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Posted on 08-02-2016

Purebred Vs. Mixed Breeds

The discussion of superiority and which is a better companion between owners of purebred and mixed-breed dogs is nothing new, and both sides have a compelling argument for why one choice is better than the other. So who is right? Which dogs are superior? Here are two professional opinions on the topic.

The Pros of a Purebred

For breed fanciers, consistency and predictability are key.

Many people choose a purebred dog over a mixed breed because they are looking for predictable qualities- temperament, looks, exercise needs, etc. Many dog breeds were bred for a purpose. For example, the long body and short legs of a Dachshund made them well suited for hunting badgers, while heavy coated and large webbed feet made the Newfie a good breed for working in the cold marshes of Newfoundland. As modern lifestyles have evolved, so have the tasks leveraged by consistent qualities of purebred lines. Breeds with specific traits, such as Labrador Retrievers, are trained to detect everything from diabetes and cancer to explosives. Purebreds are often used in search and rescue, trained to help vision and hearing impairments, and utilized as assistance dogs for people with PTSD or autism.

The Benefits of a Mixed Breed

For many people, adopting a homeless pet, as opposed to purchasing a pet, is a high priority. According to the PetSmart Charities 2014 Shelter Pet Report, pet adoption is on the rise, with 66 percent of people saying they would adopt from a shelter or rescue rather than purchase. Though many shelters and rescues have purebred dogs in addition to mixed-breeds, shelters that focus on the individual dog instead of the breed characteristics have found great success in placing mixed-breed dogs with families. Each pet should be evaluated on an individual basis. Different breeds do have different characteristics, but these often vary- especially with respect to behavior. It has been reported that appearance and behavior are the two most important characteristics to people choosing pets. Potential owners often come to the shelter with a specific breed in mind. It is important for the shelters to understand what qualities the owners are looking for in that breed and be able to match the potential pets accurately. To address this need, the ASPCA has developed a program called Meet Your Match, which takes into account both appearance and behavior to find an individual who is the best match for a family’s needs. “The advantage of mixed-breed dogs is being able to find exactly what you want,” according to Dr. Emily Weiss, senior director of research and development for the ASPCA. After implementing Meet Your Match, participating shelters found returns dropped by half, according to Weiss.

How Should You Choose a Dog?

Families should think very carefully about what pet would best fit their family’s needs. A dog is a large commitment, and finding a pet that best fits your family’s needs will be an easier transition than trying to rearrange your schedule to meet the dog’s needs. There is a well matched pet out there for everyone, you just have to do your research to find the best one.

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