Dog Forum banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Why yes, I am starting this discussion again because I was a bit surprised to find that a good friend of mine was ignorant regarding mutts vs. pure bred dogs. She rescued a sweet dog named Darla back in November. The other day we were discussing the differences between mutts and pure breds. Her logic about why mutts were better was that you don't have any of the problems that you would get with a pure bred dog. I told her that, truthfully, her dog could very well have any host of issues (just like Merlin could have any host of issues), but her dog's health history and the health history of her parents was unknown. I explained it as a pure bred was a calculated gamble (assuming you went to a reputable breeder who health tests) as opposed to a crap shoot with a dog of unknown breed and parental origin. Neither one is better or worse than the other.

So, thoughts? Would you explain it differently?
Also, let's keep this discussion civil and respectful. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
I tried to write a post describing why mutts have the advantage over SOME breeds genetically speaking, but then I found it explained much better here.

Why Closed Gene Pools are Bad for Dogs | Dog Breed Health

This is why good breeders will try to introduce variation in new generations by sourcing different studs and not breeding dogs who are at all related.

Some breeds with fewer dogs have much less genetic diversity which can lead to problems.

I have no idea whether mutts are healthier or not, but I do know that certain breeding standards and regimens are very bad for dogs.

Also the documentary Pedigree dogs exposed is really worth watching
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedigree_Dogs_Exposed

This a fact from that documentary

Scientists at Imperial College, London, recently found that pugs in the UK are so inbred that although there are 10,000 of them, it is the equivalent of just 50 distinct individuals.
Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, said: "People are carrying out breeding which would be first of all entirely illegal in humans and secondly is absolutely insane from the point of view of the health of the animals.
"In some breeds they are paying a terrible price in genetic disease."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,217 Posts
The "healthier" aspect is derived solely from what @Ems is talking about. Inbreeding reeks havoc at the genetic level(not related but an interesting read, if you are so inclined, is the story of the royal family's of midevil times and the problems it caused their families)

If the breeder is introducing enough genetic variation to counteract the genetic effects of inbreeding, then a lot of the genertic issues can be avoided, but there are too many that don't do anything close to that, creating a mess of the gene pool
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
In terms of health, naturally mutts will be healthier...in general. You can't deny that and if you want a physically sound dog you're usually better off getting a mutt. But anecdotally, for me my and my family's mutts have often been unhealthier than the purebreds!

My two Doxies from a breeder were quite healthy until they got old, and like any old creature they got arthritis and hearing/vision problems and Teckel's health problem were mainly acquired through a severe case of mange and crappy vets. The most I remember Barney had going on before he got old was a little growth on his leg. They lived to 11 and 13. And Teckel's age of 11 probably would have been longer if not for those crappy vets that destroyed his immune system.

My shortest lived dog was Bingo, a dog that had some Golden, Collie and probably some other things in him. He died at age 6.5 of kidney failure. And looking back, he was sensitive to being touched in the area of his kidneys almost his entire life. So it was definitely something he was born with. My Stella now has double luxating patellas, just like our mill bred Tyrion. I'll consider him an "honorary" purebred because while his parents were probably of two different breeds his grandparents might very well have been siblings or parent and child.

So health wise I think it is still a gamble. Personality wise I think sometimes you are better off getting a purebred because while each dog has their own personality, character traits are genetic. There's a reason that certain breeds are known for certain characteristics. If I ever get a puppy again, I have to say I'm probably going to be leery of getting a mutt. My experience with Stella being the "perfect" dog for me personality wise as a puppy, and doing almost a 180 on that personality as an adult has made me uncomfortable with the idea of getting a puppy with no known genetic history. You really don't know what you're getting looks, size, coat or personality wise when you get a mixed breed puppy. It's a different story in terms of adult mixed breeds who have a settled personality, size and appearance.

