Do I need a purebred dog?

Purebred dogs are all the rage nowadays. But what does it mean for a dog to be purebred? Pure breeding is a concept in genetics where individuals of similar genetic composition are bred together in an attempt to retain as uniform a genetic composition as possible. Usually, the aim of this is for the retention and inheritance of desirable genes from parents to offspring. Pure breeding gives the extra security that a future litter of pups will have the desired characteristics, be they aesthetic criteria or related to performance or function.

To keep track of pure breeding, a system of stud books and pedigrees was developed. Pedigree is when a dog’s lineage is recorded going back several generations. This allows the breeders to have enough information concerning the candidates they are considering for breeding purposes. It also helps to reinforce the main breed or line characteristics and also helps weed out genetic problems when properly used.

Some history

The idea of keeping breeding records was around for as early as the 13th century when lords and knights tried to improve the breeding of their horses by keeping some records and selecting only the best horses. However, the modern, highly organized system of breeding books and pedigrees for dogs started sometime during the 18th century. The first pedigree dog is thought to have been Major, a Pointer that was described by John Henry Walsh in 1865 in an attempt to curb disagreements between dog show judges due to the lack of breed standards.

So a purebred dog is the way to go, right?

Not so fast! Purebred puppies can be said to have better traceability and can be expected to grow up to look and act a certain way. However, this highly depends on the breeder. If breeders do not take care to make the most out of the information that the pedigrees and breeding books provide them with or resort to questionable breeding methods, a breed’s restricted genetic pool can lead to greater odds of their litters carrying breed-associated genetic disorders. It is therefore imperative to make the right choice and choose the right breeder even if it means paying a bit more money.

So should I get a purebred dog or a crossbred dog?

This highly depends on what you are looking for as a prospective dog owner. Crossbred dogs can be fantastic dogs for families that are not too demanding and do not have many boxes for their dog to tick except for it to be a loving companion and a furry friend to cuddle with on cold days. However, if you have some special requirements, the unpredictability of what a crossbred pup would grow into could be too much of a gamble and often lead to disappointment. Furthermore, randomly crossbred dogs might not be very suited as specialized working dogs and would not suit the needs of the farmer, hunter or person in need of personal protection. One must keep in mind that purebred dogs were found to have a greater chance of carrying genetic breed-specific diseases; something that can be avoidable by buying dogs from a good dog breeder that believes in ethical breeding.