July 31 is National Mutt Day and Humane Society Naples encourages people to embrace, adopt and celebrate mixed breed dogs! Studies show that about 25 percent of all dogs who end up at animal shelters are purebreds. That means a whopping 75 percent – the majority of shelter dogs waiting for homes – are mixed breed dogs, otherwise known as “Mutts”. To raise awareness about the mixed breed dogs in shelters and to remind potential pet parents that it’s the personality and not the pedigree that truly matters, National Mutt Day was created in 2005 by Colleen Paige.
Here are 10 reasons to rescue a mutt from Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian and an animal advocate:
- You have your choice of size and color. Mutts come in all sizes — small, medium, large, and XL. They come with short, long, curly, or wiry coats in every color. They may have small ears that stand up, or big floppy ears that flap in the wind. Mutts come with long or short legs, and big fluffy tails, or no tail at all. Whatever your taste in canine companions, you can find a mixed breed dog to fit the bill.
- You can pick a furry pal of any age. If raising a puppy isn’t something you’re ready to tackle, no problem. There are plenty of wonderful adult and senior mixed breed dogs available at local shelters. In addition, many adult shelter dogs were once members of a family, are already house trained, and respond to verbal commands.
- You can find a dog to fit your lifestyle. You might be looking for a very friendly dog or one who’s more protective. Perhaps you want a four-legged jogging partner or a cuddly little fellow who enjoys snuggling on the couch. Whatever your lifestyle, there’s a dog waiting in a shelter right now who will fit perfectly.
- Each mutt is truly unique. Purebred dogs are predictable in both appearance and temperament as a result of specific genetic characteristics. A mixed-breed pup, on the other hand, is the product of different breeds – at least two, and often several. Mutts often look and behave like no other dog you’ve ever known!
- Mixed breeds can be healthier than purebreds. Studies have found the average mixed breed dog is less prone to disease and has a longer lifespan than the average purebred dog. This is in part due to the theory of hybrid vigor, which holds that as a group, dogs of varied ancestry will be healthier than their purebred counterparts.
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Animal shelter adoption fees are much more affordable than the cost of a purebred dog. But keep in mind that every dog requires a nutritious diet, routine vet visits, obedience training, grooming supplies, bedding, a collar and leash, toys, and other odds and ends.
- Many mutts are fabulous athletes. Canine events and competitions aren’t just for purebreds. If your mixed breed dog is healthy and active, he can compete in agility, nose work, flyball, canine disc, freestyle, lure coursing, dock jumping, obedience, rally, and more.
- Mutts tend to be laid-back. Mixed breed dogs often do not exhibit the extremes in temperament and behavior that some purebreds do. Mutts also tend to score better in terms of stability, friendliness, shyness, aggression, and protectiveness.
- It can be fun to discover which breeds make up your mutt. Doggy DNA tests are growing in popularity as more pet owners realize the value of learning something about the breeds that make up their furry family member. I have a friend who adopted a 5-pound Chihuahua mix at her local shelter, and after she’d had him about a year, for the fun of it, she DNA tested him. Turns out the little guy is a regular ancestry stew of Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Bichon Frise, Whippet, Miniature Pinscher, Havanese and Australian Cattle Dog!
- A wide selection of mixed breed dogs of every size, shape, age, gender, and temperament is available from animal shelters and rescue organizations across the U.S. Wonderful, deserving mixed breeds make up the vast majority of adoptable dogs – about 75 percent — at animal shelters, humane societies, and rescue organizations across the country. When a shelter dog is adopted by a loving, responsible owner, that’s one less dog institutionalized or euthanized. Everyone wins!