Sunday Commentary: The mutt is the greatest breed – and after all, they’re all mutts

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Some people are still being been led to believe that they have to purchase a “purebred” dog or cat. They believe that to “know what you’re getting” you must buy an AKC registered dog or you be able to trace a bloodline or follow some championship pedigree. Wrong.

This topic slipped back to the forefront with Whoopi Goldberg’s recent comments. Of course in her case, her arguement was hugely flawed because she wants to purchase puppy mill puppies.

But this idea that a purebred dog or cat is superior to a mutt or any purebred from a shelter is hugely flawed as well. First of all, it’s like saying Donald Trump or the Queen of England is a better person than you or me.

If you love bulldogs or afghans or poodles or bassets, that’s great. My wife and I love to rescue mutts, bassets and greyhounds. But the reality is this – they are all mutts and all of them are wolf-hybrids.

Sorry to disappoint the people who are paying thousands of dollars for a dog they believe is somehow worth more than another breed or worth more than a shelter dog. They are all wolves, turned into dogs by human intervention, starting thousands of years ago.

It is believed that the first cats in the United States came over on the Mayflower, as the ship’s rodent exterminators.

Breeds have become, through the AKC and other organizations, a marketing tool. It didn’t start out that way. Early on, the mission was to “create” the best hunting dog or the best herder or the best companion or for other traits.

It’s only been in the modern era that marketing took over.

But let’s be clear, I am in no way putting down purebred dogs or cats. And I’ve often said the the ultimate goal should be to get to point where shelters and rescue groups are used for hardships cases, where people have lost their jobs or homes or where a guardian has passed away. And the breeding is performed only by quality breeders. That is the goal.

There are breed-specific rescues for just about every breed imaginable all over the country and in many cases, there are purebred dogs in the shelters. Don’t let anyone tell you the only dogs housed in local shelters are mutts and pit bulls. That is simply not accurate.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: The mutt is the greatest breed – and after all, they’re all mutts

  1. I agree. Buying a “purebred” dog (or horse) does not guarantee temperament. Personalities can differ even in the same litter. Look at people: are all the children in one family the same temperament, and predictable in what they become? Rarely! Let’s not forget nature/nurture has it’s effects as well. Even the best bred dog living in a puppy mill environment will be traumatized and likely have issues from that experience.

    In my own family (that owned many dogs) every mix breed lived over 10 (4) but several of our purebreds (7) (all from quality breeders) died of genetic issues before their time. Pure versus mixed is a personal preference but let’s not forget every “Purebred” was essentially a mix altered by humans. For example in the horse world the Thoroughbred was a breed created using various other breeds and often certain approved breeds were allowed back in (Arabian sires) to strengthen the genes. This is not longer being done and the break down of this overbred horse is heartbreaking. The same thing can be said for several dog breeds. The AKC has lost it’s desire to create healthy dogs. It’s now a money machine bent on holding up it’s product. Breeds have been altered from working dogs to bred for pets (Bulldogs were once mastiff size) and the loss of the need to create a working athlete has ruined this breed’s health.

    Basically buying a purebred is just like buying a designer handbag it’s mainly for show. But anyone that has a raised a puppy knows there are no guarantees in life, love or dogs. If you want one RESEARCH and get one but do not knock down the mix breeds! That is all your dog is in reality. Follow your heart not your pride.

  2. Alexandra,
    Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I agree – there are no guarantees on temperament.
    The time the puppies spend with their moms and siblings is a more important factor. So many breeders are selling puppies at 6 weeks old. They need more time – more on the order of 10 to 12 weeks at least to gain more socialization.
    This is one we don’t see in the new anti-puppy mills laws being proposed.
    I believe this one of reason why we see so many dogs dumped off on rescue groups and shelters. I’ve seen it – people who are dealing with behavior problems after buying puppies at 6 weeks old.

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