Mixed breed dogs come in every size, shape, and color you can imagine, and no two are exactly the same. Despite their varied looks and personalities, some people tend to generalize mixed breeds. These 5 mixed breed myths show just how one-of-a-kind these dogs really are.
Myth #1: Mixed breed dogs are always healthier than purebreds
Specific dog breeds may be more prone to certain genetic illnesses—which is why it’s important to work with a responsible breeder— but mixed breeds can get sick, too. “Whether your dog is purebred or mixed doesn’t affect whether it is going to get a GI parasite, injured in an accident or be affected from toxin ingestion—which is why medical insurance is important for any dog,” said Dr. Sarah Nold, on-staff veterinarian at Trupanion.
With any dog, a good relationship with your veterinarian and a close eye on any changes in their habits and behavior will help you stay on top of your dog’s health from the start.
Myth #2: Only mixed breed dogs end up in shelters
Puppies and dogs end up in shelters for a wide variety of reasons. “Dogs are often turned over to shelters due to behavior,” added Dr. Nold, noting that this can affect mixed breeds and purebreds alike. “With time, patience, and the potential help of a certified behavioral specialist, these behavior issues can often be overcome.” A dog may also end up in a shelter because their previous owner may have developed allergies, their living situation may have changed, or they may not have been able to take time to care for a dog. Mixed breed or purebred—any dog in a shelter can be a great addition to the family.
Myth #3: Mixed breeds can’t compete in show or agility
While they may not be able to compete for a pure breed best in show, mixed breed dogs have a wide variety of options available including agility, dock diving, obedience, therapy, nose work, rally and even mixed breed dog shows through organizations like the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America or your local agility club.
Myth #4: Mixed breeds are an exact blend of the characteristics of their parents
Every dog is unique, and while they often inherit physical traits and personality quirks from their parents, their temperament and appearance are all their own. A Labrador-Poodle mix may shed just as much as a Labrador, somewhere in between, or not at all.
Myth #5: DNA tests have all the answers
It can be very hard to identify the breeds that make up a dog simply by looking at them—which is also why many shelter pets are labeled pit bull, lab, or shepherd mixes. Dog DNA tests can help solve the puzzle—to an extent. No doggy DNA test is 100% accurate every time, but some are better than others at identifying which breeds make up a dog. If your mixed breed has a purebred parent or grandparent, the results may be more accurate than if they are a mix of many different breeds.
One thing is certain, mixed breed dogs can be wonderful pets and each one is unique.