Mixed or Purebred Puppy: Which is Better?

By PetMD Editorial on Apr. 13, 2011

There has been a longstanding argument amongst dog lovers and experts alike on the merits of a mixed-breed versus a purebred puppy. Some believe that there are many advantages to getting a mixed-breed for a pet, saying that a mixed-breed has a better disposition and can more easily adapt to its new home. And without a doubt, mixed-breeds are sold at lower prices compared to purebred dogs.

Of course, in some instances, the price of a mixed breed may be higher, depending on whether particular breeds were intentionally bred to produce a new breed (such as Puggles – Pug+Beagle), but in general, mixed breed dogs are sold for very reasonable costs. The best place to get a mixed-breed puppy is often an animal shelter, where the cost is mostly limited to the adoption, spay/neuter and vaccination fees, with the added benefit of knowing you have actually saved the life of a puppy.

A mixed-breed puppy often has the advantage of having a much lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases, since the mating process naturally leaves out the defective genes. This is a general truism.

However, there are many dog enthusiasts who disagree with mixed breeds being the best choice for a pet. Some believe that getting a mixed-breed puppy is a big risk because you cannot be entirely sure about the exact mix of breeds that have come before that puppy. For instance, it can be difficult to tell if the puppy will grow to be a small or large dog. The tiny puppy you adopted in the hopes that it would stay small or only grow to a medium build may grow into a huge dog that you are not capable of housing. There is a possibility that you will end up with a dog that is entirely unsuitable for you, but by the time you have found that out for yourself it is already too late.

For breeders of purebred puppies, they have the advantage of being able to tell prospective owners what they can expect in regards to size, behavior and health. Responsible breeders carefully match prospective breeding pairs based on temperament and physical conformity.

In some cases, a breeder will even go so far as to match their dogs according to their genetic test results, so that the pairing does not result in puppies getting potential disease causing genes from both parents. This increases the chances of your puppy growing into a healthy, intelligent and well-behaved dog. Some breeders will also include a guarantee of their puppies’ long term health and temperament, in case an unknown genetic variable expresses itself later. (Not all breeders guarantee their puppies. It is important to inquire first and to get it in writing if this is important to you.)

On the flip side, there are many dog lovers who are devoted to mixed breed dogs. They feel that mixed breeds are much less likely to exhibit the results of interbreeding, such as temperament, intelligence and health issues. This is generally true, but being a mixed breed is not a guarantee of superior health. There are occasionally cases where a mixed breed puppy is born with the negative genetic traits of the breeds it is descended from.

Matching Personalities

With today’s technology, you can easily do research on the behavior and physical traits of a specific breed you are interested in. By doing this, you will have a good idea of what to expect as your puppy grows up and better determine if it will be a good match for you. If your goal is to become a breeder, then selecting a purebred, and being very diligent in choosing the breeder you buy from will be the right choice for you. The same is true if you are looking for a dog that you can compete with or take part in certain activities, such as running or hiking. Whether you want a calm, laid back dog or a high energy dog, the decision can be made easier by looking for a particular breed with those qualities.

Finally, if you are simply looking for a companion, a pet that will be devoted to you, it will not matter whether you choose a purebred or a mixed breed dog. Breed alone does not determine the final outcome. In addition, if you want a dog for training and competition, these activities are not limited to purebred associations alone. There are various mixed breed organizations that specifically register dogs of mixed lineage for obedience and agility competitions.

Both mixed breeds and purebreds have their own advantages, but at the end of the day, how your puppy turns out will depend entirely on how you raise your puppy. The puppy will still need to be disciplined and trained in order to grow into an intelligent and well-trained dog. Immediate obedience training and proper health care are essential for a well balanced dog. With the firm and loving guidance of a committed owner, almost any kind of dog will grow into a reliable and loving companion.

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