The difference between pedigree, crossbreed and mixed breed dogs and cats - for insurance and beyond

Is a Labradoodle a crossbreed or a pedigree? Does it depend on its parents or the person you're asking? In this article, we aim to demystify how breeds are defined and the impact it has on pet insurance prices.

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What's the confusion over pedigree, mixed breed and crossbreed pets?

Different people or organisations have their own definitions of what a pedigree dog is. Some owners feel a pedigree dog has to be recognised by and registered with The Kennel Club, while others believe if its parents are the same breed it can be classed as a pedigree.

Learn which are the cheapest and most expensive breeds to insure.

When getting a pet insurance quote, it's important to use the definition given by the insurance company, even if it differs from yours. If you don't, you could end up paying more than necessary or having a claim rejected.

Some people use the terms pedigree and purebred interchangeably (as we do here) but to others, purebred means the animal’s parents are of the same breed, whereas pedigree means its breeding history has been recorded.

See our full range of unique pet insurance policies here.

What is a pedigree dog?

Generally, for your dog to be classed as a pedigree or purebreed in insurance terms, all that matters is that its parents are of the same breed. Have a look at this help section on the Bought By Many website for clarification:

So if your dog has two Pug parents, that means you’ve got a pedigree Pug. And if both parents are Puggles, it's a pedigree Puggle.

Many insurance companies do not care if a breed is recognised by The Kennel Club (for example, Pugs are, but Puggles are not).

Away from insurance, some people take the term pedigree to refer to purebred dogs that are registered with a breed club. But even within this categorisation there is a grey area because some argue that there are breeds that started out as a crossbreed but have been around long enough to be classed as pedigree.

Are pedigree dogs more expensive to insure than mixed breeds?

Some pedigrees are more likely to have health problems than crossbreeds and mixed breeds because they are less genetically diverse. Some common congenital conditions are epilepsy, which is often inherited by Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherds, and entropion (a curling of the eyelid) common in Shar Peis.

Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, can also inherit serious ailments such as subaortic stenosis (SAS). This condition causes a narrowing of the blood passageways and can lead to heart problems.

Often, these pedigree dogs will be more expensive to insure than other breeds.

Remember that your insurance premium will also depend on other factors such as the age of your dog and where you live. And that insurers are unlikely to insure pets that have pre-existing conditions.

However, Bought By Many has a pet insurance policy for pets with pre-existing conditions. This is the only policy on the market that will cover dogs and cats with pre-existing conditions. We made this policy after hearing from thousands of pet owners who didn't think pet insurance companies were giving them what they needed.

And check out our guide to the cost of dog insurance for more information about prices or get a dog insurance quote for yourself.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions

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What is a crossbreed dog?

The term crossbreed refers to dogs with parents from different breeds – for instance, a Labrador and a Poodle creating a Labradoodle.

In that example, the first generation Labradoodle would be classed as crossbreed by many insurers. But if you bred it with another Labradoodle, their offspring would be a pedigree Labradoodle according to some insurers.

Sometimes crossbreeds are bred together for a long enough time and they are eventually considered a new pedigree breed. The Cesky Terrier is an example and is recognised by The Kennel Club.

Some of the most popular crossbreeds are Cockapoos and Labradoodles, and they are sometimes referred to as designer dogs. These two crossbreeds aren’t recognised as their own breeds by The Kennel Club.

If you are considering getting a dog for your family, learn about eight of the best family dogs here.

Designer dogs can be crossbreeds or pedigrees in the eyes of insurers, depending on what list of breeds they recognise and whether their parents are the same breed or not.

Some insurance companies will ask for the dominant breed of your pet to work out your premium. The dominant breed of a crossbreed could be either its father or its mother. To find out the dominant breed it’s best to consult your vet’s records.

Pedigree cat insurance

As with dogs, different organisations may have their own definitions for breeds of cats. A pedigree or purebred cat is usually classed as a cat with two parents of the same breed.

Again, purebred cats are at higher risk of inheriting health conditions due to a shallow genetic pool. Siamese cats are more likely to have respiratory diseases than mixed breed cats.

Often, insurance companies will only give you the option of choosing between a pedigree and non-pedigree cat. Sometimes, even if you pick the non-pedigree option, you will still be asked to choose your cat’s breed. Some insurers also ask you to include the colour of your cat when selecting the breed.

Insurance companies might include the option to pick crossbreed or Moggy (sometimes spelled Moggie). A Moggy is a mixed breed cat, usually defined as such when you don’t know the breed of its parents or if its parents are of three or more breeds.

But there are exceptions. On the VetsMediCover pet insurance form, Moggy is not an option. You have to pick either Domestic Short Hair, Domestic Medium Hair or Domestic Long Hair. However, on the John Lewis quote form, you can pick either Moggy, Moggie, Domestic Long Hair or Domestic Short Hair.

It is important that you know the breed of your pet otherwise you might end up paying more than you need to or accidentally select cover that is not valid.

Other factors, such as your cat’s age and where you live, will affect the price of your premium.