Are Mixed Breeds More Healthy Than Purebreds?

March 14, 2014 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

It is a popular belief that mixed and designer breed dogs are healthier than purebreds because there is less risk of passing on breed-specific susceptibilities. However, a recent study finds that over half of the 24 genetic disorders included in the research occur at the same rate in both purebreds and mixed breeds.

The researchers from UC Davis analyzed the records of over 27,000 dogs over a 15 year period. Each of these canines had at least one of 24 genetic disorders ranging from heart disease to allergies to different types of cancer. The findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, show that mixed breeds are at the same risk as purebreds for 13 of the 24 disorders. These include hip dysplasia, certain cancers, and eye lens problems. Ten of the genetic disorders are more prevalent in purebreds including elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. One disorder, cranial cruciate ligament ruptures (the dog equivalent of an ACL tear), is actually more common in mixed breeds.

Source: Bellumori T, Famula T, Bannasch D, Belanger J, Oberbauer A. Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995-2010). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2013 June; 242 (11): 1549-1555.

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