Purebred dogs vs mixed breeds – which one is for you?

Purebred dogs vs mixed breeds. That great debate has been going on for some time.

In my opinion, If you’re looking for a new dog, you should seek in this order:

  1. Dog pound that conducts euthanasia on non-adopted dogs
  2. No-kill shelter
  3. Rescue organization

In other words, start with the dogs who you know are in the greatest danger of death. And, Saint-Bernard-Paintingthere are a lot of them!

Although I talk about specific breeds in other posts, It’s very likely that you will find mixed breed “mutts” at pounds and shelters.

I’m still an advocate of avoiding a breeder. With so many dogs who risk euthanasia and need a loving home, why go to a breeder when you can find a perfectly wonderful companion elsewhere? And, you’ve likely heard of “puppy mills” where dogs are bred en masse for profit. Too often, dogs from these breeders are kept in deplorable conditions and are mistreated.

Unfortunately, and this is just my guess, many people seek a purebred from a breeder for the purposes of ego. In other words, “Look at me, I’ve got the trendiest dog!” Don’t get me wrong. I  think there’s nothing wrong with a purebred. So many of them are absolutely adorable!

Do keep in mind that there are breed-specific rescue organizations and that’s a great way to go if you’d like a certain breed.

By the way, according to the PetSmart Charities 2014 Shelter Pet Report, 66% of people say they would adopt from a shelter or rescue rather than make a purchase.

There’s an unspoken assumption among mutt-lovers that mixed breeds are inherently healthier than purebreds. Of course, breeders say the exact opposite. They say that with disease and temperament testing, a purebred is the better bet. So, who do you believe?


Let’s start with health since that’s often the focus of the debate. Most people take the mutt side. Mixed breeds have a lower rate of hip dysplasia, knee diseases, spinal diseases, heart diseases, cancer and many other conditions.

Furthermore, almost every breed of dog has a condition or illness that is typical for them. For example, Boxers suffer from cardiomyopathy and Pugs have breathing problems.

However, some people believe that having a mixed-breed is a risk because you can’t be entirely sure about the exact mix of breeds within the dog. Some breeders will match their dogs according to their genetic test results so that they won’t inherent potential disease-causing genes from both parents. This increases the chances of a puppy growing into a healthy and well-behaved dog.

A breeder could say something like “Stray dogs you see running around the streets are more likely to carry disease than a purebred. ” However, they’re forgetting that purebreds often live in controlled conditions and dogs on the street don’t.

Longer Lifespans

Most of the research I’ve seen claims that mutts live longer than purebreds although I’ve never seen actual numbers. It makes sense though. Think about some of the very, very short-lived breeds (often larger dogs). For example, there’s the Dogue de Bordeaux who only lives 5 to 8 years or the Bernese Mountain Dog with a lifespan of 6 to 8 years. Purebreds can start suffering from certain genetic conditions at a very early age as well.

Yes, mutts also develop life-threatening conditions but it’s usually later in life.


The general opinion seems to be that mixed breeds are more likable. But, as much as I love mutts and advocate for them, I gotta say that I’ve met many purebred dogs who were absolute angels. As a matter of fact, just as I was writing this, a purebred Boxer named “Lola” came by my desk and gave me a great big kiss! She’s the sweetest dog you can possibly imagine (at least with people). Also, consider the world’s most popular breed, the Labrador Retriever. You’ll not find a dog anywhere with a nicer disposition! On the other hand, I’ve met some real purebred doozies.

If you bring home a mixed breed from the shelter, she’s likely to be all grown up. That means you’ve automatically been able to skip the puppy stage – and puppies can be a handful. Conversely, with a puppy, you have a clean slate and can train them. An adult dog may have already developed some unwanted behaviors. But, as they say, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!


Mutt advocates say that they socialize better than purebreds because they have either lived on the street with other dogs (remember, dogs are pack animals) or they have been around other dogs in the shelter. This makes sense.

Athletic abilitymixed breed dog on obstacle course

Both mixed breeds and purebreds have it. It’s just that when you watch the dog shows on television, they feature purebreds. However, that’s changing. Now, even the Westminster Dog Show and the American Kennel Club allow mixed-breed dogs in competition.

Ideal combination of traits

Sometimes, purebred dogs are inbred which means that puppies are born to parents who are too closely related. I think we all know this can cause genetic problems. It also means that puppies are very much alike because the traits for their particular breed are emphasized.

Mutts are a combination of breeds and so genetics work to pick the best features from both parents. For example, the puppy might get the acute hearing ability of her father and the athletic ability of her mother.

A lesson in kindness

Bringing home a mutt from a shelter or rescue organization into your family is a nice way to emphasize empathy for those less fortunate. It’s also a nice lesson for your children. It teaches them the value of life and what it means to be humane.

bulldog with bow tie and moneyBreaking the bank

From a purely monetary standpoint, it’s more expensive to obtain a purebred dog with some people paying thousands of dollars for their new pet.


Consider these things when you’re thinking about purebred dogs vs mixed breeds and bringing one into the family. As you can see, I favor the mutt. But, there’s certainly nothing wrong with going for the purebred if that’s what you desire.

It all comes down to this; although different kinds of dogs possess different traits, dogs ultimately are a reflection of their owners!

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