I think it all depends on what you're looking for. I don't think there's a way to say a mutt or purebred is "better" but just what's best for the person. I think both can be healthy, mentally sound, a great pet...or a nightmare. In the future I will be happy to have both mutts and purebreds depending on what I meet and what dogs can fit into my life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
multigenerational mutts, I'd think, would have fewer recessive traits than a mix that has only a couple different breeds. Half breeds that are only two breeds my not have any advantage at all.

For example my girl is half Lab and half TWcoonhound. Both are medium to large breeds with potential hip problems... my puppy's dad actually "blew out his hip" according to the person I got her from. Being mixed did not decrease my puppy's risk for hip problems, but she is half and half. A more mixed dog with a wide variety of breeds will have less of a chance of hip dysplasia.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,827 Posts
I kind of have to think along the same lines as the poster, purplesully. That a mixed breed that has several generations of mixes in it might be healthier genetically than a mixed breed that had 2 purebred or even 1 purebred parent in it's recent pedigree.

I've always had mutts and they've all had long lives with few medical issues.

Oddly enough the only purebred I've ever owned, is my golden retriever HaHa and he was born with birth defects...slightly deformed head and learning disabilities. I don't think his eye sight and hearing are all that great either. I just hope he doesn't end up dying young of cancer like I've heard is kind of common in golden retrievers. I've read the cancer has something to do with the genetics of the breed they are prone to certain kinds. I've also read that cocker spaniels were prone to going blind/deaf earlier than other breeds commonly do.

Stormy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
I look at it as a dog that is a multi-generatonal mix may not be as likely to suffer from the health issues that are highly recessive, and yes, overall "mixed breeds" are less prone to hereditary health problems than purebred dogs, but "mixed breed" is a wide umbrella.

I think it really depends on the over-lapping health issues of the breeds comprising the mix, as well as the breadth of the genepool a dog is being bred from. The smaller the gene pool, the larger the change of hereditary health problems. A dog from a mill is likely to have chronic, hereditary health issues whether it is a nondescript mutt, a two-breed cross or a 100% purebred dog. A dog that is the result or two, three, or even four mixes that all have a high incidence of bloat (ie, giant breeds) or hip displaysia (most large and medium breeds) or luxating patella (many, many small and medium breeds) is not necessarily less likely to have any of those issues than if it were just a single breed in the mix.

I love rescue mutts- my favorite dog growing up was one. She's one of those common black with white chest and paws, double coated, lab-mix looking mutts that seem to be everywhere. At least once a day I see a dog that looks like it could be related to her. I expect a dog like that to likely not have any crippling hereditary diseases, because she looks to come from a very mixed gene pool.

I have had a purebred dog with a chronic hereditary disease- my Boston growing up had Cushings and eventually had to be PTS because of it. I have returned to the breed and got another Boston I fell in love with on Oodle, whose breeder is a nice lady but doesn't neccessarily health test. She also doesn't show, though, so is producing dogs with longer snouts, thinner and longer necks, and more normal proportions in the chest, and has been working with the same bloodline for a long time. I trust the hereditary health of her dogs more than the "champion AKC show breeder" we got my first pup from.

Overall, I am tentative to get a young puppy from rescue, and it would not be my first recommendation for someone getting a dog. Their personality at 8 or 11 or 14 weeks is not the same as that at two years, and not that much is known about size, adult energy level, etc even if the mother is known to the shelter staff. I know people who have gotten young puppies from rescue who are mutts seeming to expect them to be somehow different from their parent breeds just because they are mixed. An example I can think of is a family I know who always had goldens and labs, and then eventually decided to get a puppy from an oops litter between a family's un-altered hunting dogs, who were I think a Brittany and a German Shorthair Pointer, both from working lines. Their dog was a precious puppy, but he is high strung, high anxiety, high energy, and has a wild prey drive. He's not really a dog they can trust off leash, and even at like 4 still acts like a young puppy.

At some point, someone started a rumor about mutts being somehow magical, and it seems like everyone now believes it steadfastly.

Overall, I prefer to get a dog from breeders, and in the future will get a dog from health tested lines that work in some way because I like to have a clear idea of the temperament and ability of the parents so I might better predict that of the offspring as an adult.

