Prospective pet owners have a lot to think about before committing to bringing home a new, four-legged family member. Although many of us gravitate toward a specific pet breed, there are concerns about the overall health and hardiness of a purebred pet, not to mention a desire to help pets in need by adopting from a shelter or rescue. Thus, we may find ourselves struggling with the age-old debate of mutts vs. purebreds.
Inherited diseases and disorders affect all pets, regardless of breed or background, but a purebred animal runs a higher risk of suffering from one of the many damaging genetic conditions. Although there are no hard and fast statistics on the subject, it goes without saying that breeding animals that share similar genetics is going to increase the likelihood of passing on diseases or conditions they may share.
Thanks to their mixed genes, mutts are less likely to have received a high dose of any particular breed’s genes. Because of this, many mutts have a lower rate of health conditions, such as hip dysplasia, spinal diseases, knee problems, certain cancers, heart disease, and more, than their purebred counterparts. This results in less specialized care and lower veterinary costs.
Pets who live in large groups, such as in a shelter, are naturally exposed to more infectious illnesses than dogs who live with a respectable breeder. That being said, mutts are generally recognized as “sturdier” than purebreds. The mixed genetics of mutts often increases the effectiveness of their immune systems, making them better able to overcome a variety of infectious diseases.
Mutts Vs. Purebreds: Beyond Health
Potential vet bills aren’t the only determining factor when it comes to deciding where your future best friend will come from. Many considerations come into play when making this important life decision, including:
- Temperament – Purebred dogs have been bred for specific tasks, such as hunting, herding, or guarding. Unless the owner has a specific need for the assets of a particular breed, these traits can become problematic over time. Mutts tend to be more laid back, easier to train, and more adaptable to an owner’s lifestyle and activity level.
- Upfront costs – Purebred pets tend to be more expensive, and are often associated with higher upfront veterinary costs, whereas most shelters or rescues will not adopt out a dog unless he or she has been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.
- Making a difference – By choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue, you are making an enormous impact in the life of a deserving pet. Besides saving a life, you will be freeing up valuable space and resources for future homeless pets, and taking an active stand against puppy mills and other unethical breeding operations.