Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You


What is a Mixed Breed Dog?

The term mixed-breed dog is somewhat of a misnomer. It seems to imply that dogs of unknown parentage are several breeds of purebred dogs mixed together. Although this is possible, it is frequently not the case. In fact, the true mixed breed "village dog" has no direct link to purebred dogs.

The Cornell University Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology has undertaken a project to understand the evolution and domestication of dogs. One major aspect of this project is conducting a genetic analysis of non-breed affiliated village dogs. In terms of genetics, a village dog is the first domesticated dog. These dogs are descended from wolves, but village dog refers to dogs of mixed ancestry that have been domesticated to co-exist with people.

Village dogs are not purebreds. Village dogs are the genetically diverse mix that results when dogs are left to breed unchecked. Most 'village dogs' are neither neutered nor spayed, and breed with other village dogs to create dogs of mixed ancestry. It is from these mixed ancestry dogs that purebred dogs were bred.

Mixed breed dogs have some significant advantages over their purebred cousins. These benefits include fewer health problems, living longer lives, being less expensive to buy (often being free) and they have moderate physical characteristics and temperaments. Let's take a look at each of these advantages in more detail.