You've probably opened this article because you've decided to adopt a dog. Whether you're shopping for a puppy or scouring local shelters looking for your new best friend, there's a good chance you're trying to decide whether a mixed or purebred dog is right for you.
To figure out the answer to this question, you'll need to seriously think about your lifestyle and what type of dog you're looking for. Talk to your family members to make sure that you're all on the same page. Are you all up for the responsibilities that come with a new dog? Do you have time for a puppy, or would a calmer, older dog be better for your situation?
There are lots of things to consider before you decide whether a mixed or purebred is right for you. If you've done the research and discussed this new addition with the rest of your family, it's time to start thinking about the best breed for you.
This guide will explain the difference between mixed and purebred dogs and help you to decide which dog will be best for your lifestyle.
Mixed or Purebred
Which is best?
A purebred dog is any canine whose parents are of the same breed. They should be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and have documented proof that their mother and father belong to the same breed.
If the dog has papers that prove their ancestors came from the same breed, the AKC will recognize them as a pedigreed purebred dog. Purebreds are products of selective breeding, which help to preserve the ideal traits of each breed.
These traits include size, temperament, coat type, and color. Newer hybrids and designer dogs are NOT purebreds. For example, a Goldendoodle (a crossbreed of a purebred Golden retriever and a purebred Poodle) is not an AKC-recognized purebred.
For most people, the predictability is the number one reason to choose a purebred dog. Purebred dogs have been selectively bred to have specific and distinct ideal traits. For example, some breeds are easier to train while others are well-known for their stubborn nature.
This predictability is a pro and a con. Knowing the typical behavioral traits of a dog breed will help you prepare for bringing them into your home. However, certain breeds may have some traits that are not ideal for your lifestyle. Working dogs, for example, tend to have lots of energy and require more mental stimulation than lazier breeds.
Purebred dogs are able to be entered in professional dog shows, while mixed breeds cannot. However, purebred dogs are also much more expensive to adopt than mixed breeds.
What Is A Mixed Breed Dog?
Mixed breeds, also known as mutts or mongrels, are dogs whose parents are not of the same breed. Mixed breeds are unpredictable and unique. They are often a result of accidental mating or breeding different purebreds or other mixed breeds.
The vast majority of dogs found in animal shelters are mixed breeds. Many people take great pride in rescuing dogs, and they don't care whether or not the pooch has a pedigree.
Some potential pet owners prefer to adopt a dog rather than support the breeding industry. While some reputable breeders take great care in what they do, the fear of puppy mills and backyard breeders makes a lot of people leery about buying dogs from breeders.
Unlike purebreds who have predictable temperaments and physical traits, mixed-breed dogs tend to look and behave differently from others. That’s what makes them more exciting and unique compared to purebred dogs.
It's much less expensive to adopt a mixed breed. If you adopt them from an animal shelter, the dog will already be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on their vaccinations. If you buy a purebred dog from a breeder, it is likely that you'll also have to pay for these veterinary expenses as well.
Mixed breeds cannot compete in most professional dog shows. They also may not have the exact traits that you're looking for. For example, if you're looking for a working dog to assist you in hunting, the mixed breed you adopt may not have skills in this area.
Many people believe that mixed dog breeds are less likely to have genetic disorders. That’s why many breeders and pet owners are jumping on the hybrid vigor train in hopes of avoiding hereditary diseases.
Hybrid vigor means increased resistance to disease as well as better health and qualities due to crossbreeding of plants or animals that are genetically different. In layman's terms, it happens when you crossbreed two different species.
So, instead of reducing the chances of genetic disorders, breeding two different breeds together can actually double up the health issues if both parents carry the same disease. If the mother and the sire both have the disease liability genes for a certain condition, their offspring will likely inherit that disease.
Most mutts are bred accidentally, which would make it very hard to predict the health issues that could occur.
Let's look at the research…
A study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) revealed interesting results about purebreds and mixed breeds’ health and longevity. The study took 15 year (1995-2010), and they studied more than 27,000 dogs!
They studied 24 different health problems in 5 categories, including:
- Cancer (Lymphoma, mast cell tumor, osteosarcoma, & hemangiosarcoma)
- Cardiac disorders (aortic stenosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus & ventricular septal defect)
- Endocrine disorders (hyperadrenocorticism, hypoadrenocorticism, & hypothyroidism)
- Orthopedic conditions (hip and elbow dysplasia, Invertebral disk disease or IVDD, patellar luxation, and ruptured cranial cruciate ligament)
- Other disorders (allergic dermatitis, bloat, cataracts, epilepsy, lens luxation & Portosystemic shunt)
Of the 24 disorders that were studied, 13 have about the same occurrence in both purebred and mixed breeds. 10 of those genetic disorders are more prevalent among purebreds than in mixed breeds. They include the following:
- Aortic stenosis
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Elbow dysplasia
- Atopy or allergic dermatitis
- Total epilepsy
- Portosystemic shunt
Mixed breed dogs also experience these disorders, but the only disease that is more prevalent with mixed breeds than purebreds is the cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Therefore, the theory that purebreds are more prone to hereditary diseases is only true for some conditions.
What does all of this mean? Should you choose a mixed or purebred dog? At the end of the day, it's all up to you. The breed of dog that you adopt should not be the first thing that you consider.
Take some time to think about your lifestyle and discuss this new responsibility with your family members. What behaviors and personality traits are you looking for? What behaviors and personality traits are you trying to avoid?
Are there any physical features that you would like the dog to have? Think about the best dog size for your environment. Consider your budget as well. Mixed breeds are much cheaper to adopt, which may be a deciding factor in your choice.
When it's all said and done, the breed of your new dog shouldn't be your main concern. Whether you decide on a mixed or purebred dog, just be sure to choose a pup that fits your lifestyle and your family's needs.
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