Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are so many breeds nowadays it’s tough to recognize which pups are what. You see doggos with mixed colors, different patterns, and colors, and varying snout and tail lengths.
Where did all these variations come from? Over the years dogs have been bred with other breeds to create mixed breeds, also known as mutts.
What is a Mutt?
A mutt is a result of mixing of breeds. Another term to describe a mutt pup is a mongrel, meaning an animal of mixed descent. Mutts do not belong to one specific breed. There are estimates of over 150 million mutts worldwide. So when you ask someone their dog’s breed, and they say a mix of different types, that’s a mutt!
Mutts vs. Purebred Dogs vs. Crossbreeds
Mutts have certain genetic advantages over purebreds and crossbreeds because they have a larger gene pool to select from. Because of this, mutts are thought to be less susceptible to health issues. This is based on the theory of heterosis, which is the increase of biological quality in hybrid offspring.
On the other hand, some believe mutts have evolved to become ‘average’ specimens as the better genes don’t always win out. It’s also believed mutts have adapted to their ancestral environments, but with domestication dogs are exposed to new and different surroundings, suggesting improper characteristics for their surroundings.
One advantage of purebreds is these breeds are recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC). Recognition from the AKC means dogs can compete in shows, like the annual Westminster Dog Show. Owners also love purebred pups for their perfectly aligned genes and their notoriety within the dog community.
However, purebreds are at a great disadvantage due to their weaker immune systems. Small gene pools do not allow much variation in heredities, resulting in a lack of evolution that causes well-being issues. A great example is a Pug, a breed known for having breathing problems and a short snout because they never progressed. Pugs would have a very hard time surviving in the wild due to their lack of genetic differences.
Crossbred dogs are very similar to mutts, except they are deliberately bred to combine characteristics of two or more recognized breeds. This can be beneficial, as breeders often cross-breeding different doggos to promote favorable characteristics. A great example of this is hypoallergenic dogs, which are specifically bred to not trigger human allergies.
In contrast, crossbred dogs still receive undesirable traits from their parents. Mutts receive all the traits from their many diverse ancestors, while cross breeds simply inherit the traits from two different breeds.
Mutts, purebreds, and crossbreeds all have pros and cons regarding their lineage. Of course, this doesn’t mean one type of dog is better than another.
Laika – This combination of Husky and Terrier broke incredible barriers in both the dog and human community when this sweet mutt was chosen to be a passenger on the satellite Sputnik 2. Laika became the first animal to orbit Earth! A memorial for Laika exists in Moscow to this day.
Spike – Spike is the loving star of the classic movie Old Yeller. Spike was a yellow Mastador, which is a Mastiff and Labrador Retriever mixed.
Sinbad – Serving as the first Coast Guard dog, Sinbad’s popularity is very wide-spread. This heroic mutt’s breed is unknown as he has many mixed characteristics. The lack of identified breed didn’t stop Sinbad from becoming one of the most famous mutts in history – there’s even a statue still standing in the mess hall of his former ship.
Celebrating famous mutts simply is not enough, so we acknowledge two days during the year to celebrate every mutt.
National Mutt Day
It’s important to celebrate all doggos, but on two days of the year, these special mutts have their time to shine! The fun holiday, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, was created in 2005 by Celebrity Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Welfare Advocate, Colleen Paige.
The bi-annual celebration was created to raise awareness of mixed breed dogs in shelters since over 80% of shelter dogs are mutts. The mission is to educate the public on the amazing characteristics of mixed dogs and to encourage homes to take in new friends.
When is National Mutt Day?
National Mutt Day is on July 31st and December 2nd. Make sure to set these dates aside to celebrate the millions of mutts that make differences in so many lives worldwide. This holiday encourages us to observe mixed breed dogs in a way that’ll make a difference.
How to Celebrate National Mutt Day
- Visit your local shelter
- Volunteer your time or make donations
- Post on social media using #NationalMuttDay
- Adopt a mixed breed!
Adopting a Mutt
With so many diverse and different pups gracing shelters, it’ll be easy to find the perfect canine for you. Shelters are exceptional in matching humans with their new furry counterparts. Celebrate the holiday and find the right mixed breed for you!
If you adopt a doggo, make sure to keep your pup safe and healthy. Insure your pet today with a Prudent Pet policy!