Mixed-breed dogs come in many shapes, sizes and temperaments. Having long won the hearts of their human families, they also have earned places on the calendar. National Mutt Day (held July 31 and Dec. 2) is a time to celebrate the most popular type of pet in the country.
Dogs possessing the genes of multiple breeds are, in some ways, superior to purebred dogs. They can be terrific choices for families with children. Adopting a mutt is also the responsible thing to do, as they are the dogs in most desperate need of loving homes.
Colleen Paige, a pet expert and animal-welfare advocate, established National Mutt Day in 2005. One of her objectives is to educate people that, due to overbreeding, many mixed-breed dogs are put to death. She and other organizers of the event seek to encourage prospective pet owners to adopt homeless mutts from animal-rescue shelters, rather than buy purebred dogs from breeders. The goal is to save 10,000 dogs nationwide on each National Mutt Day.
Dog lovers are encouraged to volunteer at their local shelters, and donate money or supplies, on these special occasions. In addition, advocates use the opportunity of National Mutt Day to promote the spaying and neutering pets, to avoid creating more unwanted animals.
Benefits of Mutts
While commonly dismissed as “mongrels” and “Heinz 57″ dogs, mutts are actually preferable to purebreeds in a number of aspects. Mixed breeds tend to have fewer genetic defects, as they come from bigger, more diverse gene pools. They also are less likely to contract common canine diseases like cancer and hip dysplasia, as a result of their so-called “hybrid vigor.”
In general, mutts live longer than purebreeds. Some researchers believe parents of mixed-breed dogs take better care of their pups. Their milk is more nutritious, which may be why the rate of infant mortality is significantly lower in mutts.
Another advantage of mixed breeds is that they cost much less to adopt. Shelters typically charge low rates; often just enough to cover the expense of food and vaccinations. Individuals trying to find homes for puppy litters might let them go for free. Purebreed dogs can cost thousands of dollars, and that’s just the upfront expense. Higher grooming bills, as well as more trips to the veterinarian, also are to be expected.
Mutt owners appreciate their fluffy companions’ uniqueness. Since most mutts are produced by mutt parents, the genetic makeup can be difficult to discern. No two mixed-breed dogs are alike. There is no problem distinguishing them at the dog park. Many people enjoy having one-of-a-kind pets, even if others think they look weird.
Mutts are generally laid-back, with less hyperactive behavior and more consistent temperaments than purebred dogs. Mutts are usually friendlier and less aggressive, which makes them excellent choices for families with children.
The best reason to select a mutt is that it is the right thing to do. These dogs, more than others, need homes and human packs. Adopting a mixed breed saves it from being euthanized. Nurturing a dog so it thrives, and becomes a happy and healthy pet, can be extremely gratifying. This is especially true with animals that have been neglected or abused. (Continued…)