As a society, we are obsessed with purebred dogs. The short, stocky bodies of English Bulldogs, the tiny little heads of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the goofy temperments of Golden Retrievers and the smushy faces of Pugs, we love them so much that we often pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars to get ones ourselves. But what we don't see behind those big puppy-dog eyes and those waggly tails are numerous health issues caused by meticulous breeding in order to achieve certain standards. By continuing to purchase purebreds, we are collectively supporting and contributing to unhealthy breeding culture, one that sees the problems being created by purebreeding and does nothing to stop them.
Many people do not understand the behind-the-scenes of purebreeding and how breeding dogs to ridiculously high standards can negatively affect their health. Breeders, often in puppy mills, notice which traits and features are favorable to the public (those goofy little Goldens or the smushy Pug faces) and specifically breed to replicate them. Often, these traits are recessive and are bred with uber carefulness. Unfortunately, this precision often brings forth unfavorable gene traits like genetic diseases and other health conditions.
One example of this would be the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Breeders noticed how much people loved their adorably tiny heads and continued to breed their heads tinier and tinier. The public absolutely adored them and their popularity only grew. However, their skulls became slightly too small for their brains, thus leading to neck and spinal cord problems becoming very common within the breed. Also, breeders noticed how popular the easygoing and playful temperaments of Golden Retrievers were and began replicating this trait and advertising Goldens as the "perfect family dog." However, breeding Goldens with such lovely temperaments came with a host of other health problems, namely cancer. Around 60% of Golden Retrievers die of cancer because the risk of cancer in this breed is no longer being bred out with other recessive traits.
It's hard not to love purebreds. Between the hundreds of celebrities pictured toting around the tiniest of Chihuahuas or the countless funny videos of Pugs making crazy faces, it is almost impossible not to want one yourself. However, by purchasing purebreds, we are encouraging breeders to continue breeding dogs with traits that are making them suffer, while there are millions of mixed-breed dogs are dying in shelters every year that deserve homes too. By adopting, not only do you save hundreds of dollars, but you can save the lives of both mixed breeds and purebreds alike. As a society, we need to stop treating dogs as our accessories, no matter how cute they may be. They are living, breathing animals with souls, and they do not deserve to suffer just so they can look "cute."