Dog crossbreeds, sometimes called designer dogs, are dogs that have been intentionally bred from two or more recognized dog breeds.
They are not dogs with no purebred ancestors, but are not otherwise recognized as breeds in their own right, and do not necessarily breed true.
Several types of dog crossbreeds date from the 14th century or earlier, such as the lurcher or the longdog.
Historically, crosses between dogs of different types were more well accepted at a time when modern purebred breeds (based on the eugenics principles) did not yet exist.
These types of crosses were performed to aggregate qualities of two different types in the same dog or to perfect an already fixed type of dog, always for working purposes.
An example to be cited is the famous case of Lord Orford's Greyhounds, which were improved by adding courage through the crossing with Old English Bulldogs, achieving the desired result after six generations.
With the success of Lord Orford's dogs, the practice was adopted by other Greyhound breeders and became more common.
The Encyclopædia Britannica traces what was the "designer dog" fad to the late 20th century, when breeders began to cross purebred Poodles with other purebred breeds to obtain a dog with the Poodle's hypoallergenic coat, along with various desirable characteristics from other breeds.
The primary identifying mark of a designer dog is that the resulting puppies are called by a portmanteau word made up of syllables (or sounds) from the breed names of the two purebred parents, such as Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle cross) or Shepsky (German Shepherd Dog/Siberian Husky cross). Other purebred breeds are being crossed to provide designer dogs described with an endless range of created labels, such as the Puggle (Pug and Beagle cross).
There are even complex crosses (with multiple breeds in recent ancestry) being labeled in this manner, such as German Chusky (German Shepherd Dog, Siberian Husky, and Chow Chow cross). Like children in a family, a percentage of designer dogs with the same breed ancestry will look similar to each other, even though crossbreeding does not result in as uniform a phenotype as the breeding of purebreds. Often even pups in the same litter will look quite different.
Another defining characteristic of designer dogs is that they are usually bred as companion dogs and pets. Working and hunting dogs deliberately crossbred for a particular working purpose is not generally given portmanteau names; they are most often referred to by a type name, such as Eurohounds (racing sled dogs) or lurchers (hunting dogs).
These dogs could be considered only as crossbreeds, not as designer animals since appearance is not the main reason for them to be bred. An exception to this is the Labradoodle, which although having a portmanteau name, is often used as a Guide or Assistance dog as well as being a popular family dog.
Although designer dogs are often selected by owners for their novelty, reputable breeders sometimes use crossbreeding in an attempt to reduce the incidence of certain hereditary problems found in the purebred dogs, while retaining their more appealing traits. Jon Mooallem, writing in The New York Times, commented, "Given the roughly 350 inherited disorders littering the dog genome, crossing two purebreds and expanding their gene pools can be a phenomenally good idea,' according to one canine geneticist—if it is done conscientiously."
Crossbreeding has not been well studied in dogs, although it has been for livestock. The heritability of the desired trait being bred for (such as a hypoallergenic coat) needs to be known; "Heritability is the proportion of the measurable difference observed between animals for a given trait that is due to genetics (and can be passed to the next generation)."
Besides, the goals of dog crossbreeding may be harder to define than the goals of livestock crossbreeding; good temperament may be harder to define and measure than high calf weight.
Designer dog breeders are often criticized for being more interested in profitable puppy production than in dog health and welfare. Wally Conron, writing in Reader's Digest, comments on the popularity of crosses after he introduces the Labradoodle: "Were breeders bothering to check their sires and bitches for heredity faults, or were they simply caught up in delivering to hungry customers the next status symbol?
Designer dog puppies sometimes bring higher prices than the purebreds from which they are bred. Fanciers of designer dogs say that all modern dog breeds were created from earlier breeds and types of dogs through the same kind of selective breeding that is used to create designer dogs. The Toy Poodle was bred down in size from the larger Standard Poodle, most likely by crossing with various very small Bichon types, such as the Maltese and Havanese.
Most of the modern breeds have ancestries that include various older dog types and breeds; see individual breed articles for details of the origin of each breed.
The health of crossbred dogs depends on their being descended from healthy parents. Breeders who select their breeding stock for cost-effectiveness and who skip health testing for the same reason will not produce puppies that are as reliably healthy as those bred by more conscientious breeders.
However, studies of longevity in dogs have found some advantages for crossbreeds compared to purebred dogs. In general, it is believed that crossbred dogs "have a far lower chance of exhibiting the disorders that are common with the parental breeds. Their genetic health will be substantially higher."
