Mixed Breed Dogs

Why Test Your Dog?

Where does Buddy get his curly tail from? Why does he love digging holes in the backyard? What could I be doing more to make him happier and healthier? Your dog may not be able to tell you the answers - but his DNA can. The ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test can help explain a mixed-breed dog's ancestry.

Over 1.9 million mixed-breed dog owners in Australia know their dogs…but not as well as they could. With a simple blood test at your Veterinarian, the ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed DNA Identification Test can determine the ancestry of a mixed-breed dog by testing for more than 200 breeds, the largest database on the market. Within three weeks, your Veterinarian will be e-mailed your personal Report that reveals your dog's genetic background, breed related behavioural characteristics, adult size/weight prediction, recommended nutrition program and a pre-screening for breed-related genetic diseases.

A dog's ancestry can influence him in surprising ways. Obvious and not-so-obvious physical traits plus behaviors like digging, herding and barking all come from the various breeds in a dog's family tree. Once an owner understands a dog's natural tendencies, it makes it possible to create a tailored training, exercise and nutrition program to fit his one-of-a-kind needs.

What will my dog's report tell me?

The ADVANCE™ Mixed Breed Identification DNA Test detects the breeds in your dog's ancestry. Your report can be interpreted in the following way:

  • Parent A breed that represents approximately 50% of your dog's DNA. You are likely to see the most physical and behavioral traits from this breed. Dogs with mixed-breed parents will not have a breed represented at this level.
  • Grandparent A breed that represents approximately 25% of your dog's DNA. You may see some physical and behavioral traits from this breed. Dogs with a very mixed ancestry may not have a breed represented at this level.
  • Great-Grandparent A breed that represents approximately 12.5% of your dog's DNA. You are unlikely to see many traits from this breed unless they are dominant.

When you understand your dog's natural tendencies, you can tailor a training, exercise and nutrition program to his needs.

What Is a Mixed Breed Dog?

A mixed breed dog is a cross between two dogs of different breed.

Mixed breed dogs can vary in the complexity of their heritage - from the most simple first generation cross breed mix of two pedigree breeds (for example, the Cockapoo, which is the offspring of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle) to outbred dogs that live in freely interbreeding populations in the wild.

Outbred or wild dogs have no recent ancestry from pedigree dog populations, and can be considered to be true mixed breed dogs. In many outbred dogs, all 8 grandparents were also mixed breed dogs. Mixed breed dogs vary greatly in size, shape, and color, and consequently, are often difficult to classify physically.

Features Of Mixed Breed Dogs

A range of possible body shapes and sizes may be seen in the appearance of mixed breed dogs that arise from their purebred ancestors, including specific ear types, tail styles, muzzle shapes and coat lengths, colors and textures.

Typical Ear types

Typical Tail styles

Typical Muzzle shapes

Physical features characteristic of certain breeds, such as the flattened face of the British Bulldog or the extremely curled tail of the Pug, seldom survive even the first crossbreeding.

Predicting Inherited Characteristics

Identifying the heritage of a mixed breed dog in the absence of information about its parents or grandparents is difficult, even for knowledgeable dog observers such as veterinarians, because mixed breeds display much more genetic variation than purebreds.

Mixed breed dogs can be any size, weight, or color; however, some features are more common than others:

  • Regardless of parental coloring, the coat color for mixed breed dogs is often a light-to-medium brown (sometimes referred to as "yellow") or black, frequently with white markings on the chest and elsewhere
  • A brown coat with black across the top and sides is also quite common especially in outbred dog populations.
  • Some breeds are more likely than others to pass on their physical traits to mixed breed progeny
  • For example, specific breeds of Collies and Spaniels often produce offspring with their characteristic coat or ear shape
  • Crossbred offspring of German Shepherds usually share similar facial shape and features
  • Mixed breeds often have an intermediate size between that of their parents 

Fading Hereditary Characteristics

With each generation of indiscriminate breeding, the offspring of mixed breed dogs lose the distinguishing traits that are observed in pedigree breeds, and will take on characteristics that are common to many breeds.

For example, wild dogs that have descended from many generations of mixed breed dogs often match the following profile:

  • Light brown or black in color
  • Weigh approximately 40 lbs
  • Stand between 1 and 2 feet tall at the withers

Different Characteristics in Mixed Breed Puppies

For example, a single litter from a cross of two pure breeds can produce very different looking puppies as is seen in the example above.

Identifying Genetic Background

Mixed breed dogs can be simple or complex. Simple mixed breeds have few breeds in their recent heritage. Complex mixed breeds have some recent and some very distant ancestors in their heritage.

More breeds in a dog's ancestral history or more ancestors of mixed breed origin make it difficult to identify the pedigree dogs within a dog.

Genetic signatures from pedigree parents of a mixed breed dog are easier to detect than grandparents, and both are much easier to detect than great grandparents.

The further back in any dog's heritage a given pedigree dog breed is, the more mixed and dilute the characteristic genetic signature will be.

Each of these dogs has a German Shepherd parent or grandparent



  • Long wedge-shaped muzzle
  • Black-and-tan coat color
  • Saddle coat pattern
  • Saddle coat pattern

  • Saddle coat pattern
  • Prick ears
  • Long wedge-shaped muzzle
  • No physical characteristics of German Shepherd