Watch: This Dog Experts’ Harsh Truth About Mixed Breeds Sparks Heated Debate

The theory behind the idea that mixed-breed dogs are healthier than purebreds is simple: when a dog is mixed with multiple breeds, you reduce the risk of them inheriting breed-specific genetic diseases. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t always how it works. (See video below)

This idea developed when mixed breeds were unintentional—the result of accidental litters. Today, many mixed-breed dogs are what we now call “designer breeds,” dogs who have very intentionally been bred with more than one parent breed. In many cases, intentionally mixing multiple dog breeds can create additional health issues or compound the resulting puppies’ chances of developing genetic ailments. 

With designer dog breeding on the rise, unethical breeders use the misleading idea that mixes are healthier to sell more puppies. 

“Designer Dogs” Are Unethically Bred & Sold To Under-Informed Buyers

Many designer dog owners are misled into believing their dogs are a “better” version of an established purebred breed. This isn’t their fault—it’s the fault of the so-called breeders. 

Labradoodles were once touted as the perfect alternative to a Poodle, with all the intelligence and non-shedding but with the bonus of being super friendly and easy-going, like a Lab. Puggles were advertised as Pugs without breathing problems. Pomskies are supposed to be less energetic Huskies in a small package. 

No! A Puggle Is NOT healthier Than a Pug

@rtrinityk06

Commented on @‪Maddie & Rudder’s post‬

♬ original sound – Maddie & Rudder

“A Puggle is not just like a Pug but healthier—because a Puggle is a mix of a Pug and a Beagle. A Pug is a toy companion breed, a Beagle is a scenthound; two very different dogs,” says Maddie—a content creator who shares advice for dog owners—in a TikTok video that has gone viral. “When you’re breeding those two dogs you don’t get to tell the genes ‘hey, we just want the longer neck and longer muzzle of the Beagle and everything else you can just keep Pug.’ That’s the problem with these unethical mixed-breed breeders, they say these crazy lies…it’s a gamble as far as what you get.” 

Purebred dogs take decades to standardize, and ethical breeders are very careful to only choose mating pairs that are compatible both physically and temperamentally. Because you don’t get to choose which traits the puppies will inherit, combining very different breeds can create serious health complications. 

Do Mixed Breed Dogs Have Lower Rates of Genetic Diseases? 

purebred vs mixed breed dogs

Are mixed-breed dogs and mutts less likely to inherit genetic diseases than purebred dogs? In short, the answer is not necessarily

Both “mixed breed and purebred dogs share the same common inherited disease variants,” according to a study examining genetic disease distribution in over 100,000 dogs. While purebred dogs show slightly higher rates of genetic diseases, mixed-breed dogs are by no means free from these health abnormalities. 

The assumption that mixed-breed dogs are healthier than purebreds has helped to fuel the growing designer dog industry, and leaves owners in shock when their dogs develop serious health concerns. 

Risks Associated with Breeding Designer Dogs

purebred vs mixed breed dogs

As has already been mentioned, you don’t get to pick and choose which genetic traits a dog will get when you combine two different breeds. 

For example, the combination of a Husky and a Pomeranian would ideally get you a smaller, more social Husky-like dog. In reality, combining a large, heavy breed with a small toy breed can create serious bone and joint issues like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. The vastly different mental and physical stimulation needs of these breeds yield unpredictable temperaments in puppies, and many examples of Pomskies and other designer dogs experience high anxiety and reactivity as a result. 

Many breeders of designer dogs are purely motivated by profit, and forego important responsibilities like genetic testing, temperament assessments, etc. Ethical breeders may spend decades carefully refining their bloodlines, and often only produce one or two litters of puppies every few years. 

To put it bluntly, why get an unpredictable designer mix when you can get an ethically bred purebred dog? Breed standards exist for a reason, and help potential dog owners choose the right breed for their lifestyle. 

Battle of the Mixes: Designer Dogs vs. Rescued Mutts

purebred vs mixed breed dogs

If mixed-breed dogs aren’t necessarily healthier than purebred dogs, why are we constantly being told to adopt instead of buying from breeders? 

Adopting a dog isn’t about choosing a healthy dog over an unhealthy one. Choosing to adopt instead of buying from a breeder is a way to combat overpopulation and overbreeding—two issues that have made our shelter systems far too full. The designer dog trend has only made shelter overpopulation worse. 

When you adopt a mixed-breed dog, it might not be any healthier than a designer mix bred by a backyard breeder. But, at least you are supporting efforts to reduce animal homelessness instead of funding an industry that has only made the situation worse. 


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