Many breeders of designer dogs take advantage of the fact that people are impressed by a pet that they believe offers them elevated social status, such as other "designer" goods do. "It's human nature to aspire to own something a little different, a little fancy, or in short supply."
Top 30 Best Labrador Retriever Mixes
- Aussiedor (Labrador Retriever X Australian Shepherd)
Labs have pretty high energy levels on their own, but when you combine a Lab with an Australian shepherd, you get a high-octane pooch that is READY TO ROCK at all times! So, make sure you’re ready to provide plenty of exercise time before adding one of these pups to your family.
This combination of breeds also produces some pretty adorable color patterns, which just adds to their appeal.
- Bullador (Labrador Retriever X American Bulldog)
These super-cute dogs look kind of like Labs that learned to bench press. But while they may have blockier builds than typical Labs, most of these guys and gals are big softies, who love nothing more than cuddling with their humans.
Like Labs, American bulldogs excel at a wide variety of tasks, making them great all-around dogs for families, farmers, hunters, and more!
- Labrakita (Labrador Retriever X Akita)
This is one of our favorite Lab combos, as it involves two completely different kinds of breeds. Labs are lovable goofballs who are all about fun and games, while Akitas are no-nonsense pooches, who project an air of competence and quiet dignity.
You never quite know what you’ll get with these kinds of mixes. One pooch in the litter may take after the Lab parent, while another may more closely resemble the Akita.
- Labraheeler (Labrador Retriever X Australian Cattle Dog)
Weird name, huh? Well, that’s because the Australian cattle dog is also known as the blue or Queensland heeler (a name derived from the dogs’ tendency to nip at the heels of cattle and other animals).
Name aside, these playful pups have off-the-charts energy levels, so be sure you have a big yard and plenty of time to visit the park before adding one of these dogs to your family.
- Borador (Labrador Retriever X Border Collie)
We’ve written about the Borador before (they’re easily one of our favorite border collie mixes), so we’ll keep things short and sweet here: These are sweet, super-energetic, and smart pups.
They can make excellent pets, but — like most other intelligent breeds and mixes — you need to keep them busy or they’ll get into mischief.
- Beagador (Labrador Retriever X Beagle)
Looking for the ideal four-footed friend for your kids? Well, the Beagador may be just the thing! They’re undoubtedly cute, but the combination of the Lab’s loyalty and the beagle’s thirst for adventure means this mix will surely follow your children around like a proverbial shadow.
These mixed-breed dogs may occasionally present training challenges, and they’ll likely shed pretty heavily, but they may still be a great fit for your family.
- Bullmasador (Labrador Retriever X Bullmastiff)
Like most other working breeds who were expected to guard their families, flock, and territory, bullmastiffs are often quite affectionate with their humans. But, they can be a bit aloof around strangers.
But when you cross a bullmastiff with a Lab — a dog who views all strangers as potential pals — all bets are off!
These mixes can be a bit of a housekeeping headache, as Labs shed pretty heavily, while bullmastiffs are Olympic-caliber droolers.
- Spanador (Labrador Retriever X Cocker Spaniel)
The Spanador is pretty special: It is a combination of the two most popular breeds of all time. Labs have held the #1 spot since 1991, but the cocker spaniel has sat atop the popularity pyramid in 23 different years since the 1940s.
As you’d expect, these little dudes and dudettes are pretty awesome pooches. They’re smart, loving, and make great pets for most families.
- Corgidor (Labrador Retriever X Corgi)
Corgis are famous for their charming personalities and spunky nature (not to mention those gigantic ears), so when you combine them with the Lab’s 24-karat-gold heart, you get a wonderful puppy who makes a great family pet.
Note that there are two different corgi breeds (the Cardigan Welsh corgi and the Pembroke Welsh corgi), and each will produce a slightly different version of this mixed breed.
- Doberdor (Labrador Retriever X Doberman Pinscher)
Given that Dobermans and Labs are both very affectionate dogs who bond strongly with their owners, these mixed breed pups will make great companions for individuals and families alike. They’re sure to be smart too, so training them should be a breeze.
- Dalmador (Labrador Retriever X Dalmatian)
Looking for a running companion?
You may just want to consider the Dalmador. Labs make pretty good jogging partners themselves, and Dalmatians can run for days. So, when you combine these breeds, you better make sure your laces are tight, and you’re ready to start pickin’ ’em up and puttin’ ’em down!
Honestly, there are a variety of Dalmatian mixes available for fans of polka-dotted pooches.
