Summary: In this blog, we learn all about whether mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. We’ll discover why it’s thought mutts live longer and have less predisposed health worries than purebred pups or if it’s all a myth…
Are Mutts Healthier Than Pure Breeds?
The great debate! Are mixed-breed dogs healthier than pure breeds? Well, the main reason why the former is argued is due to genetics…
Our genes determine everything; from eye color to hair shade, height to eyesight quality! And, some genes are more dominant than others, and this can include the likelihood of certain medical conditions too. When it comes to genes in dogs, purebreds tend to be more closely related than mixed breeds so are at a higher risk of inheriting genetic conditions. These include conditions like hip discomfort, and skin and joint issues.
Some breeds, like the flat-faced (Brachycephalic) breeds, have been bred so closely to encourage their desirable aesthetic, their snouts have become shorter and shorter. Therefore, they’ve developed their own syndrome. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is now common in these breeds because flat-faced dogs tend to have deformed, narrow windpipes which restrict their airflow. They are also commonly being born with narrowed nostrils too which also makes breathing more of a challenge…
According to a study conducted in 2013 by Bellumori et al, the team discovered from analyzing over 27000 veterinarian records that 42% of genetic conditions were more commonly present in purebred dogs, with just 4% of inherited conditions found in the mutts.
When it comes to purebred vs mutt genetics-wise, mutts are only known to be affected more so than pure breeds by three medical anomalies. Those are patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) which is where two major blood vessels from the heart persistently open, a ruptured cruciate ligament (when the elastic-like structure that holds the knee together ruptures) and mutts are statistically more likely to be hit by cars – and no one is completely sure why regarding the latter!
Mixed breed dogs have been seen to live longer than purebred dogs too. But, not by much. Dr. Silvan Urfer (University of Washington) et al., studied data from over 169,000 dogs and found that, on average, a mixed-breed dog lives for 14.45 years compared to 14.14 years for a purebred dog. But, smaller dogs across both purebred and mixed-breeds lived much longer than larger dogs and it was concluded that a dog’s size dictates their life span more so than whether they are purebred or not.
So, are mutts healthier than pure breeds? Mixed breeds are at less risk of developing typically inherited conditions so it could be argued that they’re “healthier” genetically at least.
Purebred Vs Mutt
Mixed breeds can be attractive to potential pet parents for their assumed genetic health too as veterinarian bills can mount up if your purebred dog inherits a serious condition.
Mixed breeds tend to also be cheaper to buy as pups as they’re less popular because of their aesthetics – they’re not as identifiable, and thus considered less fashionable by many. Mixed breeds are often found more often than pure breeds at rescue shelters for this reason too.
However, if you’re rescuing a dog it’s always advisable to have your new pooch screened by your vet to check them for any potential genetic predispositions and that goes for both suspected mixed breeds and obviously pure breeds. Most reputable breeders of pure breeds should do this prior to selling their pups anyway.
All of this said, no matter what breed you decide to keep as a part of your family, every dog, no matter their heritage, deserves unconditional love, attention, and appropriate care.
Author Taffer, Melissa “Breed Deets: Are Mutts Really Healthier?” Dog-Eared, Powered By Ollie, Dec. 01 2020 https://blog.myollie.com/mutt-health/
“Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier?” Breeding Business, Nov. 10 2018 https://breedingbusiness.com/are-mixed-breed-dogs-healthier/
“Which Dog Lives The Longest? Smaller Dogs Have Longer Lives” Companion Animal Psychology, Apr. 03 2019 https://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2019/04/what-kind-of-dog-lives-longest-smaller.html