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Must Love Mutts

July 31 is National Mutt Day. Here are 9 reasons why mixed-breed dogs make great pets.

by Liza Darwin
July 19, 2021
cute mutt / mixed breed dog
Mary Swift / Adobe Stock

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We never need an excuse to celebrate the mutts in our lives, but with National Mutt Day around the corner on July 31st, we will gladly sing the praises of these unique pets. What makes a mutt, anyway? They are dogs with more than two (and sometimes more than three or four) different breeds in their DNA. While their histories are often unknown, it’s also the thing that literally sets them apart from the rest of the pack. (Plus, you get to make up a wild story about where they came from.) Right now, there are millions of mutts in shelters across the country waiting for homes. So, in the spirit of National Mutt Day, here are nine reasons why you should consider adopting a mixed-breed dog. And if you already have, this list will confirm everything you’ve been thinking, and then some.

1. Mutts can have fewer genetic health issues than purebreds

As mixed-breed dogs, mutt dogs come from a larger gene pool than purebred pups. These varied genes can make them less susceptible to breed-specific health issues than purebreds. According to researchers, mutts are less likely to encounter problems like hip dysplasia, spinal diseases, knee problems, certain cancers, and heart disease later in life. Of course, canine health issues can never be entirely avoided, but mutts tend to be a hardy bunch.

2. They live a long time

The strong genetics in mixed-breed pups enable them to lead long, fulfilling lives. Researchers agree that dogs with greater genetic diversity often live longer than breeds with less genetic diversity. Bottom line: When you adopt a mutt, you’ll have a best friend for years to come. 

3. You’ll help raise awareness about adoption

There are tons of pathways to getting a new pet and adopting a dog from a shelter is an excellent one. Every time someone stops you on the sidewalk to give your mutt a little scratch behind the ears, you’ll be able to regale them with the tale of adopting your cute-as-hell dog which might inspire them to go the rescue route too. Even if you have a specific breed in mind, check out shelters first. There are hundreds of breed-specific shelters across the United States, specializing in everything from hypoallergenic Goldendoodles to apartment-friendly Chihuahuas to retired Greyhounds.

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4. Not just one, but two lives will be saved

Talk about a win-win. Every mutt who’s rescued from a shelter not only gets a home, but also makes room for the next rescue dog to be put up for adoption. Adopting a mutt helps to decrease the demand for purebred dogs over time. When you choose to adopt a rescue pup, you’ll reduce the population at overcrowded city shelters and help to shift demand away from harmful puppy mills. Every dog deserves a second chance at permanent companionship — and with more than three million dogs entering animal shelters every single year, you’ve got literally millions of new best friends to choose from.

5. Adoption won’t break the bank

Purebreds can cost thousands of dollars to purchase from breeders, but shelter adoption fees tend to be between $100-500 — less if you’re adopting an older dog. (The adoption fee typically includes vaccinations, microchips, and spay/neuter surgeries too.) What’s more, shelters across the United States host “Clear the Shelters” days throughout the year. If you adopt a dog during one of these events, you could have your adoption fee waived entirely. 

6. Mutts are cool looking 

Have you ever seen a Corgi-Husky mix? Or an American Staffordshire Terrier-Dalmatian? What about a Golden Retriever-Dachshund? The cross-bred nature of mutts makes all kinds of completely adorable (and let’s be honest, sometimes very funny) dogs possible.

7. It’s often easier to train a mutt

Mutts often have a more flexible and adaptable nature than purebred dogs, who have been bred to perfect specific tasks (like hunting). A mutt is less likely to go to extremes with specific behavioral qualities, like nosing or digging, which is good news for pet parents. Whether you’re looking for basic commands like “shake” or more advanced tricks, you may just have an easier time getting them there. Mixed breeds are even being trained as service dogs and police K9s, proving they’re just as capable as their purebred counterparts. 

8. Mutts are super loyal

All dogs are faithful friends, for sure, but mutts are next-level loyal. Adopting a dog from a shelter helps form an unbreakable bond between pet and pet parent. We can’t 100% confirm this, but rescue dogs seem to know they were rescued — and show their gratitude by never wanting to leave your side.

9. Mutts are truly one of a kind 

The best part about mutts? They’re totally and completely unique, from their personality quirks to their physical traits. The varied lineage of mixed breeds guarantees that no two dogs are exactly alike, and that’s exactly why we love them. 

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Liza Darwin

Liza Darwin

Liza Darwin is a writer and brand strategist. She has contributed to NYLON, Refinery29, Vogue, The Guardian, Vice, and Elle, and co-founded the news platform Clover Letter. She lives in Brooklyn with her two dogs, Montie and Hopper, and cat, Tiger.