That said, there is something exciting about watching a dog from unknown parentage mature. It's like a Kinder Egg surprise, lol.

I don't think I would recommend anyone get a mutt with the expectation that because it is a mutt it won't have any health issues, but if someone is OK with a certain amount of unknowns with a dog of unknown parentage/background and has other reasons than just "general health" to pick a mutt, then I think that's a good option too.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,404 Posts
According to a UC Davis study, "the prevalence of 13 of the 24 genetic disorders was about the same for purebreds as mixed breeds"

Certain breeds as Ems cited are problematic.

One has the ability to research a pure bred dog's pedigree and hopefully make a wise decision if the breeder chose not to. Most mixed breed's do not have a documented history so it's a crap shoot at times. End of the day, there are no guarantees either way but a documented pedigree can be a resource predicting longevity and genetic disorders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the great information guys! It seems I'm learning something here too. I didn't realize that in-breeding was so prevalent among breeders. The breeder I got Merlin from doesn't in-breed and so that was surprising to discover. It absolutely makes sense that a wider, more varied gene pool makes for a potentially less problematic genetic makeup.

I think the thing that really bothered me most about my conversation with my friend was her assumption that because her dog was a mix rather than pure bred, that meant she wouldn't have a sensitive stomach or anything like that. I see that as more upbringing (having an owner vs no owner at puppy hood, living on the streets and eating crap vs eating dog food everyday, etc.) and down to the individual dog more than genetics (althogh I'm sure genetics play a role in that as well).

I think I'm inclined more toward pure bred simply because I would rather have a better idea of what I'm getting personality wise and health wise when I get a puppy (which I've gotten flack for from people who think rescue is the only way). I just want the experience of raising a puppy up to adulthood and being there every step of the way. But, if I ever had the desire to, I'd be willing to rescue an adult dog if that dog had been fostered and lived in someone's home for a while before hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
Thanks for all the great information guys! It seems I'm learning something here too. I didn't realize that in-breeding was so prevalent among breeders. The breeder I got Merlin from doesn't in-breed and so that was surprising to discover. It absolutely makes sense that a wider, more varied gene pool makes for a potentially less problematic genetic makeup.
Oh gosh yes! To be honest purebreds kind of did become pure from...inbreeding. I once heard a stat that the entire world's population have Pugs have the genetic diversity of 50 human beings. Not only that, but along with inbreeding there's something called "line breeding", which is not so frowned upon. Inbreeding would be typically described as breeding two siblings or father/daughter, mother/son. Line breeding would be mating two cousins or (if I'm not mistaken) uncle/niece, or aunt/nephew. Personally I would consider dogs like that inbred.

You also have to consider how many terrible people call themselves breeders. You sound like you got Merlin from a good breeder who cares about the dogs' health and personality and where they go. A lot of purebred dogs (and "Designers") come from unscrupulous backyard breeders and mills that couldn't care less about the dogs' health or personality. They just want a dog that's attractive and will make them money. Very strict breed standards can also cause high end show dog breeders to inbreed for characteristics that are flat our harmful for the dogs like the flat nose of the Bulldog or sloped hindquarter stance of the German Shepherd. They're literally breeding the dogs to have severe respiratory problems and lameness...for looks. And in my opinion it even looks deformed and painful to look at!

If you're interested in this topic I would highly recommend the new book "The Dog Merchants" by Kim Kavin. Really interesting look at the dog world in terms of purebreds, mutts, rescues, breeders and mills.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,820 Posts
I think that a true, Heinz 57, mutt has less chance of displaying certain genetic diseases then cross breed, or pure breed, dogs. I think there's less chance of them having inherited the 2 copies of the gene needed to display the disease, but they could still be carriers of the gene and can pass it on to their offspring. Here's an article on one such genetic diseasehttps://www.pawprintgenetics.com/blog/2015/06/05/misconceptions-about-canine-degenerative-myelopathy/

A good breeder will be screening their breeding dogs, and will make sure to only breed healthy dogs, so I do not think that a mutt will be any healthier then those dogs. I do think that they stand a very good chance of being healthier then a pure breed dog from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill. I also think that they are likely to be healthier then a cross breed dog.

