Purebred vs. Mixed Breed Dogs

Roberto Manzotti

When looking for a dog you have so many options these days! You could get a purebred dog, a “designer breed,” or a dog that has so many different breeds in it’s heritage it’s impossible to tell the main features of the dog. So, let’s go through and talk a bit about your options. This will help you make a more informed decision about which option is best for your and your family.

Good Breeding

It is of the utmost importance to find a good breeder if you are going to be getting a puppy. Some breeders even offer adult dogs. But how do designer dogs, mixed breeds, and purebred dogs compare in this area?

 

Mixed Breed Dogs

Good breeding doesn't really apply to a mixed breed dog. These pups are often found at animal shelters or rescues with completely unknown parentage. Basically, you are getting a grab bag of unknowns with this option! No, parents, and often, no siblings to look at. The pup must be judged only by what he is like in the moment that you meet him.

 

Designer Breeds

This option on the other hand is often done by a “breeder.” Designer breeds are those dogs that are a mixture of two purebred dogs. Examples include Goldendoodles and, so called, miniature Goldens, and others. These designer “breeds” are often highly sought after for their cute factor and breeders of these dogs often charge as much as a purebred breeder would.

The questions then is, can you find a good breeder of designer dogs? I think they are very few and far between. Most designer breeders are in it for the money and not for the betterment of any dog or breed. A lot of designer breeders will hop from one designer breed to the next most popular variety, chasing the money.

However, you can often at least meet the parents and siblings of a puppy. Which can help you make a better judgment of the pups future health, size, weight, and temperament.

 

Purebred Dogs

When looking for a purebred breeder things get much easier, that is not to say that all purebred breeders are good breeders. Indeed some are still chasing profits. However, in this arena it is much easier to see the difference between a good breeder and a bad one. You will also have the benefit of meeting the whole litter and the parents. So, you can look at temperament.

You will be able to talk with the breeder about common health problems and ask to see the parents most recent checks for those health problems. You will also be able to talk with the breeder about their priorities when breeding a litter. They should have three main priorities: health, temperament, and conformation. These are the three main pillars that should be looked at when choosing parents for a future litter.

Additionally, it can be helpful to seek out a breeder that also does confirmation showing. Then you will know that the breeder is not just breeding Golden Retrievers, but that they are breeding Golden Retrievers to the standard. This is important because the standard was created for a reason, to create a breed that is consistently healthy, with a consistent size and build, and with a consistent temperament.

 

Temperament Purebred vs. Mixed-Breed Dogs

The ever important temperament. What is temperamental, anyway? Well, temperament is a word that describes the everyday attitude of the dog, how he will respond to certain situations, how affectionate it is, the dogs energy level, and more. The dog’s temperament will affect your daily interactions with your dog the most and is a very important thing to consider when looking for a dog.

 

Mixed Breed Dogs

As we said earlier you typically do not get to meet the parents of siblings of a mixed-breed dog. So, you must judge the dog on nothing more than what you see before you. If you are looking at the dog in a shelter or rescue environment, know that the dog's true temperament may be different than what you see.

Shelters and rescues can be high-stress environments that cause a dog to act differently than he would in a home environment. Indeed, the longer a dog stays at a shelter the more his temperament may change while there. Dogs in shelters are often very well behaved for the first couple of weeks, then they get crazy! Be very careful when trying to judge the temperament of a dog that you are looking at if it is at a shelter or rescue.

 

Designer Breeds

At least with designer breeds you typically get to meet the parents and siblings. This can help you to make a better judgment of the overall temperament of the pups. However, many designer breeds are a mix of such different breeds that the end temperament of any one pup could be very different.

Will the Golden Daschund mix take after the Golden and be sweet and gentle or take after the Daschund and be independent and obsessed with rodents? Would a Golden Husky mix be calm and laid back like Goldens can be or would it be high-strung and high-energy like a Husky? Would a German Shepherd Golden mix be loving to everyone like a Golden or be protective and aloof like a German Shepherd?

Do you see why it can be hard to judge the end temperament of a given puppy in the designer breed litter? The problem is that some of the puppies of a litter will be more like one parent than the other. Other pups might be more like the other parent. And a few might be a mix of the two. You will need to rely heavily on what the breeder has observed and hope that the breeder is being truthful and not just trying to make a sale.

 

Purebred Dogs

On the other hand, we have purebred dogs. Things get much easier here, especially if you find a good breeder. This is because a good breeder is breeding with a certain standard in mind. Each pure breed of dog has a standard and that standard talks about temperament. If a Golden Retriever acts aggressively or shy in the show ring they will be disqualified because they do not meet the standard. A good breeder would not breed a dog with any characteristics that would disqualify the dog from confirmation showing.

Still there can be slight variances from one dog to another of any given breed. So, you will still want to meet the whole litter and the parents and as many relatives as you can. This will help you to get a much broader picture of the pups potential temperament. Where temperament is concerned it is much easier with a purebred dog to judge temperament and know what to expect in this area.

