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Is Your Dog Doomed?

Written by PETA | May 25, 2011

No dog guardian wants his or her best canine friend to come down with a debilitating, terminal illness. But when they buy a purebred dog, that’s what many dog guardians can expect.

Researchers at the University of Georgia looked at the causes of death for tens of thousands of dogs over two decades and discovered that certain diseases are more likely to afflict certain breeds. For example, they found that Bernese mountain dogs, bouviers des Flandres, boxers, golden retrievers, and Scottish terriers have extremely high mortality rates caused by cancer, while Chihuahuas, Doberman pinschers, fox terriers, Maltese, and Newfoundlands are plagued with deadly cardiovascular disease. This is in addition to the defects that were already known to afflict specific breeds, such as hip dysplasia in German shepherds, spinal disc disease in dachshunds, and epilepsy in beagles.

So, when people pay breeders and pet stores to churn out purebred puppies, who are often the product of inbreeding, they could be sentencing additional dogs to a lifetime of chronic illness and an early death. 

justinplambert/cc by 2.0

That’s not to say that mutts don’t get sick, but their more diverse genetic makeup lowers the chances that they will suffer from the inherited ailments that often befall purebred dogs. When you adopt a homeless mutt, you not only save a life but also help lessen the demand for more purebred puppies, who may suffer from chronic, painful, and ultimately lethal illnesses.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Krissy says:

    Sorry guys but putting all breeders on the same level….is wrong. But no GOOD breeder would deny that there breed has health problems. AKC isn’t covering it up, good responsible breeders are NOT covering it up. (that’s why good breeders test for OFA, CERF,vWD, Thyroid and so on) Dogs, like people come with health problems, humans ALSO “breed” as purebreds (like African to African) and they have hereditary diseases that affect them and there “breed” so to speak only or more than an American (the mutt of humans) but you also have to take into consideration the genes, like dominant, recessive, co-dominant and so on. This has a big factor in genetics whether or not your dog will get this depends on what the parents have or carry and how well they were breed. If a good breeders dog ended up having a major problem they would fix them immediately. Mutts can have all the same problems a purebred can have. Not all breeders are puppy mills. If a puppy mill is registered under the AKC they must NOT BE REGISTORING THE LITTERS. AKC would NEVER know they were breeding if they DON’T register the litters!!!!! And no one out to “MAKE” money is going to pay to register that many litters or parents cause THATS a lot of money they see as wasted. Thing is they will register a few parents at most so they can say the pups are “AKC” (and show a “pedigree” if asked) then sell the pups and NEVER register that litter so those people just got ripped off because they thought “AKC” meant good puppies. And AKC gets this that’s why on their site they say AKC papers DO NOT mean a pup is healthy. They know people will lie. Many people will just “SAY” the dog is AKC to get buyers. So in all reality are puppy mills paying for us dog show folks shows? NO, AKC doesn’t even pay for our shows, all they do is approve that the show is held under the standards with their stamp; we get the money through fund raisers AKC just keeps track of our dogs parents. They tell you to research NO MATTER WHERE the pup comes from be that breeders or shelter. So do I think this article is over board? You bet…. Because I know it takes more than just a genetic factor for a dog be that mutt or purebred to be unhealthy, as environment, food, and other factors pay a part in health. Also I think it’s funny you say all purebreds are from mills and die faster…….what do you think more then half the shelter is?…..they are puppy mill dogs be that purebred or mutt….so shouldn’t mutts die fast too? Many of them are inbred like a dieses. So if inbreeding causes death and diseases faster why do they live “as you clam” longer and are quote “healthier”? Just what are you playing at?????????

  • Ray says:

    Agreed with MA Moo. If you paid more attention to what was in your dog’s food, just like your own, you’d do a lot for helping him or her live a long healthy life. Take a look at Blue Buffalo. As for our house, we have three dogs, one pure breed and two mixes, and all are in perfect health. Awareness and common sense go a lot further than you’d think.

  • rachel says:

    i always go with adoption. adopted my dog from right off the street as a stray and she is the love of my life.

  • kathy says:

    Many people don’t know that there are pure bred dogs at shelters too. Don’t buy a pure bred from a breeder because then you’re supporting the breeding that causes the problems mentioned in the articles. Mutts are marvelous too!

  • MA Moo says:

    Always Adopt, Never Buy! Go Vegan!

  • Carla* says:

    Ralphy, heart worms is preventable in Alll dogs. Chronic diseases as mentioned are often found in purebreds more cause of their genetic make up. Do some research you’ll be surprised, I was. My “hinze 57” is 23 yrs old were as my purebred Doberman was dead by eight.

  • Witni says:

    ^ “we do not live forever” is a terrible argument, you can’t point out the obvious as a defense against a more specific complaint and expect it to be a worthwhile argument. They aren’t denying that everything dies, they are pointing out the tendency for certain purebreeds to have shorter lifespans or otherwise chronic and debilitating health problems. They even included the disclaimer that mix breeds obviously also get sick, just with more variety and less consistency. Also, I am sorry for the loss of your mix dog, but heartworms is not a genetically influenced illness, and is also preventable with regular screening. I do agree however that the article title is a little sensationalist/insensitive, as are many of the titles of PETA articles, but the information within is the important part.

  • AL-E says:

    @Ralpy Do you know what reading comprehension is? Obviously not, because you missed the entire point of this article. Heartworms is not a genetic disease.

  • Crionic says:

    Your hysterical, sanctimonious rants are getting more tiresome by the day.

  • Sharon says:

    Well,duh, Ralpy. Heartworms are preventable.

  • Carol says:

    Well Ralphy, if you had taken your dog to a vet and got meds to prevent heartworm, your dog would still be with you. That’s what a responsible pet owner does. If you can’t afford it you shouldn’t have a pet.

  • Joseph says:

    I am a mutt lover. I think this mass breeding of pure breads is evil and wrong. Please for anyone who reads all of these comments, and postings, go to your local shelter and adopt the most pathetic looking mutt you can, and he or she will be your best friend.

  • MA Moo says:

    While chronic illness may be attributed to poor breeding in “puppy mills”. I cant help but think it is what they are putting in the “dog food” that is totally unhealthy! They say if you knew what was in the dog food, you would not feed it to your dog!

  • lovedogs says:

    I agree. There are so many dogs in need of a loving home. Getting regular vet visits can prevent many diseases too to get the right medication to avoid unfortunate deaths like those from heartworm.