Mixed-breed dogs have parents of different breeds and have a wider genetic pool. Their family tree can have two different breeds (crossbreed) or various breeds in their family line. So, does being a mixed breed have disadvantages, and are mixed-breed dogs bad?
Mixed-breed dogs are not bad. They have a wide gene-related variation in personality and physical traits, giving dog owners a wide choice. Nonetheless, mixed-breed dogs lack an established breed standard and can be hard to predict. They can also sometimes have behavioral and health problems.
If you are considering a mixed-breed dog but are unsure if you should adopt one, this article discusses the reasons that could sway your decision. Let’s dive in!
- What to Know Before Getting a Mixed Breed Dog
- Are Mixed Breed Dogs Bad?
- Let's Wrap This Up!
What to Know Before Getting a Mixed Breed Dog
The idea that purebred dogs are better than mixed-breed dogs is primarily built on the fact that purebred dogs have an established breed standard, and owners know exactly what to expect.
However, there has recently been an increasing interest in mixed-breed dogs as they are thought to have better health and can be more physically attractive.
Although most people know that mixed-breed dogs can have many positive traits, some prospective pet parents still wonder if they should adopt one.
Below are some considerations before deciding if you should adopt a mixed-breed dog:
1. It’s Difficult To Predict a Mixed Breed’s Temperament
Purebred dogs have an established breed standard that tells you what to expect in terms of temperament and physical and social traits.
Although we know that a mixed-breed dog inherits aspects of physical and personality traits from its parents, predicting these characteristics in the offspring can be challenging.
A study conducted on a large population of purebred and mixed-breed dogs found that even though most dog behavior traits have a heritability level of greater than 25%, a dog’s breed only affects behavior by 9%.
In other words, while dogs inherit gene-related behavior traits from their parents, having a particular breed in their family line is not a reliable predictor of temperament and other characteristics.
Watch This YouTube Video On Purebreds vs. Mixed Breeds…
2. It’s Challenging To Predict a Mixed Breed Dog’s Adult Size
Physical size is typically the most predictable characteristic of a purebred dog breed. However, when there is mixed breeding, breeders rely on the size of the parent dogs to predict the adult size of a mixed-breed dog.
While this may work in some cases, it’s not always the case.
According to the Institute of Canine Biology, gene variation can occur, causing multiple genes from the parents to manifest unexpectedly in the offspring. This means that the resulting gene combination may not reflect the expected average of the parent genes.
For example, a breeder may mate a German Shepherd and a Border Collie, expecting that the Shollie’s size will tend towards the smaller size of the Border Collie (30 – 55 lb/13.60 – 24.94 kg). Instead, the German Shepherd and Border Collie mix may favor the German Shepherd’s genes, resulting in the offspring weighing up to 90 lb (40.82 kg) in adulthood.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Shollie, it’s one of the mixes I feature in this article, Mini German Shepherd: Info, Size, & Cost.
3. Mixed Breeds May Be Susceptible to Health Issues
The general idea among mixed-breed dog enthusiasts is that they are healthier than purebreds. As such, they are thought to be less prone to diseases because of their vast gene pool. However, the jury is still out on this issue, and there have been no confirmed studies in this regard.
A widely-referenced 2013 study on the prevalence of inherited disorders among purebreds and mixed-breed dogs found that the former were more prone to 10 genetic disorders. It also found that mixed breeds and purebreds had equal prevalence for another 13 genetic disorders.
It’s also worth understanding that although mixed-breed dogs inherit DNA from a wider gene pool variation, this doesn’t make them immune from inheriting genetically-transmitted health conditions.
This means that if a breeder irresponsibly mates two dogs of different breeds who are genetically predisposed to a particular health condition, the offspring may be born with a possible predisposition for the same health condition.
4. It Can Be Hard To Trace a Mixed Breed’s Family Line
With purebred dogs, you know that you can easily trace their family line as they have a pedigree, and pedigree databases are a fairly reliable place to trace a dog’s ancestry.
On the other hand, mixed-breed dogs have a more complex family line, especially if they are mutts and not crossbreeds (a product of two purebred dogs). If a mixed breed dog has a family line of other mixed breeds, it can be very difficult to trace the parents.
This also means that you may not be able to determine what breeds are in your dog’s family line and how healthy or unhealthy the parent dogs were.
However, you can get a DNA test such as the Embark Dog DNA Test from Amazon. Not only does this test decode your dog, but it’s also a canine genetic health screening test.
5. Mixed Breed Dogs Can Have Behavioral Issues
When choosing a dog, most potential owners consider the breed’s personality and physical traits. Personality traits translate into a dog’s trainability, social abilities, friendliness with family and other people and animals, and protectiveness, among others.
A study on owner-viewed differences between mixed breeds and purebreds has established that mixed-breed dogs tend to be less calm and are less sociable with other dogs. They are also more likely to portray problematic behaviors such as pulling on a leash, ignoring commands, jumping on people, and dominating.
However, the same study predicted that these behaviors were more pronounced in mixed-breed dogs due to the following reasons:
- Mixed-breed dogs are often a result of random breeding, implying no planned research on dog personality before mating.
- Mixed-breed dogs are more likely to be owned by people with little or no prior experience in dog ownership.
- Mixed breed owners tend to focus less on formal dog training, which negatively affects a dog’s social abilities.
- Mixed breeds are more likely to be single dogs and are often kept indoors. This limits their interaction with other pets and their exposure to people and other dogs and animals.
Are Mixed Breed Dogs Bad?
Mixed breeds are not bad. They are often associated with the benefits of a wider gene variation as opposed to the limits of interbreeding between purebred dogs.
Despite this, there are some drawbacks to owning a mixed-breed dog:
- It can be challenging to determine their adult size and personality.
- They are just as prone as purebreds to certain genetic disorders.
- You can’t easily trace a mixed-breed dog’s family line.
- Mixed breeds are often associated with some behavior problems.
However, when deciding which is better, purebred dogs vs. mixed breeds, mixed breed dogs are just as unique as purebred dogs. As such, you cannot put all mixed-breed dogs in the same category, and it’s only by owning one that you can discover what wonderful pets they can be.
Let’s Wrap This Up!
Mixed-breed dogs are not bad, and with the right training and discipline, you can have a fantastic pet. Choosing a mixed breed or purebred dog is a personal choice and should be based on your family’s needs.
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