Mutt. Mongrel. Heinz dog. Soup hound. Kyoodle. They’re all names for mixed breed dogs. Regardless of what you call them, July 31 is National Mutt Day and the day is for embracing, celebrating, and saving mixed shelter dogs. In 2015, National Animal Interest Alliance reported that almost 95% of dogs in animal shelters were not purebred. ¹
Facts About Mutts
- Mutts are unique and one-of-a-kind in appearance:
- Almost everyone can picture what a Siberian Husky or a Pomeranian looks like, but it’s hard to know what to picture when someone says their dog is a Beagle-Bichon-Terrier mix. And that’s a good thing! Your new best friend is special and the only one in town that looks like it.
- Mutts are genetically diverse:
- Purebreds are bred with their own kind, which limits the genetic pool. Each subsequent generation isn’t that different from the one before. Any hereditary conditions can easily be passed down and reduce the lifespan or quality of life of the dog, though this is not always the case if the breeder is responsible. The Humane Society does have tips on how to research and identify responsible dog breeders if your mind is set on a particular dog breed, which is a-okay! Just remember to take time to ensure the health of the pups!
- Mutts are less likely to be stolen than purebreds²:
- It’s not fun to think about someone stealing your dog, but purebreds are more often the target of such a crime for the higher price they can fetch. ³
Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?
“It’s the old cliche, but it’s true. They will love you forever and unconditionally. It’s like they know you saved them,” says Andie Renner-Miller, a volunteer with Friends of La Porte County Animal Shelters, Inc. “They have, the majority of them, been through a trauma to end up at the shelter. They need you. In my experience, the mutts, the mixed breeds, are sometimes passed over, but they are the sweetest pups. They need a human to love.”
Don’t Mutts Misbehave A Lot?
Renner-Miller explains that some people will say a shelter dog is ill-behaved, but she personally has had no problem with those same dogs. It can simply be a case of an incorrect home match–the best homes don’t always suit that particular dog. “A good dog in a situation that is not good for them will act out. We have to remember that acting out is their only way to communicate with us that there is an issue, it doesn’t make them ill-behaved,” Renner-Miller says. We don’t know the trauma, neglect, abuse, or whatever else is in their past.
It takes time for them to learn to trust, so humans need to give them a chance and a lot of TLC. Remember the 3-3-3 rule: 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months to see if your adopted dog, mutt or purebred, settles and is a fit for you and your home. “It may take longer than that, but it will be the best return on your investment!” Try one of these books on adopted dogs to help train your new best friend. The Humane Society also has tips on making your new dog feel comfortable at home.
How Much Do Shelter Dogs Cost?
As with many things, cost depends on location and instance. Some rescues and animal shelters can have higher costs and adoption fees, but those fees are helping keep the doors open. It costs money to have staff, water, electricity, the building itself, food for the animals, etc. For the price you pay for your mutt, health issues are taken care of, they are neutered/spayed, given a first round of shots based on age, microchipped, and more. In general, mutts can be less expensive than purebreds.
I Can’t Adopt a Dog! How Else Can I Celebrate or Help Mutts?
If you can, donate to one of your local animal shelters. See if they have a wish list or any specific needs at the time. Sometimes they will post current item needs on their facebook page or website. Otherwise, volunteer your time. Shelters might need someone to help walk or socialize the dogs. You can even celebrate by reading some books about adopted dogs.
And remember, although National Mutt Day is July 31, you can help mutts and mixed breed dogs all year round by being a responsible pet owner and pet lover!