Purebred or Mixed Breed: How To Decide

So you’ve made the super exciting decision to get a dog! Now you are faced with the task of deciding what kind will suit you best. There are so many options, and in narrowing down the choices one of the first that you will make is deciding if you want a purebred or mixed breed dog.

Purebred or Mixed Breed

What Is The Difference?

According to Animal League America, the difference between purebred and mixed breed dogs is that with purebred dogs, all of the parents are of the same breed. With a mixed breed, different breeds are combined, with at least two different breeds, although the possibilities are endless!

So how do you decide purebred or mixed breed? Each type of dog has its pros and cons. Let’s examine some of them!

Benefits Of Getting A Purebred Dog

  • Health- When you buy one of these dogs, you are getting a puppy whose parents have been selected for their positive attributes, points out a staff writer for the American Kennel Club. Buying from a breeder also means you know that your pup was well cared for from day one.
  • Predictability- You will have a very good idea of what your dog will look like as he ages, and what his temperament will be. This can be especially important for people who want their dog to be a certain size when he is full-grown.
Purebred or Mixed Breed
  • Socialization- Most of these dogs come from a breeder, which means that they have already been socialized with other dogs, and likely with humans as well. Having a dog that is comfortable being around others makes taking him out easier.
  • Community- When you buy from a breeder, you enter a community of people who love this type of dog and are passionate about it. This can be helpful in the form of clubs and online groups, should you have any questions or concerns. You also have the support of the breeder and can contact him or her with questions at any time.

Potential Downsides

  • Cost- These dogs can be very expensive. On the American Kennel Club website, Labrador Retriever puppies (a very popular breed of dog) are being sold from anywhere between $1100-$2500.
Purebred vs Mixed Breed
  • Genetic disorders- Dogs that come from a specific lineage are more likely to have genetic problems. Due to an increased chance of inbreeding. Some dogs also have health problems because of the traits that they have been bred for. The Humane Society of the United States provides examples of this, such as how pugs and similar dogs have breathing problems. Dogs that have been inbred also have weaker immune systems, making them more likely to get sick.

Find out if your dog is is genetically predisposed to certain diseases. Learn more here.

  • Puppy Mills- If you do not know much about where your dog is coming from, it is possible that it was bred at a puppy mill. These are places that mass-produce puppies in inhumane conditions.

Benefits Of Getting A Mixed Breed Dog

Purebred pr Mixed Breed
  • Rescue Dogs- These dogs are more likely to come from an animal shelter. When you are getting a dog and you are not worried about lineage, you have more options. This means that you can go to an animal shelter and pick out a dog that is in need of a loving home. You could very well be saving the dog’s life.
  • Fewer Genetic Disorders- In a study done comparing the health of dogs that are purebred and mixed breed, the latter were found to have between 10 and 24 fewer genetic disorders. Carol Beuchat PhD explains that less inbreeding means more genetic variation and fewer inheritable mutations that cause disorders.
  • Interesting Looking Dogs- When you get a dog that is a mixture of different breeds, you are getting a very unique dog. Just look at Willy, an adorable Retriever mix, who can be seen on Petfinder.com. There may be no other dogs around that look quite like yours.
  • Cost- If you get one of these dogs from the humane society or a local shelter, it is significantly less expensive than buying a dog from a breeder. In Minnesota, the Animal Humane Society charges just $20 to adopt a dog. It is likely that your state will have a similar low price.

Potential Downsides

  • Tough Beginning- When you don’t get a dog from a breeder, it is difficult to know exactly what his background is. It is possible that your dog began his life in less than ideal circumstances, which could potentially leave him with some behavioral problems. Dogs that don’t come from a breeder also might not be as well socialized as dogs that do. This means it may take a little while to get your dog comfortable with people and other animals.
  • Lack of Family History- With a dog that comes from several different breeds, it is harder to determine ancestral history. You may not necessarily know all of the breeds in your dog, and being able to identify exactly what breed of dog they have is important for some people.
  • Less Predictable Temperament- When you purchase a dog of only one breed, you have a good idea of what his personality will be like. With a dog that has multiple backgrounds, it might be harder to determine his exact temperament.
Purebred or Mixed Breed

Making The Decision: Purebred or Mixed Breed

The choice to get a dog is a big one, and all of the options can seem overwhelming. In deciding on if you want a purebred or mixed breed dog, think about what option would best suit you and your family.

Many families with small children want a dog whose size and behavior they can predict. Some people feel it is important to rescue dogs, and so they go with dogs that come from animal shelters. It is a personal decision, based on individual needs and desires.

Go into the process of selecting a purebred or mixed breed dog with an open mind, and be ready to explore many options. At the end of the day what matters most is the love you will share with the friend and companion that you are welcoming into your home.

About the author

Melanie Fox

Hi there, I'm Melanie Fox, editor at Beloved Bark. We look to provide people with the knowledge and tools to make smarter, more educated choices for their dogs. We have made it our mission to inform our followers with expert advice and recommendations, that will make a difference in your dog's life.

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