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Why is bredding purebred dogs considered more appropriate then breeding mutts?


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I cannot believe how much the aussiedoodle thread has given me to think about. Several times it was mentioned that x amount of money was a crazy amount of money to pay for a mutt. So i wondered why is it any crazier than paying that amount for a purebred dog?

 

Let's assume for a moment that there is more demand than supply when it comes to dogs. That means that there are no longer dogs being euthanized in shelters and in fact, there are not enough dogs in the shelter system to meet peoples demands. Let us also take all dogs that are bred and used for a purpose out of this discussion. So when i ask my original question, i am wondering this:

If people breeding mutts are not contributing to pet over population (and are taking care to breed good dogs to good dogs) and people breeding purebred dogs are not breeding them to excel at any sort of task and are simply breeding them by a given standard to go on to be pets, is there anything inherently worse about breeding mutts as opposed to purebreds?

 

P.S. I tried to correct the spelling in the title but could not figure out how to do it. OoPs

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Let's assume for a moment that there is more demand than supply when it comes to dogs.

 

IMO, that would be the most crucial time to NOT breed mutts. The day that there is more demand than supply when it comes to dogs is the day that we actually have a chance to get more healthy, disease-free dogs out there.

 

There's a reason we have purebreds. Working dogs, sport dogs, etc. And some just for show dogs. Mutts...who knows what type of genetic problems they could be carrying? If we start breeding the cute little mutt pups, we end up with dogs that have/carry diseases left and right...

Don't get me wrong, I love mutts. I only have a problem with the people who breed them.

 

 

This is also just my personal opinion, and I'm way too tired to be attempting to think too much right now. I may revise my answer in the morning.

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I agree actually, crossbreeding is not necessarily a bad thing as long as care is taken with choosing appropriately matched parents of good quality and doing health testing. The bad thing with breeding mutts is a lot of them are simply done because someone thinks it's cute to have a "----doodle" or a "----weenie". This is where crossbreds get a bad reputation. The responsible breeders are overwhelmingly outnumbered by those who either don't know what they're doing or just don't care. Not only should the dogs be compatible, but care should be taken to make sure there is no family history behind the dogs that could show up as problems with the pups, same as any breeding match. I also don't have a huge problem with breeding simply for pet dogs (outside the border collie breed of course) as long as appropriate care is taken when selecting mates. There are many criteria which would go into breeding an ideal companion dog or pet, including various temperamental aspects as well as build and coat, not to mention health. At one time, all breeds were created by crossing dogs from various backgrounds and types. If someone has a reason to cross two breeds together and either improve upon one breed with an infusion from the other (like LUA dalmatians) or create a whole new breed with a specific purpose in mind (like the German Shepherd Dog, not all that long ago), I see no problem as long as they are careful and do everything the same way a responsible purebred breeder would. I actually would find that more encouraging than purebred show breeders putting together two dogs of the same breed that look pretty and happen to not be blind/falling over with HD.

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I will go out on a limb here and say no.

 

Somehow in the last 100 years or so, we as a society have come to decide that the whole "pure" aspect of breeds is somehow important. As such, we now have a whole lot of breeds with tiny gene pools and the health and vigor problems that accompany that. There's nothing inherently magical or special about being a "purebred" dog except what the kennel clubs tell you there is.

 

Dogs should be bred for a purpose and to improve the qualities that we desire in them. Maybe that means breeding two purebred dogs who will be excellent at moving sheep, or two mixes who happen to have complementing qualities (the original intent of the labradoodle). The dogs who are bred should be health cleared as appropriate and the offspring seriously evaluated to see if the desired outcomes happened, and what undesired things happened. There should be a plan for any puppies that don't have the desired traits as pets that won't reproduce. As the creator of those puppies, you should be willing to take them back if they end up needing rescue.

 

If you are doing that, and doing the right thing as far as taking care of, socializing and placing the puppies, I would call you a good breeder, and I could care less if they are purebred.

