Welcoming a canine companion into your life is a commitment that may last 10 years or more. Finding a pet whose temperament matches your lifestyle and personality is best achieved by researching and selecting a purebred–a dog with predictable characteristics. There are as many breeds as there are lifestyles. Some reasons to consider a purebred dog, whether a puppy or an adult include the following:
- AKC-registered breeds have a distinct heritage.
Most breeds were developed to perform a specific function that helped humans in their daily lives. For example, Herding breeds guard and tend to sheep and Terriers eradicate pests (such as vermin) from food supplies and homes.
- Many AKC breeds have pedigrees that can be traced back more than 100 years.
This creates a level of breed predictability that cannot be achieved in a short period of time, such as with intentionally mixed breeds. You will know how your purebred puppy will look and act as an adult. For example, a Doberman may be more watchful over the household while a Collie may greet strangers without prejudice. Dobermans do not require extensive grooming but a Collie must be brushed daily. A mix of the two breeds could result in any variation in temperament and physical characteristics.
- It is a myth that purebreds are more prone to hereditary disorders than mixed breeds.
There are no well-published, conclusive studies indicating that purebreds are less healthy than mixed breeds. Specific genetic disorders are known in certain breeds, and a dedicated group of breeders in each breed monitors such problems with the intent of eliminating them. Each AKC-registered breed has a “parent club” with members who are the guardians of the breed in the United States. No organization records disorders for mixed breeds and since many genetic disorders occur in multiple breeds, they are common in mixed breeds. For instance, a study on the genetic disorder Hip Dysplasia revealed no statistical difference in the prevalence of the disease between purebred and mixed breed dogs*. Dedicated breeders work tirelessly to understand the diseases that affect their breed, and conduct the necessary tests – through organizations such as Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) – to diminish the instances of genetic disorders in their breeding stock. The best way to ensure you get a healthy companion is to work with an experienced breeder.
- A dog breeder can become an invaluable friend and advisor.
In addition to striving to improve and preserve the integrity of their breed, many breeders will make themselves available throughout a pet’s life to answer questions and even, if need be, take the pet back if the owner is unable to care for the dog. A responsible breeder selectively breeds high-quality puppies improving upon each generation and carefully matches pet owners with their dogs.
- You can rescue a purebred dog.
Every AKC breed has a dedicated group of fanciers who do rescue for that breed through a national network of volunteers. If you don’t have the resources and energy for a puppy but think you could handle an adult dog, look into purebred rescue groups at http://www.akc.org/breeds/rescue.cfm.
* Rettenmaier JL, DVM, MS et al. Prevalence of Canine Hip Dysplasia in a veterinary teaching hospital population. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound. vol. 43, no. 4, 2002, pp 314- 315.