What is a Dog?

There is and will always be considerable confusion among dog fanciers and other publics in regard to breeds of dogs and their relations to other dog-like animals. One of the words that some of us maintain is misused or, at least, used by various people in different ways, is “hybrid.”

Many dictionaries inadequately define hybrids as being “individuals produced by breeding (crossing) different races, varieties, species, etc.” Disagreements arise when the correspondents do not agree (even temporarily) on the same definition. If you include wolves and domestic dogs in the same grouping because there is no hindrance to one fertilizing the other and resulting in equally-fertile offspring, then I cannot agree to call the result a hybrid. No more than Chinese and Caucasian humans’ children are hybrids. A better term for either might be “mixed” (we use the term “mixed-breed” in speaking of dogs, but usually “mixed heritage” re humans). Since canids mate and produce offspring which in turn are just as fertile, I feel it is wrong to call them hybrids. Dingoes, coyotes, wolves, and domestic dogs are all really breeds of Canis (dogs, canids). Their offspring should not be called hybrids, but rather “crosses” just as we would call a Cockapoo a “cross.”  Continue reading