Name Bear AKA Scooby Doo
Breed Rhodesian Ridgeback/Labrador/American Pitt Bull (mutt)
Age 18 months
Location Pineapple Track
A second ode to Mutts! Why not? I couldn’t not put Bear in here, he’s the coolest dog I’ve come across so far! He’s excitable, energetic and inquisitive – all the traits you’d expect from a young and healthy canine – but Bear is smart too. He graduated puppy school at the top of his class, and even though he ran far ahead on the track, whenever he was called, he would wait patiently for his mum.
Bear is in every way a fit and happy form. He’s strong and loyal like a pitty; loving and gentle like a lab; and agile and affectionate like a ridgeback. That’s because he has genes from all three breeds, and probably others too. Bear made me think again about my post on mixed-breeds, and I decided to delve even further in to why they’re so wondrous.
I have already discussed some of the health issues surrounding ‘pedigree’ dogs – their favoured traits are by no means healthy, and they are often offspring of incest, further increasing their chance of severe health problems. I found an article from the New York Times (2001) discussing exactly this issue – it states that an overwhelming 25% of the purebred dogs in America in 2001 were afflicted with a serious genetic health problem. These problems included deafness, blindness, obesity, osteoarthritis, osteochondritis, dysplasia, dwarfing, heart problems, chronic skin disorders and seizures, to name a few.
The limited gene pool is the main culprit with purebred dogs. Diseases that are carried by a recessive gene are more likely to be expressed in the offspring of purebred parents – in other words, if mum and dad both have it, I will too. If only one of my parents have carries the gene, I have a very small chance of inheriting the disease. Mixed breed dogs naturally have much larger gene pools, which basically means their parents carry differing traits, and each trait is much less likely to be inherited than if both parents carried similar traits.
So we can deduce that mutts are healthier than purebreds. What else is so great about them?
Well, their medical bills will be cheaper, for one, but the purchase price of the dog will be significantly less too. There is a much higher demand for purebred dogs, mostly because people do their research and know what they want – just like they would when deciding on a new camera or car. With mixed breeds, we can’t be sure which traits they will have, so we have to take a gamble.
But I reckon the gamble is totally worth it. You end up with a dog that is entirely unique in both appearance and personality -just like Bear – and you will absolutely cherish it for that.