Most people considering adding a dog to their family take the time to consider the option of purchasing a purebred puppy or dog or choosing a mutt or a mixed breed dog from a shelter or rescue.
To help potential dog owners to consider the benefits and potential issues with a purebred or mixed-breed dog, a closer look at each possibility is a helpful starting point.
Today, to make things even more confusing if you are considering the purebred dog option, there are various registries including the American Kennel Club, American Canine Association, Dog Registry of America, American Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry and the North American Purebred Registry, Inc, which all have different criteria and recognized breeds or hybrids (specific types of mixed breed dogs).
Buying from a reputable breeder of purebred dogs is highly recommended. This ensures the parents of the puppies are carefully selected for health, conformation, temperament, and adherence to the breed standard. Backyard breeders and puppy mills may produce a purebred dog on paper, but these dogs are more likely to have a significant range of health and behavioral issues as they mature.
Choosing a purebred dog allows you to have a clear idea of the size, temperament, behavioral traits, and even the life span of the dog. Reputable breeders offer proof of health for the parents, and most stand behind the quality of the puppies they sell. These dogs are more expensive, and it is essential to read all the fine print in the purchase agreement.
Mixed Breed Dogs
Good old mutts or mixed breed dogs are often credited with a trait known as hybrid vigor or heterosis. Extended breeding and inbreeding of purebred dogs in specific lines has created a higher risk of congenital or inherited diseases and conditions within breeds. For example, German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, and French Bulldogs (to name just a few breeds) are more prone to hip dysplasia than other breeds.
By breeding outside of the same genetic lines and with other breeds of dogs not prone to hip dysplasia, there is a lower risk of the puppies inheriting the condition. It is true for other conditions as well, but there is a factor that is often overlooked. Crossing two breeds that are prone to the same genetic issue does not have the same effect. In these types of crosses, both dogs are predisposed to having the genetic factors that contribute to the development of the condition.
Mixed breed dogs are reported to live longer and stay healthier, but these are primarily anecdotal statements. With regular vet visits, careful selection of nutrition for the dog, and regular vaccinations, both mutts, and purebreds, as well as the designer or hybrid dogs, tend to lead healthy, long lives based on their breed types and body size. Overall, large to giant dogs have a shorter lifespan than small to medium-sized dogs.
In summary, choosing between a purebred and mutt is a personal choice. When buying from a breeder, be sure to do your research and check for health issues in the breeding lines. When selecting a mutt, choose a healthy, well-adjusted puppy that is a good match for your lifestyle and your requirements for a companion pet.