National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, was established in 2005 to celebrate mixed-breed dogs and raise awareness of the high number of them awaiting adoption in shelters across the country. Recognized on July 31 and December 2 every year, National Mutt Day is all about embracing and saving mixed breeds, which represent 80 percent of dogs in shelters.
While purebreds in shelters are often adopted quickly, mixed breed dogs battle the stigma of being the less appealing dog, often remaining in shelters longer. Their amazing characteristics often go unnoticed, with many individuals and families unaware of the positive attributes a mix of dog breeds can create. As veterinarians, we understand that all dogs deserve a loving home, so we’ve compiled a list of reasons why a mutt should be a consideration as the dog of choice when visiting a shelter in search of your next pet.
1. Mutts Are Healthier & Live Longer
While diseases and illnesses impact all dogs regardless of breed, purebred dogs run a higher risk of issues related to genetic conditions. Breeding dogs that share a similar genetic makeup increases the likelihood of passing along diseases and conditions they may share. Mutts tend to be healthier dogs with stronger immune systems, thanks to their mixed genes and a lower percentage of genes from one specific breed. They have a lower rate of conditions such as hip dysplasia, spinal diseases, knee problems, certain cancers, heart disease, and more. The end result of choosing a mutt over a purebred is less veterinary care, less stress, fewer costs—and a longer lifespan. Read more from the AVMA, which conducted a genetic study.
2. Mutts Have a Better Temperament
Purebred dogs are often bred for a specific task, such as hunting or herding. Those disciplined, trained traits can become problematic over time due to their constant need for activity and inflexible nature. This typically leads to behavioral problems that can be difficult to overcome. Mutts are known for being much more laid back, flexible, easier to train, and extremely adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle.
3. Mutts Are Truly Unique
A mixed-breed dog is literally unlike any other, with physical traits that can’t be predicted and a promise to stand out among purebred dogs with their unique characteristics. They’re often the dogs that stop random strangers in their tracks, who are curious about the breed and what gives them the unique qualities they possess. They are also likely to behave differently, with a more carefree and fun personality than most purebreds.
4. Mutts Perform Duties Just as Well as Purebreds
If you’re interested in training your dog to become a service dog, mixed breeds train and perform duties just as well as purebred dogs, with many mutts successfully used for drug and bomb-sniffing, search and rescue, and guiding the blind.
5. You’re Saving Another Dog’s Life
By adopting a mixed breed from a shelter, you are saving another dog’s life. When you bring your new dog home, you’re making space for another dog in that shelter—and the statistics tell us that dog is likely another mixed breed awaiting their forever home. Adopting is also taking a stand against puppy mills and backyard breeders, which have unhealthy and inhumane breeding practices with a focus only on income.
This year on National Mutt Day, visit your local shelter and give the mixed breeds the consideration they deserve. If the timing isn’t right to adopt, consider donating to a local shelter so they have the funds to care for the mixed breeds that currently call it home. If you've recently adopted a mutt and want to get them on the path to optimal wellness, please give us a call to set up an appointment!