- Bullador (Labrador Retriever X Bulldog)
We already took a look at a Lab crossed with an American bulldog above, but this cutey is the product of a Lab and a bulldog with English roots. Although they’re now simply called bulldogs, the breed was known as the English bulldog until relatively recently.
These pups are likely a little calmer (bordering on downright lazy) than many other Lab mixes, so they may be perfect for people looking for a low-key pet.
If you can’t get enough of this guy, make sure to check out our guide to bulldog mixed breeds too!
- Shepard (Labrador Retriever X German Shepherd)
Some mixed breeds (and purebred dogs, for that matter) are tricky to train. But that shouldn’t be a problem for the Sheprador. Shepherds and Labs are both famous for their intelligence and willingness to learn, so these little mutts are sure to be ready for whatever skills you’d like to teach them.
These dogs will likely shed all over your house, and they’ll need lots of exercises and stuff to do. But for the right families, they’re a fantastic choice.
- Goldador (Labrador Retriever X Golden Retriever)
If there’s a better dog for first-time owners than the Lab, it’s surely the golden retriever. So, novice owners looking for a mixed-breed dog may find that the Goldador is perfect!
Sweet, loyal, affectionate, fun, gentle, smart — the list of positive traits these dogs possess would go on for days. Just be sure you can provide enough exercise for them and that you don’t mind some shed hair before bringing one home.
- Labradane (Labrador Retriever X Great Dane)
We’re guessing the first person who decided to make this canine combo was simply in love with Labs and wanted the biggest one possible! Of course, it’s also possible that the combo creator simply wanted a Lab that would chill out a little more often — something Great Danes excel at!
There aren’t a ton of Labradanes around, so it isn’t entirely clear how big they get. That said, you should definitely be prepared for a large pooch if you add one of these magnificent mutts to your pack.
- Labsky (Labrador Retriever X Siberian Husky)
Have you ever wanted a Lab with two different colored eyes? No problemo! Just add a bit of husky to the mix!
Of course, not all huskies have two different colored eyes, so your Labsky may end up with matching peepers. But some do end up with the common husky eye-color combination of brown and blue.
Lucky Labsky owners get a dog that’s beautiful, fluffy, and owner-oriented — a perfect combination of husky and Lab traits. But, you may also end up with a mischievous goofball, who loves running around the backyard at Mach 3.
Like Dalmadors, these guys and gals would also make excellent running companions.
- Labrasetter (Labrador Retriever X Irish Setter)
We’re taking the owner’s word for it on the identification of this gorgeous pooch. There aren’t many Irish-setter-Lab-mixes running around, so we don’t have much to compare her with. Additionally, she looks a lot like a flat-coated retriever.
In any event, we’re guessing this cutie is as sweet as the average Lab, as fun-loving as the average Irish setter, and sheds enough hair to cover the entire house daily.
- Kelpador (Labrador Retriever X Australian Kelpie)
Kelpies aren’t especially common canines, at least in the States. But that’s a shame, as they’re capable, independent, and intelligent dogs. But one thing’s for sure: You better keep your Kelpie busy, or they’ll find something interesting to do on their own.
You’re probably not terribly likely to see one of these canine-combos at your local shelter, but if you want a lovable pooch who’s ready to work all day long, a Kelpador may be a great choice.
- Maladore (Labrador Retriever X Alaskan Malamute)
You’d never characterize Labrador retrievers as “prissy” or “high maintenance.” Just look at the layers of mud and wet fur that cover happy Labs returning from a day of duck hunting. Labs don’t allow things like weather or dirt to slow them down.
But, the Alaskan malamute maybe even more rough-and-tumble — neither mud, nor rain, nor snow seems to bother these guys and gals very much.
So, if you need a dog that’s ready to take on everything Mother Nature can throw at you (except extreme heat — these pups would overheat easily), consider making a Maladore your sidekick.
- Laboundland (Labrador Retriever X Newfoundland)
We totally made this name up, but it ended up being one of our favorites!
Perhaps one of the sweetest and gentlest canine combos on this list, Laboundlands are blessed with two-parent breeds who’re celebrated for their loving nature.
These are also a great choice for families with kids, as both breeds tend to get along fabulously with little humans. Just be sure to supervise canine-kid time and teach your kids how to interact with a dog.
Want to see some other Newfoundland mixes? (That’s a rhetorical question — you definitely want to see some of those pooches.)
- Labrabull (Labrador Retriever X Pit Bull)
Cards on the table: We love this mix. If there’s a breed friendly enough to give Labs a run for their money, it’s the pit bull, and both breeds are people-oriented, people-pleasers at heart.
