Dog breed hybrids, also called designer dogs, are a first generation mix between two pure bred dogs. Hybrid mixes are usually chosen between similar dog breeds and selected for certain features. Hybrids are not recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and are not shown at dog shows, yet they can still make wonderful pets.
American Pit Bull Terrier
The pit bull has a bad reputation as an aggressive and dangerous dog, but the breed is actually highly trainable and sweet. Pit bulls have lean, muscular and strong bodies that make them popular guard dogs, and unfortunately, popular for dog fighting. The large rounded head and jaw can bite down with tremendous force. Pit bulls are loyal and gentle when socialised and trained properly, and are even good with children.
Like the English bulldog, the American bulldog was bred for bull bating. The American bulldog is a taller, leaner and a more agile version of the English bulldog. The breed has kept its short muzzle and bulldog colouring, but is a far more capable working dog than the English version. American bulldogs are muscular and lean working dogs that enjoy protecting and helping their owners. The breed is frequently used as guard dogs and often competes in weight pulling competitions.
A first generation mix between an American Bulldog and Pit Bull results in a hybrid dog. The physical characteristics of both dogs are quite similar, so there are only a few changes in appearance. The introduction of the longer pit bull nose elongates the muzzle with respect to the American bulldog. The pit bull's shorter legs and stockier frame make the dog smaller than an American bulldog. The body remains lean and muscular and the dogs are strong. The temperament is difficult to predict, but the hybrid should have a mix of the characteristics of both breeds, some of which they have in common. The hybrid dog should be protective, hard working and loyal.
Hybrid dogs tend to be much healthier than pure bred dogs, because of the genetic variation achieved through mixing. Both American bulldogs and pit bulls have health problems that can be passed to a hybrid mix, including hip dysplasia, allergies and congenital heart disease. Since both dogs are prone to hip dysplasia the risk of passing it on is higher. Generally, both breeds are healthy in comparison to many other full-breed dogs, so hybrid mixes should not have many health problems.