Pedigree And Pure Breed Dogs Or Mutts And Mongrels

There are a a massive number of varieties of Dogs in the World. If you take all the Pedigree breeds and the endless combinations that we like to refer to as Mongrels then the numbers would be endless.

But which is better?

How Many Dog Breeds Are There In The World?

According to the American Kennel Club there are approximately 160 Purebred Dog breeds. Others debate this and claim over 1000 worldwide.  Each different body recognises more or less than the other so it is an endless debate. When we look at the number of mixed breed Dogs and Mutts or Mongrels there is probably no way to know how many combinations of Dogs there are in the World.

Are Pedigree Dogs Better Than Mongrels?

We all have our personal preference for which type of Dogs we prefer. Some of us will go through our whole lives only ever having one type of Pedigree Dog. Others, like me, have no preference and will simply go for a Dog they like the look of. When I choose a Dog I seem to basically just go with my instincts. If I like the look of the Dog then that is it for me. Even if I have decided I will definitely not get a Dog with thick Fur again, I am a sucker for a cute face!

There are advantages to both sides of the argument. Pedigree Dogs have certain things in their favour, as do Mongrels. Similarly, they both have the negative side.

Why Purebreed Dogs Are Better Than Mongrels

Why To Get A Pure Breed Dog

With a bit of basic research you can easily find the dominant characteristics of a Purebred Dog. Each type of Dog has, to some extent, a characteristic for that breed. You can make a much better decision on what the likely behaviour of the Dog will be.

You can near enough guarantee the size the Dog will be. If you buy a Chihuahua then you know it won’t grow up to be the size of a St. Bernard! You have a much better idea of the size the Pedigree Dog will become. You can pick a Dog that suits your Household. If you have a small House you can get a Dog to Suit.

If you don’t want a Dog that needs much exercise you can pick a breed that is happy to laze about more than other Breeds.

The bottom line with choosing a Pedigree Dog is that you have a much better likelihood of getting a Dog that has the behavioural traits and the size that you want.

Why Mongrels Are Better Than Pure Breed Dogs

Why You Should Get A Mutt

Aah, the Mutt. Mutt Dogs have so many advantages over Pedigree or Purebred Dogs. For a start their lifespan, as a general rule is much longer than many Pedigree Dogs. There is much less inbreeding in mixed heritage Dogs. They have a much more random gene pool meaning there is less chance of inherited traits that are detrimental to the Dog.

Mongrels do generally live longer and often have less inherited medical problems but there are more reasons than this why Mutts are the best.

Mongrels give the element of surprise. If you get an eight week old Mongrel you just cannot guarantee what it will be like when it gets older. There is great fun to be had watching your Dog slowly change as it gets older. There can be endless surprises. You never quite know what Nature will throw back out of the Mutts ancestral Gene Pool.

Mongrel Dogs often have a much stronger constitution because of their mixed heritage. No selective breeding to make it’s Face have a certain number of wrinkles here.

The sad fact is that the vast majority of Dogs in pounds are Mongrels. You are doing a great service if you get your Dog from a Shelter. There are, of course, many Pure Breed Dogs in Shelters as well but there are a lot more Mutts in Shelters.

Getting a Mongrel from the Pound means you are saving a Dog from a lot of misery. Shy Dogs especially, need saving from such environments. Shy Dog Training is not easy but think how miserable its Life would have been in a stressful environment. If you get a Mongrel Spayed all the better. Female Dog Spaying is especially important, and you will have drastically cut the future numbers of Shelter Dogs if you get your Mutt Spayed. Males also should be neutered if possible.

Why Not To Get A Purebred Dog

Reasons Why Getting A Pedigree Dog Is A Bad Idea

By Buying a Purebreed Dog you are perpetuating the reality of Gene manipulation and selective breeding. So many Pure Bred Dogs have countless infirmities at an early age. There are so many Breeds that have problems because of the selective breeding process that has made them what they are today. From Hip problems, to breathing problems, sagging eyelids, difficulty seeing, walking, running, not to mention the schizophrenic tendencies of many Pure Bred Dogs, there are countless medical problems that arise because of the nature that has been bred in to them. If you want to learn how to stop a Puppy bitingyou will have a much harder time if it is a breed that has a tendency to be  slightly unbalanced.

