New Study Sheds Light on Whether Purebred Pups are More Prone to Diseases

A lot of dog owners believe that adopting a shelter dog is not only the right thing to do when getting a new pup and that adopting a mixed breed mutt from the shelter will result in having a dog that will be healthier and less prone to diseases.

A recent study led by researchers at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) has discovered that the belief that mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebred pups isn't necessarily true.

The new study, which was published in the journal Frontiers In Veterinary Science, discovered that while certain dog breeds are prone to specific diseases, purebred and mixed-breed dogs are mostly equal when it comes to overall frequency of health condition diagnoses. says, "There are several well-known diseases that frequently occur in specific dog breeds," said Dr. Kate Creevy, chief veterinary officer of the Dog Aging Project and a professor in the VMBS Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. "This has helped perpetuate the misconception that all purebred dogs are more prone to disease, but that is not the case."

Related: Bringing Attention to Bowie's Law: Legislation to Prevent Euthanasia of Healthy Shelter Pets

The study—which surveyed the owners of more than 27,000 companion dogs—also found that some of the most common diagnoses, like ear infections or osteoarthritis, occur in both purebreds and mixed-breed dogs.

This should be reassuring news to all dog owners!

How To Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy Regardless of Breed

All dogs, regardless of breed, need some of the same things. <p>Green Elk/Shutterstock</p>
All dogs, regardless of breed, need some of the same things.

Green Elk/Shutterstock

I firmly believe people should adopt dogs whenever possible, and you can find many purebred dogs at your local shelter. But no matter if you buy your dog from a reputable breeder or rescue a dog from a shelter, most dogs need the same things.

Find a veterinarian you know and trust. Ask for referrals from friends and family and don't be afraid to schedule a consult before you even bring your dog in. They should make you feel comfortable, you should like their office, and you should be able to afford them. Veterinary care is expensive and you are a customer so make sure you like the practice. If you are having trouble affording care, call your local animal shelter or Humane Society and see if they offer low or no cost veterinary services.

Get your dog, when your vet says they are old enough, heart-worm and flea and tick preventative.  Get your dog their immunizations and keep up on the schedule for when they need their shots.

Find a good quality dog food that your dog enjoys and that has meat as one of the first three ingredients. Always supply your dog with plenty of fresh, clean water.

You can groom your dog yourself. You don't need to pay $80 a visit to have someone else bathe your pup for you, but learn how to trim their nails and invest in a good quality dog nail clipper that will protect their quick. Some dogs need their anal glands expressed more frequently than others. This can be done at your dog's veterinary office and this article can tell you how to tell when your dog needs their glands expressed. 

Teach your dog basic obedience skills. Sit, stay and come are the most important. Drop it or leave it are another good one to know.

Take your dog on frequent walks. Not only will this give them time to do their business outside, but a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Exercise keeps your dog happy and healthy.

Use positive reinforcement when training you dog.Whether it's learning a trick or housebreaking yelling at your dog, shaming your dog and punishing your dog will have you end up with a fearful, aggressive dog. Never, ever hit your dog. Dogs that are physically struck are more prone to biting and becoming fearful of you. You never ever want to do that. Plus, it's abuse, plain and simple.

Have your dog spayed or neutered. And while you're at it, have them microchipped. If your dog is microchipped if they are ever lost or stolen you have a much better chance of recovering them.

And finally, give your dogs lots of love and affection. Dogs give us so much and enrich our lives so greatly and one way we can repay them is by taking good care of them and giving them all the love they want. No matter what their breed.

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