There are hundreds of purebred and hybrid dog breeds in existence worldwide, and there is also no shortage of mixed breed canines. With so many options, many dog lovers are left to ponder which selection will make the best choice to serve as their loyal companion.
Purebred: Few Surprises
A purebred dog breed is a dog whose family tree contains only one breed. A German shepherd must have only German shepherds in its ancestry. Dedicated and reputable dog breeders focus solely on their breed of interest to create dogs that show off the best look, temperament and health that they can produce.
Most prospective dog owners tend to gravitate toward a particular purebred because they are attracted to its appearance or overall temperament. Labrador retrievers are outgoing family dogs, Great Pyrenees dogs are consistently large in size and light in color, and Afghan hounds promise to exhibit flowing long hair for hours of grooming pleasure. What you have seen is what you will get when it comes to a purebred dog. When it comes to appearance, there will be no surprises when your puppy matures into its adult manifestation. While each dog is a unique individual with its own endearing behaviors, the overall temperament of a purebred is also fairly consistent.
One drawback to opting for a purebred dog is that many of them are known to be afflicted with potential health problems that are common to certain breeds. For example, Doberman pinschers are at risk for developing Wobblers disease. If you long for purebred dogs, do your homework and research your chosen breed’s known health conditions before you search for a breeder. Do not obtain a puppy from any breeder who refuses to have a conversation about the health problems of their breed. Avoid breeders who will not furnish the documentation that proves that appropriate screenings have been performed on their dogs.
Hybrid: The Best of Both Worlds
A hybrid dog, which is also known as a designer dog, is the result of crossing two specific breeds to create a dog that possesses the best qualities of both parent breeds. For example, a golden doodle is created when a golden retriever is crossed with a poodle. The result is a dog that is family friendly and has a coat of hair that more closely resembles that of a poodle.
The attraction toward hybrids is that the best temperament traits of both breeds can come together in one dog, and the risk for potential health problems diminishes because the genetic pool has widened from one breed to two. In the case of a purebred Cavalier King Charles spaniel, both parents contribute the risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to their offspring. When a cavachon is created, which is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and Bichon frise hybrid, only one parent contributes the risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy to the offspring. An appeal of many of the poodle hybrids lies in the coat. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, individuals who suffer from allergies tend to fare better with poodle coats.
Mutt: For Those Who Love Surprises
A mutt is also a mixed breed, but it is very different from a hybrid. While a hybrid is created by purposely crossing two specific breeds, a mutt is a random breeding between any dogs, including other mutts. Since such unions are not usually planned, controlled or documented, a mutt can possess the physical, behavioral and health traits of as many breeds as those of its family tree, which is usually unknown.
For prospective owners who simply love dogs and are not particular about the characteristics of their future canine companion, a mutt is an ideal choice. As the puppy grows and matures, its owner will be surprised as the characteristics are revealed. Health surprises may also present themselves, but since the gene pool of a mutt is usually wide and diverse, the chances for breed-specific health problems are sharply diminished. As a result, mutts often enjoy longer lifespans than those of their purebred counterparts. Welcoming a mutt into your family is an economical choice. Mutts can usually be adopted from shelters and from private situations where an unplanned litter of puppies needs to be placed in new homes.
Which type of dog breed is best for you? It depends on your personal preferences when it comes to appearance and temperament. It also depends on your lifestyle needs, such as whether or not you need a dog that is least likely to send one of your housemates into allergic misery, if you need a dog that plays well with children or one that will be eager to tag along on hiking expeditions. If you have no preferences or unique needs, then a trip to your local shelter to gift a mutt with a loving forever home will reap the reward of companionship that you are looking for.