Why Purebred Dogs Need Extra Love and Attention

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purebred dogTo those outside of the complex world of dog breeding, the obsession with purebred dogs can seem confusing. Though we may all have our individual preferences in canine breeds, most dog lovers can agree that all pets deserve love and care, regardless of their pedigree. However, there is some science behind why purebred dogs need some extra attention from their owners as well as from veterinary specialists. As purebred pets are often bred very close together in order to keep their lineage pure, these dogs often suffer from genetic issues that make them prone to sickness, from increased occurrences of colds and parasites to higher risks of cancers and other fatal illnesses. For this reason, owners must be sure to give their purebred pets more attention, and practice preventative care to compensate for their increased risk of illness.

The Science Behind Purebred Dogs

Though we have only begun to understand the science behind genetics over the last 100 years, humans have been working with strategic breeding techniques for centuries, if not millennia, to produce domesticated animals and plants that best serve their needs. Dogs have been bred for a variety of reasons, leading to very distinct features within breed categorizations. Whether the appearance of a dog, or the mental or physical traits of the dog, the breeding has produced very useful and loyal dogs in the hundreds of internationally-recognized purebred dog varieties that are available today.

However, the very same genetics that have been manipulated over the centuries to produce these dog breeds are the same that can lead to lots of defects within a dog. When gene pools are mixed, the likelihood that bad mutations within the structure of the DNA is greatly reduced, and traits of strength and resiliency within “outside” breeds can be introduced into a particular breed’s offspring. Mixing breeds counters the entire essence of controlling the lineage of dog breeds, however.  As the gene pool is reduced over time through interbreeding, many “flaws” in the genetic structure – such as decreased resistance to illness, or mutated genes that can lead to the development of tumors – are reproduced at an increased rate. As a result, the health benefits provided by mixing breeds are lost within purebred dogs.

Medical Care for Your Canine: How To Identify Likely Health Issues

From the moment you first take your puppy home, it is important to continually perform research to know what kinds of threats are known to face your particular dog’s breed. Some breeds are known to have higher risks of cancer and other tumours as a result of the successive coupling that has been necessary to produce that breed. Other breeds are known for strange cases of immune system deficiencies, neurological deficiencies, and joint and bone disorders. Many dog breeds that have been kept pure have been documented to have increased eye and heart disease problems as well. Many of these defects are manageable through proper preventative care. Regular check-ups with a local vet can help you to keep an eye on these health issues, and dog breeding clubs can also offer insight about particular treatments that have helped their purebred dogs stay healthy despite the risks.

Looking After a Purebred Puppy: The Basics of Everyday Care

Purebred dogs, especially those that are bred to hunt, run, and otherwise perform at top physical levels, should have the space and time necessary to obtain the exercise they need. Whether making time to exercise with your dog as an owner, or hiring a pet care specialist who can walk, run with, or otherwise play with your dog throughout the day can keep your purebred pet in peak physical condition. This exercise is not only important for managing weight and building muscle, but for maintaining a balance for the mental and emotional health of your pet as well.

Fuelling the body of a purebred pet is critical to helping them maintain their health. Food should be available in small portions throughout the day, within the frame of a diet that is approved by a veterinarian who is familiar with the specifics of your dog’s breed. Furthermore, owners should take special care to find brands of dog food that are extremely high in nutritional value, especially in terms of providing complex carbohydrates, proteins, and the vitamins and minerals that keep a purebred dog strong and healthy. For more information on how to properly care for your canine, you can work with your veterinarian to design a special care plan that will help to prevent disease and increased illness while keeping your pet happy, healthy, and strong.

This is a post by Ashley Williamson. Ashley is a freelance writer and an occasional guest-blogger and a full time pet lover. When she is not working she likes to travel and read as much as she can. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Ashley clearly lacks the education or research skills to write on this subject. She needs to review actual data and report factually correct information.