 

If you are throwing two dogs together to make money by cashing in on a fad, or candy colored dogs, or a cutesy name, or to make more of a fancy breed you think you can sell for a lot of money, then I think you are a crappy breeder regardless of if the dogs you are breeding are mixed or purebred

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Nope. It's BETTER to breed mutts than purebreds, in your hypothetical world. I have posted this same notion several times.

 

If there are good homes for all dogs, and if we take working dogs out of the picture (genetics is obviously important in that case), then "mutts" is the way to go.

 

Mutts are much less likely to have genetic problems than purebred dogs. The more closely inbred a species is, the more genetic problems it creates. The more distance between breeding pairs, the less likely it is that any one genetic trait comes down to the pups from both parents - hence, less chance of hip displasia, etc.. This is true in humans, too - closely inbreeding subgroups tend toward genetic diseases, while marriages from "outside the tribe" reduce the chances of perpetuation of genetic disease. Anyone who argues differently doesn't understand genetics.

 

Breeding for looks leads to the same sort of inbreeding problems, because the chances that a dog will look exactly like the "breed standard" increase the chances that it's genetically related to its mate.

 

I read a very good, very strong argument once that, in this imaginarily perfect world where there are enough working dogs and no overpopulation of family pets, we should breed for only one thing: pet temperament. Since "antisocial" traits like biting and excessive barking are what put dogs in the shelter, we should build dogs best-suited for living with humans.

 

The need to classify dogs and to own a "purebred" is largely an outcome of human vanity, I think. People believe they need a golden or a labradoodle - but if there were no breeds, but only dogs, people would just get dogs. (That's pretty much the world I grew up in. No one owned a "breed" when I was a kid - we just owned dogs.)

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In a perfect world, mixes would not be a bad thing. It really wasn't ALL that long ago that "Labrador retriever" meant "dog who can retrieve and swim well". "Bulldog" meant "tenacious terrier with a pushed in face that can breathe while bull baiting". "Collie" was "herding and farm dog".

 

There are still purpose-bred mixes out there in the "working dog world".

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IMO there's nothing wrong with cross-breeding (with all the appropriate caveats in place). Breeding for function (including the function of companionability) is in many ways the exact opposite of "pure" breeding wrt to its broader goals.

 

Breeding dogs for function means that it doesn't particularly matter what they *are*; what matters is what they *do.*

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If people breeding mutts are not contributing to pet over population (and are taking care to breed good dogs to good dogs) and people breeding purebred dogs are not breeding them to excel at any sort of task and are simply breeding them by a given standard to go on to be pets, is there anything inherently worse about breeding mutts as opposed to purebreds?

 

In that scenario, my position would be no, there is not anything inherently worse about breeding mutts.

 

Of course, good breeding is done to some purpose, whether that be some kind of work or to produce excellent companions. (I'm talking generally here about all types of dogs, not just Border Collies which, of course, should be bred for work.)

 

I have three Border Collies and two mutts in my household. The mutts are not treated as inferior in any way. They have the same level of care, the same amount of affection, the same opportunities for training, etc. that the Border Collies have. They go on trips with us, they sleep on the furniture with us, etc. etc. etc.

 

It is the case that, generally, my Border Collies are more suited to sports than my mutts, although the dog I've done the most Agility with is one of the mutts. So, I tend to prefer purebred Border Collies for that purpose. But my mutt's ribbons hang on the wall along with the Border Collie's ribbons.

 

Of course, we don't live in the perfect world. Even so, I'm not opposed to the breeding of mutts, per se, as long as it is done responsibly (and so are not contributing to overpopulation) and for a good purpose. But call them what they are. They aren't a breed. I don't care if you say mixed breed, mutt, cross breed, All American, etc., just call them what they actually are.

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Ok, so continuing to assume we live in this perfect world where we do not have overpopulation and the breeding of mutts is done with care, is it reasonable to then charge the same amount of money for a mutt as for a purebred?

 

I assume (maybe incorrectly) that when people are astounded by the large sums that are charged for the so called designer mutts, they are assuming that the mutts are simply thrown together for quick cash (not saying they are or they aren't) whereas the purebred dogs are carefully selected and not bred for profit. Is that why a purebred dog should cost more (again, not a working dog but a companion dog)?

