Purebred vs. Mixed Breed Puppy: What’s the Difference?

Mira Gibson

If you’re interested in getting a puppy, the most important question to ask is, what dog personality will you be compatible with? Each dog breed has a distinct personality, or set of characteristics. Some breeds are gentle, quiet, and good with children, while other breeds are energetic, playful, and challenging. 

Choosing a dog breed with behavioral traits that you know you’ll be able to live with and love should be the top priority when picking out a puppy.  

There is a direct correlation between purity of breed and being able to predict the dog’s behavior. This is because purebred dogs have been around for a while, and breeders as well as owners have discovered their specific characteristics.

The more “mixed” a puppy is, the more difficult it is to predict that dog’s temperament and behavior. When a puppy is a mix of two purebred dogs, for example, predicting how that puppy will behave as an adult is easier than predicting the behavior of a puppy who is a mix of dozens of breeds.

But just because it’s impossible to predict a puppy’s temperament doesn’t mean he’ll have a bad one. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the difference between purebred and mixed breed dogs to help you figure out which you should get. 


Put simply, a “purebred” dog has two parents that belong to the same breed, and each of those parents has two parents that belong to the same breed, and all four of those parents all have parents that also belong to the same breed. In essence, a purebred dog has lineage on both his mother’s and father’s side that is the same breed.

For example, a Golden Retriever is “purebred” because he comes from a long line of Golden Retrievers. There are no other dog breeds within his maternal and paternal lineages, which means he’s “pure.” 

A “mixed breed” dog has parents that each belong to different breeds, or the parents could be mixed breeds as well. The term “mixed breed” can refer to a wide spectrum of “breed purity and possibilities.” For example, on one side of this spectrum a puppy can have two purebred parents that simply don’t belong to the same breeds, i.e. a Cockapoo has one parent that’s a Poodle (purebred) and a Cocker Spaniel (purebred), and yet the Cockapoo is “mixed.” (P.S. PuppyBuddy has adorable Cockapoos available at our Boca Raton location!)

On the far end of the “mixed breed” spectrum you’ll find the “mutt.” Mutts are dogs that have a lineage of so many other dog breeds that it’s virtually impossible to tell which purebred dog breeds they originated from.

The most popular purebred dog breeds include:

  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. French Bulldogs
  3. Golden Retrievers
  4. German Shepherds
  5. Poodles
  6. Bulldogs
  7. Beagles
  8. Rottweilers 
  9. Pointers
  10. Dachshunds 

To drive the point home, it’s easy to predict the behavior of a purebred puppy because the breed itself is known for specific characteristics. Since each purebred breed is distinct, you can literally find a breed that matches your lifestyle, activity level, and the size of your home. There will be no surprises. With purebreds, you will safely get what you expect. 

To a relatively trustworthy degree, you can also somewhat safely predict the behavior of mixed breeds that fall into a subcategory called “hybrid” or “designer dogs.” These hybrid mixed breeds come from two purebred parents of different breeds, but not more than two breeds, no exceptions. Since the temperament of the two parents are predictable due to them being purebreds, the temperament of their puppy, the hybrid, is fairly predictable, though there can be room for a small spectrum of varying personality possibilities. 

The following is a list of hybrid dog breeds that have been around long enough to predict their behavior:

  1. Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever and Poodle)
  2. Mini Hippos (Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei)
  3. Labradoodle (Labrador Retriever and Poodle)
  4. Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle)
  5. Pomsky (Pomeranian and Husky)
  6. Maltipoo (Maltese and Miniature Poodle)

When you research the temperament of the above listed hybrid dog breeds, you will discover personalities that have a “range,” yet are still predictable.

For example, the Goldendoodle, which is a mix of Golden Retriever and Poodle, can have a personality that falls on the spectrum of Golden Retriever (super gentle and docile) to Poodle (very intelligent, perky, and standoffish).

Some Goldendoodles more closely resemble Poodles while others have the exact temperament of laid-back Golden Retrievers. It’s a spectrum, but nevertheless, you’ll still know what you’re getting.

Let’s say a puppy wasn’t a mix of two purebreds, but rather four (each parent was a hybrid of two purebreds). In this case, the puppy’s personality, i.e. what kind of temperament that puppy will grow up to have, will be far less predictable.

If you’re considering getting a heavily mixed puppy or a full-blown mutt, there’s no reason to fear that the puppy will have a bad temperament. But it will be very hard to predict whether you’re going to have a super high energy dog that likes to play with all his might, or a sweet, gentle dog who’s all about rest and relaxation. 

That concludes our article about the differences between purebred and mixed breed puppies. If you’re close to our PuppyBuddy retail location, you’re welcome to stop by and speak with our pet counselors about our special financing program.

We wish you the best of luck on your journey to find and love a puppy!