Dogs fall into one of two groups: mixed breeds and purebreds. Purebreds generally conform to a specific “breed standard” because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed. Therefore, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what general behavioral and physical characteristics a puppy of that breed will most likely have.
You can make reasonable predictions of the size, appearance, and temperament of most mixed breed dogs as well. Mixed breeds are simply combinations of several breeds. Assuming you can identify the ancestry of a particular mixed breed dog, you can see how a puppy is likely to look and act as an adult dog.
Purchasing a purebred doesn’t mean purchasing a guarantee of temperament and health, however. The only thing the “papers” from purebred dog registry organizations certify is that the registry holds information regarding the reported lineage and identity of the dog. Your training and health maintenance will have the biggest impacts on your dog’s well-being.
There are also advantages to getting mixed breeds that many prospective dog owners don’t realize. For instance, when you adopt a mixed breed, you get the benefit of two or more different breeds in that dog. A mixed breed dog is less prone to genetic imperfections common to some purebred dogs, and a mixed breed may be less extreme in the temperament department than some purebreds–for example, a Border Collie mix might be less intense than a purebred.
If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, mixed or purebred, it’s more important to make sure the dog you want fits with you and your family’s lifestyle. You might love Australian Shepherds, but these high-energy dogs aren’t a good match for busy city people living in apartments. The first thing you need to do is to become knowledgeable about the type of dog you’re considering and what it takes to be responsible for that dog.
Source: Adapted from the Humane Society of the United States