 

I have 2 dogs, both from shelters so i have no experience with breeders of any sort. But my dogs had to come from somewhere and i would assume that breeders, like the dogs they produce, vary greatly from one another. That is to say that you could have an individual that is breeding mutts much more responsibly than someone breeding purebreds.

 

And i disagree with borderlinecrazy that purebreds are somehow inherently healthier than mutts. I think a lot can be fixed or ruined by a good or bad breeding.

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Ok, this is me putting on my flame-retardant suit... :)

 

I don't think there should be "purebred" dogs at all. I think there should be purpose-bred dogs - that is, dogs bred to perform a given task, and that the breeders of such dogs should take whatever steps necessary to insure that these dogs were free of hereditary diseases, temperament problems, etc.

 

I hear people say that Border Collies are not really purebred dogs at all. They say that the Border Collie is a type of dog which performs a task, but that since the appearance of the dogs is so varied, they don't qualify for purebred status.

 

Well,I would be happy to go along with that, and taking it one step further, I think it would be a great thing if the individual Border Collie could only be registered as a breeding dog if it had proven its ability to work stock to a high standard. But as has been discussed before, this would be cumbersome and expensive to implement.

 

If only healthy, purpose-bred dogs were allowed to reproduce, then the accidental breeding of two different varieties of dogs would produce healthy mutts. Those mutts, would be the equal to their parents in health and intelligence, and would likely be fine dogs for the average pet owner.

 

I would further state that I think a number of entire breeds of purebred dogs should never be allowed to mate. Breeds that are so inbred and physically extreme that a very high percentage of them cannot possibly hope for a sane and disease-free existence, should not exist at all.

 

I for one, plan to steer clear of purebred dogs for the rest of my life. Dogs that are purpose-bred, like the working Border Collie and any other healthy, well-adjusted dog which is not bred to an appearance standard are the only ones for me. Mutts, schmutts - a good dog is a good dog. A dog who can do what it was bred to do, and stay healthy and sane is a great dog.

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If only healthy, purpose-bred dogs were allowed to reproduce, then the accidental breeding of two different varieties of dogs would produce healthy mutts. Those mutts, would be the equal to their parents in health and intelligence, and would likely be fine dogs for the average pet owner.

 

I agree with almost all of your post, except for this portion. If two purpose-bred dogs that were bred for a different purpose accidentally mate, you could very well end up with dogs unsuitable for the average pet owner. Think about crossing a dog bred to be very independent such as some hounds with a very high energy, high prey drive dog such as a border collie. Certainly some of the pups would combine the best of both parents, but even if both parents were perfectly nice wonderful specimens of their breeds and even friendly dogs, they could still throw some independent very driven dogs that don't care too much about focusing on listening to the owner. These dogs would probably be difficult for the average pet owner to handle, even though they might be healthy. This could even potentially happen within types if breeders aren't careful to select compatible dogs with compatible family histories.

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I agree with almost all of your post, except for this portion. If two purpose-bred dogs that were bred for a different purpose accidentally mate, you could very well end up with dogs unsuitable for the average pet owner. Think about crossing a dog bred to be very independent such as some hounds with a very high energy, high prey drive dog such as a border collie. Certainly some of the pups would combine the best of both parents, but even if both parents were perfectly nice wonderful specimens of their breeds and even friendly dogs, they could still throw some independent very driven dogs that don't care too much about focusing on listening to the owner. These dogs would probably be difficult for the average pet owner to handle, even though they might be healthy. This could even potentially happen within types if breeders aren't careful to select compatible dogs with compatible family histories.

point taken.. :)

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I assume (maybe incorrectly) that when people are astounded by the large sums that are charged for the so called designer mutts, they are assuming that the mutts are simply thrown together for quick cash (not saying they are or they aren't) whereas the purebred dogs are carefully selected and not bred for profit. Is that why a purebred dog should cost more (again, not a working dog but a companion dog)?

