Let’s face it: Trendy designer dogs are beyond cute. Most of the time, they have squishy little faces that nobody could resist — but would you drop over $1,000 on a dog that isn’t a pure breed or even recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed?
For many, the answer is yes. Designer dogs come with a huge price tag — some even cost way more than AKC-recognized purebred pups — but that hasn’t slowed their popularity.
What even is a designer dog?
The short answer is that a designer dog is a cross between two purebred dogs — a hybrid.
But just because a designer dog isn’t a purebreed doesn’t mean it is an accidental hookup between two random dogs that just happen to have cute puppies. Not every mutt or mixed breed dog is considered a designer dog. Hybrid dogs are an intentional mix of two purebred dogs, typically bred to bring out the best traits of each breed. For example, Labradoodles are a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle, producing a large, friendly dog that doesn’t shed much.
Another advantage of hybrid dogs is better health. According to the International Designer Canine Association, “A fundamental motive for [hybrid breeding] is the attempt to reduce the occurrence of certain hereditary health problems frequently found in the purebred breeds used for the designer cross, while retaining their more appealing and often healthier traits.”
The American Canine Hybrid Club lists nearly 600 hybrid dog breeds, some mixes costing much more than others. If you’re looking to join the designer dog trend, check out these popular — and, in some cases, super-expensive — hybrid canines.
Love the family-oriented personality of a Lab, but don’t want to deal with all the shedding? Then a labradoodle may be the right dog for you. A cross between a Labrador retriever and poodle, this hybrid dog was first bred in Australia in the 1980s by breeder Wally Conron, who sought to create a dog with the Lab’s friendly and obedient character and the poodle’s hypoallergenic coat.
Cost: Up to $1,500 on Puppyfinder.com
Another family-friendly hybrid, the goldendoodle is a cross between the golden retriever and poodle. It’s been around since the 1990s. Goldendoodles are trainable, eager-to-please dogs that do well in large yards or with a family that can give it lots of attention and exercise.
Cost: Up to $2,000 on PuppyFinder.com
A cross between the cocker spaniel and poodle, the cockapoo has been around in the United States since the 1940s. This nonshedding pup comes in a range of sizes depending on the size of the poodle used for breeding. Cockapoos are typically friendly and loyal companion dogs that are eager to please.
Cost: Up to $1800 on Puppyfinder.com
The peekapoo is a cross between a Pekingese and poodle. This small dog is ideal for pet lovers with allergies because its coat has little dander and doesn’t shed much. A good dog with kids and other animals, the peekapoo is an intelligent, trainable pup that does well indoors.
Cost: Up to $1,500 on PuppyFinder.com
A cute cross between the Chihuahua and Yorkshire terrier, the chorkie is a diminutive designer dog that is smart, playful and loves to travel (and at around its characteristic 6-pound size, is easy to transport). Chorkies can have long or short coats and — bonus — don’t require extensive grooming.
Cost: Up to $950 on PuppyFinder.com
Recognized by the International Designer Canine Association since 2009, the puggle is a hybrid dog created by breeding the pug and the beagle. Typically small in stature, puggles are friendly, energetic family dogs that do well indoors but do require daily exercise.
Cost: Up to $500 on PuppyFinder.com
If you like small, affectionate and fluffy pups, the maltipom may be the dog for you. A mix between the Maltese and Pomeranian, the maltipom is a playful high-energy canine that is eager to please and loyal to its family. Because of its long silky hair, this hybrid dog does need regular brushing.
Cost: Up to $1,150 on PuppyFinder.com
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.
Originally published October 2013. Updated January 2017.