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When asking a prospective dog parent which type of dog they would rather have, many pet parents would state they would rather have a purebred dog than a mixed breed. Which is healthier, though? There has been a significant amount of controversy behind which type is healthier which is why several researchers at the Institute of Canine Biology decided to conduct a study determining if there truly is a difference.
The research study gained quite a bit of attention due to the associated controversy among breeders and the public. The study determined purebred breeds were more likely than mixed breeds to be affected by 10 of 27 disorders studied. There was one disorder, ruptured cranial cruciate ligament, which mixed breeds were more likely to exhibit.
The study was one of many to come due to additional research being necessary; however, it did determine purebred dogs are more likely to develop hereditary disorders than mixed breeds. Of course, we cannot state every mixed breed is healthier than every purebred. This simply allowspet parents to keep in mind, purebred dogs are more likely to be affected by disorders as a whole than mixed breeds as a whole. When considering veterinary costs, perhaps a mixed breed would be best for you.
So, let’s address the reasoning for purebreds displaying more health problems than mixed breeds.
Why would mixed breeds, as a whole, be healthier?
Well, a large reason for purebreds displaying health problems is due to inbreeding. Purebred dogs are bred specifically for certain traits so, essentially, purebred dogs are bred from similar gene pools. The gene pool associated with each purebred dog is limited so many breeders often use dogs from the same lineage. If a dog belongs to a dog club, this often results in an even smaller gene pool, since dogs in a specific club are bred to dogs in the same club. As a dog’s gene pool becomes more limited, the risk of a hereditary or congenital disease increases.
If you decide to look for a purebred rather than a mixed breed, you should check the lineage carefully to ensure inbreeding has not occurred. This will lower the risk of your puppy developing health disorders. There are many mixed breeds which also need adopted at shelters and other canine rescue organizations, which would be happy to have a home.
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.
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