Canine companionship is a treasure and a gift beyond measure. For many of us this holiday season, our four-legged friends are at the top of our “Things We are Thankful for” list. On December 2nd, we paused to honor our mixed breed dogs on National Mutt Day! While some people might think the word “mutt” is an undesirable description, those of us who own one know how charming and special they are, and wouldn’t trade them for the world. While both pure breed and mixed breed canines have the potential to become a loveable family member, here are some benefits to picking a mutt, and why we love our multi-breed pups.
Canines with a variety of breeds in their genetic makeup often have physical characteristics that are unique and special. A dog with specific genes may be limited to that particular breed’s traits, but the possible combination of traits in mutt’s are endless! Spots might be present in a normally solid fur coat or long ears can be seen on a typically pointy eared breed. Your dog could have a distinctive look all their own. If you get a mixed breed puppy, it can be a lot of fun, and sometimes a surprise, to see how their appearance changes as they develop!
Many owners ask if there are any health or behavioral benefits to choosing either a pure breed dog or a mixed breed. There are certain diseases that are more prevalent in certain breeds. By limiting a dog’s genetic makeup, their chances of developing these breed specific disorders increases. A recent study tested a large range of defects and diseases with a study group of 101,000 canines. Results showed the canines in the mixed breed group were less likely to develop, or be affected by, the diseases/defects of the study (www.avma.org). It should be noted, most well-established breeders follow good practices! They conduct testing and carefully select their mated pairs to ensure genetic disorders are not being passed on to future generations. If you are going to choose a pure breed puppy, be sure you go to a well-established breeder.
From a behavioral standpoint, some breeds will have specific behaviors common to that particular kind of canine. If their genes consist of only one type of dog, it can be harder to eliminate these undesirable behaviors (www.vcahospitals.com). Having a few other breeds in the genetic makeup can help provide a buffer during the training process. It can also give you a rare and singular dog with a personality uncommon to others of their appearance.
Generally speaking, mixed breed dogs are much easier to acquire and find than your average, genuine, pure breed dog. Depending on the breed, you might have to travel a fair distance, and pay a little more, than you would for a multi breed canine. The average rescue or foster organization usually has a plethora of mutts in need of a good home. It is an admirable and rewarding experience to rescue a dog! If you are looking for a specific breed, that could decrease your chances of helping a pup in need.
At the end of the day, EVERY puppy deserves a good home, whether their genes consist of one breed or many. All dogs, pure and mutt alike, are amazing creatures with a capacity for endearing loyalty and companionship. Anyone lucky enough to share in this human-animal bond will agree. It is at this time, however, we show a special appreciation for those with a mixed lineage. When considering a canine companion, don’t forget that a mutt could be the perfect pedigree for you!