Hybrids and Mutts! Gotta Love ‘Em

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Dogs. They’ve been man’s best friend for hundreds of years. However, when most people go to get a dog, they do not just want any dog, they normally know exactly what they want, and this includes the approximate size and temperament of dog they want. For example, a young couple who wants to start a family might desire a King Cavalier Charles Spaniel, because of their sweet, loving temperament and medium stature. It is for this reason that people tend to gravitate towards a pedigree dog, because despite the sometimes pricy puppy, the owners know what they’re getting. However, many people overlook the drawbacks of owning a pedigree dog. To ensure a happy, healthy pet, it is crucial to consider buying a hybrid or mutt. This is because not only are hybrid and mutt puppies cheaper, which can be crucial on a college budget, but many are still registrable with the AKC, cheaper to insure, and have less health problems, due to safer breeding practices. ​
​All Pedigree dogs must be registered through the American Kennel Club (AKC), a registry organization for dogs that has been around in America since the mid-1800s. Any owner that wants to obtain a Pedigree for their puppy must do so through the AKC. The purpose of a Pedigree is to track the lineage of your pet to its earliest relatives in order to prove its breed. The Pedigree itself is not terribly expensive ($32 for proof of 4 generations and $25 for proof of 3 generations). However, purchasing a dog with a pedigree can mean spending up to 10 times more on a dog than would cost to purchase a hybrid or mutt.
​Another sad thing to consider is that in many breeds if the coat color or certain physical characteristics in a puppy, it cannot be registered. In boxers, only the colors fawn and brindle are allowed. White boxers, or boxers with too much white are not registrable at all. Rules put in place such as this seem harmless at first, because the point of the breed standard is to be able to predict what a certain breed will look like. But, when it comes to the boxer breed, one in fifty puppies are born white and are thus not registrable. By not considering a dog without a Pedigree, you can pass up a perfectly healthy Boxer puppy whose only flaw is being the wrong color. Most breeds have similar color “flaws” and it is important to know these and consider them when purchasing a new puppy.
​If when seeking a new dog, it is the paper pedigree that you want, hybrid dogs are an option to consider. If both parents are registered with the AKC, the hybrid offspring is also registrable. According to the AKC’s website, hybrid dogs registered through them are even less (about half) per month to insure, should you want to purchase pet insurance. This means that by buying a hybrid dog, you can not only still have pedigree papers, but you can save money on the cost of insuring your dog’s health through pet insurance.
​Insurance in hybrid dogs is so much cheaper for the main reason that while a purebred pedigree will let you know all about the dog you are purchasing, including the size and temperament of a dog, pedigrees often can tell you what health problems to expect. According to the BBC documentary, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” King Cavalier Charles Spaniels are 25 times more likely to have heart problems than any other breed. The documentary also goes on to talk about how Boxers are 9 times more likely to have epilepsy, and Labrador retrievers are almost certain to have early joint problems. When picking out your new puppy, don’t forget to consider that the health problems with pedigree dogs can vastly outweigh those of a hybrid dog or the common mutt. This is why even the AKC charges less
to insure hybrids than purebred pedigree dogs.
​Pedigree dogs seem to have more health problems than that of their hybrid relatives. The CAWC recently did a study on all companion animals, their diseases, and their level of inbreeding. They found that animals with a higher level of inbreeding tended to have more health problems as well as genetic disorders. With the AKC having no qualms about registering a puppy whose parents were brother and sister or father and daughter, it is not surprising that the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) found that nearly all pedigree dog breeds are almost 100X as inbred as humans, which makes them subject to a vast variety of genetic disorders, including things such as heart problems, epilepsy, and joint issues already occurring in pedigree dog breeds. With inbreeding being as big of an issue that the CAWC seems to think it is, buying a hybrid dog over a purebred pedigree dog is seemingly the only way to get a registered dog with significantly lower health concerns, because inbreeding is not an issue.
​Dogs are a big part of most people’s lives. We keep them as pets, but most of the time they are more family than a mere pet. To ensure one’s future family member has the happiest, healthiest, longest life possible, a hybrid or mutt puppy is the way to go. Not only are hybrid puppies cheaper, but they are also be registered with the AKC, cheaper to insure, and have less health problems, due to safer breeding practices.

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In Sisterhood,

Lisa Tenny

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