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Why do insurance premiums for mixed breed and purebred dogs differ?

When it comes to choosing a pet, one of the many factors owners must consider is how much it will cost to care for them. An important recurring expense for pet owners is pet insurance, which helps cover veterinary costs if your furry friend gets sick or injured.

But did you know that with some pet insurance providers, premiums can vary depending on whether your pet is a purebred or a mixed breed? Keep reading to learn more about the differences in pet insurance costs for purebreds versus mixed breeds.

The Premium Premium For Purebreds

Purebred dogs and cats are bred to conform to specific breed standards in terms of appearance, temperament, and health. When purchasing a purebred pet, you can have a good idea of their typical size, coat, exercise needs, and so on.
However, purebred animals also tend to be more prone to certain genetic health conditions common to their particular breed. For example, Labrador Retrievers are predisposed to hip and elbow dysplasia, Golden Retrievers to cancer, and Persian cats to polycystic kidney disease. This makes purebred pets statistically more likely than mixed breeds to develop costly health issues down the line. As a result, pet insurance companies will often charge higher premiums for purebred dogs and cats compared to mixed breeds or those of unknown origin.
The difference can be anywhere from 10-40% more for a purebred animal. This helps the insurer offset the increased risk of expensive veterinary bills associated with breed-specific conditions.

Breed Restrictions on Some Policies

One other insurance consideration for purebred owners — some providers may exclude coverage for certain breeds altogether. Unfortunately, insurers may discriminate against breeds perceived as aggressive or prone to injury, like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or Doberman Pinschers. No major medical conditions are inherently caused by breed alone, yet some insurers still practise breed discrimination.
Excluded breed lists will vary by provider. Those that maintain them often do so more for public perception and legal liability reasons rather than sound actuarial data. Still, if you own a purebred dog that is a common target for breed restrictions, you may have fewer insurance options.
You'll want to carefully review the fine print to ensure your pet's breed is not excluded from coverage. Being prepared for any potential rate increases or limitations will prevent surprises down the road.

The Genetic Advantage of Mixed Breeds

In contrast, mixed breed or "mutt" pets tend to be heartier when it comes to genetic health. By combining the gene pool of two or more breeds, mixed breeds exhibit something called hybrid vigour, which results in animals that are less prone to the inherited conditions suffered by their purebred parents. With a lower chance of developing chronic health problems, mixed breed pets are cheaper to insure.
Mixed breed owners will enjoy paying reduced monthly premiums, often quite substantially lower than purebred policy costs. The savings can really add up over the 10+ year lifespan of a dog or cat. Plus, mixed breed pets are often easier to find for adoption from animal shelters, whereas purebreds usually must be purchased. So, not only are crossbreeds less expensive to insure, they are often more affordable to acquire in the first place.

Other Factors Impacting Premiums

However, a pet's breed is not the only criteria used to determine insurance rates. Other factors like age, location, and pre-existing conditions also influence premium costs. Older pets will cost more to insure than puppies or kittens, for example.
Geographic location matters too, as veterinary care costs vary by region. Any pre-existing health problems will also increase premiums. But all else being equal, mixed breeds represent the least expensive types of pets to insure.

Consider Costs Before Buying or Adopting

At the end of the day, we don't choose pets based solely on how much they'll cost throughout their lifetime. There are many more important factors, like personality match and the joy they bring to our lives.
But it is wise to understand the care costs ahead of time, including insurance premium differences between purebreds and mixed breeds. While mutts tend to be the more affordable option when it comes to pet insurance, adopting any animal in need of a loving home is priceless.
Are you looking for insurance for your precious pet? Use our insurance comparison tool to find the right policy for you.