A mixed-breed dog (also called a mutt, crossbreed, mongrel, tyke, cur, or random-bred dog, see Terms for mixed-breed dogs, below) is a dog that is a mixture of two or more breeds, or a descendant of feral or pariah dog populatons. more...
Since, except for extreme variations in size, dogs interbreed freely, mixed-breed dogs vary in size, shape, and color, making them hard to classify physically. Historically, all purebred dogs have been selected from a mixed-breed population. See Golden Retriever for an example.
Terms for mixed-breed dogs
There is a profusion of words and phrases used for non-purebred dogs. The words cur, tyke, and mongrel are generally viewed as derogatory in America, whereas in the United Kingdom mongrel is the unique technical word for a mixed-breed dog, and is not a term of disparagement when referring to a dog. Therefore, many American owners prefer mixed-breed. Mutt is also used (in the U.S.A and Canada), sometimes in an affectionate manner. In Hawaii, mixed breed dogs are referred to as poi dog. Some American registries and dog clubs that accept mixed-breed dogs use the breed name All American, referring to the United States' reputation as a melting pot of different nationalities. In South Africa, the tongue-in cheek expression pavement special is sometimes used as a description for a mixed-breed dog. Random-bred dog, mutt, and mongrel are often used for dogs who result from breeding without the supervision or planning of humans, especially after several generations, whereas mixed breed and crossbreed often imply mixes of known breeds, sometimes deliberately mated.
Slang terms are also common. Heinz 57 is often used for dogs of uncertain ancestry, in a playful reference to the "57 Varieties" slogan of the H. J. Heinz Company. In some countries, bitsa is common, meaning "bits o' this, bits o' that". A fice or feist is a small mixed-breed dog.
To complicate matters, many owners of crossbred dogs identify themâ€”often facetiouslyâ€”by an invented breed name constructed from parts of their parents' breed names. For example, a cross between a Pekingese and a Poodle is called a Peekapoo, possibly a play on peek-a-boo. As another example, one of England's Queen Elizabeth's famous Corgis mated with her sister's Dachshund, and the resulting offspring are referred to as Dorgis. Many dogs in New York City which might previously have been described as Shepherd mixes are now referred to colloquially as Brooklyn Shepherds.
All possible body shapes, ear types, and tail styles can appear in mixed breeds. Extremes in appearance, however, such as the flattened face of the English Bulldog or the extremely curled tail of the Pug, seldom survive even the first crossbreeding. Mixed breeds also tend to have a size between that of their parents, thus tending eventually toward the norm.
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