Purebreds and Cross Breeds: Good Temperament vs Good HealthThe world's dog population is mostly made up of undifferentiated varieties resulting from random interbreeding widely known as "mixed breeds" or "mutts". Yet most people, including dog owners only know or talk about purebreds in general. The mutts on the other hand are widely look down on and hugely neglected.
Purebreds are dogs that belong to a documented and acknowledged group of unmixed lineage. They are selectively bred dogs that produce a particular body type and specific behaviors that are relatively similar throughout the particular breed. In order for a dog to be recognized as a true breed, it must be proven that its parents are of the same ancestry such that they will pass on their exact temperament, characteristic and appearance - this is known as breeding true.
For people involved with professional breeding, there is a huge difference between purebreds and mutts. Some cross breeds might well be purebred, they only lack the proper paper to prove that they are so. If you are looking for a pet and have no interest in entering competitions with your dog, this might be a viable option for you and the cost is considerably lower too.
Breeding of purebred dogs is selected with care. The pair is tested for every possible disease which includes having all the information regarding the pair's ancestors and health records on file. Should there be no problem in the history of the pair, then the breeding can begin. During testing, should the pair is not compatible due to diseases that are common in a specific breed, another dog will be selected as a match instead.
There are many places to get a dog such as a kennel or the pet store but if you want to get a purebred, it is advisable to seek a reputable breeder to get the best results.
Mixed breeds on the other hand could have been bred out of experimentation to produce a breed which could be better and stronger, without as much weakness as is found genetically in the two breeds. It is also very likely that they are the results of accidents. In general, mixed breeds are so diverse it is difficult for anyone to go through all their characteristics in full.
Health wise, purebred dogs that come from a line of strong parents could have lesser problems because breeders screen the pair before the process happens. On the other hand, a relatively common issue with purebreds is that they face higher chances to inherit health problems from their parents; eye diseases that cause blindness, bone and joint disorders that cause lameness, sudden heart disease that causes early death, epilepsy, seizures, or immune system diseases, just to name a few of the over 300 genetic health defects documented in dogs.
The incidence of inherited health problems is extremely high in purebreds due to two main reasons:
1. The AKC requires that all purebred offspring come from the mating of dogs registered with their club. This ruling reduces the huge majority of other dogs that would otherwise be available for breeding. Because of this reason, most purebreds are bred on a close gene pool with similar ancestry. Without the introduction of new and unrelated genes in to the breed in the long run, purebred dogs suffer from "loss of genetic diversity," which inevitably leads to dogs with inherited health problems.
2. There are instances where certain breeders are more concerned about financial gain rather than the welfare of the animal. This is especially true of those breeders who do not practice the strict guidelines of proper breeding thereby producing inferior dogs.
To avoid getting a dog with inherited health problems, you should always look for responsible breeders who make their dogs go through medical tests as proof of good health. Some of these tests include - X-rays to detect hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, Ophthalmic exam to determine the presence of PRA and cataracts, Cardiac exam to detect certain heart diseases. Take note that it is not necessary for a puppy to go through all the health tests available as certain inherited health problems are found in specific breeds only.
Mixed bred dogs on the other hand are surprising generally healthier than purebreds. Most mixed breeds have a good genetic diversity that tends to promote overall health and vigor. This is mainly because their genes are usually unrelated, chances are high that the parents of a mixed breed puppy will not have the same defective genes. It is usually the pairing up of the same defective genes that cause inherited health problems to occur.
Some people prefer purebreds to mixed breeds. The primary reason is that it carries a certain prestige with it, often glamorized by television, movies and breeders. They are also constantly featured at dog shows where mixed dogs are not allowed to compete in without a compelling reason.
These events led to the mixed breeds being seen as inferior dogs compare to the purebreds and therefore generate lesser interest among the public. It is a shame to see most of them being round up frequently and left to die in animal shelters.
To conclude, purebreds will give you predictable characteristics that you are looking for in a dog, but suffer from higher potential for genetic defects and inherited health problems.
Mixed bred dogs will tend to be healthier in general, but you might have to deal with the unpredictable characteristics, temperament and appearance that comes with it when it grows up. One can only make good guesses by observing its parents. Nevertheless, you also know that your dog is truly unique and one of its kind.
Adding a dog to your family is a life changing and long commitment. You should not make a decision based on whether it is pure or mixed breed alone but also consider carefully the breed type that is most suitable for your lifestyle.
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About The Author: Moses Wright is a an experience dog lover with 3 beautiful dogs. He created a Dog Obedience Training site to help fellow dog owners stop their dog behavior problems. You can get a free copy of his book filled with easy-to-use yet effective tips here: Free Dog Training Book