Purveyors of designer dogs recently discovered what mutt owners have known all along: Amazing things happen when you mix things up.
Although breeders can command large sums for crossbred dogs such as labradoodles, puggles, schnoodles (schnauzer and poodle) and chugs (Chihuahua and pug), mutts really aren’t that different — their genetic decks are just shuffled a bit more.
To help celebrate National Mutt Day on July 31, we’re honoring mixed-breed dogs with a list of things that make them so great.
Mutts are the most popular dogs in America
According to the American Humane Association, mixed breed dogs account for 53 percent of all dogs in the United States. Why are they so popular? Maybe it’s because you can get a dog that’s as one-of-a-kind as you are.
They’re anything but cookie cutter
If variety really is the spice of life, mutts can add more zest. After all, they come in every shape, size and color imaginable. Whether you prefer long or short curly coats, sweeping tails or little nubs, smooshed-in noses or elegant snouts — even freckles — there’s no doubt that there’s a mutt out there with the perfect combination of features you have in mind.
They bring out the best in you
If you’ve got a soft heart, look no further than your local animal shelter. According to a recent study, approximately 95 percent of the dogs in shelters are mutts. Adopting a mutt is a win/win: You can feel good about giving a deserving dog a place to call home and you get a great companion in the bargain.
They’re conversation starters
At the dog park, people can’t resist guessing whether your dog is a papillon-Lhasa apso mix or a Bedlington terrier-cocker spaniel combination. You can keep them guessing or you can submit a doggie DNA sample to help you identify the branches and leaves on your pup’s genealogical tree
They’re no less (or more) healthier than purebreds
For years, it was generally accepted that mixed-breed dogs were healthier than purebreds because they swam in a deeper genetic pool. A recent study examining 24 genetic disorders shows that may not necessarily be the case. While purebred dogs had a greater risk of developing 10 of the disorders than mutts, another 13 disorders seemed to affect both purebreds and their mixed counterparts, including hip dysplasia, cancers and patellar (knee) luxation.
Moral of the story: Mutts may be more likely to escape some genetic disorders but not all of them. With a DNA test, you might be able to determine breeds most likely in your pup’s mix, so your veterinarian may be able to monitor or screen for genetic diseases associated with those breeds.
They’re just like us
If the popularity of human DNA genealogy tests is any indication, aren’t we essentially mixes ourselves, just trying to determine our own personal ancestry? As such, it’s easy to understand why mixes of the canine kind are so deserving of our love.