Portmanteau Breeding

The Czar and the Царица were on official business in the far Southwest corner of the empire some days ago, and were heading back up I-55 North. The Царица was reading the news paper, and turned to the classified ads to see what dogs were available for purchase.

As you know, we adopted little Sally (that’s her up there), and her rehab is slow but improving. So we weren’t looking to buy a dog—and never would through a newspaper, by the way—instead, the Царица reads the classified dogs ads for entertainment. She finds stupid people funny, and since we fired our off-the-wall jester (or rather, fired things at him against a wall), she still craves a little levity.

“Mmm. What’s a maltipoo?” she quizzed, already knowing the answer.

“Maltese and poodle,” the Czar bellowed in tremendous rage.


“Pug and pekinese. That’s easy,” screamed the Czar while hundreds knelt in fear.


“Wow. Uh, bichon frisé and poodle?”

See, here it is: you have to know your dog breeds really well. You take parts of the names of the breed and put them together into portmanteau words. Smoke and fog? Smog. Cocker spaniel and poodle? Cockapoo. Pomeranian and poodle? Pomapoo. Poodles generally go at the end you see, to make the cutesy-poo ending. Picture an elderly single lady spending way too much time in the silk flowers aisle at Hobby Lobby, and you can envision who invents these rules. But the Czar has seen Jerrylabs (german shepherd and labrador retriever), pitweilers (pit bulls and rottweilers), and twitters (twits and bloggers). That last one is not as made up as you think.

There is no end to the variety. Airdale and affenpinchers? Affdale. Boston terrier and chihuahua? Bowow. Chambourd hound and chihuahua? Sham-wow. Pomeranian and shih-tzu?* Shipom, because pom-tzu would just sound dumb. There are rules about which takes precedence over the other.

Of course, in the Czar’s day, we didn’t waste our time with this. Rather than try to figure our whether you take the first or second half of the breed and put it before or after the other dog abbreviation, we just called them “mutts.” That’s what you called a dog of mixed breeds. Some called them “mongrels,” but that sounded almost like a breed itself, so proud mutt owners tended to avoid that phrase.

Of course, that was up until the PC movement started, and calling a dog either a mutt or a mongrel seemed so…so racist. “We should call them dogs of ‘mixed parentage,’” spake little Ashley on the dorm room bean bag chair. “But that does not celebrate their rich diversity,” said Trevor, sitting upside-down on the futon with his feet up the wall, his heels touching his Smiths poster. Trevor added, “I have a friend who is African-American, and he calls himself an African-American because he wants to celebrate that he is African and American. We could do that.” Ashely thought about this then asked, “But my dog is a boxer-collie, so we already do that.” Trevor sighed, “Then we can call him a bollie, and keep both names but create a new one.” Ashely sat up, surprised, and said, “Wait! you have a friend who’s African-American?”

Or something equally misinformed. The Czar wonders when this will extend to cats. An abyssinian and calico mix is an abyco. A javanese and a somali could be a jomali. A laperm and a manx could be a lynx, although that might terrify folks at the pet stores. Cat sellers probably are already doing this. The worst example of this the Царица found in the dog section was a labrapoosé, which turned out to be a bichon frisé and labradoodle…the buyer is evidently not supposed to realize that he has a mixed breed mixed with another dog, making it even less of a real breed.

Of course, the real reason people do this is because a cocker spaniel and poodle is a $50 mutt. But a cockapoo is a rare breed worth $450 on up. The Czar is glad that his first dog was free german shepherd and boxer mix, and not a $500 jerxer. Because she turned out to be worth way more than that.

* Wade-Giles is the official transliteration of this website, so don’t expect to see this rendered as shizu. On the other hand, we used pinyin for the others as p’omeranian looks weird.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.