Temperament wise there's no telling what a person may get with a mutt. My two mutts were as unalike in temperament as could be. Both were good dogs but one could be a butt head.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CadenceDiscordia

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
I guess if I was sitting with a friend that expressed pride in some aspect of her dog, I wouldn't try to 'straighten her out'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,884 Posts
Inbreeding is always a double edged sword. Too much and you end up with defects and health issues from lessened heterogeneity and bad recessives. Too little and you lose the integrity of your breed....A limited gene pool is actually what holds breeds together so that when you buy a specific breed or breed a specific breed, you are able to have a consistent temperament and appearance.

You just have to be smart about it. Line breeding absolutely has it's place, and it's a valuable tool for breeders. Health and genetic testing is of utmost importance before breeding any two dogs, whether it's purebred, or a sport or working mix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
To me, a dog is a dog. You have a chance of many different diseases and issues in any dog. Personally, I like the uniqueness of mutts. I would never breed a mutt obviously, but there's no shortage in the shelters. I do find that several of the very popular breeds have been so in bred and over bred, that you are almost guaranteed to have major health/temperament issues. I've met healthy and smart mutts, and unhealthy and bad tempered purebreds, and vice versa.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,481 Posts
Why yes, I am starting this discussion again because I was a bit surprised to find that a good friend of mine was ignorant regarding mutts vs. pure bred dogs. She rescued a sweet dog named Darla back in November. The other day we were discussing the differences between mutts and pure breds. Her logic about why mutts were better was that you don't have any of the problems that you would get with a pure bred dog. I told her that, truthfully, her dog could very well have any host of issues (just like Merlin could have any host of issues), but her dog's health history and the health history of her parents was unknown. I explained it as a pure bred was a calculated gamble (assuming you went to a reputable breeder who health tests) as opposed to a crap shoot with a dog of unknown breed and parental origin. Neither one is better or worse than the other.

So, thoughts? Would you explain it differently?
Also, let's keep this discussion civil and respectful. :)
I think you explained it fine. Her statement is a sweeping generalization that does not make sense at all.
Dogs will have the problems they inherit the genes for irregardless of being mixed or pure. If the breeds don't carry the same recessive diseases then you don't have to worry about those, but there are a lot of diseases that are in various breeds and serious polygenic diseases dogs posses. Then there are genetic temperament problems a mutt could also have. Anything caused by the environment too, a mutt isn't immune to problems.

In terms of health, naturally mutts will be healthier...in general. You can't deny that and if you want a physically sound dog you're usually better off getting a mutt. But anecdotally, for me my and my family's mutts have often been unhealthier than the purebreds!
Maybe as others have said from several generations are likely to be healthy. Many mixes are crosses or maybe a few breeds. With all the diseases that multiple breeds have, in general there is no way to know a mutt will be healthier. There are so many different breeds and numerous amounts of different mixes that it is too broad of a statement. The only issue I see it really combating is inbreeding depression. Physical sound pure beds are not uncommon, many people don't take the times to research breeds or breeders. With the prevalence of things like hip dysplasia being about as frequent in pure breds and mutts I wouldn't say they are more likely to be physically sound. This is really not a clear cut, black and white topic either. It is hard to discuss when comparatively different breeds and different mixes have varied health issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfdog

Found this on the Internet, very interesting.
I'm sure about a 100 years ago the German Shepards dogs inbreeding was such a concern an Italian gent run wolf blood threw a generation of (X) amount of dogs to combat pedigree related illnesses. Will try and find the artical.
I think most pedigree dogs now days could do with a good shot of wolf blood threw them all. That's just my opinion.
I think for a long time everybody has known that our pedigrees are genetically flawed from day one and the papers only confirm what a small gene pool these lovely dogs have come from. Very, Very sad that the people who set the standards and encourage this assault on natures canines are knowingly keeping the vets and pet insurers in business and punishing the people who are breeding out with the " Standard" rules.
I agree it's nice to know what to expect in life, somehow I think it's unlikely we will ever really know what's round the corner. Dogs and Humans alike.
No papers or lineage or anything else can guarantee one way or another that your dogs are going to get hit by a bus or suffer from illness.
There is always chance and higher percentage, but that's the same in all walk of life.
Everyone has different views, but you can't argue with chance, probability, fate. Nature has been taking care of cannines for 15,000 years i think.
I certainly trust her and her creations.
It's mans creations and interference that brings disaster and destruction and disease.
Rant over ?

