Are Mutts Healthier than Purebreds?

Veterinarian Patty Khuly recently posted an article on VetStreet concerning the health of purebreds vs. that of mutts.  What she came up with might surprise you.

As far as genetic diseases, mutts usually come out ahead because they generally don’t get a large genetic dose of any one disease.  Because their DNA comes from at least two different breeds, they are not likely to get the genetic material required to develop most inherited diseases like hip dysplasia and certain cancers.

Responsible breeders will do genetic testing of their breeding stock and keep sufficient records to allow them to weed out genetic problems by not pairing two dogs who have previously created a litter with problems.  However, backyard “hobby” breeders are not as likely to do so, which means as a purchaser, you need to do your homework.

However, Dr. Khuly points out that there are many other health concerns beyond those determined by genetics.  For example, most purebreds are socialized, either by the breeder or soon after adoption, around the age of eight weeks, when their brains are most receptive to the task.  Mutts, on the other hand, may be born on the streets or in shelters, where that opportunity is not available.  And, since an improperly socialized dog is at a high risk for euthanasia, this can properly be considered a major health issue.

In addition, since mutts are more likely than purebred dogs to be surrendered to shelters, they are more likely to contract infectious diseases, especially respiratory infections.

Until next time,

Good day, and good dog!

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