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Purebred, crossbreed or mixed breed?

No matter what anyone says, the final decision is yours

MetPet.com Staff Writer

Do you want a specific breed of dog that you've seen and admired?  Do you think mixed breeds are more disease resistant and psychologically stable than purebreds?  Do you think purebreds are a status symbol?  Is it more politically correct to adopt mixed breeds? 

Everyone has opinions on this subject but ultimately the only opinion that matters is yours.  Therefore, any choice that you make is ultimately the right one.  Here are some concepts to mull over that can help you arrive at a decision you can live with. 

Purebreds
Breeds are a human invention created for reasons both good and not so good.  Some breeds were created for specific jobs while others were created for amusement.  Some breeds are only a few decades old while others are ancient.  Whatever their origins, most breeds no longer do the jobs for which they were intended. 

Breeds are essentially an agreement by a group of people to accept a group of features as a "standard".   They form clubs, elect judges, put on shows and select individual dogs to represent the standard.  The clubs are collected into a registry which keeps permanent records and promotes the standard. 

Breeds are not static, the standards can change over time as fashion dictates.  There are currently more than 400 generally recognized breeds of dogs in the world.  Of these, only about 140 are recognized by the AKC in the US and only a few dozen of these are widely recognized by the public. 

There is no real reason that someone could not declare an individual mixed breed dog as a single generation "breed" that (unless cloned) would come and go in one generation.  The dog show would be poorly attended but that dog would win every prize!

Crossbreeds
This type of dog is a rarity since it is only one generation and is frequently a mistake on the part of the owners of the parents.  A crossbreed is the offspring of two purebred dogs of different breeds.  A dog that is one quarter German Shepherd, one quarter Cocker Spaniel and one half Corgi is a mixed breed.

Predictability
Adopting a purebred puppy from a good breeder provides some predictability.  You have reasonable assurance that a Dalmatian puppy will not end up having red hair and a curly tail.  You have reasonable assurance that a Golden Retriever will be good with people and can be taught to fetch tennis balls. 

No matter what anyone says, a mixed breed puppy with small paws may grow to be the size of your sofa.  A crossbreed can be something in between with some predictability and some randomness.

The right thing to do
Adopting a purebred can encourage overbreeding by creating demand for yet unborn puppies.   Adopting a mixed breed can encourage overbreeding by creating homes for yet unborn puppies. 

Cost and time
A purebred puppy can cost anywhere from $300 to over $1000 depending on the demand and supply of the breed in your area.  In addition, it can take 6 months from the time you decide to adopt to the time you bring your puppy home. 

A mixed breed puppy is likely to cost less and may even be free from your neighbor.  After the difference in acquisition cost, however, both puppies will cost essentially the same over their lifetime.  You may also spend weeks going through every shelter or classified ad looking for just the right mixed breed puppy to bring home.

Hybrid vigor
Mixed breed dogs in general are probably somewhat healthier than purebreds.   With mixed breeds, uncommon recessive genes that can lead to various disorders and diseases, are likely to be supressed.  However, your particular dog may not fit this pattern and may develop any number of problems. 

Basically, the decision is yours alone.  Whether you choose to adopt the most extreme of purebreds or the most natural of mixed breeds, as long as you are happy with your decision, it is the correct one.

 
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