This is a purebred dog, a prized English bulldog.

Purebred Dog Pros and Cons Explored


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Purebred dog breeds, from Maltese to Shih Tzu, have come a long way from their wolf ancestor. Selective breeding has yielded some of the finest pedigreed dog breeds we love and know today. For example, it allows us to produce unique looks, temperament, and physical traits in dog breeds.

But the outcomes of selective breeding can have benefits and drawbacks that range from physical strengths to health problems.

In this article, we explore both. Because we believe that whether your dog is a pedigreed pooch or street mongrel, the most important thing is the bond you share and your dog’s wellbeing.

How to prove your dog is purebred 101

Whether retired Greyhound or Dachshund, Labrador or Poodle, dogs and wolves share 99.9% DNA. So, if they’re still the same genetic content, what’s the difference between a purebred pooch and a street mongrel?

The answer is selective breeding within specific gene pools. (Read why were dogs domesticated – and how – for the inside story).

All these puppies are purebred dogs.

Official breed standards

To make a new ‘pure’ breed, the process begins by mating two dogs with the same appearance, physical tendencies and personality to produce puppies that share these characteristics. In other words, the breeder can guarantee the puppies will look and behave very much like mum and dad by breeding selectively from a limited gene pool.  

But this process of selective breeding must be regulated, documented, and repeated for several generations. After that time the bloodline can be registered as a proper dog breed, depending on evidence provided to a registry like Dogs New Zealand? When you’re looking for a pedigreed dog, it’s important to check if the breeder is a member of a breeding register.

And you might be interested to know that new breeds of dog are being made all the time. Each of these must first make the official breed standards to qualify as a ‘pure’ breed. For example, hybrid dog breeds, like the Spoodle aren’t yet recognised as official breeds but may be one day.

Purebred dog breeds in NZ

Based on the official breed standards, the leading New Zealand kennel club (aka Dogs New Zealand) currently recognises 224 breeds of dogs. All these purebred dogs fit into these seven breed groups. For example, here are some popular dogs that fall into each category:

Toy GroupYorkshire Terrier, Pug, Pomeranian
Terrier GroupBull Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Australian Terrier
Gundog GroupLabrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, English Setter
Hound GroupAfghan Hound, Beagle, Rhodesian Ridgeback  
Working Dog GroupBorder Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Australian Cattle Dog
Utility GroupBoxer, Dobermann, Saint Bernard
Non-Sporting GroupBulldog, Shih Tzu, Dalmatian
This German shepherd pedigreed dog has a strong territorial instinct good for guarding.

Benefits of a purebred dog

In the old days, purebred pups were mostly bred for skills and strengths in specific fields of work and many of these same skills also translate well for modern urban living. For example, Retriever breeds and Spaniels were bred for tracking and retrieving fowl, foxes, and game shot in hunting sports. And Shepherd dogs were bred for agility and herding.

Unique skill sets and temperament

Such skill sets lend themselves beautifully to working with other animals and people. These skills usually also translate into dogs who make good pets too, are sociable, loving, and loyal. As long as they get the right amount of dog exercise to burn through their bountiful energy stores. Read how to do this in our article: Active Dog Month: All About Dog Exercise.

Another example is the German Shepherd. With a strong territorial instinct, it’s a powerful and loyal guard dog. And of course, dogs like Chihuahuas and Pugs who’ve been bred for their cute looks make great indoor dogs.

In short, if you’re planning to get a purebred dog, you can pick and choose a dog based on their temperament or their looks before even getting face to face.

Lifestyle match

This means you can also mix and match your choice according to your family or lifestyle. For example, if you’re a sporty spice, you might choose a Border Collie who can run for ages without stopping. Or if you’ve a family, dogs and kids might be your focus, so you might choose a sociable Labrador Retriever.

Find out about some of the kindest dog breeds and also which are the most popular top dog breeds in New Zealand today.

And if you suspect (but don’t know) that your pooch is pedigreed, read our two-part series on how to prove your dog is purebred and how to tell if a dog is purebred.

Purebred dog health problems & other drawbacks

The first drawback of a purebred dog is the price point because you’re paying for all the hard work that went into producing the breed. Sadly, this has led to money motivated and inhumane breeding with puppy mills in New Zealand and a rise in stolen dogs. Avoid puppy scams by reading how to buy a puppy safely.

Another commonly cited problem is that some purebred dogs are more prone to congenital health problems from smaller breeding gene pools. If you’re planning on buying a purebred dog, do some research on your dog of choice to up your knowledge on what type of vet bills you might expect.

A lack of genetic diversity can lead to genetic disorders

There are currently 396 inherited disorders identified in purebred dogs. Some examples are struggling to breathe (brachycephalic Breeds), walk, mate, give birth and hip dysplasia in dogs. But that’s not to say your purebred will have these. Just that certain dog breeds can have these tendencies.

Take your time to understand the breed and the breeders before making a purchase decision. It’s a lot of money to spend – both upfront and ongoing – so make the right choice. Also weigh up buying purebred with giving a rescue dog a home.

Consider the time, love and money you have to give your new family member and what sort of dog will fit in with your lifestyle. Research which pet insurance plan can give your pedigreed pooch the best cover for their potential needs. Remember, pet insurance covers pre-existing conditions, but only if you already have it when a condition starts.

Read about why dog insurance is worth it to find out more.

This Dalmatian is a purebred dog breed with pedigreed papers.

Pedigreed pet health

Whether your pooch is Lady or the Tramp, they’ll very likely have a range of health and wellbeing needs throughout their lifetime. These could range from accidents and illnesses to routine vet check-ups and vaccinations.

Seriously consider taking up a dog insurance plan to reduce their health costs along the way. Plus, you can get one or more months of pet insurance for FREE with us, depending on the age of your dog. That’s no lock-in contract – just a free, no-obligation offer.

It’s purebred pet insurance with plenty of perks. Click below to get started.

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