    • No it’s not. It’s a badly written and even more poorly researched article. The author has no concept of how purebred dogs are managed – her scientific terminology is at the grade school level and her facts are not facts at all, they are incomprehensible drivel. Love your mixed breed but don’t condemn breeders – all dogs have a pedigree, some are known and others are not – breeders are just consciencous enough to keep a record. Who knows, perhaps your dog’s parents were siblings …

  2. Are you joking? I’ve had purebreds for over 30 years, they regularly live to old age with few or no health problems. They are treated just the same as any mix I’ve owned. Did this author do any actual research, or just regurgitate old “vampire” myths that refuse to die?

    • Are genetic tests available for your breed? You may be fortunate to have dogs not expressing phenotype and yet could be carriers for illness and you’d never know unless testing was done

  3. Funny, I have five purebred dogs and 2 mixed breed dogs. By FAR my Mixed breed dogs have health issues compared to my purebreds. Just because you have a purebred does not mean its a ticking time bomb for health issues,

    • Hard scientific studies have shown that mixed breed dogs suffer no more or less than purebred dogs in regards to heritable issues. Many juried articles in scientific and veterinarian journals have published the results of extensive studies in regards to such. Anything else is nothing more than wishful thinking. The Orthopedic Foundation For Animals, an orthopedic organization that is run and founded out of the Vet School in Columbia, Missouri did a very extensive study and found only a 0.2% difference in mix breeds vs. pure breds in regards to the incidence of hip displasia. and the rate of hip displasia was greater in the mixed breeds studied rather than the purebreds studied. This is one example of a study done by an internationally recognized scientific organization.

  4. Clearly the ‘science’ in this article has been less that adequately researched. I would not say, for love or money, that purebreds are any more or less healthy than their mixed breed counterparts, but I would say that purebred dog health issues are researched(and largely funded by the very breeders that certain groups condemn), often known, and can be either avoided through responsible breeding or actively treated. Mixed breeds are a time bomb of uncertainty for everything from appearance to temperament to health concerns. The millions of dollars in research paid for by purebred dog breeders not only benefit the purebreds they produce, the science and treatments that are developed as a result benefit ALL dogs, not just purebreds. Purebred dogs don’t need coddling, their breeders need to be thanked for their extreme dedication to something most people take for granted – the company of a beloved dog.

    • How are they researched? Correlation, qualitative or do we have quantitative research with statistically relevant findings of value… Has genetic research been done?

  5. And just where do the genes of the “mixed’ breed come from? Please. Do your own research and do not rely on articles like this.

  6. Wow!
    Purebred dogs have to have food available at all times? Where did this come from? IF that were the case most pure breds would look like blimps.
    The basics of everyday care that the author mentions are applicable to ALL DOGS no matter their heritage. ALL DOGS need proper exercise both physical and mental, nutrition, veterinary care, treatment for heartworm, fleas, ticks, worms and other parasites. if you don’t treat your mixed breed, it will die from any of the aforementioned parasites. Ask the vets if they have patients (mixed, purebred, or hybrid) with hip dysplasia, seizures, cancer, or immune systems issues.

    What the author doesn’t address is the fact that many purebred dogs are tracked by their owners and breed clubs to eliminate as many diseases as possible. Mother Nature produces any and all defects in all creatures, from the amoeba to an apex predator. Some survive, some don’t. Wolves have genetic defects, as do plants, birds, lizards and snakes.

    This article espouses more of the A/R mantra that would like us to not have any animals as companions. Matter of fact, the A/R mantra would prefer that all humans die…..that way the animals could run unfettered and die painful and early deaths from parasitic infections, bacterial infections, fights and a plethora of unmentioned dangers. Animals in the wild do not live in a bucolic existence. They spend much of their time trying to survive. Trying to catch their dinner, and trying to make sure they don’t get killed by their neighbor. Many species are canabalistic…. This author needs to expand her horizons before she writes.

    • The remainder of the food. sentence indicated small portions throughout the day as per the vet too… The best trainers and vets will recommend small portions through the day to equal what the total daily caloric intake should be based on age, etc..

