Advantages of purebred dogs
Purebred dogs have many predictable physical traits.
Purebred dogs were developed by "selective breeding", which means dogs WITH specific traits (carried on genes inside the dog's body) were bred, whereas dogs with DIFFERENT traits (and thus differing genes) were not bred (i.e. their traits and genes were removed from the gene pool). The result is that every breed ends up with a specific set of genes that distinguishes it from every other breed. These genes include physical traits such as size, coat, and color.
So when you see a purebred puppy, you have a pretty good idea what genes he had to have inherited and therefore what he should grow up to look like. If you want a certain size dog, or a certain coat or color, you can choose a breed that has genes for those traits.
Purebred dogs have some predictable temperament/behavior traits.
SOME aspects of temperament and behavior are also carried on genes. If you want an energetic dog, you can choose a breed who inherits genes for high energy. If you want a dog for herding your cattle, or guarding your sheep, or hunting pheasants or rabbits, or pulling a sled, or doing police work, you can pretty much count on certain purebreds inheriting genes for those kinds of behaviors.
Proper raising and training can modify certain behaviors, but if a behavior is "hardwired" into your breed's genes, it's harder to change. Don't expect to easily "mold" a purebred dog into anything you want him to be. To minimize power struggles and stress, you should look for a breed with a temperament that already sounds very close to what you want.
Disadvantages of purebred dogs
Predictable traits means you're stuck with them.
Too many people acquire a purebred dog, and then complain about its built-in characteristics. Sorry, but if you choose, say, a Labrador Retriever, you need to accept that he WILL shed a godly amount, he WILL have a large powerful body that can knock over small children if he gets excited, and his enthusiastic tail WILL occasionally send breakables flying off your coffee table.
Physical traits are carried on genes. Specific genes come with each breed. You have to research a breed's genes before you buy.
Some purebred behaviors can be difficult to live with.
I'm talking here about working behaviors.
Most breeds were developed to do some kind of WORK – herding sheep or cattle, hunting pheasants or quail, retrieving ducks from the water, hunting rabbits or coons or wolves, killing rodents in the barn, protecting livestock, guarding estates and monasteries, pulling carts and sleds, police and military work, and more.
Certain behavioral traits that helped a breed do its work were "hardwired" into each breed's genes by selective breeding.
Common working behaviors in purebred dogs include:
If you just want a family companion (a pet), working behaviors can be a real nuisance. The reality is that most breeds were never intended to be "just" pets.
Purebred dogs are not GUARANTEED to develop the traits you want.
Up to now it may have sounded like purebred dogs were robots who all look and act exactly the same. If that were the case, you could just decide which traits you want and choose a breed that's supposed to have those traits, and voila! As easy as ordering a pair of drapes from the Sears catalog.
So here comes the other shoe dropping....
A purebred puppy can grow up to be different than what you expected.
It's true. All this purebred "predictability" that I've been talking about is TYPICAL – but not GUARANTEED. The reality is that some purebred dogs do not "conform to the norm" for their breed.
Purebred dogs can have a lot of health problems.
You're probably shocked
by that long list of health problems.
And you should be.
Over 300 genetic health problems occur in dogs – all kinds of dogs, purebred, crossbred, and mixed – but the risk of these health problems occurring in a purebred dog is higher than in a crossbreed or mixed breed.
To sum up, a purebred dog can be a good choice...