Do you know exactly what type of breed or breeds your dog is? Perhaps you rescued your wiggly butt from a shelter or off the street and you don't know exactly what they are. Maybe your pup has the coat and color of a German Shepherd, but only weighs 40 pounds? There's always the possibility your dog is the runt of its litter. But what if it's not? Your pup might be a mutt, or also known as a mixed dog breed. In this article, we discuss what a mutt is, the benefits of owning a mutt, and how to celebrate your mutt this National Mutt Day 2021.

CELEBRATING NATIONAL MUTT DAY

a human hand with a dog's paw making the shape of a heart

July 31st is one of two days a year deemed National Mutt Day, which the US has penned onto its calendar. National Mutt Day was established by Colleen Paige, a Pet and Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Welfare Advocate in 2005 to celebrate and bring awareness to mutts. Mutts are the most popular type of dog, with 80% that comes into shelters across America. There are a lot of different ways to participate in National Mutt Day: First, you can adopt a mutt from a shelter or rescue group. Second, you can donate to a shelter or rescue if adopting does not work for your right now. Third, you can volunteer your time at your local shelter if you cannot donate or adopt.

WHAT IS A MUTT?

Pedigree or Purebreds are dogs whos parents are of the same breed. So, one parent is a purebred Pug, and the other parent is a purebred Pug, then their offspring is a Purebred Pug. Pedigree or Purebred dogs are often more expensive. Then, there are dogs that might sit in the middle, and they are called Crossbreed dogs. These types of dogs only have two breeds in them. A popular example of a Crossbreed dog is a Labradoodle: one parent is a Labrador, and the other parent is a Poodle. Then their offspring are half Labrador and half Poodle.

If you have ever been to, working with, or have adopted from a shelter or a rescue group, then you are probably familiar with the term mutt. Like we mentioned earlier, mutts make up 80% of dogs who enter shelters. Mutts are made up of three or more breeds. A good example of a mutt is my dog, Tucker (pictured below). We adopted him after transporting him for a rescue group we work with. The people who found him said his mom looked like a Golden Retriever but his siblings looked like German Shepherds. As Tucker grew, he plateaued at 50 pounds, which is kind of odd for the two breeds that his parents are suspected to be, and so we hypothesized that he was the runt of his litter. After a year of having Tucker, we decided to take his DNA and got the results back. The results claim that he is a total of 13 breeds. His top five results were 20% American Staffordshire Terrier, 15% Australian Cattle Dog, 15% Chihuahua, 14% Labrador Retriever and 12% Rottweiler. The last 24% is made up of Chow Chow, Eurasier, Kuvasz, Siberian Husky, Beagle, Boxer, German Wirehaired Pointer, and Lhasa Apso. So, by definition, my Tucker is a mutt.

a picture of my dog Tucker, who is a mutt

BENEFITS OF OWNING A MUTT

Other mutts just like Tucker are huge conversation starters when in public. Mutts are literally "one of a kind" dogs. Their creatively scrambled DNA makes it impossible to replicate. Mutts may even live longer than their purebred counterparts as many breeders will interbreed which can lead to mutated genes and smaller gene pools. Since there are so many mutts in animals shelters or rescues, they are significantly less expensive than a purebred or even a crossbreed. On average, a purebred cost around $2,000, but can go as high as $1.5 million like Big Splash did in 2011. He is a purebred Red Tibetan Mastiff. On average, a Crossbreed is anywhere between $500 – $5,000. While a mutt from an animal shelter could be way cheaper, or even free! Plus, at animal shelters, the price sometimes includes the price of vaccinations and spaying or neutering. Shots for new puppies can cost a new owner around $100 or even higher. No matter what type of dog have, they can add happiness, love, loyalty, and even health to your life!

a happy older mutt sitting in a field of flowers

CONCLUSION

National Mutt Day was created to bring attention to the millions of mutts in animal shelters as well as celebrate them. Mutts are made up of three or more breeds and could live longer, are more cost efficient, and bring just as much love than purebreds and crossbreeds. So check out you local shelter, or these adoptable dogs for your very own "one of a kind" lovable mutt today!

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