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Selecting a dog is an important decision that plays out for families every day across the country. Although the specifics of what you look for in a dog may vary, most would agree that they want a dog that fits their needs and suits their lifestyle.

One part of that decision is identifying if you want to get a purebred or mixed-breed dog. Maybe you want a purebred dog because you want a sense of predictability regarding a dog’s size or energy level or to have the safety net of a caring, responsible breeder. From inheriting an instant circle of fellow breed lovers to helping preserve a vulnerable breed, there are many reasons why you may decide to get a purebred dog.

Predictable Traits

There are many times in life when it might be fun to be surprised. Bringing a dog into your life to be a pet and family member may not be one of them. Expectations can be more easily met when one can predict the expected size, general temperament, grooming needs, and activity level of a future companion. A purebred dog offers this predictability by virtue of its breed.

Do you want a lap dog or a big dog? Long hair or no hair? How about a dog that’s easily trained versus one that’s more of an independent thinker? When you honestly evaluate your lifestyle and what you expect of a new pet, there’s a breed for every household

Some might argue that a mixed-breed dog from a shelter would accommodate most families. Let’s look at this option more closely. Even with a DNA testing kit used to identify a mixed-breed dog’s ancestry (not wholly accurate, by the way), a cheek swab cannot predict what percentage of the breeds behind a dog will manifest themselves. A Border CollieShih Tzu mix might fit a quiet, calm lifestyle, but only if the dog’s activity level is more Shih Tzu than Border Collie.

Australian Shepherd laying outdoors with two puppies.
Zuzule/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Health Awareness

Financial considerations also impact the decision to get a dog. Falling in love with an unsound dog possibly predisposed to illness would be heartbreaking enough; it would be doubly so if the owner had to choose between paying for their own medicine and caring for a beloved dog.

Ethical breeders test the health of not only the dogs they use for breeding, but also subsequent puppies. This testing increases the odds that youngsters they place in new homes will have long, healthy lives. While specific genetic disorders are known to exist in certain breeds, dedicated breeders monitor their dogs with every intention of eliminating the disease by removing afflicted dogs or carriers from their breeding program. The Dog Genome Project enables researchers to study genes that cause disorders, and every year, breeders and veterinarians have new options to eradicate disease as a result of this research.

However, some studies have concluded that there is no statistical difference in the prevalence of genetic disorders between purebred dogs and mixed breeds. A 2013 study conducted at the University of California, Davis of approximately 90,000 purebred and mixed-breed dogs found that more than half of the genetic disorders included in the study were prevalent in about the same number of mixed-breed dogs as in their purebred counterparts. Another study, which focused on hip dysplasia in dogs, revealed that purebred dogs are no more prone to the condition than mixed breeds are.

Dachshund puppies playing together in the grass.

Access to Community and Support

Every puppy in a litter is the beneficiary of good nutrition, proper socialization, and the kind of handling appropriate for critical stages in a puppy’s development. Breeders invested in their respective breeds carefully screen prospective homes to ensure their puppy is placed with owners for whom the breed is the right fit. Many breeders stay in touch with new puppy owners to provide care and grooming instructions when needed. Most also want to be notified of significant life events, such as death or divorce, that’ll impact a dog they bred, whatever its age at the time.

Buying from a breeder often means that the puppy comes with a “family plan,” a community of fellow breed owners. This community often delights to find each other and share the joys and challenges of owning their breed. Owning a purebred dog can lead to forming deep friendships, which can be a great comfort to new dog owners.

Beagle mother playing with her puppies in the yard.
Beagle mother playing with her puppies in the yard.

Heritage and Lineage

Though it may not be the primary reason you’re interested in a purebred dog, there’s something to be said for helping preserve a species at a time when several dog breeds are at risk of vanishing in our lifetime. A few breeds have registration numbers so low that it puts in doubt their survival into future generations. Giant pandas even globally outnumber some dog breeds.

Helping preserve a breed through ownership is a legacy. Parents can use their dog’s breed as a teaching tool and help their children learn about different cultures through the richness of the world’s dog breeds. The child who learns not to laugh at dogs that look different from each other is the child who learns to accept that people have differences, too.

All dogs should be valued regardless of their ancestry, but the purebred dog offers a lot of “bang for your buck,” not only practically but also in the intangibles that come with a known entity.

Related article: Why Are Some Dog Breeds Rare or Not as Popular?
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Selecting a Puppy

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