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Why Choose a Purebred Dog?

January 17, 2024
First, whether you find your new best friend at a shelter/rescue or from a breeder, its important to choose wisely and only work with reputable people. At the CKC, we love dogs. All dogs. Best in Show winning purebreds to High in Trial scoring mixed breeds to majestic wild wolves. All of them.

Every dog deserves a wonderful home and every wonderful home deserves to have a dog who is the perfect fit for them.

Throughout my life, I have owned purebred dogs. I sing the praises of purebreds every day and encourage those looking to purchase a dog to consider all options and to make an educated decision.

I tell potential puppy buyers asking for my advice that there are three places you should go to get a dog and three places you should definitely not go to get a dog.

The three places to get a dog:
  1. An accountable purebred dog breeder.
  2. A reputable not-for-profit shelter or animal rescue.
  3. Number 3 goes along with number 2 and that is a purebred dog rescue organized by a group of dedicated fanciers. Yes, purebred dog folks started rescue and we are really efficient at getting dogs into the right homes. Many National and Regional breed clubs also have a rescue function. These clubs are made up of people who are incredibly passionate about their breed, and quick to help when a dog in their beloved breed needs assistance.

The three places you should never get a dog from:
  1. A pet store. Many cities have outlawed selling live puppies because their puppies come from places number 2 and 3.  
  2. A Puppy Mill. A puppy mill is a large-scale breeding enterprise where profits are the focus rather than healthy breeding practices and dogs.
  3. A Backyard breeder. There is a major difference between a responsible, ethical, preservation breeder and a backyard breeder.  In a sentence, backyard breeders breed dogs without much knowledge about canine health, care or genetics, and ethical breeders are dedicated to the good health, temperament, and the betterment of their breed. Learn more about how to spot a responsible breeder here: How To Spot A Responsible Breeder | CKC
 

If you are starting out on a mission to buy a new dog, my experiences would lead me to highly recommend a purebred dog from an ethical breeder for a number of reasons. Those reasons are:


Purebred dogs are predictable.

There are approximately 400 purebred dog breeds on the planet. About 200 of them are recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. One of the greatest things about dogs is their diversity. If you are committed to responsibly owning a dog, chances are there is a purebred that will closely match both your personality and lifestyle.


Havanese: Photo by Cheryl Drake


By looking at what a dog was bred to do, you can begin to match a breed to your life. The Dalmatian was bred to run alongside horse-drawn carriages for miles and miles. If you’re a dedicated runner, a Dalmatian might be a good fit for you. However, if your idea of a workout is a leisurely walk around the block, the Dalmatian’s energy could easily be too much for you and you may want to consider a slower-paced breed like the Pekingese, Tibetan Spaniel or Shih Tzu.  

Predictability is an enormous plus to purebreds. It is the reason people are able to use German Shepherds as police dogs, Labrador Retrievers to guide the blind and Beagles patrolling airports. It’s also why some people will pet your dog and start weeping because your dog’s looks and mannerisms remind them so much of their beloved dog of the same breed they lost.

Purebreds are predictable. If you love your neighbour’s Shetland Sheepdog, chances are the puppy Sheltie you buy from an accountable breeder will grow to be about the same size, have the same incredible intellect, require the same amount of grooming and exercise as an adult and be able to participate in similar dog sports. With the mixed breed, instincts, coats and temperaments are combined and the outcome can only ever really be a guess and more often than not, the outcome is a surprise. From what I have witnessed by friends buying “designer” (aka crossbred) dogs, surprises with dogs are rarely good surprises. The surprises are usually that the “doodle” is way bigger than expected, way more active than expected, has a different temperament than advertised and the coat requires way more upkeep than promised as a “doodle” is a blend of hair and fur. This quickly leads to painful mats when left to grow unattended.  


Purebred dogs have a history that is traceable.

 
Purebred dogs were developed to perform a function that helped make people’s lives easier. The Doberman Pinscher is a personal protection dog that helped its creator when he went door to door collecting taxes. The Bearded Collie herds sheep working alongside a shepherd as a moving fence. The Irish Terrier is an all-round farm dog that very efficiently removes vermin from properties. Many Toy dogs were created to serve as companions, but also to warm beds as central heating wasn’t around upon their creation as well as bedroom ratters to keep vermin at bay.  


Bouvier des Flandres: Photo by Mary Kurtz
 

Along with knowing why your breed was made, a well-breed purebred dog also comes with a pedigree so you can trace its actual family. A pedigree is a record showing the ancestry of a purebred dog. With the internet now connecting dog lovers globally, you are often times able to enter your dog’s ancestors into a search and see images of your dog’s family members!


Purebred dogs are often health tested.

One of an ethical breeder’s primary goals should be to breed healthy and sound dogs. One of the ways they achieve this is through health and genetic testing. An accountable breeder makes sure their dogs are tested by veterinary specialists to reduce and/or eliminate the possibility passing on inherited health issues to future generations. Most breeds have a regional or national club that has a list of health tests that are recommended for their breed and expect their breeder members to carry out this testing on their dogs. Does this mean that responsibly bred dogs don’t get sick? No, but it is a promise that the breeder took all the steps possible in an attempt to bring only healthy puppies into this world.


Purebred dogs from preservation breeders often come with health guarantees.

Many accountable breeders sell their dogs with a health guarantee. Contracts vary. some contracts include a guarantee against all genetic defects up to a certain age. Others guarantee against specific ailments. In order for a health guarantee work best, I recommend that puppy buyers take the puppy to their own veterinarian soon after the purchase, as is providing a quick time frame in which the puppy can be returned to the breeder for exchange or refund if the vet finds any issues.


Purebred dogs bred by ethical breeders come with lifetime support.

 
It has often been said in the purebred dog community that, when you buy a dog from an accountable breeder, you get 24/7 support for the life of that dog. While there is no substitute for veterinary care, when something new and minor happens to one of my dogs, I often contact their breeder to see if they have ever come across a situation like it before. 99% of the time they have and tell me what I can do to remedy it. If you buy a dog from a puppy seller who isn’t ethical, they won’t respond to any inquiries that won’t lead to a quick sale.
 

Afghan Hound: Photo by Laurel Deptuch


Responsible breeders know that the dogs they bring into this world are partially their responsibility from the whelping box to the coffin. Meaning that, if at any point in the dog’s life the owners cannot provide the care they require, the dog is returned to the breeder and they will either keep the dog themselves or find it an appropriate, loving home.

I asked a friend who was in contact with a “doodle” breeder to ask them what happens should they no longer be able to care for the dog. The “doodle” breeder replied with simply “no returns”.

Purebred dogs have a long legacy of people who have loved them. New owners often get welcomed into the breed by meeting other owners who are also passionate about the breed. Groups of owners often have Facebook pages, annual picnics and other social events they can enjoy together with their dogs.

Because purebred dogs from accountable breeders are predictable, traceable, tested, guaranteed and supported by experts, I will always have purebred dogs in my home and in my heart.

 

The opinions expressed by authors on the Canadian Kennel Club Blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Canadian Kennel Club or any of its employees.

Les opinions et les commentaires exprimés dans le blogue du Club Canin Canadien sont ceux des auteurs et ils ne reflètent pas les opinions du Club Canin Canadien ni de ses employés.

Author InformationInformation sur l’auteur

 Ian Lynch

Ian Lynch

Ian Lynch is the Creative Lead for the Canadian Kennel Club. He blogs, creates and hosts videos, commentates at dog events, organizes events connecting purebred dogs with the public, and more. He is a proud member of the Canadian Kennel Club who owns Standard Poodles and Dandie Dinmont Terriers.

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