 

Physical Appearance 

When we talk about the physical appearance of a dog we are talking about the size, weight, and structure from head to tail that a dog has. Poor physical appearance could mean that the dog has longer back than normal and this could lead to back issues. Poor physical appearance could also mean that the dogs hind legs are too long, also potentially causing pain and health problems.

 

Mixed Breed Dogs

It can be hard to say for sure if a mixed breed dog will have good physical appearance. For instance, when looking at a mixed-breed puppy with unknown parentage who can estimate how tall or what weight the pup will have as an adult? It can also be difficult to judge whether or not the pup will grow to a physical appearance that will not cause health issues. That said, many mixed breed dogs have fine physical appearance with no major issues.

Designer Breeds

This is where physical appearance can be a nightmare especially when assessing a puppy! Some designer breeds are a mix of two breeds that are relatively similar in size, shape, weight, and leg length. However, other mixes like the Pomeranian Golden Retriever mix can be almost impossible to tell. With some puppies in the litter being as small as a Pomeranian and some being large like a Golden. It is simply too hard to know for sure how a designer pup will turn out. Indeed, even a Goldendoodle may have a variety of sizes, weights, shapes, coat color and texture, and more!

Another example of a bad idea as far a s physical appearance goes is the Golden Daschund mix. These poor dogs often have the long back of the Daschund with short legs but are larger and heavier. This can set the dog up for a long life of back pain and joint issues.

 

Purebred Dogs

The physical appearance of a purebred dog is much easier to judge because there is a standard. The standard was originally set out to make sure that the dog could perform its job optimally. This means that the dog needed certain attributes to be able to do a job and be healthy. For instance, the Golden Retriever needed to be able to move swiftly over rugged terrain and have a coat that would be resistant to the wet weather in Scotland.

Then there are other breeds like the Newfoundland that have webbed feet to help them swim and a water resistant coat to keep them warm in frigid water. The Dachshund was bred to hunting rodents. They have been bred to be able to sniff out, dig out, and crawl into the dens of rodents. That is why they have the size and structure that they do.

Purebred dogs were bred with a specific purpose in mind. This is why they have a standard that is set in a specific way. So, that the dog can be judged to know if it will be able to perform that job well. The standard is also very concerned with the overall health and well being of the breed and each dog within that breed.

 

Health

There is a lot of debate about what kind of dog is the healthiest. Is it mixed breeds, designer breeds, or purebreds? Let’s take a deeper look into this subject. Of course for any breed a healthy lifestyle and species-appropriate diet will go a long way to prevent health issues and increase longevity!

 

Mixed Breed Dogs

As with pretty much everything about a mixed breed dog it is hard to tell what potential health issues it might have. A mixed breed dog can sometimes be healthier than a purebred or a mixed breed can be a grab-bag of health issues and vet bills. It is almost impossible to say for sure.

 

Designer Breeds

Designer breeds are not better, and indeed sometimes much worse, than purebred dogs when it comes to health. Let’s look at the Goldendoodle. Both the Golden and the Poodle are prone to joint dysplasia, eye issues, heart issues, and other similar conditions. This does not make the Goldendoodle stronger and healthier but rather with about the same potential health of a Golden or a Poodle. But that is only if the breeder did their due diligence in finding healthy parents.

However, there are worse examples than this. When the two breeds in question are known to have completely different health issues this can be quite bad. One example is the Cavalier Bichon mix. The Cavalier is known for having heart issues and the Bichon can have kidney issues. This can cause major issues because the heart and kidney are closely connected and if one is impared that can cause issues to the other. So, breeding together a Cavalier and Bichon can be disastrous for the puppies long term health.

 

Purebred Dogs

One the other hand, we have purebred dogs. These dogs tend to have known health problems. When looking at a purebred dog you can easily find the main health issues that they suffer from by doing a quick google search or looking at a breed specific book. That is not to say that all Golden Retrievers will have certain health issues or that they cannot have health issues that are not on the list. But with a purebred you at least have more of an idea of the potential health problems.

Of course, it is always necessary to find a purebred dog from a very reputable breeder. A reputable breeder will do the work to find the healthiest parents for a litter. They will also do certain health tests that will prove that the parents are free from certain health issues that are known to be prevalent health issues in their breed.

 

Summary

As you can see there is a pretty big difference between mixed breeds, designer breeds, and purebred dogs. Before choosing what “breed” of dog to get, carefully consider the breeding, temperament, physical appearance, and potential health issues. Think about what you want in a dog, your dog experience, your financial preparedness, and lifestyle.This will help you choose the best breed or mixed breed for you.

As always finding a purebred can be the easiest option especially once you find a reputable breeder. Purebred breeds have a standard that helps make the temperament, physical appearance, and health more consistent. This makes a purebred an easier option for most people.

 

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