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AKC recognizes new dog breeds, what to know about purebreds versus mixed breeds

Humans have been selectively breeding our canine companions for thousands of years. Over the course of history, the decisions we have made to breed one dog to another have led to more than 300 recognizable dog breeds, each selectively created to help us in some way or another. That’s what Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospitals joined us to discuss today.

The American Kennel Club recognizes 199 of those breeds and new breeds are recognized annually. On January 4, 2022, the AKC announced that the Russian Toy and the Mudi breeds have been officially recognized.

The Russian Toy has been described as an “elegant, lively dog…active and cheerful, possessing keen intelligence and with a desire to please.” The breed dates back to the Russian tsars and has been smooth and semi-long coat varieties. They are affectionate with the family but may be leery of younger children.

The Mudi breed dates back to the 1800s as a Hungarian herding dog.  Its development was a natural evolution from crosses of the Puli, German Spitz, and Pumi dog breeds. Mudi have been used to herd both cattle and sheep and, like most herding dogs, have a high energy level that will need an outlet.

As we see new breeds become recognized by the kennel clubs, it often brings up a bigger question about purebred dogs vs. mixed breed dogs.  For many people, the sheer number of pets in our shelters and rescues is a sign that new dog owners should lean towards a mixed breed dog, adopted out of a shelter situation.

For others, the predictable size and conformation of purebred dogs along with a known personality can make the selection of a particular breed of dog a more powerful motivator.  Many of these people may have a family relationship with a particular breed or fond memories of a favored pet growing up.

Often, people will cite that “Mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds”. When you look specifically at genetic types of conditions or illnesses, this certainly seems true.  But, when behavior issues or infectious diseases are counted, mixed breeds often end up on the short end of the stick.

So, where does that leave a family or a dog lover looking to add a new furry member to their family?  Well, the answer is not so simple.   Certainly, finding a home for a homeless dog currently in a rescue or shelter situation helps our community as a whole by reducing pet overpopulation and alleviating stress on our shelter system.

But, finding the right dog that matches your expectations (size, coat length, temperament) may be easier via a professional, ethical dog breeder.  There are also people who have a passion for a specific breed because of the breed’s history or possibly because they are trying to keep the breed from going extinct.

The bottom line…plan ahead before adopting any sort of pet.  There are pros and cons to both purebred and mixed breed dogs and you and your family will want to make the best choice for your lifestyle and your overall means to care for the pet.  Don’t rush into any decision and definitely KNOW YOUR BREED should you choose a purebred pet.

Your family veterinarian, along with their staff, can also be a great resource for information.  They will likely have experience with many of the breeds you are looking at as well as contact information for local breed-specific rescues and other shelters.  You can also lookup breeds at the American Kennel Club website or a rescue-centric site such as Petfinder.

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