Over the past few years, there has been much discussion about the potential risks and benefits of cross-breed puppies as opposed to pure-bred puppies. This has led to a lot of confusion and misinformation.
We would always encourage potential owners to carefully research the requirements of a particular breed they might be thinking of getting, and be realistic on the cost of looking after a dog (as there is no NHS for dogs!). Understandably, when people are thinking about getting a puppy, they generally start to think which breed of dog might be best suited to their lifestyle. This immediately shows why particular breeds exist in the first place – individual breeds have been developed to serve a specific purpose or live in a particular environment. This gives a possible owner some idea as to what they can expect with regards to the size, appearance and temperament of the dog, although this can never be guaranteed.
We have rounded up some useful information to think about when choosing a breed of dog:
In order to reproduce a specific physical appearance of a dog, breeders have to breed from a smaller gene pool, which means breeding from animals that are more closely related to each other, rather than the general population. Unfortunately, the consequence of this is concentrated inherited genetic defects of all types in the particular breed.
By breeding dogs of different breeds, this can reduce the chance of passing on multiple copies and defective genes - thus reduce the chances of puppies inheriting a known breed-related genetic disease. There are a number of known genetic diseases that can be inherited through the breed for which there are genetic tests. The Kennel Club has guidelines for particular breeds on what breeders should be doing to reduce the risk of passing on an inherited disease. There are now some recognised cross-breeds e.g. Cockerpoos and Labradoodles. Cross-breeding could lead to a reduced risk of inherited conditions being passed on.
We understand why people are keen to adopt a certain breed, as it gives them some certainty in terms of how the dog will look. It’s important to remember that the temperament of a puppy is not guaranteed by choosing a breed and we are often mistaken in thinking that. The environment and amount of nurture that the puppy receives will all contribute to the behaviour of the puppy. It is a good idea to take your puppy to socialisation classes – Medivet host puppy parties in selected practices to help teach pups how to behave. We would always encourage potential owners to learn how to ‘speak dog’, too, as this is very important! By understanding the way dogs think and what motivates them, it will be much easier for them to fit happily into your life.
If you are looking to buy a mixed-breed puppy, it is crucial to have a good knowledge of the place you are getting the animal from. They should show a strong interest in the welfare of the dog and ask you lots of questions about your living environment, to ensure it will live a happy life, and be suitable for you. A good place to go is an animal rescue centre; they will have strong knowledge on the different types of breeds and the costs are mostly limited to the adoption, spay/neuter and vaccination fees. If you choose to buy a pedigree or one of the newer cross-breeds, then we would advise you to consult the Kennel Club and use a regulated breeder who follows the KC recommendations on breed testing and screening.
We are always happy to offer advice, so please contact your local Medivet practice if you would like further information.
Posted July 19, 2016 in Pet Care Advice