July 31st marks National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day. This event was started in 2005 to bring awareness to the number of mixed breed dogs that end up in shelters.
About 75-80% of dogs in shelters are mixed breeds. Most purebreds that end up in shelters are adopted very quickly by the public wanting a less expensive pure breed or by breed rescue groups.
There are plenty of reasons to adopt a “Mutt” over a pure breed dog.
- Mixed breed dogs tend to live longer than pure breeds and tend to be healthier with less “breed-specific diseases” and conditions. This is because mixed breeds are derived from a more diverse gene pool than pure breeds.
- Mixed breeds are just as capable of being trained to be excellent family dogs. They can be trained to perform skills such as bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue, and guiding people with disabilities.
- Mutts come in all shapes and sizes and will have unique features that will earn you compliments at the dog park.
- You can find a mixed breed to fit your lifestyle. You can find a friendly mutt, an exercise partner, or a “snuggler” – whatever your lifestyle, you are sure to find a mutt that will fit in.
- Mixed breeds tend not to have the extremes in behavior that purebreds do.
- Adopting a mutt can be more affordable than the cost of purchasing a purebred dog. *Keep in mind that every dog still requires routine veterinary visits (consider pet health insurance), obedience training, a nutritious diet, toys, bedding, and other supplies.
- The best reason for adopting a Mutt – you get to provide a loving home for a dog that deserves to be part of family. Every dog that is adopted from a shelter is one less that is purchased from a puppy mill.
Some tips for finding the perfect mutt
- Do research on owning a dog if you have never owned one before. Some breeds (mixed breeds included) require lots of daily exercise.
- Do not be impulsive once you are at the shelter. While your heart strings may be pulled, be very deliberate and take time to consider what you really want. This will avoid a mismatch and potential return to the shelter.
- Speak to the shelter employees about what kind of dog would fit best with you. The employees will have gotten to know the dogs and will be able to help you choose one that will best fit into your family’s lifestyle.
- Some dogs in shelters have behavior problems which led their previous owner to give them up. Be prepared to commit significant time to training the dog and remember that any behavioral problems are NOT the fault of the dog, but often natural dog behaviors that we find inappropriate or possibly bad habits or fear-based issues from the previous owner who let them down.
Not ready to adopt?
There are still ways you can help support your local shelter. Consider making a donation – every donation counts no matter how small. Call your local shelter to see if they need any donations – towels, food, and toys are items that the shelter may need. Consider fostering a mutt until he can find a permanent home. Many shelters can’t house all the dogs in need of a home. Fostering can be a great way to see if you are ready to adopt a dog, and provides a dog with a loving home in the meantime.
Want to get involved?
Spread the word about National Mutt Day on social media, volunteer at your local shelter, or make the ultimate commitment and adopt a Mutt this July!