National Mutt Day


It was once an insult to call a dog a mutt or mongrel. Those days are over. December 2 is a day to celebrate dogs of unknown lineage, it’s National Mutt Day.

Odd to believe, but only a few generations ago mutts were thought to be “lesser dogs,” and somehow less intelligent, which is rubbish. They are also thought to be healthier, and that one may be true, but not necessarily – and is complicated to explain, having to do with recessive genes as well as a myriad of other factors.

Mutts come in all sizes and mixes. While today genetic testing can help to reveal a dog’s lineage, our dog Ethel was likely so much a mixed breed that it would be pretty impossible to find a definitive answer. Her parents and their parents going back many generations were also mutts. When asked what our dog is, my answer was “everything.” Today, that answer is nearly a badge of honor.

Never Choose a Pet Store

While pet stores continue selling “designer breeds,” ranging from Yorkipoos and Cavapoaos, and dozens of others with fancy names; these are nothing but mixed breeds really. What’s more, no responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store, as these dogs are products of large commercial facilities, mostly known as puppy mills. The notion that these expensive pet store dogs are healthier isn’t true. In fact, the reverse is true regarding physical and also behavioral health. And even IF the Peekapoo or miniature Siberian Husky (Klee Kai) is healthy, the parents of those dogs at the mills do nothing but breed and are kept in horrific conditions and purchasing these pet store dogs only support the unscrupulous industry.

What’s more a pet store selling a Matlipoo, for example – might have no Malti or Maltese and no Poo or Poodle and is simply a mix that resembles what a Malipoo can look like. Commonly, pet stores have no clue what they’re really selling, dependent upon corrupt puppy millers and their brokers for labeling. And, of course, selling under false pretenses is fraud.

Where to Find a Mutt?

Then where do people determined to get a “designer dog” find one? Well, they’re increasingly abundant in shelters and via legitimate rescue group. According to a Best Friends press release,  All Doodles Adoptions and Rehome has 105,000 members, and Doodles and Poodles Rescue and Adoption Network has nearly 50,000 members. Smaller localized groups such as the Utah, Colorado, Idaho & Nevada Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Doodles & Poodles page also exist. And, of course, there’s, where nearly 65,000 dogs available for adoption across the country.

However, sadly, it’s buyer beware. Clearly, pet stores are the worst choice. However, even the options offered by Best Friends rely on the trust of individual sellers. And random online choices or going to places like Craigslist for a dog is not typically a good idea. It’s absolutely best to meet any dog in person and to ask questions. Beware, even then, as the answers may be what the seller believes you want to hear rather than the truth. Again, to avoid this, adopting from known shelters and rescues is best.

Personality Predictors

And if the mix is known, at least potentially expect traits of both. For example, based on what our dog Hazel looks like (which isn’t always the best determinant), she is likely part Terrier and part Chihuahua, and she indeed has personality characteristics of each. So, a Border Collie-mix is likely to be energetic and no matter how cute, all that working ethic may not be the best match for all families. And that’s where also adopting from a legit shelter or rescue is best, you’ll be asked questions to ensure the dog is a good fit. Pet stores simply ask, “will that be cash or credit?”

True enough, adopting is a way to save a life. And from the start of the pandemic, through this moment, adoptions are up in many places around the country. And ownership of dogs referred to as mutts has never been so high. This is all great news for dogs and for families, as mutts are every bit as wonderful as pedigree or pure-bred dogs.