Pedigree Dogs, as a general rule, are much shorter lived than Mixed Breed or Mongrel Dogs. The selective breeding processes may have resulted in what, for many, is the perfect Dog, but it may have a much shorter life span than a Dog with a more mixed heritage.

More and more we hear about Puppy Mills and unscrupulous Breeders. Many supplying Dogs that have just been inbred for way too long. Resulting in owners buying a little Puppy that will have all kinds of problems from very early age. By buying Pure Breed Dogs the cycle is perpetuated and more and more dishonest people will breed Dogs purely from a Commercial point of view.

Why Not To Get A Mongrel

Reasons Why Getting A Mutt Is A Bad Idea

Quite often those who get a Mongrel will get it from a Shelter. They are overrun with Mongrels. We see a Dog we like and give a nominal fee and take it home with us. This is a decision fraught with Danger. We have absolutely no idea about the inherited tendencies of this Dog. We do not know, as we do with Pure Breeds to some extent, the likely behaviour of this Dog. The ancestry could be a line of Dogs that are viscous, unstable, or Dangerous.

A Mongrel could have a lineage that was mostly for Hunting. Totally unsuitable to a Home that likes to have lots of other Pets and Animals running around the place.

You take a real gamble, especially getting an older Dog that is a Mongrel. You don’t know about its past, its lineage or the likely behaviour. Although you can’t guarantee the behaviour of a Pedigree at least you have a general rule to go by. You know that if you get a Sheep Dog, chances are it will be pretty good with Sheep. Get a Mongrel from a Shelter and you may find you spent a lot of your life screaming at your Dog to stop chasing Sheep and swimming rivers to chase Herds of Cows. I speak from experience here!

You may have discovered a great new activity like Dog Scooters and yoou have picked a Dog that seems like it has the traits of a powerful and fast Dog. As it grows you realise you got it all wrong. It just looked that way when a Puppy. Or you may have a load of Nylabone Bones from your previous Dog hanging around, only to discover you have got a Dog that has ferociously powerful Teeth and you keep rushing to the Vets because it has found yet another Nylabone and chewd of a big lump.

So, you get your cute Puppy and in no time you find it is eating you out of House and Home, has Fur that seems to be constantly knotted and is growing in to some kind of Dog Mountain! You just don’t know with Mongrels exactly what they will grow up to be. You take your chances and you should be prepared to live with the consequences.

The Mutt vs Purebreed Wrap-Up

There are obviously pros and cons to both sides. A Purebreed Dog has many advantages as do Mongrels. Apart from being an awful lot cheaper Mutts can quite often be of more robust health. That being said, with Pure Bred Dogs you at least have some idea of what the likely size and personality traits will be.

Which do you prefer?

Would you only have one breed of Dog?

Do you disagree with any of the arguments?

I still love my three Bone Munching Mutts though!

15 Responses to “Pedigree And Pure Breed Dogs Or Mutts And Mongrels”

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  1. Anne Good says:

    I say both are great…as long as you rescue!!!

    Anne Good’s last blog post..Zozo Cards & More

  2. Jennifer says:

    I don’t think a simple response will do justice here, but I’ll give it a shot. 🙂

    I prefer adult dogs adopted from a shelter. The advantages are many. First, adults have reached their max size–no surprises here. Second, you have a solid idea of their temperament and their drives. This makes it easy to pick a dog that will suit your lifestyle, again with minimal surprises. Third, you are saving a dog’s life, so you get good karma.

    I question whether purebred dogs really do offer the “advantages” laid out above. I suspect our inherent biases and stereotypes come into play a lot. While some things, like appearance, can be predictable in purebred dogs (assuming they are properly bred to standard), things like temperament are much more complex and difficult to “control” via genetic selection, and of course, actual behavior relies heavily on environmental factors as well. So the idea of a “lazy” breed versus an “energetic” breed is something of an artificial construct.

