New Study Finds That Purebred Dogs Are Not More Prone To Health Problems


It has long been established that purebred dogs are more prone to health problems, in comparison with mixed-breed dogs.

However, researchers at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS) have dispelled this myth with their recent study’s findings.

The new study, published in the Frontiers In Veterinary Science journal, found that while certain dog breeds are prone to specific diseases, both purebred and mixed-breed dogs are mostly equal in terms of frequency of health condition diagnoses.

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The researchers collected data from over 27,000 dogs enrolled in the Dog Aging Project (DAP), a nationwide community science research project. Of those dogs, 50.6% were mixed-breeds and 49.4% were purebreds.

According to the study, there are 25 breeds that make up about 60% of the DAP’s purebred dog population, and they’re the following:

  1. Labrador retriever
  2. Golden retriever
  3. German shepherd
  4. Poodle
  5. Australian shepherd
  6. Dachshund
  7. Border collie
  8. Chihuahua
  9. Beagle
  10. Pembroke Welsh corgi
  11. Boxer
  12. Shi Tzu
  13. Miniature schnauzer
  14. Pug
  15. Havanese
  16. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  17. Yorkshire terrier
  18. Great Dane
  19. Greyhound
  20. Boston terrier
  21. Siberian husky
  22. Shetland sheepdog
  23. English springer spaniel
  24. Australian cattle dog
  25. Doberman pinscher

And within these 25 breeds, the researchers found that a total of 53 unique medical conditions make up the top owner-related medical conditions (ORMC).

And among these 53 medical conditions, 10 appeared more frequently than the others. These conditions were:

  1. Dental calculus (hardened plaque)
  2. Dog bites
  3. Extracted teeth
  4. Giardia (a parasite)
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Seasonal allergies
  7. Ear infection
  8. Heart murmur
  9. Fractured teeth
  10. Cataracts

And these medical conditions were almost the same with mixed-breed dogs – except with heart murmur and cataracts replaced by torn or broken toenails and chocolate toxicity.

Furthermore, there were some conditions that appeared with the same frequency in both purebred and mixed-breed dogs, like dental calculus for example.

But of course, there were conditions that were more common in purebreds than mixed breeds, and vice versa.

For example, extracted teeth and dog bite are more prevalent in mixed-breed dogs, while ear infection and heart murmur were more common in purebreds.

The study’s results found that the lifetime prevalence of ORMC was 22.3% in the purebred population and 20.7% in the mixed-breed population.

The researchers noted that while the difference between the purebred and mixed-breed populations was statistically significant, the difference was only 1.5%.

Young Vet Using A Tablet With A Dog
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“This is contrary to the common belief that purebred dogs have a greater risk for developing medical conditions due to breed predispositions,” the researchers wrote.

So, what does this mean for dog owners?

This means that when choosing to buy or adopt a dog, their breed shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.

Dr. Kate Creevy, chief veterinary officer of the Dog Aging Project and a professor in the VMBS’ Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, tells Texas A&M Today, “People should consider many factors when choosing a dog, including environment, lifestyle, social interactions and physical activity that will be available to the dog.”

As the study also revealed the top medical conditions that are prevalent in both the purebred and mixed-breed population, Creevy said, “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,” she continued.

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