Pedigree vs. Muttigree

Being a New Yorker, I read the New York Times and being a veterinarian, I read about pets. So when the New York Times started a new online column, “The Puppy Diaries,” I was compelled to read it. “The Puppy Diaries” is a weekly series about the challenges and satisfactions of raising a puppy through its first year of life.

scout1The puppy star of “The Puppy Diaries” is Scout, a Golden Retriever. The first column generated over 100 reader comments, many criticizing the author’s decision to purchase a purebred dog rather than rescue a mixed breed mutt or adopt a dog from a shelter. Being a lover of dogs in general, and no breed in particular, this criticism swirled in my mind since the first column. I couldn’t decide who was right, the supporters of purebred dogs or the supporters of mutts. Both would bring happiness, companionship and challenges to their family.

jeans2I cannot think of an exact parallel, but I did think of some similar situations. Take for example, blue jeans. One can purchase wildly expensive designer jeans or much cheaper no-name jeans. Both types provide coverage and comfort, but owners of the designer jeans swear they are better and those with no-name jeans would never think of spending a large sum on blue jeans. The same is true for other apparel, such as shoes, scarves and handbags. Possibly a better example is children. Some families have children of their own and complete their family by adopting even when they could have more children of their own. Some families adopt, because they want to provide a good home for a child without one.

Similar reasoning may explain prospective dog owner’s choices. Some families, like Scout’s family, want the experience of raising a puppy and other families prefer to skip the puppy stage and adopt an older dog. Because of the dependable characteristics (size, personality and coat) of purebred dogs, selection of a particular purebred dog may be required. (Think Obama here, whose children required a hypoallergenic dog.) A mutt may fit better into a family wanting to share life with a canine companion.

dogsBe it shoes, children or dogs, it is all about what you like, what is best for your family and how you chose to spend your money.

In the end, I think the two sides, mutts and purebreds, will need to agree to disagree on this topic. But in our disagreement, let’s not lose sight of what’s important. All pets should have a loving home, nutritious food, quality healthcare and an education so they become good members of society. Hey, but isn’t that true for humans and canines, alike?


For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts.  Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

8 Responses to Pedigree vs. Muttigree

  1. annuity says:


    […]Pedigree vs. Muttigree « Fur the Love of Pets[…]…

  2. […] like Mr. Zuckerberg, you chose a purebred dog, investigate the health concerns that are specific for your breed. Interview breeders and determine […]

  3. jd webb says:

    Your blog is nice

  4. Päivi says:

    Also forgot to mention that there are also lots of puppies available for adoption. Wanting a puppy dog does not rule out adoption.

  5. Päivi says:

    I agree that every family has to make their own choice in this matter. But you did not take mention the fact that for every pure breed puppy from breeder there is one less home for some “mutt” that will not be adopted and will probably be euthanized. We are breeding more and more dogs while many perfectly adorable dogs are dying because nobody wants them. So it is not at all the same as with jeans.

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