    I read an excellent interview on The No Kill Nation with the author of GoodPooch, Marjorie Darby. If I recall the interview correctly, she said that most dogs behave the way their owners expect them to, and owners pick dogs for certain purposes based on their breed. This feeds breed stereotypes because, for instance, stereotypical “herding” dogs like Collies, Shepherds, and Heelers get chosen for herding more often than other breeds–but there’s no reason why any other type of dog can’t learn to herd. (In fact, one of the most titled pit bulls in history was also titled in herding. His owner simply disregarded the stereotype that only “herding” breeds can herd.)

    In essence, Darby argues that certain dog breeds are “known” for certain behaviors simply because that is the role they are expected to fill in our society. If we were to suddenly decide that Golden Retrievers were guard dogs, Rottweilers were seeing eye dogs, and Poodles were herding dogs, then that’s the way it would be.

    I similarly don’t put a lot of stock in the argument that getting a purebred dog guarantees a particular type of temperament or behavior. I think it all boils down to how the owner is going to use their dog, and how successful they are at training the dog.

    When I choose a dog, I evaluate each one individually, looking past the dog’s breed. I always consider what I want to do with the dog (agility? therapy? pet?)–and therefore what temperament traits I am looking for–and what physical characteristics I prefer (fur length? overall size?). I find that, when I take those things into consideration, it narrows down my options considerably without even needing to consider breed.

    After that, I visit the shelters until I find a dog that meets all of my criteria.

    As it happens, I usually end up with pit bull-type dogs, but that’s because they meet my needs in terms of physical characteristics–I have to have the super short fur and I want a medium sized dog–and they are so prolific at the shelters that I have a wide range to choose from in order to find the one that meets my temperament needs.

    Well, hm, sorry about the length… I tried to keep it concise. 🙂

    Jennifer’s last blog post..The trainer came…

  3. You present a great case for both sides of the pure breed vs. mutt debate. Personally, I come down on the side of mutts. I’ve owned both types of dogs in my life, and the mutts invariably have the better temperaments, the healthier constitutions, and the longer life spans. Plus, I always feel good about adopting from a shelter rather than a breeder, but that’s just me. Either way, as long as they’re good companions, any dog is fine by me! 🙂

  4. Jenny A says:

    I have had both kinds of dogs in my days. I think the best thing to look for in a dog is one that truely needs a home. All of my dogs (I have five) were rescued from one place or another. While it’s good to have a non-mutt simply to know what it’s traits will most likely be…it’s also good to just love a dog for the sake of it being a dog. I’m a sucker for a sob story, so if it needs love…I’m there!

  5. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Anne, hooray for Rescues.

    Jennifer, wow, you really did a lot of work in that reply and I thank you for it. It’s a lot to think about. I know here there are a lot of Shephers who have to take the Sheep and Goats out twice every day and I have yet to see a traditional Sheep Dog. They have all kinds of Mongrels and different breeds to do the herding so I guess you are right.

    But do you not think it is because certain Dogs do have a more natural ability when it comes to certain actions? Surely different Breeds are more adept at certain things. I am not saying you can’t train many different types of Dog to perform a certain way, but aren’t some more inclined to do it with less training because it is more instinctual?

    Thanks for a great comment.

    Rebecca, I guess that is the bottom line. Getting a great buddy that you want to live with. I do like getting from Shelters if at all possible.

    Jenny A, exactly. It would be great if more people could take a Dog that really needs a home.If you have five already I am guessing you really are a softie when it comes to those sad old eyes:)

  6. Missourigal51 says:

    Great question…pure bred or mutts…I have been the master of both however,I have been chosen by the dogs I have. I am currently the master of two rescued Jack russell terriers a breed I would not have chosen the breed for myself. However, I did not chose them – for that I am grateful. I never would have known the breed at all without them to guide me. I have had to master the breed in order to understand them. As I sit here trying to type, my female, Crissy, tries very hard to get my attention by sitting in my lap while my male, Buddy, sits in the chair behind me. They are very faithful and attentive dogs. I have been quite surprised by their intelligence and energy. Both dogs had been severely abused, to the point of not being able to get along with others, so I was so grateful to be able to assist them in learning the ways of their world. I have been blessed and I have enjoyed being chosen by them.

