Busting Purebred Puppy Myths

September 29, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Myth vs. Facts for Pure breds

When it comes to puppies, you'd like to think that everything about them is as sweet, innocent, and adorable as they are--but the truth is that there are lots of puppy facts swirling around in this great big technological world that certainly don't make tails wag. Unfortunately, a lot of this noise is centered around the purebred vs. mutt debate, so when it comes to busting myths, even a seasoned researcher might have trouble telling fact from fiction. Today, the pet care experts are stepping up in defense of purebred puppies and their true challenges and benefits.


There are a lot of widespread purebred myths that have become so commonly believed that they are actually beginning to impact cultural perception of purebred puppies. (That's right, there are people who don't like purebred pups--and to us, that's a real shame; after all, a puppy is a puppy!) Pet experts agree that it's important to eliminate myths in the purebred world, not only for the good of puppies everywhere, but for the education and betterment of owners and potential owners everywhere. Today, we'll bust some of the most popular and troublesome purebred myths out there.

  1. MYTH: Purebreds are never as healthy as mutts. Although it's commonly believed that purebreds are chronically less healthy than their mixed-breed playmates, the truth is that all dog breeds have their fair share of problems--even mutts. Popular opinion has focused too much on the genetic health issues that come with purebred lineages, perhaps in response to the implied superiority that some breeders encourage, and while genetic problems do exist, they aren't exclusive to purebreds. In all honesty, both purebreds and mutts have their health issues; it's just that each type of dog has unique health issues, and certain breeds or breed combinations are more susceptible to certain problems.
  2. MYTH: Only purebreds can suffer genetic disorders. When it comes to genetic problems, the information gets a little tricky. Studies show that, while purebred lineages do have significantly more genetic disorders, mixed-breeds actually suffered more of one particular disorder (ruptured cranial cruciate ligament). In addition, there were many genetic disorders in which breed didn't play any role; mutts were just as likely as purebreds to suffer these disorders. Essentially, the takeaway here is that you're not "safe" from genetic disorders with a mixed-breed.
  3. MYTH: All purebreds have "bad breeding." There are a lot of breeding practices out there that just aren't good, and unfortunately, the decks are stacked against purebreds: by definition, these dogs are being bred out of the same gene pool, which becomes more and more limited as bad breeding practices gain popularity. However, the truth is that there are many breeders who carefully protect their lineages, doing all of the necessary health tests to make sure that parents don't bring unnecessary health risks to future puppies. This is not a guarantee that genetic problems will be avoided, but it certainly makes a difference.

Now that we've dispelled some common myths, it's time to take a look at what's left: the cold, hard facts.


Our pet experts want you to be educated when you make any dog decision, so that you and your future companion will be well-matched, healthy, and happy. Remember to consider these facts when choosing a puppy.

  • FACT: It's easier to predict health issues in purebreds. Although there's still controversy over whether mutts or purebreds are better in terms of healthiness, one undeniable fact is that it's much easier to foresee health problems when you know what to expect based on breed. For example, Labrador Retrievers (among other breeds) are known for hip dysplasia, which means that, if you chose a Lab puppy, you'd know what to look out for--while with a mixed-breed, you wouldn't be sure which health risks the puppy would inherit from which parent.
  • FACT: Health is based just as much on the individual dog as the breed. You can take this one to all those argument-fraught Internet forums: mixed-breed, purebred--the breed might affect health issues, but just as important is the condition the dog lives in. For example, a purebred dog might never develop complications from a potential genetic issue, if that dog is kept at an ideal weight, given all the necessary nutrients, and provided with plenty of exercise. Size is also a more definite measure of possible health concerns than breed is.
  • FACT: Determining whether a mixed-breed or purebred is best all comes down to you. At the end of the day, you can read all of the complicated studies and Internet arguments you like; it all comes down to what you're looking for in a puppy. Of course, it's a good idea to do your homework, and you should always know what health concerns to look out for (in your own best interest as well as your pet's), but in the end you must make a call depending on your situation, your needs, and your financial landscape.

Interested in more information on pet care between mixed-breeds and purebreds? Looking for help in choosing the right dog for you? Contact us today!

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.