What are pedigree, crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs?

4 January 2022 - 4 min read
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Is a Labradoodle a crossbreed or a pedigree? Does it depend on its parents or the person you're asking? In this article, we aim to demystify the definition of breeds and the impact it has on pet insurance prices.

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What's the confusion over pedigree, mixed breed and crossbreed pets?

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Different people or organisations define things differently. Some owners feel a pedigree dog is one The Kennel Club recognises. Others believe if its parents are the same breed, it's a pedigree.

When you get a quote, it's important to use the definition given by the insurance company. If you don't, you could end up paying more than necessary or having a claim rejected.

Some people use the terms pedigree and purebred interchangeably (as we do here). But to others, purebred means the animal’s parents are of the same breed, while pedigree means it has a recorded breeding history.

What’s a pedigree dog?

Insurers will usually class a pedigree or purebreed if its parents are of the same breed.

Here's the difference between each type:

  • Pedigree - Parents are of the same breed

  • Crossbreed - Parents are of two different breeds

  • Mixed breed - Parents are of three or more different breeds

So if your dog has two pug parents, that means you’ve got a pedigree Pug. And if both parents are Puggles, it's a pedigree Puggle.

Many insurance companies don’t care if The Kennel Club recognises a breed (for example, Pugs are, but Puggles aren’t).

Some people take the term pedigree to refer to purebred dogs that a breed club registers. But even within this categorisation, there's a grey area. Some argue that there are breeds that started as a crossbreed but have been around long enough to be classed as pedigree.

What's a crossbreed dog?

The term crossbreed refers to dogs with parents from different breeds. For example, a Labrador and a Poodle created a Labradoodle.

Most insurers would class first-generation Labradoodles as a crossbreed. But if you bred it with another Labradoodle, their offspring would be a ‘pedigree Labradoodle’ according to some insurers.

Sometimes crossbreeds are bred together for a long enough time and they're considered a new pedigree breed. Examples like the Cesky Terrier which The Kennel Club recognises.

Popular crossbreeds like Cockapoos and Labradoodles are sometimes referred to as designer dogs. These two crossbreeds aren’t recognised as their own breeds by The Kennel Club.

Designer dogs can be crossbreeds or pedigrees in the eyes of insurers. It depends on what list of breeds they recognise and whether their parents are the same breed or not.

Some insurance companies will ask for the dominant breed of your pet to work out your premium. The dominant breed of a crossbreed could be either its father or its mother. But it's usually defined as the breed your dog most closely resembles.

Insurance considerations

Crossbreeds can sometimes benefit from lower insurance premiums compared to purebreds. This is often based on the theory of "hybrid vigour". It's a term that means people perceive crossbreeds as healthier and less prone to disease. But the actual health benefits can vary depending on the specific breeds involved.

What's a mixed-breed dog?

Mixed breed dogs, or mutts, are dogs that have more than two different breeds in their lineage. Their ancestry is often unknown or involves several different breeds over generations.

Insurance considerations

Mixed-breed dogs often have the lowest insurance premiums among the three categories. This is because they are generally considered to have a lower risk of genetic health problems. But the actual health of a mixed breed can be unpredictable. Insurers may base their evaluations on the dog's known history and health records.

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What’s the best dog breed?

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If you're considering getting a dog, it’s a good idea to research the traits of breeds you’re interested in. You should consider your living situation too.

For example, a giant breed might not suit apartment living. And some dogs make better companions for children. It really comes down to the individual dog in most cases. Different types and sizes of dogs suit different circumstances.

And don’t rule out rescue dogs either. Your local rescue will likely work hard to match your family with the perfect companion. They often have an assortment of crossbreeds and even pedigrees.

Our data shows that the classic Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog from November 2020 to October 2021. But it’s great to see a healthy spectrum of pedigrees, crossbreeds and mixed breeds in the top 10:

Most popular dog breeds insured by ManyPets (2020-21):

  1. Labrador Retriever

  2. Cockapoo

  3. Cocker Spaniel

  4. Medium Mixed Breed

  5. French Bulldog

  6. Small Mixed Breed

  7. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  8. Large Mixed Breed

  9. Cavapoo

  10. German Shepherd

Does breed impact insurance price?

A lot goes into insurance pricing. But generally, insurers base prices on factors like:

  • Age

  • Breed

  • Cover level

  • Location

We discuss how breeds impact insurance pricing in our article on dog insurance cost.

Are pedigree dogs more expensive to insure than mixed breeds?

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Some pedigrees are more likely to have health problems than crossbreeds and mixed breeds. It's mainly because they are less genetically diverse. These pedigree dogs tend to be more expensive to insure than other breeds for that reason.

Some common congenital conditions are epilepsy, which is often inherited by Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherds, and entropion (a curling of the eyelid) common in Shar Peis.

Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, can also inherit serious ailments such as subaortic stenosis (SAS). This condition causes a narrowing of the blood passageways and can lead to heart problems.

Most insurers are unable to insure pre-existing conditions in your pet. That means they won’t pay a claim for something your dog’s previously suffered from.

But at ManyPets, we have a pet insurance policy for pets with pre-existing conditions.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions.

Irina Wells
Content Marketing Executive

Irina is a former content marketing executive for ManyPets. She has contributed to a number of personal finance sites, including Loot Financial Services and Claro Money.