Dogs have made fabulous companions for generations. Some are protective, some are energetic and some are athletic. Regardless of type, size or color, any well-tempered dog can be a loyal and loving friend for you and your family. While some people are convinced that purebred dogs make the best companions for them, there are plenty of reasons that you might want to consider a mixed-breed (or “mutt”) instead.
First and foremost, purebred dogs are extremely expensive. Certain breeds can cost upwards of one thousand dollars. The reasoning behind this is that a purebred has been (supposedly) genetically tested. The breeder’s dogs have may have been in dog shows and won a number of ribbons for various traits (which unless you want to do the same, only serve as bragging rights and mean absolutely nothing about the disposition of your dog). A breeder also practices selective breeding – which is a process that is used to eliminate certain undesirable aesthetic traits, which in the majority of cases results in physical problems for dogs – thus extremely costly vet bills for you. Examples are hip dysplasia, extreme neurological problems, breathing and overheating issues, seizures and spinal problems.
A kennel dog will cost fraction of the price of a purebred dog. When you buy your pooch from a pound, you don’t have to subsidize any of the costs of shows or genetic tests. Many pounds are run by the city too so they receive funding from taxes and donations – which means they don’t need to charge you a bundle for your companion. Better still – you will be able to choose from a variety of different dogs and choose the personality, size and age of dog that suits you and your family best.
A breeder can supposedly tell you the personality of their breed. However, the personality of a dog can have so much more to do with how it is handled as a puppy. Only certain personality traits are passed on through genetics. When you buy a puppy from a breeder, you are only guessing based on the breed’s reputation that the dog will turn out as you hope. The breeder runs a business of selling puppies, so she probably doesn’t spend much time getting to know the dog that you end up taking home.
When you adopt a dog from a shelter, he has already interacted with staff, volunteers and other dogs at the shelter. They will be able to tell you all about him – whether he is good with other dogs, has a dominant personality, likes kids, cats and other dogs, etc. Many mutts are just so desperate to have a home that they will love whoever wants to give them attention.
Mutts are typically heartier than purebreds. Purebreds often have genetic defects, which are passed on from generation to generation. With such a limited gene pool, inbreeding is almost inevitable and can cause huge problems with the pups. Breeders want to pass on only the most desirable traits, but such desirable traits are not necessarily the traits that make a dog a good companion (but they might make the dog a good showpiece). Often dogs from breeders end up with kennel cough, and other health issues that require immediate attention.
Over the life of a dog, mutts turn out to be much healthier dogs over pure breeds.
When you choose a dog from a shelter, you could be saving his life. There are an unfortunate number of unwanted cats and dogs in the world, and not enough room to house them in shelters. When shelters get overrun with animals they are forced to euthanize the least healthy. Many mixed-breed dogs have heartwarming stories, have led difficult lives before ending up at a shelter. So many of them just need to be loved and find a good home. Purebreds do not share the same problem.
It is becoming all too common to read about breeders whose ethics and breeding practices are far from above board. Think about it. It’s a money making endeavor. Rarely are people truly in it for the opportunity to hand down champion traits, because the majority of people aren’t showing their dogs, but use them for bragging rights. And for every dog you buy from a breeder, you are potentially letting a shelter dog to be euthanized because a home won’t be found for him.
And at the end of the day, when Sasha comes barreling down the hall to greet you, love you and lick your face all over, will it have mattered whether she is a purebred costing you $1000 or a dog whose life you rescued?