Does Breed Matter for a Family Pet?

Dec 01, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

A group of people stand behind their sitting dogs of varied breed backgroundsWhen deciding to adopt a family dog, many wonder about the differences between a pure breed, crossbreed, hybrid, designer dog, and mixed-breed. How does one determine which to choose? Check out these answers to frequently asked questions to help choose the right dog for you!

What Does it Mean to be a Pure Breed?
It can be confusing to research the differences between these terms online with so many varied definitions. Generally speaking, a pure-bred canine has the same breed lineage for both parents that can be traced either through documentation or DNA. People who adopt pure-bred dogs are typically looking for a dog to perform a specific job or demonstrate certain personality traits that are associated with that breed.

What is a Crossbreed, Hybrid, and Designer Dog?
A true hybrid animal has parents of two different species such as a wolf and a domesticated dog. However, today, the terms “hybrid”, “crossbreed”, and “designer dog” are often synonymously used to describe a canine resulting from two pure-bred parents that do not share the same breed. These pure-bred parents are intentionally bred together to produce specific traits. An example is a Poodle mixed with other breeds such as Labrador retriever thereby producing a “Labradoodle". Depending on the breed crossing and documentation, many crossbred dogs can be registered with the American Kennel Club.

Those adopting a crossbred dog can enjoy the behavioral, physical, and personality traits of combining two pure breeds. A key reason dogs cross-bred dogs are trending is the ability to get the low-shedding trait from say a Poodle, Bichon, or Maltese with the personality trait of a King Charles Cavalier or the athletic ability of a Border CollieWhich traits will be on display depends on the individual dog. People who like the look or personality found in a certain breed yet like the idea of less clean-up with a low-shedding dog may be a good candidate for adopting a crossbreed.

Are Crossbred Dogs Hypoallergenic?
Despite claims on the Internet, it is important to note there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. If you are allergic to dogs, it is likely their saliva and dander causing your reaction. Be sure to check with your allergist and spend some time with the specific dog you want before taking steps to bring him into your home.

Are Mixed Breeds the Same as Crossbreeds?
Mixed breeds are also referred to as “blended”, “mutts”, and “mongrels”. These dogs come from parents with a blended breed background that can be difficult to determine. Despite historically carrying a negative stigma, mixed breeds are becoming more popular among families in recent years.

One of the reasons mixed breeds are so loved is their reduced risk of inheriting the common health concerns associated with purebred dogs. This means they could live longer and incur fewer medical expenses. Also, mixed breeds tend to have weakened behavioral traits that pure breeds use to complete certain jobs. This can make a mixed breed dog more comfortable hanging out in the yard with the kids instead of digging up the flower bed, displaying protective instincts, or chasing after certain scents.

Is a Mixed Breed, Crossbreed or Pure Breed Better for Families?
The truth is there are loads of advantages to each breed and blend of breeds. Ultimately, it depends on what tasks you expect your dog to perform, which behavior traits you are hoping he will possess, and how much you are planning to spend on grooming and healthcare as some dogs require more than others. We suggest going to a rescue website like Sophie’s Circle and using this list of questions to find the right dog for you:

  1. How social is he/she with children and other animals?
  2. What grooming care will he/she require?
  3. If purebred or intentionally crossbred, what are the health issues associated with his/her parents’ breed(s)?
  4. What is his/her energy level?
  5. Is he/she housebroken and easy to train?
  6. Does he/she have any breed-specific behaviors like running after a scent or digging under the fence that may require certain protective measures to keep him/her safe?
  7. Since some dogs have higher energy levels, how much exercise will he/she require?
  8. Are there any health concerns noted for this specific dog?
  9. If he/she is not a mixed breed, what are the common health concerns for his/her breed or breed combination?

Ready to begin your search for your four-legged best friend? We have great news! Sophie’s Circle has many adorable rescues who are hoping to be matched with a wonderful forever home like yours. Start here!