Crossbreeding Animals: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Have you ever seen a Gerberian Shepsky or a Bullmation? Well, guess what? These creatures really exist - and they are dogs! In this lesson, discover the science of crossbreeding and some creatures you may not have heard about.

What Is It?

Your friend has invited you over to meet her new dog. You're standing in her living room, being greeted by an overly active puppy, when confusion sets in. The puppy is white with black spots, just like a Dalmatian, but its head doesn't look anything like a Dalmatian! It has a more rounded head with a much shorter nose.

What kind of dog is this? You can't figure it out, and you think you might hurt your friend's feelings by asking. So let's determine what this dog is. To do that, we need to look at crossbreeding.

What Is Crossbreeding?

Crossbreeding is the mating of two animals that are different breeds within the same species. The key to this definition is the term species. Remember, species refers to a group of organisms that have many of the same characteristics, so they naturally mate together. Examples of a species are the dog species, cat species, horse species, chimpanzee species, or the dolphin species. Scientists believe there are over 8 million species in the world, so this species list could go on and on!


Just to make sure you truly have your brain wrapped around this definition, let's talk about something that crossbreeding is NOT. Crossbreeding IS NOT hybridization. Hybridization is the breeding of animals from TWO different species. An example of this would be taking a horse and breeding it with a zebra. Because these animals are from two different species, their offspring, or baby, would be a hybrid, not a crossbreed.

Now, let's look at a few examples of crossbreeding.

Is It a Dalmatian or a Bulldog?

A Bullmation

Meet the crossbreed known as a Bullmatian. This is what your friend's dog is. Both parents are from the dog species, but they are from different breeds. One parent is from the Dalmatian breed, while the other is from the Bulldog breed.

You might be asking yourself, why would people crossbreed these dogs? Well, usually crossbreeding is done to make a better animal - in other words, to take advantage of the good traits in both parents and pass them to the offspring. For example, because of a Bulldog's short nose, the breed usually has breathing problems. However, when you crossbreed a Dalmatian with a Bulldog, you get an offspring with a longer nose, like a Dalmatian. Hence, you solve the breathing problem!

Is It a German Shepherd or a Siberian Husky?

A Gerberian Shepsky that works as an FBI dog.

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