Mutts Rule!

We at Much Love encourage potential pet owners to ALWAYS go to the shelter or adopt from a rescue group.  YOU CAN RESCUE ANY BREED (see article above).  Here is an article from our friend Dr. Halligan and her opinions on Mutts vs. Purebreds.PamTheHam1

Choosing Your Dog:  Mutt or Purebred?
By Dr. Karen Halligan

OK, you’re ready to adopt a dog. Congratulations! But now you can’t decide whether to bring home a mutt from a local shelter or invest in a purebred pup from a breeder. Purebreds have been selectively bred to look and act in particular ways. Their parents and ancestors are all members of the same breed and generally conform to a specific standard. On the other hand, mixed breeds, or mutts, are combinations of different breeds whose ancestry can be the basis of a long-running guessing game. Here are some considerations in the great mutt v. purebred debate to help you make your choice.

A UNIQUE SURPRISE  vs. A PREDICTABLE POOCH:  When you select a mixed breed you are definitely getting a one-of-a-kind dog with unique looks and characteristics. You can, in fact, get a combination of the appealing qualities of various breeds. Mutts come in all shapes, sizes and colors and usually have quirky characteristics produced when two different breeds mate, like terrier whiskers on a Dalmatian’s face or a pug head and a beagle body. In most cases you won’t know who a mutt’s mom and dad were, let alone his grand folks, which means you’re dealing with hereditary unknowns.  Therefore, there will be some elements of surprise, especially with puppies, as you may not be able to predict what it will look like or its size as an adult.

On the other hand, dogs that come from a good line of strong parents from a reputable and proven breeder have been screened for health problems. You can evaluate their genetic background and predict their temperament pretty accurately. Plus, you more or less know the color, appearance and size of your dog as well as the behavioral characteristics of the breed. What’s more, if you purchase him from a reputable breeder, a purebred puppy (and its mother) will have received pre- and post-natal care. Note: Although genes determine personality, behavior and grooming needs, good manners depend on good training.

AFFORDABILITY vs. PEDIGREE:  Mutts are affordable to acquire. Prices range from free to less than $100 from most shelters.  If you adopt from a shelter, it usually includes an exam and vaccinations, spay or neutering and deworming. It’s a lower initial investment than purebreds: If you’re considering purchasing pet insurance, you won’t have as many exclusions from hereditary disorders as with purebreds including hip dysplasia, immune disorders, skin disease and cancer. Also, some insurance companies will not write homeowners insurance for households that have certain purebreds including Pit bulls, Rottweilers or Doberman Pinschers.

If pedigree is important there are certain purebreds that come with some prestige and status, and there are breed clubs that owners can join with like dogs. Aristocratic purebred dogs, such as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi made famous by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, fetch a high price.

AVAILABILITY:  Mutts are easily available and unfortunately in plentiful supply at shelters, rescue groups and on the streets. A visit to your local shelter will provide an overwhelming selection of the products of random breeding. It is estimated that 4 to 6 million animals are euthanized yearly in the United States, because there are not enough homes. Therefore, rescuing a mutt from the shelter is also saving an animal’s life, and there is a certain joy and satisfaction that comes from giving such a dog a loving home. (Surprisingly 25 % of shelter dogs are likely purebreds, but there are no papers to prove it.) In contrast, well-bred dogs take time to find. Females only get pregnant once or twice a year, so you may encounter a waiting list for the purebred you desire.

YOUR PET’S PURPOSE AND SELECTIVE TRAITS:  If entering your dog into competition is important, then a purebred is right for you. Although some agility contests are now open to mixed breeds, most top level competitions are reserved for purebreds and only full-blooded dogs are eligible to show. You can research beforehand to choose a breed that matches your preferences in looks, personality and aptitudes. There are over 150 purebred dogs to choose from.  If you want a certain size dog or a certain type of coat (short, silky, non-shedding), you can choose a purebred that has those characteristics. Maybe there are family-health issues, like allergies or a respiratory condition. You can also influence personality and select between a high energy vs. low energy animal.  What’s more, if you need a dog to herd or pull a sled, you can choose a purebred that was developed to do that type of work. (The disadvantage is that when selecting for certain positive characteristics you unwittingly breed for health problems such as inherited joint disease, heart disease, blindness and allergies are frequently breed-specific.) Before purchasing a dog, you can consult other owners at dog parks, veterinarians and trainers to be sure you choose the right breed for your family and lifestyle.

Of course, regardless of their pedigree, all dogs need to be loved, valued and cared for.

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