German Shepherd Mix vs Purebred: Which Is Better, & Healthier?


When comparing a German Shepherd Mix vs a Purebred German Shepherd, which is healthier, and better overall for both the dog and the owner?

We look to answer those questions by exploring both some theory and some study data on the matter.

The following is simply an informational and educational guide based on the data freely available – it is not qualified medical/veterinary advice.

Let’s jump into it …


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


German Shepherd Mix vs Purebred: Which Is Better, Healthier?


In Theory, A Purebred German Shepherd might be better

For continuing the breed with it’s standards on appearance, mental traits (temperaments and drives etc.) and working ability

For breeding dog’s with specific physical and/or mental features

For show dogs and conformance

For working ability – for any specialized work a pure bred is generally the preferred choice e.g. police dogs

For owners who specifically want a purebreed

When you don’t want to leave the type of dog you are getting up to chance – with mix breeds, the genetic is so wide ranging – so you don’t know what exactly you’re getting

Responsible breeders only breed together two purebreeds that have no health defects or unstable temperaments – so when buying from a responsible breeder your chances of getting a physically or mentally unhealthy dog are lower


In Theory, A German Shepherd Mix might be better

For genetic diversity – mix breeds may have genes from 1, 2, 3, 4 or more different breeds of dogs – so by having a diverse range of genes to select from, there’s a greater range of good genes that the puppy can inherit, as opposed to the recessive bad genes

For less chance of genetic problems or disorders that affect a particular breed (called interbreeding) – particularly with recessive genes

When you want to combine the best traits of two breeds

For owners who want a specific mix breed

Mixed breeds are generally cheaper than pure breeds, unless they are a designed type mixed breed like a German Shepherd Husky mix for example

Some people don’t like mixed breed dogs, so you may be saving a dog’s life by becoming their owner if no one else wants them

You can read more in this guide about things to know about a German Shepherd mix


What Does The Medical and Scientific Data Say About Mix vs Purebred Dogs?

You can read the full analysis/summary here by the Institute of Canine Biology. But, the case study they looked at found that:


1) The incidence of 10 genetic disorders (42%) was significantly greater in purebred dogs.

2) The incidence of 1 disorder (ruptured cranial cruciate ligament; 4%) was greater in mixed breed dogs.

3) For the rest of the disorders examined, they found no difference in incidence between mixed and purebred dogs.


Looking at these findings, it may be concluded that purebred dogs are more prone to certain genetic disorders than purebreds.

What they do mention as well though is that this is just one set of data, and there are limitations to any case study because there is no perfect data set due to a number of reasons like variable and small or unequal sample sizes.

For example, it would be interesting to look at the data of a responsible breeder, who only breeds German Shepherds who have had their hips and elbows certified, passed a full health check, and have a stable temperament.

Subjectively, you could guess the genetic disorder rate would be lower.

The reality is that some breeders are out there to make a quick dollar, and probably don’t know much about genetics, breeding or the breeds themselves.

These breeders can skew pure breed data negatively.

In our opinion, selection of a good breeder is CRITICAL when selecting a puppy in a pure breed line like the German Shepherd who is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.


Remember, with both Mixed and Purebreed German Shepherds …

Don’t forget early socialisation, training, obedience and to develop a strong bond with your dog.

This is important for all dogs – regardless of breed.

This guide explains the basics of how to train a German Shepherd, including top tips, and advice from a professional dog trainer.


More Information & Facts About The German Shepherd Dog Breed

We’ve put together this guide with over 100 interesting pieces of information and facts about the German Shepherd Dog Breed.



Friendly Disclaimer are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.

The information is based on either our own thorough research, and/or own experiences, as a means of free speech.

By consuming this information, you accept that do not have client or patient relationship with you, and are not advising you to act on anything you read.

You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.


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