  7. Obviously we’re partial to vizslas over here, but we’ve got Trixie (a rescue mutt from the pound) and Dennis (a rescue vizsla found abandoned in a canyon). If you do like a particular breed, it’s possible to get one and still get the good karma of saving a dog’s life. I would encourage anyone who’s interested in a purebred to get involved with their local rescue organization, if one exists.

    Dennis the Vizsla’s last blog post..The Maltese Crow — Part Four

  8. Three Dog Blogger says:

    MissouriGal, they sound great. It is nice to know you have DOgs that you may not have chosen breed wise. I love Jack Russells.

    Dennis, good point. There are lots of Breed specific Rescue Centres.

  9. Friar says:

    I dunno….I think there’s definitely certain behavior and traits bred into dogs.

    Lookit how crazy sleds dogs act when you put a harness on them. They just WANT to pull.

    My sister’s Duck Toller started to retrieve the first day they brought her home, when she was a tiny ball of fur, barely bigger than the ball she was trying to catch.

    And even when you hide the balls, and try to get her to just walk and enjoy the woods, she’ll break sticks off bushes, and drop them in front of you, in the hopes that you’ll throw them so she can RETRIEVE.

    And she LOVES the water. It could be freezing outside, but she’ll lie down in the river up to her chest, happy as a clam.

    These behaviors weren’t something we taught her to do…she just DOES them.

    I don’t think you’d get see a Shih-Tzu or a Rottie acting that way.

    Friar’s last blog post..Things that make me CRINGE

  10. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Friar, I agree. I think certain Breeds definitely do have natural instincts that have been honed to behave in a certain way. Not to say I don’t agree with Jennifer and that Dogs can be taught to do certain tasks, even if not bred for the purpose.

    There is still an advantage to getting a Dog that will naturally perform in a certain way though.

  11. Friar says:

    What if we bred humans that way?

    We’d have a chartered accounts who were just so EAGER to fill in tax forms, Or a janitors who coudln’t WAIT to scrub the toilets!

    Friar’s last blog post..Things that make me CRINGE

  12. I tend to agree with the 1st reply. You can get a wonderful pet from a pure breed OR a mutt. I’ve had both. My current dog is a rescue mutt and she’s the best dog ever. I think I’ll always try a shelter first from now on. We feel great knowing the life we saved her from!

  13. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Friar, now THAT is a good idea?

    I am sure it is only a matter of time, and i’m not kidding!

    Crate Training, Rescue Dogs are the way to go if you can. Many Purebreeds have specialist Shelters as well.

  14. Dog Breed CD says:

    I’m definitely a fan of mutts, they tend to have less health issues when they are a cross breed.

  15. Fancy says:

    I have both muts and pure breeds. I have two 4 year old chauaua/rat terrier mixes, a 3 year old german pointer mix, 1 year old pure breed great dane. I have had other dogs in the past and have loved them all. I do the same training with all of my dogs, basic obedience, puppy classes to get them socialized, and everything inbetween. My 4 year olds definately act like chauaua’s, bark at everything that moves, but non of my dogs would ever bite. I rescued my three older dogs and have had rescues in the past. I do believe that a pure bread can be nice if there is something specific that you are looking for. My first dog as an adult was a great dane and I loved her more than anything, that is what helped me with the decision to get another one. They are very gentle animals. I would not however trade my mixes for anything, they are all part of my family and as long as you treat all of your dogs that way they will all act as if they belong to your family. I do understand that some people believe that getting a mut is the best way to go if you get them fixed, all of mine are, but if you are ever thinking of breading or allowing your animals to have litters, the only way to go would be a pure breed dog, to many mix breeds end up in pounds because of them being unwanted. I am planning on breading my female dane and will do the same thing that someone mentioned earlyer. There will be a contract signed that if for some reason they can not take care of the dog I will take it back and find it a good forever home.