      • The remainder of the sentence did say that, HOWEVER, it said that purebreds needed feeding throughout the day. I will say that ALL dogs may benefit from small portions throughout the day not just pure breds. Many dogs would not graze during the day they would eat what was put in front of them immediately.

        Many of the pure bred dog clubs are sponsoring, supporting, and insisting that breeding stock is screened for diseases that are known in the breed. There are university studies screening epilepsy, eye anomalies, heart anomalies, thyroid anomalies. The list goes on and on. Good breeders support these studies and remove breeding stock that is affected or carriers IF the studies have produced ways to screen. Mixed breeds are not tracked, nor studied. The purchaser that buys the mixed breeds has to pay to have any and all tests run. The purchaser has to support their dog through any illness.

        I maintain that a better approach would be to educate the masses that not all breeds (nor mixes) are suitable for all homes. Not all breeds are Labradors nor do they all think the same. Part of sucessful puppy sales are guiding the purchaser (which good breeders do) to a breed and an individual puppy that will fit in the purchasers home. Purchasers would be well advised to consult several trainers with broad experience to help them select a breed or a mixed breed that would fit their home and lifestyle.

        Purchasers would also be well advised to learn what issues are in the breeds they are interested in. Ask the breeders questions about the genetic issues and also read what tests are available, and ask to see the health clearances (from a recognized agency) for the parents of the puppies. If the breeder has been breeding conscientiously or has done her homework the breeder will have health screenings for many of the dogs in the pedigree. Many of the shelter dogs have been poorly bred with no thought for health (both mixed and pure bred) Papers do not prove health, they only prove parentage.

        Regards

        • I agree entirely with you’re thinking.. I didn’t interpret the meaning of that sentence as leaving food around all day and that may be because of the trainers I’ve had and that I feed small portions throughout the day; but the food us available for a short time and then its remived until the next feeding.. I don’t let them graze all day.. A disaster that would be..
          Many dogs are screened, but that screening isn’t exactly genetic it DNA testing .. For example Afghan Hounds have no DNA tests for genetics available to them at this point, whippets do for example MDR1 carriers.. The AKC has a list if which DNA and genetic tests are available fir each breed.. Its not the same as CERF EKG .. I know more research is being done to find more genetic tests; but I think its misleading to say to people a certain disorder is hereditary i a specific breed without the genes to back it up… Certainly there are correlations in breeds if certain illnesses but they can’t be ultimately proven without research.. I had a girl with symptoms if chylothorax .. Her father had it; but she couldn’t be diagnosed based on that because testing hasn’t been done to find a genetic hereditary basis.. Hence the sure need for more scientists and research.. Human genetics is In its infancy…!!

          • To my knowledge, the MDR1 gene testing is courtesy of the Collie Club of America. All of the genetic tests that we have are in their infancy. We are so far away from having all genetic screening for creatures, human/canine/bovine etc. The only thing we can do is observe and give our best guess in many instances. I have had dysplasia from cleared parents…..that is not the breeders fault, its Mother Nature.

            Even without genetic testing, I would be inclined to carefully breed a dog (or bitch) that had produced a hereditary problem. However, if you remove all hereditary problems, you remove all dogs from the breeding pool and what you will have left is mixed breeds or no dogs with problems and no funding to test.

            All breedings purebred/mixed/hybrid, animal/vegetable are a crap shoot at best. Much of what animals are is courtesy of their genes. You cannot select for 1 thing without knowing what else is on that gene. To vilify the pure bred dog because he/she is a combination of his/her genes is problematic. The mixed breed and hybrid dogs have all of the same issues…..what is worse with the mixed/hybrids is that a recessive gene may lay dormant for many generations and then rear its ugly head, causing heartbreak for the current owners. Pure bred dogs serve man well courtesy of the breeders before us.

          • I agree fully .. We useMDR1 for our purebreds , but let’s face it somewhere in history many purebreds were manipulated by mankind .. The issue if genetics I support as if databases are started, as illness erupts it can be if use to determine the cause, heredity, environment etc… It can also save the lives of many (say a dog with MDR1)… And again. I don’t have mixed and I know that the same is important for both… But if we know what a breed may be suseptible to, we can be more preventative .. It will be interesting to see where te boom of genetics will take us as it is indeed in its infancy.. Thank you;)

      • I am a trainer and I do NOT recommend more food for purebreds then mixed breeds.. wow your an idiot!!!!

