Registered Purebreds vs CrossBreeds

Purebred dogs, be they the Jack Russel which was bred to burrow into holes in the ground to catch game, or Shetland Sheepdogs which were bred to herd sheep in the Shetland Islands, were bred for specific traits that the breeder (gamekeeper, huntsman, shepherd) required for a specific purpose. When this purpose became obsolete, these purebred dogs remained popular because of their wonderful temperament, their adaptability, etc., etc.

We have purebred dogs today because someone thought a dog with those characteristics would be nice to have around.

A purebred dog comes from breeding two registered purebred dogs of the same breed. The puppies can be reliably expected to have the physical appearance and mental characteristics of their ancestors. This means that if you breed an American Eskimo to an American Eskimo you will reliably get American Eskimo puppies that will grow up to look and act like American Eskimos.

Purebred dogs have a standard of excellence. This is a written description of the breed's ideal look and characteristics. Generations of purebred dogs have been recorded, screened and selected so that only the healthiest, most even tempered, and best looking are used to produce more puppies of that breed. Purebred dogs are registered and have pedigrees that can be traced back for generations, in some cases to the beginning of the breed. The qualities of the dogs that go into the pedigrees are known and recorded so that faults and good qualities can be tracked. Breeders, and breed clubs, work hard to maintain high ethical standards and keep the look, temperament and health of each breed.

An alarming number of people think that simply putting a name to a mixed-breed puppy makes it a real breed. Puggles, cockapoos, chiweenies, eskipoos, will it ever end? Obviously, many people either don't know or don't care that if you breed Pug to a Beagle you have a litter of mixed-breed puppies, even if you call them "Puggles". Cross-bred puppies with goofy names are advertised as "designer breeds" and sell for ridiculous prices while carefully bred, health-tested purebred puppies from responsible breeders are overlooked.

How many times have we heard that mutts are healthier than purebreds, mutts have hybrid vigour or that Poodle crosses are hypoallergenic? The myth is that if you breed two dogs of different breeds, you can accurately predict that exact attributes the resulting puppies will display, and that these "designer dogs" will be healthier than purebreds due to "hybrid vigour". The truth is that crossing two different breeds will result in some puppies looking like each parent and some resembling a mix of the two... maybe. Even though the breeders of these pups say they can predict things like coat type, colour, temperament and size, they cannot. The only things that can be predicted for sure are that the puppies will be awfully cute because puppies always are, and that many of these dogs will end up in shelters because they got bigger and weren't hypoallergenic as advertised.

Millions of dollars have been put into health research and testing by responsible breeders of purebred dogs. Records and databases going back generations make health issues in purebred dogs visible; therefore it looks like purebred dogs have lots of health issues. There is no database or health record for mixed-breed dogs, but it is evident from observation that they have health problems. Crossbreed producers say they are breeding "top quality" dogs and fixing health problems by producing puppies with "hybrid vigour". For starters, no reputable breeder would knowingly sell a puppy to somebody planning to produce mixes, so the breeding stock must come from other, less-than-reputable sources. The quality and health of their bloodlines is suspect to say the least.

Hybrid vigour refers to the breeding of two different species within a family of animals, such as a lion and a tiger, a horse and a donkey, a dog and a wolf. Since crossbreed dogs are just a breeding between a dog and another dog, the genes for health problems have an excellent chance of doubling up and showing themselves in the offspring. Claims of super health are nonsense, veterinarians see as many problems in "designer dogs" as in purebreds. Since most crossbreed producers do no health testing and their breeding stock is unlikely to come from health-tested backgrounds, some "designer dogs" get the worst of both worlds and inherit different problems from each parent.

So what is the difference between an American Eskimo and an Eskipoo? The American Eskimo (or any other purebred) breed true, and puppies can be guaranteed to be as advertised. Purebred dogs are the result of research, artistry and dedication. While there are some irresponsible breeders and problems in the purebred collective, purebred dogs are healthy and reliable overall. Eskipoos and other mixes are a conglomerate of possibilities that cannot be predicted, thrown together to make a quick buck. Size, colour, coat type and temperament are a guess at best.

Despite the obvious discrepancies between myth and reality, many people continue to believe the crossbreed hype. Responsible breeders don't like to advertise in newspapers, and are afraid to market their dogs because they don't want to be branded as puppy merchants.



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