Now, they may very well present some challenges. These dogs have energy for days and they’ll gladly chew up anything they can get their muzzle on if allowed to become bored. They’re also susceptible to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
So, while Labrabulls are certainly lovable, they aren’t a great option for folks who work long hours, travel frequently, or aren’t willing to spend hours playing with their pooch.
- Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever X Poodle)
We’re waving right back at ya, cutie!
Perhaps the most famous Lab mix, the Labradoodle is a mixed-breed mutt with a purpose: They combine all of the great traits Labs possess in a low-shedding package!
This shouldn’t be considered a slight to poodles, as they’re fantastic dogs in their own right. But the primary reason they’re used in these crosses (as well as in golden retrievers mixes) is to create the ultimate family dog, who’s not so hard on those with dog allergies.
- Pugador (Labrador Retriever X Pug)
Honestly, we were kind of hoping there wasn’t a widely used name for this mix, as we wanted to call them “Lugs.” But a lot of people have already started using the term Pugador, so that’s what we went with.
Given that Labs and pugs both love hanging around with their person more than anything else, these are a great option for owners who want a second shadow.
It is important to exercise caution when taking these doggos to the pool or beach, though. While Labs are world-class swimmers of the canine world, pugs aren’t always terribly comfortable in the water.
- Pointador (Labrador Retriever X Pointer)
Historically, pointers and retrievers were developed to perform different tasks for their humans. So, this canine combination may make an excellent all-around hunting companion.
But that doesn’t mean Pointadors are only well-suited for hunters — they’ll also make good family pets. Just be sure you’re ready to give them plenty to do, as these dogs have tons of energy and get bored very easily.
- Rottador (Labrador Retriever X Rottweiler)
What is not to love about these black-and-tan beauties? Rottadors combine the fun-loving and friendly nature of Labs with the super-affectionate nature of Rottweilers (a trait they rarely get enough credit for) to create a wonderful canine companion.
These pups are often sensitive (even a tad clingy), so they’re not a great choice for owners who aren’t home for long periods of time. They may be sweeties, but they’ll cause all kinds of damage if bored or lonely.
Make sure to check out our collection of Rottweiler mixes for more black and brown bombshells!
- Labernard (Labrador Retriever X Saint Bernard)
The only way to make that little cutie any more adorable would be to strap a collar with a tiny barrel full of brandy on his neck! (Sadly, the brandy-barrel thing is a myth, but we can still dream!)
Myths and cuteness aside, this incredible canine combo would likely make a great pet for families with kids, as both parent breeds are famously fantastic with youngsters. Just be sure to give your kids the rundown on how to interact with dogs, as these pups are likely to get huge!
- A Labratzu (Labrador Retriever X Shih Tzu)
The idea of combining the small and scruffy Shih Tzu with the large and lean Labrador may seem like a funny idea, but this sweet hairy guy is proof that it’s a winning combination!
These little guys and gals are likely to be a bit bolder than your average Lab, yet a little more easy-going than your average Shih Tzu, which may make them the perfect pick for some.
And while some small breeds are a little prickly around children, Shih Tzus often work well with kids. And if you combine them with kid-loving Labs, the results are often pretty awesome!
- Labrala (Labrador Retriever X Vizsla)
Vizslas have several things in common with Labs, so this is one of those canine combos that should (theoretically) be pretty easy to predict.
They’re both affectionate with their peeps, full of energy, and sensitive, so they’re perfect for owners who want to spend lots of time with their pooch. This is not a good combination for owners who spend long hours at the office each week.
These pups would also make good running companions. In fact, taking them on regular jogs will help tucker them out and make managing them much easier.
- Labmaraner (Labrador Retriever X Weimaraner)
Crossing Labrador retrievers and Weimaraners may get you in hot water with some canine enthusiasts. In fact, the infamous “silver Lab” is thought by some to be a byproduct of this combination.
This upsets some breed purists and delights those who enjoy designer dogs. But we just think they’re gorgeous!
Just be sure that you take the time to meet a Weimaraner or two before picking up one of these magnificent mutts. Weimaraners look a lot like Labs, but they also differ in several ways.
- Whipador (Labrador Retriever X Whippet)
Just try to look at that photo without smiling — it can’t be done.
The Whipador is sort of like the espresso version of a Lab — it comes in a smaller package and it’s chock full of energy! But once they stop running around, they just love snuggling with their people.
In fact, Whipadors are great for families with kids, as both parent breeds are typically excellent with children. Just don’t expect them to be good guard dogs — they think everyone they see is potential friend material.