Pedigree vs mixed breed vs crossbreed dogs: Understanding the terms

January 4, 2022 - 4 min read

This article was written for the United Kingdom market and the advice provided may not be accurate for those in the United States.

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 how breeds are defined and the impact it has on dog insurance prices.

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

Different people or organisations have their own definitions of what a pedigree dog is. Some owners feel a pedigree dog has to be recognised by and registered with The Kennel Club, while others believe if its parents are the same breed it can be classed as a pedigree.

When you get a pet insurance quote, it's important to use the definition given by the insurance company, even if it differs from your own. 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, whereas pedigree means its breeding history has been recorded.

A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

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A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

What’s a pedigree dog?

When it comes to pet insurance, your dog will usually be classified as a pedigree or purebred if its parents are of the same breed. Here's how we explain it when you get a quote from us:

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 a breed is recognized by the Kennel Club (for example, Pugs are, but Puggles aren’t).

Away from insurance, some people use the term pedigree to refer to purebred dogs that are registered with a breed club. But even within this categorization, there is a gray area because some argue that there are breeds that started out as crossbreeds but have been around long enough to be classified as pedigree.

Are pedigree dogs more expensive to insure than mixed breeds?

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

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

Your insurance premium will also depend on other factors, including the age of your dog and where you live.

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


Pre-existing conditions and insurance - how does it work?

ManyPets has exclusions for pre-existing conditions, but past conditions don’t always prevent future coverage. Get the details.


What is a crossbreed dog?

The term crossbreed refers to dogs with parents from different breeds – for example, a Labrador and a Poodle creating a Labradoodle.

This first generation Labradoodle would be classed as crossbreed by most insurers. 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 are eventually considered a new pedigree breed, like the Cesky Terrier, which is recognized by the Kennel Club.

Some of the most popular crossbreeds are Cockapoos and Labradoodles, and they are sometimes referred to as designer dogs. These two crossbreeds aren’t recognized as their own breeds by the Kennel Club.

Designer dogs can be crossbreeds or pedigrees in the eyes of insurers, depending on what list of breeds they recognize 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 is usually defined as the breed your dog most closely resembles.

What’s the best dog breed?

If you are considering getting a dog, it’s a good idea to research the traits of the breeds you’re interested in, as well as some other things you need to think about first.

But while 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 probably work hard to match your family with the perfect companion, and 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-October 2021, but it’s great to see a healthy spectrum of pedigrees, crossbreeds, and mixed breeds in the top 10:

  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

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.