Why Nigerians mix breeds of dogs

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | April 30th, 2023

It's very common to see mixed breeds of dogs in Nigeria being referred to as 'pure' breeds. In fact, some pure breeds are sometimes referred to as another breed. The most common is the Bull mastiff now being referred to as Boerboel or South African mastiff. The inter-crossing of breeds of dogs has been going on for decades that you can hardly single out the breeds contained in a particular dog. Sometimes, you'll see some features of a Rottweiler, German shepherd, and Caucasian Mountain dog in one dog. Showing the mixture that has taken place over the years in this particular dog.

The main problem with these mixed breeds is the fact that it's hard to predict the behavior these dogs will have at the end of the day. In fact, I have seen a Lhasa Apso dog mixed with a Rottweiler. This one was my client's dog. It was wonderful to learn the way this Rottweiler male managed to mate with the Lhasa Apso female. From the owner's account, the Lhasa will always run into the Rott's cage while she is on heat but because they know that the height difference will not allow the Rott to mate, they allowed the both to stay together. And after several years, about 3 years, the Rott was finally able to tangle with the female. The owner just realized the Lhasa Apso was pregnant one day but still doubted the possibility that the Rott was responsible until the puppies came.

All discernible features were pointing at the Rott being the father, besides there was no other male in that house at that time. By the time the puppies were grown, most of them were as tall as their father with plenty of hair like their mother. They were all wild like their father except for one. They were too active and loud. They were beasts with some of them having the very muscular feature of their father hidden inside the hairs inherited from their mom. They were all bigger than their mom. It was a very interesting outcome. In fact, I was surprised she didn't give birth through CS.

Some people just have the erroneous belief that having males and females of different breeds is a good way to start a kennel in other to produce puppies of different pure breed dogs. They think that when a bitch is on heat, she goes to her own breed which is a male to mate. Someone I know tried it but couldn't stop accidental mating between different breeds resulting in puppies with different breeds as parents. Although the person tried to make sure the appropriate breeds mate with each other but some of the supposedly right males were not even interested to mate and that made the owner deeply disappointed and consequently allowed other breeds to do the job. This situation is very common in Nigeria.

There was an incident where a female on heat ran out of the owner's compound only to get entangled by one local stray dog along the street. The owner was furiously angry because, by the time he realized it, it was too late. The dog was already heavily pregnant and later delivered about 7 puppies. The female was a well-fed Bull Mastiff dog. Some of her puppies came out with the color of their father but most of them had the facial feature of their mom.

The above gives you an idea of why many Nigerians breed mixed breeds. In many cases, they try to sell the puppies as the breed which they closely resemble even when they know that they were mixed. Of course, unsuspecting buyers will sometimes fall for this and buy thinking they bought the pure breed.


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    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about www.fairvet.com which he personally built from scratch.

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