The Truth About Small Mixed Breed Dogs
Small mixed breed dogs are a great alternative if you don't want a full breed small dog. Maybe you think purebreds are too posh, too expensive, not healthy enough,... Or maybe you like the unknown of a mixed breed; what will he look like, how big will it grow, what will his character be like,...
Whatever the reason, there are a few things you will need to take into consideration. Below you'll find a breakdown of the most important things to keep in mind.
Where To Get Small Mixed Breed Dogs
Obviously, there are no small mixed breed breeders. Every mixture is different and unique. That doesn't mean you should buy your little mutt from every Tom, Dick or Harry.
First thing you want to look at is where the puppies grow up. In a barn? A secluded kennel? Then run like the wind. You want your future puppy to grow up inside the family house. Preferably, the owners will have made a litter box for the mother to have her puppies. This can be simple wooden box where she and her puppies can safely stay the first weeks, without being interrupted too much, but still close enough to the family to hear all the sounds and smell and smells.
This litter box should be relatively clean. If it isn't, that's usually a sign that the mother dog isn't taking all that good care of her pups. Which will influence the puppies behavior.
The owners/breeders should start socializing the pups at about 6 weeks of age. Make sure you ask them about that. They should also take them to the vet to get their first shots and a health check.
Another place to find small mixed breed dogs is the animal shelter. You'll find both puppies and adult dogs here, so it's really up to you which you choose. The downside is that you may not know the dog's history, but the people working at the shelter should be able to tell you more about the dog's character and behaviour.
What Will The Mutt Look Like
In my opinion, this is one of the fun parts about getting a mutt. Size, coat, weight are all unknown variables when it comes to a mutt puppy.
Is it a cross between 2 relatively similar breeds, then you're guesstimates will be pretty accurate. If it's a cross between a great dane and a chihuahua, then there's no knowing what the puppies will look like all grown up.
Or maybe the puppies are "true" mutts, one or both of the parent dogs were mixed breed dogs to begin with. In Tassie's case, they didn't even know who the father dog was. According to the shelter she was a cross between a poodle, dachshund and jack russel terrier, but they didn't really know. Wanna know what that looks like? Check out her picture below :-)
If you're certain you want the dog to have a certain weight or size, either get an adult mixed dog or a puppy of which you're sure the parent dogs where the desired size or weight.
The Character Of A Mutt
Usually, and that's in no way a guarantee, a mixed breed dog's character will be more neutral than a full breed dog's.
For example, a cross between an English bulldog and a border collie (now that's something I'd like to see), will most likely be more active than the bulldog and less hyper-kinetic than the collie.
When looking into small mixed breed dogs it's always a good idea to check the breed info of all the breeds you know or suspect to be added to the genetic cocktail. With a mix of 2 breeds, the puppy might lean to just one of the breeds. With a mixture of several breeds, chances are the temperament will be much more neutral.
Small Mixed Breed Dogs And Health
One of the number one reasons to choose a mutt is their general sturdiness. Chances of inbreeding and the resulting health issues are slim to none.
Again, a mix of just two breeds might still have one or more hereditary breed specific health problems. The more breeds are thrown into the mix, the smaller the chance of such problems occuring.
They're still possible though. Our first little mutt, Scruffy (see the picture below), suffered from loose kneecaps. So getting a small mixed breed doesn't automatically guarantee a healthy dog. It does however greatly increase the chances of a long and healthy dog life.
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