Rocky’s Viewpoint

Rockys Viewpoint

A blog for people who treat their dogs better than family

Are Mixed Breeds Really Healthier Than Purebreds?

thumb_videogalleryMost people are under the assumption that mixed breeds are healthier than purebreds.  There is some logic to this.  When two or more breeds are blended together, we assume the chance of inheriting a breed–specific disease or condition is less probable.  Designer breeds have become very popular because of the notion that breed blending produces healthier dogs. 

But that may or may not be true. The University of California, Davis performed a five year study in which researchers  reviewed over 27,000 veterinary cases involving dogs with at least one of 24 genetic disorders.  The study revealed that mixed breeds don’t necessarily have the advantage when it comes to genetic disorders.   Out of 24 genetic disorders, the prevalence of 13 of the 24 was about the same for purebreds as mixed breeds.  Some of the disorders included hip dysplasia, cancer, lens and patellar luxation.  Elbow dysplasia, cataracts, dilated cardiomyopathy, and hypothyroidism appeared more frequently in purebreds.  Cranial cruciate ligament ruptures were actually more common in mixed breed dogs.

Overall, the study proposes that breeds that share a similar lineage are more prone to certain disorders.  For example, the Bernese Mountain dog, Newfoundland, Mastiff and Rottweiler all originate from the mastiff-like lineage.  This suggests that they share the same gene mutations because they were descended from a common ancestor.  The disorders that occur in both mixed breeds and purebreds seem to originate from well established gene mutations that have spread throughout the dog population over time.  

It appears that no dog, purebred or mixed breed is 100% immune to developing a genetic disorder. It seems to be dependent on a dog’s ancestors as to whether he will exhibit a genetic disorder during his lifetime.  So if you’re thinking about purchasing a purebred puppy, thoroughly investigate the breeder and the prospective puppy’s parents’ lifestyle and that will give you great insight to the health of the pup.  With mixed breeds, however, that may be more difficult- just do the best you can. With any puppy, all we can do is give them the best love and care possible and hope for the best.