
    Note: there is a section on the Wikipedia article about genetics, but it isn't very conclusive and my English is not good enough to comprehend the cited articles.
    – Baarn
    Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


I'm going to interpret the genetics portion of the Wikipedia article you cited in plain English, and add what I know from college Biology class:

It depends on the parents you use.

Crossbreeding dogs (hybridization) is a tactic used by breeders to reduce the chance of inheriting a poor trait from a parent. Before breeding, it is important to already know the chance of disease for the particular source breed, and knowing the disease / genetic history of the individual source parent. Genetic testing of the parents prior to breeding may help disqualify parents for crossbreeding.

As a bastardization of theory, inbreeding has traditionally shown to produce poor genetic results; while the introduction of additional genes through cross-breeding may introduce different traits to a line, based on the rules of evolution, the resulting crossbred dog most likely to survive will be the one with the best genes.

  • 1
    Good answer... but the rules of evolution apply less and less as we are able to keep unhealthy dogs alive longer. We have to rely on responsible breeders making sure that they don't breed unhealthy dogs and support the good breeders in any way we can.
    – Beth Lang
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 7:00

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