Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier Than Purebred Dogs?

It's an age-old question! Let’s talk about the strengths, setbacks and benefits of both.

Purebred dogs vs mixed breeds - Four mixed-breed and purebred dogs sitting in the garden

Certain breeds may suit your personality better than others.

Purebred dogs tend to look and act in very specific ways. If you want a particular breed of dog or if your personality matches with a specific breed, well, then consider a purebred dog. If your dog will have a job or if you need a dog for assistance, certain breeds may suit your needs better than others. For example, seeing eye dogs need to be larger dogs in order to help their owner navigate busy areas easily with large amounts of people.

Alternatively, if you want a dog for companionship, have a smaller living area, or have concerns about your future pet’s health, a mixed breed dog may be a better fit! Mixed breed dogs tend to be smaller overall and genetically they are not as susceptible to diseases and genetic conditions because they have a more diverse gene pool. They can come in funky patterns and colors as well as have different personality types.

Genetics & Health

Purebred dogs can have specific health problems that are characteristic of their breed. Dogs such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are known for having Mitral Valve Disease (a specific type of heart disease) and Doberman Pinschers are known to have Dilated Cardiomyopathy (a different type of heart disease).

This isn’t to say that mixed breed dogs do not have the possibility of carrying a genetic trait from one of their purebred lineages. However, mixed breed dogs are less likely to show changes to the heart (or other organs that may be impacted by breed-specific conditions) as early as purebred dogs typically do.

Purebred dogs vs mixed breeds - Happy white and red mongrel dog with mouth open, tongue out and ears up

A mixed breed dog may not be as susceptible to diseases.

One of the best qualities of a mixed breed dog is that they typically live longer. Because of genetic changes, mixed breed dogs are seen as heartier than purebred dogs and tend to have longer lifespans as a result. The same is largely true for cats as well! Brachycephalic or short-nosed purebred cats (such as Persian cats) are more likely to have a condition called stertor (snoring and reverberation when inhaling) than the Domestic Short Hair. This is because the genetics of a Persian are different than a Domestic Short Hair and their faces are two different shapes.

Thinking About Adopting a Dog or Cat Soon?

Think about what you can provide your future companion: a large yard, a nearby park, safe roads, etc. Some larger dogs thrive well in small apartments, but others need a lot of space. Smaller dogs usually are easier to care for in smaller spaces; however, a greyhound makes the world’s best apartment dog with two good walks a day.

Consider the size and personality of your future pet and remember that having a pet is a lifetime commitment. Both purebred and mixed breed dogs have their strengths and difficulties. Your journey with your pet will be filled with love and joy, whatever you choose!