Many people have heard the phrase "Adopt Don't Shop" and know that it refers to adopting dogs from animal shelters rather than going to a pet store and buying a pet from there. And there are a plethora of reasons why adopting is the way to go when it comes to getting a new dog. You'll help reduce overcrowding in shelters, you give a homeless dog a good home, and you help decrease the likelihood of the shelter euthanizing their animals to make more space. But one thing that typically turns people off from adopting a dog at a shelter, is that when you adopt its a lot less likely that you will find a purebred. Many people do their research before going to buy a dog, they look up the different breeds so that they can see which one matches up best with their family and lifestyle. Therefore when it comes time to buy the dog, it's a lot easier to go to a pet store or a backyard breeder to find their desired pure breed, than it is to wander around shelters looking for a specific dog. And you may think there's nothing really wrong with this, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Because there are more downfalls to purebred dogs than you would think.
To start, purebred dogs are full of genetic disease, many purebred dogs will get some form of sickness in their lifetime. And this can be anything, such as joint problems, blindness, kidney disease, liver disease, digestive problems, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, and the most popular disease of them all; cancer. So why are these problems heavily present in purebred dogs but not in mutts? The answer is inbreeding. In order to achieve those short little legs and long narrow body that today we see and know to be a Dachshund, eugenists would inbreed dogs with their own family members in order to get the desired traits that they needed to create the Daschund. And anyone who has taken a biology class knows why this is an awful thing. Inbreeding decreases the genetic pool and therefore leads to an event known as the genetic bottleneck. What the genetic bottleneck means is, you have bred such a low variety of animals together that something that was once a recessive genetic trait now has a huge chance of becoming a defining characteristic in an animal. For example, if you took a group of dogs where a good portion of them had a genetic disease that made them develop heart failures early on in life and bred them together, soon the offspring will almost all have that genetic coding because the gene pool is so small. And so because of this genetic bottleneck diseases that would normally only be present in a handful of animals, grew rapidly in purebred dogs.
Even though purebred dogs have countless numbers of health issues, people are still going to charge you an arm and leg for a dog that may not live to be more than eight years old. So why are purebreds so expensive if the dog you're getting isn't going to live very long? The answer is simple, you're basically paying for a brand. Think of it this way, if you were to go to Nordstrom and find a T-shirt, you're going to expect it to cost considerably more than a T-shirt you find at Goodwill. The reason for this is because people believe that when they buy from a well-known brand, they're going to get a good quality shirt. And for clothes, this can sometimes be true, but it's not so true for dogs. But because of supply and demand breeders and pet stores can charge as much as they want for a certain breed of dog. They know people are willing to spend a good amount of money on this animal because these customers think its high quality, and so they can charge insane amounts of money just for a dog and a piece of paper that details the animals' lineage.
On top of this purebred dogs have very distinct traits. And in some cases this is a good thing, future pet owners are able to research breeds and use these traits to decide which dog is best for them. At the surface, this whole concept of unchangeable traits seems like a positive thing. But overall, it's not. More often than not when people are looking for what dog they want to buy there's no one breed that matches their wants perfectly. People are always going to have to compromise and make sacrifices, meaning the purebred dog they end up with, may have some traits that its owners don't find ideal, but hey its as close as they could get to what they wanted. Some dog owners purchase a pure breed that is known to be extremely active and hyper thinking they train it of this behavior, but that's just not true. Especially if the dogs' intended purpose was to be a working dog. Working dogs were created to perform a job, some common examples of working dogs are huskies, Australian shepherds, sheepdogs, and Portuguese water dogs. These breeds were created with a very specific goal in mind, each one had a job to do. Whether that be helping out fishermen, pulling dog sleds, or being hunting dog these animals have a lot of energy that they needed back when their sole purpose was to work. And in today's world, these dogs are sometimes given the same treatment as any other household dog. When these breeds aren't exercised properly they get restless and end up destroying furniture, digging holes, or escaping from backyards and running off. When pet owners go to purchase a dog they need to take these traits seriously and make sure they will be able to provide the dog with the exercise it requires.
Pure Breeds Arent All Bad
Now I know this kind of goes against what I've been saying this whole time, but pure breeds aren't all bad. My family even owns a few purebreds that I love to death. I just think its important that we as pet owners understand what we are buying when we get a purebred dog. When it comes to the health issues that run rampant in these animals we as humans need to take responsibility and help solve these problems that we created. Since some dog breeds are seriously becoming negatively affected by their genetic diseases, we should be letting different breeds of dogs mate, it will help get rid of these genetic predispositions and will all around result in healthier dogs. And when researching what kind of dogs we want, we should take their known behaviors seriously and make sure we can account for them and give them the care that they need to stay healthy and happy. And in summary, adopt, don't shop. Getting a dog from an animal shelter almost guarantees that you will have a relatively healthy dog since the majority of shelter animals are mutts. Purebred dogs are cute and all, and you certainly know what you're going to get with them, but mutts are cute too. And they deserve our love just as much as any purebred. Therefore, when it comes time to buy the dog, it's a lot easier to go to a pet store or a backyard breeder to find their desired purebred than it is to wander around shelters looking for a specific dog. You may think there's nothing really wrong with this, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. There are more downfalls to purebred dogs than you would think.