  7. Could you provide the information on the scientific studies that support the above statements? All AVMA, veterinary school studies I have read don’t support the statement made above. As mentioned by another poster, an OFA study actually found the percentage of incidence of hip dysplasia to be higher in mixed breeds.

  8. This article makes my head hurt! Where did you get your facts from, an anti-breeder publication? This article needs to be listed under “fiction”.

  9. Are you serious? Where’s your facts checker? Purebred dogs are more prone to colds and parasites? Really???? I have NEVER had a purebred dog get sick, at all, ever. All dogs deserve adequate exercise, care, love and healthy food, regardless of pedigree or lack thereof. This article implies non-purebred dogs don’t need the same love and attention given to purebreds. For what it’s worth, the only cancer I have ever dealt with is in a so-called “pound puppy”. The only behavioral issues I have ever had to address are in second-hand dogs, or as some people call them, “rescues”. The only structural issues (luxating patellas, lack of bladder control, and a dog that cannot run properly) I have had to deal with are also in our rescues. Because, guess what, like most of the caring purebred breeders I know, our household also includes shelter dogs and fosters. Please do your homework before publishing any article. Disseminating false and misleading information is not the least bit helpful to anyone trying to provide the best home possible to their dog.

  10. The author of this article and her ignorance here is showing how uneducated she really is on the subject and I cannot believe that you actually published this piece of trash reporting.

  11. It would appear the big breeder lobby is alive and well here! This is common knowledge. Very little room for argument. Sure, if you have a purebred dog from a champion blood line, chances are the dog is in perfect health. The problem is, most purebred dogs don’t descend from these lines. The majority of purebred dogs are the result of massive inbreeding by large factory breeding operations (ie: puppy mills). This results in numerous health and psychological issues.

    I have a purebred dog that is on prescription food, takes daily medicine, gets allergy shots, has neurological problems, etc. I also, have a mix bread dog that has never had a single health issue (knock on wood). Not that this single example proves anything, but it is a good indicator.

    Do a simple google search! There is a debate in the community, but it leans in the same direction as this article.

    To totally dismiss this article and take personal jabs at the writer herself really displays the ignorance and denial within the breeding community. This is not a cut and dry issue and open debate should be welcomed.

    May all our dogs stay in good health!

    • What *exactly* is a champion blood line? Does that actually mean
      something to you? Do you know what OFA, CERF, PennHip and VetGen are? Do
      you know who pays for millions of tests each year before they breed
      their stock? The thousands of dog breeders who are improving and
      safeguarding their breed’s heritage. You sound like someone who screams,
      “Don’t shop – adopt!” through a megaphone at the mall on Saturday
      afternoon.

      You have given us these facts:

      1. You have a purebred dog that has shit health.
      2. You have a mix “bread” dog that is perfect.

      This proves nothing. Anecdotal evidence proved nothing and is not a good indicator of anything except your experience.

      Have
      you ever been to a benched dog show? Have you been to a reproductive
      specialist veterinarian? Have you ever been to a field trial? Do you
      understand Mendelian genetics? Can you explain dominant and recessive
      traits within a breed? Do you know how to help a dam whelp a breech pup?
      Can you explain how a bitch and a dog’s pedigree are compatible and
      determine the coefficient of inbreeding?

      A breeder can.

      Not a puppy miller. Not an Amish farmer.

      A dog breeder.

      Be a little more selective in the topics you choose to champion. Your ignorance is alarming.

      • For as many industry terms as you’ve thrown around, you haven’t said a single thing.

        Do you realize attacking someones character doesn’t prove your point at all?

        Do “puppy millers” breed dogs or are they some alien species? Do “amish farmers” breed dogs or are they aliens as well?

        “Do you know who pays for millions of tests each year before they breed
        their stock? The thousands of dog breeders who are improving and
        safeguarding their breed’s heritage.”

