Blog /Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier
Breed and Genetics November 22, 2019

Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier Than Purebreds? [Study]

Many people believe mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. Is that true? We studied the genes of 100,000 dogs, and here’s what we learned.

At Wisdom Health, we aim to drive genetic science forward and support personalized pet care. And that’s why we recently conducted two landmark genetic studies of more than 100,000 purebred and mixed breed dogs.

Here’s what our research revealed about the prevalence of diseases and physical trait mutations in our canine counterparts.

Mixed breed dog and purebred dog sitting together

Why Mixed Breed Dogs Are Often Healthier Than Purebreds

Many people believe mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. Is that true?

Generally speaking, yes.

In our study, mixed breeds were less likely to have the most common disease-causing mutations that we tested for compared to purebred dogs.

But that doesn’t mean mixed breed dogs are completely in the clear. It’s still possible for them to inherit genetic diseases. In fact, we found certain dominant mutations in the mixed breed population at a higher frequency than in purebreds.

The reason for this is quite simple: Breeders genetically screen dogs before breeding to avoid passing known diseases down the family line. Most mixed breed dogs, on the other hand, aren’t bred with as much care or intention. As a result, genetic health disorders more easily jump from one generation to the next.

Woman petting a Chocolate Lab

How to Know If Your Dog Has a Genetic Disease

Whether you’ve got a pup with papers or a mystery mix, genetic health screening can help you predict your dog’s risk of developing certain diseases so you may tailor your care accordingly. And this is much better than the alternative: relying on breed-specific disease associations (e.g., seizures in Cocker Spaniels) to inform health care.

Why? Well, in many cases, people simply guess a dog’s breed based on physical traits (e.g., a black dog with white feet must represent Border Collie ancestry). But our research revealed that many dog breeds carry gene variants for unexpected physical traits. And these could randomly appear in future generations.

The potential result is that a random-bred dog could receive an incorrect breed assignment. And that, in turn, could have negative health implications.

But with a Wisdom Panel test, you can both identify your dog’s breed background and screen for disease-causing gene mutations. Armed with that information, you and your vet will be able to provide patient-appropriate care.

Ready to get to know your pup on a genetic level?

DNA Test My Dog