Mutt, not purebred

So, you want a dog, huh? You think a corgi’s short legs are funny, and you think a pug’s squishy face is oddly charming? Yeah, well, so do I. The problem is that these and other dogs are being bred in an extremely unhealthy and cruel manner.
Genetic mutations and other diseases run rampant in purebred dogs because the genetic pool they come from is considerably smaller than for mutts. It’s similar to the way inbreeding tends to cause health problems in humans. Inbreeding is inherently wrong for us, but for some reason, dogs are different. With dogs, society deems it perfectly okay to breed them for specific physical traits even when it causes a wide array of health issues.
Bulldogs are one of the most extreme examples of dogs that have been bred into dangerous genetic waters. The problems those poor dogs have to live with every day are numerous. Their heavy-set bodies give them joint pain in their little legs, their noses do not allow them to breathe properly, meaning they can’t run or play without running out of breath, their wrinkly skin is susceptible to infections and they can’t even give birth without human intervention. It is a life of unjust suffering.
Corgis are another example. While cute—and I will admit, they are goddamn adorable—corgis were originally sheep herding dogs. They are meant to chase things and run. A lot. Their instincts tell them to herd and chase everything they can find, and they have defiant, stubborn personalities. But they’ve also been bred with those tiny legs that can barely get them off the ground. It seems to me like a life of constant frustration.
It’s frustrating for the owners as well. Corgis look like lap dogs, but they are decidedly not. This has a tendency to  surprise and mystify new corgi owners, who do not know how to handle a dog that is much more difficult than they thought it would be.
It’s not just the animals I have listed above that have health problems. Nearly all purebred dogs are susceptible. According to,
some of the most common genetic problems found in purebred dogs include a higher risk of cancer and tumors, eye and heart disease, joint and bone disorders, immune system disorders and even neurological diseases like epilepsy.
While pure breeding itself poses significant health risks to the animals, there are a wide array of both responsible and irresponsible breeders in this country. The most horrible aspects of the industry as a whole come from the puppy mills. A large number of purebred dogs are born in puppy mills. These are essentially breeding factories that exist to turn a profit for the breeder, who has no invested interest in the dogs themselves—only the money.
Malnourishment, neglect and disease run rampant as the older dogs live solely to produce as many puppies as possible, despite the health concerns. Because these puppies are brought into the world under these inhumane conditions, they are often born with severe genetic defects.
The majority of the adorable pet store puppies you see in the mall are puppy mill puppies that are extremely likely to develop dangerous and expensive health problems. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to buy an adorable puppy, only to have them come down with liver failure, a blood disorder, heart failure or cancer.
Dogs are simply not meant to breed in mass quantities, and they are not a source of profit. Buying from disreputable breeders only encourages and supports their business. It’s a matter of supply and demand. If people want a certain type of dog, the breeders will breed to meet those desires. If people want cute, short legs and squishy faces, that’s what they will get, despite what’s best for the dog.
Instead of supporting the inhumane treatment of animals, it is imperative that we instead consider the positive attributes of mutts. Often called “mixed-breeds,” these always-unique and ever-loving animals have a reputation of being healthier, heartier and longer-living because they have a more diverse genetic background, which means that the harmful genes have been selected out over time—think Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The best place to find a mixed-breed dog is at an animal shelter like the Humane Society. The Humane Society estimates that every year approximately 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats come into their shelters across the U.S., and roughly 3 million to 4 million of these animals are euthanized due to overcrowding and lack of resources. The dogs that live in these conditions desperately need someone to save them. They have a lot of love to give, if given the chance.
One of the only downsides to adopting a mixed-breed dog from
a shelter is that it can be susceptible to respiratory infections and other contagious diseases from being in close quarters with other unknown animals, but most of them are relatively harmless if treated quickly and effectively. And they pale in comparison to the generally incurable and quite unnecessary genetic diseases suffered by the purebreds.
There is also the added bonus that shelter dogs often come at a fraction of the price of a purebred, and it is hard to discount this factor. You can’t put a price on the love of a pet, but when a shelter dog is less likely to have health problems and just as likely to be full of unconditional love, why wouldn’t you choose to save money while supporting the organizations that are working to save as many animals as possible, instead of the organizations that are selectively breeding painful and cumbersome traits into animals purely for aesthetic purposes? By choosing to adopt a mutt, you would literally be saving the life of a living being, and that is truly an admirable act.
Most purebreds are cute; that is undeniably true. And they look good walking on a leash, the same way you look good wearing a designer jacket or sitting in a brand-new car. But finding a dog isn’t all about looks, is it? It most definitely should not be, and if it is for you, I think you need to seriously reconsider your priorities. Dogs are not status symbols. They are love machines, cuddle buddies, running partners and enthusiastic door-greeters.
If you want a dog, I highly recommend avoiding expensive dog breeders and pet stores and instead visiting your nearest Humane Society or other animal shelters first. There are an endless number of dogs who need care and a good home and want to give and receive love.