The decision has been taken: a dog will be joining your family! Now the real work begins. After all, the new family member should move in as soon as possible, but you want to be as well prepared at possible at the same time. But where are animal lovers best off looking for their new dog: in an animal shelter or with a breeder? Should they be pedigree or a mixed breed dog?
Pedigree or mixed breed dog?
© Mary Swift / stock.adobe.com
Pedigree dogs can be clearly assigned to a certain breed based on their definition. They meet the breed type prescribed by the breeding regulations, perhaps even have the correct paperwork or are deployed for breeding. In contrast, hybrids are a mix of different dog breeds. They can't always be clearly named – a dog may resemble a Labrador but have the slight build of a Weimaraner.
It's often purely a question of taste whether you like pedigree dogs or see a special appeal in mixed breeds. As is well known, there is no disputing taste!
Not just a dog's appearance is determined by breeding regulations. Its character too is shaped by a certain canine type. This also includes rearing conditions: pedigree dogs often grow up in the breeder's household and responsible breeders ensure that their offspring grow up in a family unit. They guarantee regular healthcare provision, a good diet and precisely observe the behaviour of their dogs. They will ideally be available to the buyer with advice and support. If you choose a pedigree dog, you often known exactly what you're getting. For instance, the behaviour of a St Bernard differs greatly from that of a Husky, whilst a Dachshund has different characteristics to an Australian Shepherd. This is particularly the case when you get your dog directly from the breeder and can perhaps even get to know its parents and siblings.
If you choose a hybrid, however, you can't rely on breeding regulations and it's often difficult to comprehend how the dog grew up. It's very rare for it to be able to meet its parents. As a result, a young hybrid dog is often a real surprise package regarding behaviour and appearance, though you can often draw upon the experiences of the keepers if you get your dog from an animal shelter.
Dog breeds come about through targeted selection of animals with certain qualities. This reduces the breed's gene pool and can lead to hereditary diseases as well as other complaints amongst pedigree dogs. An example of this are spinal diseases with some Dachshunds. Many small breeds are susceptible to a collapse of the windpipe, which is known as tracheal collapse. Sheepdogs are disposed to hip dysplasia.
Hybrid dogs often show no clear disposition towards hereditary diseases. However, this doesn't mean that dogs without paperwork are always healthy! They can also suffer from health complaints depending on what breeds are found in their family tree.
Don't forget that pedigree dogs that grow up with their breeder are often taken to the vet from a young age and can show a complete vaccination record in most cases. Species-appropriate nutrition also plays a significant role if little pups are to become healthy adult dogs. Unfortunately this isn't necessarily always the case with hybrids. Especially if the dog's back story is not known – rearing conditions are also difficult to gauge.
If you want a dog that has all its paperwork in order, you often have to dig deep financially. Pedigree dogs cost up to several thousand euros. So it's no surprise that breeding and rearing puppies is an expensive business! Just like the low deposit charged by animal shelters, the price rarely covers the costs incurred. Be aware that the actual costs only begin once you have purchased a dog. Dog school, the vet, food and insurance cost money – throughout the dog's entire life!
Spoilt for choice
Pedigree or hybrid – what's it to be? It's not easy to answer this question. Every choice has its advantages and disadvantages and sometimes trusting your gut instinct is the right way to go.