Many of us have seen the Gilbert Shelton Fat Freddy’s Cat comic wherein FFC encounters a funny-looking little dog with a great big head.
Since it’s a humor comic, the two beasts have a conversation, during which the FLLDWAGBH reveals that he’s a Great Wawa – that is, a cross between a Chihuahua and a Great Dane. Of course, the smaller member of this curious canine coupling was the papa. “I know what you’re wondering – he stood on a chair!”
Which got me wondering how often something similar has actually been known to happen. All our working/companion/show dogs are the same species, of course; therefore, any intact female dog could be theoretically impregnated by any intact male one. Are there cases on record of two wildly size-variant breeds being bred, either accidentally or by some irresponsible kennelman with an artificial inseinator, a cruel sense of humor and a surplus of morbid curiousity? Again, the sire would have to be the smaller dog, because the other way around would certainly be fatal to the unfortunate dam.
And if there have been litters of such “wrongrels” whelped, where are the puppy photographs?
Anecdote: there can be physical difficulties. I’ve watched a Black Lab attempting to mount a small mutt (about 18 inches long). He just pushed her around the living room, trying to connect. It was bizarre, hilarious, and somewhat wince-inducing.
He was a pound puppy, so there’s no knowing for sure what he is, but we think my mom’s dog is a cross between a German shepherd and a beagle. It turned out well in his case: He’s a beautiful animal, and remarkably well-behaved.
To elaborate on that: Genuine breeds breed true. If I take two Labrador retrievers and cross them, the puppies will all be Labrador retrievers, too. But if I take two labradoodles (cross between a lab and a poodle) and cross them, the offspring can be anything from just like a lab to just like a poodle, in each of their many traits. So I could get some dogs which look just like labs, and some which look just like poodles, and some which look just like their parents, and some that look just like a lab except they’re the size of a poodle, or vice-versa, and so on. If I really liked labradoodles, and were really patient, then I could conduct many such crossings, and continue breeding the ones that most closely matched the labradoodle ideal and culling the ones that didn’t, and after many, many generations, I might eventually be able to produce a true-breeding new breed, but it would take a very long time (probably hundreds of generations, depending on how many dogs I started with and how close was “close enough”).
Well, the AKC has some fairly rigid restrictions on registering pups bred by artificial insemination. Not that this would matter much, since these cross-breed pups would be mutts, not-registrable anyway.
In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for owners of either the sire or the dam to participate in this experiment. Why would they cross their valuable, purebred animal to produce pups that are unregisterable mongrels? Most owners of breeding-quality purebred dogs have waiting lists for their pups – the ones produced by crossing within the breed. Why waste time & energy producing mutts? There are dog pounds full of them already.
My girl had a beagle mom and a husky-shepard dad. She was a beautiful dog too. She had the floppy ears and spots above the eyes of a beagle, but looked very much like a German Shepard otherwise; so much so that her vet thought she was a GS puppy when she was six!
I suppose it’s a cross that’s kind of hard on the mom, but Princess was a tiny puppy when we got her, so maybe not.