        – Do you know who doesn’t? Poor quality breeders. That’s the issue.

        For every “quality” breeder, there are numerous “puppy millers” and “amish farmers” breeding dogs as well. Are the dogs they breed not purebred? That’s quite a statement. These are the dogs that have the issues. Well bred dogs whether purebred or mixed breed are healthier than poorly bred dogs. That is just common sense.

        Your inability to realize that there are people breeding dogs with little regard for the genetics of the “stock” is alarming. Please go back to the hole your crawled out. You clearly aren’t versed enough on the topic to have a debate.

        BTW… I purchased both of my dogs. One from a poor quality “breeder” and one from a reputable breeder.

    • As far at the “pure bred lobby” there is none. The only thing dog breeders agree and unite over is which other breeder is doing it wrong and that changes often. I work in a dog and cat shelter. Mixed breeds have all the same diseases in the same instances as dogs who’s parents are known. Drs. Scott and Fuller researched way back in the 60s how iot breed. What that means is that it is more likely for a mixed breed who herds sheep to produce puppies that herd sheep than a Border Collie who is not interested in sheep. That’s harsh for all the puppy buyers who thought they could get a deal on a second hand purebred and end up with the next Champion hoop jumper but that’s how it is.

    • Well said.. Consider the audience this article is meant for before berating this writer… She is talking about purebreds, and people considering them … and the audience is for the novice dog buyer, not breeders..

  12. Lady you need to do research before you write an article like this. You have your facts backward, ask a reputable vet or do research like most of the scientific community does, find facts and quote resources which you have neglected to do. I have had purebred dogs all my life, as did my mother, and grandfather, most of those dogs have lived to be 13-16 with very few health or genetic related issues. Responsible breeders do health clearances and research the bloodline they use in a breeding program to minimize the very problems you claim we create. Many of the breed clubs that represent their chosen breed have contributed large sums of money, time and assisted in research in various ways to be able to breed a healthy puppy for themselves and the people who chose to buy a well bred, well planned puppy from them. Also remember that the research we support has also helped the human medical community with some of the cutting edge research funded by us in cancers, eye problems, autoimmune diseases, and much more!
    You really are no different than the news channels that spew opinion as news rather than fact. Find something else to attach or do

  13. What a load of uneducated, unresearched unscientific load of twaddle..seriously can see the “freelance” writer coming out here, and anyone that would believe this would have to be considered gullible at best……..Im gobsmacked by the inaccuracy and lack of correct information here……..I have owned many mixed breeds over the years and own and show purebreds…..always had more health issues with the x bred dogs than my purebreds…..who all lived well into old age without ever seeing a vet for any illness…….How on earth did this get published with No reference/scientific data noted etc *shakes head in disbelief*

  14. Wow, the utter lack of research that actually went into this article is staggering. It’s biased, misleading, ad frankly insulting to everyone that owns, breeds, and loves their purebred dogs. I’ve had mixed breeds and after losing two in a row to a myriad of health issues I chose to buy a purebred puppy and I’ve had NO health concerns with any since. The breeders select their breeding stock with care, screen for genetic illness and make sure that they are NOT breeding too close and inviting health issues. Utterly horrid article. Just goes to show you the junk that passes for journalism online.

  15. This article actually is identifying the need for research into genetics.. Given there is scare research published on canine genetics especially breed specific; it would be clearly obvious this writer hasn’t much to site.. There are different levels of research and one kind is exactly this.. Finding a correlation and finding need for MORE research!!!

  16. seriously???
    LMAO.. Please blog on things you know about. obviously dogs is NOT something you know about!! WHY are you spreading LIES about the purebred dog world? more illnesses? more issues? Why Why Why!?!?! LESS issues LESS illnesses. I have been involved with the purebred dog world more MORE then 35 YEARS! I am also a dog trainer. you NEED to visit some dog events, DO some research (other than visiting the peta and hsus websites, and need to learn to blog on things you actually know about! DOGS is NOT one of them!!!

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