The Spice of Life

A Breed for Every Taste
Dog breeds can only be maintained by a selective gene pool. That is what differentiates a purebred from a mixed bred animal.



There are many different dog breeds in the world today.  Some are tiny and some are huge.  Some are quiet and some are loud. Some enjoy hanging out on a favorite sofa while others enjoy chasing rabbits or cornering a raccoon up a tree!  There is so much variety in the animal kingdom.  The way nature works is not by arranging the gene pool in such a way to produce a pure bred dog but by mixing the gene pool to produce mixed dog breeds.




Since all dog breeds share the same number of chromosomes, many different combinations of dogs can be created. When you mix several gene pools from two purebred dogs the resulting offspring have hybrid vigor which means they get the good genes of both parents hence making them stronger in the cycle of life. Some mixed breeds look like pure breeds such as the Morkie; a cross between a Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier. The same idea is what happens when people plant gardens each spring.  Nature does not plant lines of crops but dispersing them where the strong survive and the weak perish! For dog breeds to remain a breed it has to mate with another one of its kind.  A Golden Retriever has to mate with another Golden Retriever.  A Beagle has to mate with another Beagle and so on.  Within a breed, one can select a particular coat color or any other trait they might want to produce in a future purebred puppy or kitten.  That is why, for example, there are Black, Yellow and Chocolate Labrador Retrievers.



All of the dog breeds can be targeted into a handful of Groups.  These groups are known as:  Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.  Each of these groups lumps individual breeds together based upon similarities of those particular breeds. All the Spaniels and Retrievers are found in the Sporting Group- they are all bird dogs that guide their master in the hunting process.


Some groups are labelled by the size of the animal.  In the toy group one will find the small, fragile dogs such as the Chihuahua, Maltese and Japanese Chin.  Dogs are shown in groups in any American Kennel Association dog show around the country.  When it comes to discussing dog breeds it is not meant to mean that all animals are identical or automatons!  Each breed and individuals within that breed or even within that litter are all distinct individuals with their own quirks.  Sort of sounds like the human race!



The opinions offered here are those that I have garnered from over 30 plus years of practicing veterinary medicine.  My goal is to help people select the appropriate animal for their particular personality, home environment, children present or not and any particular medical condition that is commonly seen in any particular dog breed. For more information regarding the showing and other information pertinent to each dog breed I recommend the reader to read the information found on the Westminster Kennel Club Show website.  Another excellent source of information regarding the individual breed may be found on The American Kennel Club website.


In my years of practice, I have not seen every dog breed but the majority of them. If a breed is not mentioned it just means that I have no prior experience working with the breed in question.  The reader may learn about a particular terrier, not written about, by reading about other terriers. As a GROUP, terriers have a lot in common with one another.  After reading this, you may decide that a mixed breed is right for you.  Crossing two mixed breeds results in young that may make you think they are not related at all!!  Which genes are expressed in mixed breeds is pure genetics.  Read about the pros and cons of owning a mixed breed dog.

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