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Purebred dogs as healthy as mixed breeds

Issue: 10/05/2024

A new study has found there are no significant difference in the health conditions between purebred and mixed-breed dogs.
The comprehensive study surveyed over 27,000 dog owners and analysed the prevalence of health conditions among various breeds.
Many people assume that purebred dogs are more prone to disease than mixed-breed dogs, but the study by the Dog Aging Project and led by researchers at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) have busted this myth.
Dr. Kate Creevy, chief veterinary officer of the Dog Aging Project and a professor in the VMBS’ Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences said, “There are several well-known diseases that frequently occur in specific dog breeds. This has helped perpetuate the misconception that all purebred dogs are more prone to disease, but that is not the case.”
The study also found that some of the most common diagnoses, like ear infections or osteoarthritis, occur in both purebreds and mixed-breed dogs.
Creevy said, “The medical conditions reported by owners of purebred dogs varied considerably. However, some conditions appeared frequently in the top 10 reported health conditions by breed.”
Some conditions, like dental calculus and osteoarthritis, appeared with roughly the same frequency in both purebred and mixed-breed dogs. Other conditions were more common in one than the other; extracted teeth and dog bites were more common in purebreds, versus ear infections in mixed-breed dogs.
Creevy added, “Out of the 53 medical conditions that owners reported, 26 did not differ significantly between mixed-breed and purebred dogs.”
Ultimately, one of the most important findings from the study is that dog breed is only one aspect of pet health to consider when creating a pet’s care plan or researching what kind of dog to adopt.
Creevy said, “People should consider many factors when choosing a dog, including environment, lifestyle, social interactions and physical activity that will be available to the dog. 
“Planning for both preventive veterinary care and medical care as the dog ages is also prudent. Dog owners should also talk with their primary care veterinarians about the kinds of medical problems to which their new dog might be particularly prone based on breed, size, sex, etc.”
As the study also showed, some of the most common reasons owners take their dogs to the vet have little or nothing to do with breed.
“Dental disease, allergies and osteoarthritis are among the most common conditions for all dogs.  Owners should work with their primary care veterinarians on a plan to manage dental health. Regular exercise and maintaining lean body weight may help delay, prevent or lessen the impact of osteoarthritis.”
The study also brings to light the complex genetic puzzle that is canine health. While mixed-breed dogs are often thought to benefit from hybrid vigour, the reality is that they can still be carriers of the genetic mutations that cause inherited disorders.
This underscores the need for genetic testing and responsible breeding practices to identify and manage these risks in all dogs.
To see the study, go to - https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2023.1140417/full