According to HelpAMutt.com, about 25 percent of all dogs who end up at animal shelters are purebreds. That means a whopping 75 percent — the vast majority of shelter dogs waiting for homes — are mixed breed dogs, otherwise known as Mutts.
To raise awareness about the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters, and to remind potential pet parents that it’s the personality and not the pedigree that truly matters, pet expert and animal welfare advocate Colleen Paige created National Mutt Day in 2005.
The need for Mutt adopters is so great that Paige instituted not one but two National Mutt Days — July 31 and December 2. Between the two days of this biannual event, Paige’s 2014 goal is to get 10,000 shelter Mutts into the loving forever homes they deserve.
There are plenty of benefits to choosing a Mutt over a purebred pooch, but one definitely worth mentioning is longevity. Mixed breed dogs on the whole tend to live longer and have healthier lives than purebreds. While many purebred breeds are prone to certain breed-specific diseases and conditions, Mutts are often heartier because they are derived from a more diverse gene pool than their pure counterparts. Genes from one component breed could cancel out disease-causing genes in another, resulting in a healthier dog.
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind pet, you can’t go wrong with a Mutt. Mutts come in all shapes and sizes, and have a veritable rainbow of coat colors and patterns to choose from. No two Mutts are alike, so your mixed breed best friend’s unique features will likely turn some heads and earn plenty of compliments at the dog park.
People across the United States are learning that a Mutt is truly the best of both worlds. These interesting breed combo dogs have become so popular with dog owners that they are just as in demand as their component breeds. Many mixed breeds like the Labradoodle (a cross between the Labrador Retriever and a Poodle), the Cockapoo (a Cocker Spaniel — Poodle mix), the Morkie (Maltese — Yorkie), the Puggle (a Pug and Beagle cross), and the newly named Cava-poo-chon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel — Poodle — Bichon Frise) are known better as “designer dogs,” but a Mutt by any other name is still a Mutt — and a wonderful canine companion.
But perhaps the best reason to adopt a Mutt is this—you get to save the life of a worthy and wonderful dog and take a stand against unscrupulous breeders. Every Mutt that is adopted is one less dog purchased from a puppy mill, which means less money for mill operators.
Want to get involved and spread the word about National Mutt Day? Share the event’s Facebook page with a friend today. And even if you can’t bring home a new mixed breed friend today, there is still plenty you can do to help homeless Mutts. Stop by your local animal shelter to volunteer or to make a donation in honor of National Mutt Day.