Are Mixed-Breed Dogs Really Healthier Than Purebreds? New Research Challenges Common Myth

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.07 - 2024 5:40 PM CET

American researchers have conducted an extensive survey involving 27,000 dog owners.

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Researchers from Texas A&M University have recently conducted a study that could change the way we think about the health of purebred and mixed-breed dogs.

The study, which collected survey responses from 27,000 dog owners, was published in the scientific journal Frontiers In Veterinary Science and offers new insights into the longstanding debate over canine health.

Breaking Down Dog Health Myths

The common belief that purebred dogs are generally more prone to health issues compared to mixed breeds has been challenged by this new research.

While it's true that certain breeds are predisposed to specific ailments, the study's findings suggest that, overall, purebred and mixed-breed dogs experience health problems at similar rates.

"There are several well-known diseases that often occur in specific dog breeds. This has helped perpetuate the misconception that all purebred dogs are more vulnerable to diseases, but this is not the case," explains Kate Creevy, chief veterinarian and professor at Texas A&M University, who led the study.

Despite these breed-specific conditions, the overarching conclusion of the research suggests that the general health vulnerability between purebred and mixed-breed dogs is not as stark as commonly perceived.

Common Health Problems in Dogs

The research identified the ten most common health issues across the 25 most popular purebred dogs included in the study, which are:

  1. Dental tartar

  2. Dog bites (inflicted by other dogs)

  3. Tooth extraction

  4. Giardia (a parasite causing diarrhea)

  5. Osteoarthritis

  6. Seasonal allergies

  7. Ear infections

  8. Heart murmurs

  9. Cracked teeth

  10. Cataracts

Interestingly, the list for mixed-breed dogs showed almost the same issues, except cataracts and heart murmurs were less common, being replaced by damaged toenails and instances of chocolate poisoning.

Lifespan Variations Among Breeds

The study also noted that conditions like tooth extractions were somewhat more prevalent among purebred dogs, whereas mixed breeds showed a higher incidence of ear infections. Diseases like osteoarthritis and dental tartar were nearly equally common in both groups.

In terms of longevity, the lifespan of different breeds was also discussed:

  • French Bulldog: 4-6 years, often suffering from respiratory issues.

  • Great Dane: 6-8 years, with cancer and heart diseases as common causes of death.

  • Boxer: Typically 7-10 years, with cancer being the most frequent cause of death.

  • Labrador Retriever: Usually 10-12 years, potentially living up to 27 years.

  • Chihuahua: One of the longest-living breeds, 12-20 years, with heart defects as the primary health concern.

This study not only provides new insights for dog owners but also helps in making informed decisions when choosing a pet.

By revisiting the conventional wisdom about dog breeds, this research empowers dog owners with knowledge that could lead to better health care choices and a deeper understanding of their furry companions.

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