Basil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
Purebred breeders in most breeds do not have a way to truly outcross. Even if pedigrees don't look 'inbred' in a traditional sense in most breeds if you go back far enough it's the same few dogs over and over again. Even my 'byb' newspaper sheltie I could trace back to the same founding dogs as my exceptionally bred dog. There is one individual founder who himself constitutes around 25% of the breed.

Unless there's an open registry this is pretty much impossible to get around. Even an 'unrelated line' is related... That's why I am in favor of a more open system (with rules of course!).

Overall every study I've seen so far puts mutts at a slightly better advantage than purebreds in amount of health issues and also longevity but I don't think it should be overstated either. There is no way to know individual dog health and predict and these studies are usually ALL mutts and ALL purebreds. Some breeds are probably better off overall than your average mutt and then there's like... English bulldogs and things.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Reading through more of these posts, I've come to the point where I should clarify: Merlin's breeder doesn't breed siblings with each other or parents with children. My surprise was more that breeders do do that today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,481 Posts
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfdog

Found this on the Internet, very interesting.
I'm sure about a 100 years ago the German Shepards dogs inbreeding was such a concern an Italian gent run wolf blood threw a generation of (X) amount of dogs to combat pedigree related illnesses. Will try and find the artical.
I think most pedigree dogs now days could do with a good shot of wolf blood threw them all. That's just my opinion.
I think for a long time everybody has known that our pedigrees are genetically flawed from day one and the papers only confirm what a small gene pool these lovely dogs have come from. Very, Very sad that the people who set the standards and encourage this assault on natures canines are knowingly keeping the vets and pet insurers in business and punishing the people who are breeding out with the " Standard" rules.
I agree it's nice to know what to expect in life, somehow I think it's unlikely we will ever really know what's round the corner. Dogs and Humans alike.
No papers or lineage or anything else can guarantee one way or another that your dogs are going to get hit by a bus or suffer from illness.
There is always chance and higher percentage, but that's the same in all walk of life.
Everyone has different views, but you can't argue with chance, probability, fate. Nature has been taking care of cannines for 15,000 years i think.
I certainly trust her and her creations.
It's mans creations and interference that brings disaster and destruction and disease.
Rant over ?

Basil.
What exactly is crossing to wolves supposed to accomplish?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Hi Spicy Bulldog,

Dogs were just a loose category of wolves until 15000 years ago, when we decided to tame, manage, feed and breed them. We have spread them from continent to continent and while the wolf breeds have died out. Designer dogs have remained.
We invented the dog and all its breeding issues.
I say a good shot of wolf blood should be put threw them because these pedigree issues... Cancers, hip/elbow/eye problems etc etc only have arisen since dogs were given the title pedigree dogs or designer dogs if you like. Last few hundred years.
Widening the gene pool would need to go way way back to correct these issues, back as far as their ancestors.... The wolves.
That is just my opinion and the science is actually there to back it up, it just won't sit well with the Trillion dollar/pound annual industry that so relies on designer dogs/pedigrees and allllllll their ailments.
I lost my black lab not long ago to liver cancer, sat with him for 9 days and till he went jaundice and died.
He was kept comfortable at home with our vet checking in on him, but even the vet recognised serious issues relating to these pedigree dogs and seemingly targeting them as a majority. My lab was a 5th generation block head English lab of super show quality but fatally flawed by DNA and the small gene pool of these dogs.
Hope this answers your question spicybulldog.

Basil
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top