 

 

I, like Geonni, will throw on a flame proof suit and say the following:

 

We place a value on anything that's for sale, generally. Things that are readily available will be worth more than things that are "rare."

 

In the world of dogs we have somehow decided that making a profit from breeding and selling dogs is a moral flaw. That's probably because in many cases hobby breeders don't make a profit so their model became the gold standard for "responsible breeders." The average hobby breeder who health tests, shows dogs and only has an occasional litter invests far more into their dogs than a commercial breeder or a 'backyard' breeder who breeds his pet dog to his neighbor's pet dog so they can sell puppies. I think in many cases we think breeders of crossbreed dogs fall into the commercial or backyard breeder categories.

 

The problem is, in many cases, the most responsible hobby breeders also contributed to the myriad of health and temperament problems that are rampant in many purebred dogs. Showing dogs in conformation to meet a physical standard, being more concerned with DNA tests for diseases than the common sense rules of animal husbandry related to choosing breeding stock (see: English Bulldog and CKCS), etc. I know a lot of these folks, and I know they mean well and are good people, but they can have blinders on as far as these issues go. And, because we define value on availability, a "rare" purebred costing more goes over well.

 

So the idea of making money from breeding any kind of dog is considered evil. Even breeders who I am quite sure make a healthy profit from selling dogs based on frequency of litters and price often give off an "air" of not profiting.

 

Because one can often buy a mixed breed dog from a shelter or for free on a street corner, the typical value in ones mind of a mix breed is lower. Add to it that we see cross breed breeders as irresponsible based on the criteria above, anyone selling them for money is bad.

 

Now, before you throw the flamethrowers on me, I could care less if someone makes a profit breeding a dog. If people are willing to pay you x amount because they want your dog, regardless of parentage, more power to you. I don't think that makes you irresponsible.

 

How honest you are about what you are breeding, how healthy your dogs are, how you decide if what you bred is an improvement, how closely you follow the outcomes of your pups, how carefully you choose your breeding stock to minimize risk of issues (including testing for things you can't see like CEA, evaluating breeding stock and offspring for issues like hip displasia and sensitivity to vaccines and common sense stuff like longevity of the dog, ease in breeding and whelping and extremities of conformation - ie avoiding smushed faces, etc) and seeking the most stable temperament possible (vs blaming behavior issues on owners and reactions to evil vaccines, etc)...these are the things that will make me decide what your puppy is worth to me and how responsible you are.

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In the perfect world that Puppytoes posits, where the price of a dog, (or anything else) would be set by the quality of the animal in health, ability and cost to the breeder, the price would reflect "what you were getting."

 

But even in a perfect world, the exotic is going to be desirable, and those with "exotic" dogs will get exotic prices for them.

 

I know people, (otherwise sane people) who disdain "common" breeds of dogs, for rare ones because they don't want something that everybody else has. This despite the fact that the exotic dogs, (read: horribly inbred, extreme, and/or ruinously expensive to maintain) are going to cost them a mint to buy, a mint to vet, and probably die early of some disease or inherited physical defect.

 

These people shun the common varieties of daisies, chickens, denim pants, etc., despite the fact that they have been around for ages and are so commonly seen because they are reliably useful and good. They would rather spend ten times as much to have something different - something that sets them apart from other folk.

 

IMO, the price of a dog should reflect the care and diligence that went into creating it. High enough that the good, knowledgeable, responsible breeder will not be ruined by the cost of producing quality dogs, but not inflated by fads, trends or hype. It should be fair to both the breeder and the buyer. Everything else is just greed or ego.

 

ETA, Seems like I covered some of the same ground a Rushdoggie - sorry about that, didn't read your post 'till I was done with mine.

 

Also, I don't think generally speaking, that 4 or 5 hundred dollars is too much to charge for a family pet pup. And of course, higher prices are in order if the dog has been grown-out a bit and received training/evaluation for its performance at what ever work it is bred to do. But charging a different price for pups of the same breeding program that are different colors is one of the most obvious signs of a person who is in it mostly for the money, and not much for the dogs. Ditto for a big difference in "show"/ "pet" prices, especially on young pups.

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