There are 38 million mixed-breed dogs in the United States alone. That’s a huge number of dogs, indicating that many people have mixed-breed dogs as pets.
It’s been a long-time-running argument among dog lovers as to which is better: purebred dogs or mixed-breed dogs. So, we wanted to shed some light on the argument by reviewing some of the pros and cons of both.
What is a mixed-breed dog?
Mixed-breed dogs are also sometimes called mutts. They are the result of two different breeds of dogs, a purebred dog, and a mutt, or two mutts mating. Mixed-breed dogs are popular and are frequently available at shelters.
Mixed-breed dogs don’t have a pedigree, so you can’t trace their family line. However, there is now genetic testing that lets you know the breed makeup of your mixed-breed dog. This enables you to make some educated guesses as to the nature of your mixed-breed dog.
What is a purebred dog?
A purebred dog has a long history of being bred from other dogs that are all in the same breed. The dog will have similar traits as their parents, grandparents, and other members of their genetic line.
A purebred dog will be pedigreed and you will be able to trace its ancestors.
When you are buying a purebred dog, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable breeder who can give you the dog’s full pedigree in writing. A purebred dog will often also be AKC registered.
Buying purebred dogs takes some research. Make sure that you buy a purebred dog from a breeder with a good reputation that can supply you with the proper documentation. Unfortunately, there are some scammers out there, as well as unscrupulous breeders who don’t disclose everything.
Do mixed-breed dogs live longer than purebreds?
Mixed-breed dogs tend to be healthier and live longer than purebred dogs. That’s because most dogs that are mixed breeds have a good amount of genetic diversity. Genetic diversity is good for health and can help to eliminate diseases that only occur when both parents carry a recessive gene.
Mixed breeds also tend to have more moderate sizes and they tend to have less extreme body types than some purebred dogs. This can lead to fewer health problems and longer lifespans.
Some downsides for mixed breeds are that they are not normally medically screened for the types of health problems that are inherited.
Can mixed breeds compete in dog shows?
Mixed breed dogs can’t compete in what is known as conformation dog shows where a purebred dog is judged against the particular standards for that breed.
Mixed breeds can, however, compete in sports other than confirmation like Agility, Fast CAT, AKC Rally, or Obedience.
The AKC has a program called Canine Partners that any mixed breed dog is welcome in and that allows them to compete in non-confirmation competitions.
Are mixed-breed dogs better than purebreds?
This isn’t an easy question to answer. A lot of what type of dog is the best for you depends on what you are looking for from a dog.
A mixed-breed dog can be just as good as a purebred if you are looking for a canine companion and want to adopt a dog from a shelter.
Mixed-breed dogs often have fewer health problems than their purebred counterparts, and they can be trained at about the same rate of success.
However, if you are looking for a dog with a very specific personality or look then a purebred dog might be a good fit for you. Purebred dogs have known traits – both in how the dog looks and in how the dog is likely to behave.
Whatever route you decide to go when you bring a dog into your house, make sure that you have the proper veterinary care, exercise regimen, and food available for your dog.
Are mixed-breed dogs good pets?
Mixed-breed dogs can make excellent pets. With 38 million mixed-breed dogs in the US alone, many people find that these animals are wonderful members of their households.
Plus, the animal shelters are typically overflowing with mixed breeds, so you’ll have a tremendous selection from which to choose. Another advantage of adopting from a shelter is that typically they will have information about each dog’s personality and other traits. This makes it more likely that you’ll get the dog you want.
Like any other dog, a large mixed-breed dog needs to be trained and taken care of properly to be the best possible companion.
Genetic testing mixed breed dogs
If you want to know the breed background of your mixed-breed dog you can now use genetic testing to find out what their genetic profile is. DNA tests for dogs are similar to the ones that humans use. They test your dog’s saliva to let you in on which breeds are in your dog’s background.
Wirecutter rates the Embark Breed + Health Kit as the top genetic testing kit for dogs because they have a strong inherited-disease screening feature, good customer support, and a large breed database.
If you have a dog that you think comes from a breed that’s not common in the US you may want to try the Wisdom Panel Premium kit. This service tests for over 350 breeds including wolf, coyote, and Mexican street dogs.
It can be fun finding out what the breed background of your mixed breed dog is and it can give you insight into their personality and potential health risks.