It’s the hottest trend in the pet world today. Hybrid, or designer dogs are not only hot - they’re irresistible. And, genetically, they’re a sound investment. They were designed that way.

It wasn’t that long ago crossbreeds were just plain old mutts. But today those same pups might be prized for their genetically mixed characteristics. They might have a special name - Colliedors or Labracolls. And they certainly would cost a small fortune (anywhere from $1000 to $1500 and up, way up).

The popularity of these dogs is, in part, a response to purebred inbreeding and irresponsible puppy mills. There’s growing demand for healthier, more rugged pets that don’t require costly surgeries two or three years down the road, expensive glucosamine for dogs tablets, and whose temperament isn’t in overdrive.

“A ‘designer’ or hybrid dog is a cross between two purebred dogs,” said a representative from For Love of the Breed in Brewster. “And a purebred dog is one that has been bred over many generations so that the lineage is true, which means that each purebred puppy has a predictable DNA and comes from a predictable gene pool in terms of temperament and other characteristics, according to a set of standards.” The American Kennel Club sets those standards for each breed. “But of course no such standards exists for crossbreeds, who are not admitted into the AKC. So there’s no such thing as hybrid predictability.” This is true, but good breeders are working on it.

The primary identifying mark of a hybrid is its made-up “breed” name, consisting of syllables (or sounds) from the breed names of the two purebred parents, such as Schnoodle (Schnauzer and poodle cross), Labradoodle (cross between a poodle and a lab), Goldendoodle (cross between a golden retreiver and a poodle) etc. According to dogbreedinfo.com, other purebred breeds are being designed with an endless range of created labels, such as the ShiChi (shiitzu and Chihuahua cross), the Chiweenie (Chihuahua and Dachshund cross), the Afador (Afghan Hound-Labrador Retriever cross), to name just a few.