For the Love Of Mutts
What kind of dog is that? If you adopted your dog, you might have no idea. Just like people, dogs have different personalities. There’s no guarantee that your dog will behave a certain way just because it comes from a particular lineage. Yet when it comes to pedigree, adopting a mixed breed dog can be just as rewarding as bringing home a purebred. Dog love has no boundaries. On July 31, celebrate National Mutt Day by volunteering at your local shelter, donating to a rescue organization, adopting a dog, or simply giving your mutt an extra belly rub.
The Benefits of Adopting A Mixed Breed Dog
If you’ve ever looked up information about a purebred, you’ve probably noticed that there are distinct characteristics inherent in every breed. Border collies tend to corral their family members, Huskies will run for hours if you let them, German shepherds are confident, dominant, and easy to train, and Jack Russell Terriers have boundless energy. However, the Institute of Canine Biology explains that purebred dogs are also more likely to inherit the genetic disorders that are common to their breed. Mixed breed dogs may be healthier than purebreds because of their improved genetic diversity. While that’s not always the case, it’s a fact that often surprises people.
Almost 4 million dogs enter animal shelters every year, according to DoSomething.org. Many dogs are abandoned due to overbreeding from puppy mills. Because the public is often enticed by the idea of a designer dog, puppy mills produce animals at the expense of their health and wellness. The dogs that come from puppy mills are often sick, and have suffered neglected. Rescue dog adoption can send a message that people don’t want these types of pets. Instead of financially supporting a questionable breeding organization, you can help a dog in need by getting one from a shelter. It should be noted that there are many wonderful breeders out there who breed their pets to better and preserve their favorite breed; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Do you think you’ll get lots of attention with a purebred dog? Think again. Mixed breeds can have such unique appearances and temperaments that you’re constantly asked what kind of dog you have. Mutts can even be entered under a separate class in some dog shows. That gives them a better chance of winning because the stakes aren’t as high. If you have a mutt, you can say with confidence that your dog is like no other.
Mixed Breeds Are Highly Adaptable
Some people believe that they need to stick with a certain breed if they’re planning to raise a canine for a specific purpose, like working as a therapy or service dog. It’s true that some dogs are better at herding sheep or hunting birds than others. However, most dogs can be trained to do anything. While particular breeds are known for their extreme temperaments, when their genes are combined, they tend to mellow out. Mixed breed dogs can adjust to new environments just like purebreds, which makes them ideal family companions.
Identifying Your Mutt’s Breeds
If you’re planning to adopt a dog, you might be interested in finding out how to pinpoint which breeds he’s a mix of. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no way to know just by looking at him. You can try to guess, but there may be several breeds in his lineage. For example, a Collie/Poodle combo might breed with a German shepherd/Dalmatian. One of their offspring has babies with a Doberman/Labrador retriever. The resulting dog is a mixture of six breeds. When that animal reproduces with another mutt, you might get a dozen breeds in the mix.
The best way to discover a dog’s breed is through DNA testing. You can do this at home with a mail-order kit, many veterinarians offer the service as well. You might be surprised when you find out that your Beagle/Jack Russel is actually part Pitt Bull, Rottweiler, and Bichon Frise.
Does your mutt’s heritage matter? Not really. Even when purebred canines reproduce, they can pass along atypical traits. Combine those with characteristics from other breeds, and there’s no way to predict their puppies’ personalities, looks, or behaviors. You don’t know which genes are stronger than others. When you find the dog that’s right for you, you’re going to swoon with unconditional affection. You won’t care who his parents are.
Saving A Mutt’s Life
Only one out of every 10 dogs ends up in a permanent home. It’s impossible to calculate the number of strays that roam the streets. However, we do know that more strays end up in shelters than those that are directly handed over by their owners. Many stray dogs are lost pets. However, a large number of strays are a result of unintentional reproduction.
In fact, overpopulation is one of the major contributors to euthanasia. Only 10 percent of animals that end up at shelters are spayed or neutered. Some pet owners avoid “fixing” their dogs because they think that it’s too expensive. It’s still cheaper than the annual cost of raising puppies. Some veterinary facilities will spay and neuter dogs for free or a minimal fee. If you adopt or rescue a dog, ask whether the organization makes provisions for spaying and neutering. Lots of establishments require new pet owners to conduct the surgery. They may even pay for it themselves because they know that it can save lives down the road.
National Mutt Day
National Mixed Breed Dog Day was established in 2005 to embrace, protect, and celebrate mixed breed dogs. You can find out more by visiting the National Mutt Day website. Spend July 31st giving your mutt extra attention, or take the opportunity to join forces with a local organization that educates the public about the importance of pet adoption. Mutts deserve just as much love as any other dog, and adopting one can make a huge difference in both of your lives.