I often read critics of new or developing (and improving) dog breeds state that dogs like the Cockapoo are not hybrids, as they are not the cross between two species of animal. Unfortunately, this particular belief regarding the definition of the word ‘hybrid’ is quite incorrect. To help you (and any critic who may choose to come here) I have included several dictionary definitions down below. Argue if you want, but address the argument to the people that defined the words. I don’t really feel the need to get into the etiology of the word here, though. Another post, maybe. 😉
Really, a hybrid is just a fancy way of saying ‘crossbreed’. Either word gets the same point across: a dog that is the result (or offspring) of two or more different breeds successfully mating.
I personally use the term ‘hybrid’ because it denotes an intention behind the crossing of the breeds and not an accidental crossing as might have happened with any mutt. This is just how I feel and isn’t related to anything scientific. The word ‘crossbreed’ really does mean intention is present, however I just don’t get that feeling when I hear the word myself. But neither word is a more accurate term for a dog like the Cockapoo.
At any rate here is the official definition of the term ‘hybrid’, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English, just to clear up any confusion:
- Hybrid: The offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties, such as a mule.
Well there you have it; varieties clearly include the term breeds (which are just different varieties of an animal or plant within a species). In case I need to define that word as well, here it is:
- Breed: a stock of animals or plants within a species having a distinctive appearance and typically having been developed by deliberate selection.
You can see that anyone could reasonably argue that a cockapoo is not only a hybrid but also a breed of dog. This would be particularly accurate when discussing cockapoo dogs produced from cockapoo parents.
In the event you want to be super picky I’ll even include definitions used by Biology Online:
- Hybrid: The offspring produced from crossbreeding.
- Crossbreeding: The act or process of producing offspring by mating purebred individuals of different breeds, varieties or species.
“Designer Dogs” are the result of deliberate crossbreeding. They are hybrid animals. The Cockapoo is a hybrid. And just for the record I really dislike the term “designer dog” which is why I put it in quotations like that. That is my passive aggressive way of being snarky. I dislike the term because it was invented as a marketing gimmick, a way to sell animals. Anyone that markets their animals and produces animals for the sole purpose of selling them is not a person I respect. They are doing dogs and humans alike a terrible disservice and so terms like “designer” or “teacup” in relation to any dog really rubs me the wrong way.
This growing trend to hybridize dogs is not a bad thing in and of itself, unless you happen to think improvement of the species is undesirable. And everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions (and their own breeding practices). I personally think it is silly when people tell me that I have no “right” to create a dog breed, and that if I wanted to participate in the development of a dog breed I should have been born a hundred years ago. (Are you saying I should have thought about this before I decided to be born…?)
Well, I certainly can’t help what century I was born in; though I envy those that have such amazing control over their time to come into existence. Fortunately I’m quite thankful I am alive during this time of wonder. We have such things as a solid understanding of germ theory, virtually pain-free dental care, oh and the internet, through which my work can come to your eyes now. Thank God for improvement and innovation.