The Mongrel Dog – A ‘Rare Breed’?. 


While it’s common to see crossbreed dogs – a mixture of just two different breeds – it’s more unusual to come across an old-fashioned “Heinz 57”. Holidays4dogs takes a look at the mongrel dog and their rarity compared to their pedigree chums.

With more attention on breeding purebred dogs, tighter dog control laws and rising numbers of unwanted dogs, the mongrel seems to be a dying breed. In some ways, this is a shame because they are unique in the truest sense of the word.

They are reputed to be more intelligent and said to possess a hybrid vigour that their purebred counterparts do not.

Indeed, in 2023 scientists conducted research which points to the fact that non-pedigree dogs tend to live longer than pedigree dogs. They also found that cross-breeds live longer than purebred dogs.

Cross-bred and mongrel dogs certainly make the most endearing and unique canine companions, so it is comforting to know they also have long life spans.

It should be remembered that all purebred dogs are a mixture of different types and ‘breeds’ selected over time. However, breeding for certain traits can create health issues which are detrimental to the dog’s lifespan.

Street dogs

Years ago, it was quite common to see mongrel dogs roaming the streets. Nowadays, you rarely see them. It is unusual to see any dog roaming free by itself.

Mongrels, it seems, have very much been replaced by ‘designer dogs’. Often, these dogs are advertised as, ‘rare’ and many fetch higher prices than pedigree animals.

In other countries, notably Spain, street dogs are extremely common and many of them are mongrels. There are charities based in the UK that work tirelessly to rescue and re-home these dogs, the majority of which have suffered extreme neglect and cruelty.

Dogs are dogs

If you are considering a crossbreed, it is just as important to consider the responsibilities involved. Also, be aware that while you might end up with the best qualities of each breed, you could also end up with the worst.

Unlike mongrels, many pedigree dogs have exaggerated characteristics due to selective breeding.

There is nothing wrong with cross-breed dogs, or indeed, mongrels. Many experts would argue many pure breeds would benefit from being out-crossed. This approach would improve overall health and counteract certain exaggerated characteristics, that selective breeding so often creates.

One of the main disadvantages of mongrels and crossbreeds is that you cannot always tell what the dog will look like as an adult.

It is also impossible to know how the dog’s temperament will develop. While mongrel dogs have a fine reputation for being gentle and well-balanced, this isn’t always the case.

It is also important to remember that a non-pedigree dog will be no less expensive to keep than a pedigree. Despite claims they are healthier, they still need protection against canine diseases, for instance.

There is certainly a sense of romanticism – a feeling of connected loyalty, and even heroism, surrounding the mongrel dog. In celebration of the mongrel and rescue dogs all over the world, it was Wylie who won the mongrel dog competition at ‘Scrufts’ in 2014.

Wylie was rescued by British soldiers operating in Afghanistan. The poor dog suffered terrible abuse and neglect in his former life. However, the brave pooch was nursed back to health and adopted into a loving new home in the UK.


Holidays 4 Dogs has carers all over the country who care for dogs of all shapes and sizes. We would love to hear stories and see snaps of your mongrel dogs and you can do so by visiting our popular Facebook page.