Are You Nuts About Mutts?



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When it comes to dogs, the purebreds sure are the pricey ones. Getting one with papers can set you back close to a thousand dollars. Mutts, on the other hand, you can basically get for free. They crowd the animal shelters, waiting to be adopted.  This is a fact of life that confuses enthusiasts of the mixed breed dog.

Mutts are healthier, they’re unique, they are bright and quick to learn, seem to live longer, yet they are overpopulated. Mutts are mentally less intense than many purebred dogs, are less aggressive, and are happier. This usually means to better pets for most families.

There is an interesting contradiction if you think about it: the same society that shuns "inbreeding" among humans loves dogs that have very limited genetic diversity.  In fact, the American Kennel Club—which has the motto of "For the Love of the Purebred Dog"—does not prohibit inbreeding.  Still, most fans of mixed breed dogs get squeamish over the idea of pairing off littermates.

Most purebred dogs have health problems due to inbreeding that’s just something that happens when you breed a dog with its cousin.  Also with increased popularity of a certain breed, we find that weaknesses in their medical and psychological makeup increase.   These inherited diseases are less likely to be a problem in mutts.

Mixed breed dogs offer the best of both worlds.  They lessen some of the negative stereotypes of certain breeds. They also escape the problems of over-breeding.  With purebreds, it’s all a beauty contest—it’s all about conformity you have to inbreed them to get those traits, and they’re just not going to be as hardy as a dog that’s got a little bit of everything in it.

But if mutts really are better dogs, then why are purebreds the ones everyone’s willing to hand over the big bucks for? Darwin has his "Theory of Evolution," but any capitalist can tell you about another theory—the theory of supply and demand. How much a dog costs can tell you a lot about how much it is valued by its culture.  Society is hung up on image and material wealth so that they don’t think about the benefits of ‘just a mutt.’ They like to have the bragging rights that their dog is from a long line of hunting, herding, toy, show, etc. dogs.

But according to the AKC, the cultural prestige of a pedigree isn’t the only reason why a purebred is a desirable pet.  "The primary benefit of having a purebred dog is the assurance of knowing what the pup will be as an adult," the official web site states. "You’ll know what it will look like when it grows up by becoming familiar with the breed and knowing the height, weight, coat and temperament called for in the breed standard."

There isn’t predictability with mutts. Some mixed breed owners won’t even know what breeds their mutt is a composite of, so anticipating which diseases the animal might develop when it’s older, or even what size it will grow to is impossible.

Some purebred owners don’t want to take the chance on the surprises of how that mutt puppy may look as an adult. With any dog, good training will give you a good personality and a happier dog.  Ideally, we shouldn’t get hung up on looks and should adore the attention any pet will give us.  Mutts are often like the citizens of the USA, a great mixture.  All dogs can suffer from hereditary problems, and old age, can and will happen to all dogs.

If you think a mutt is the right kind of dog for you, the best way to go is to check with friends or go to a shelter.  Once you bring a mutt into your home, it seems, it’s hard to let it go.

For more information:


For a humorous discussion of the differences between mutts and purebreds, visit Louise Olson’s web site at:


To learn more about pedigreed dogs, go to the American Kennel Club’s web site at:


Donna McCauley’s web site, at:, is a must-see for all mutt lovers.


Does your dog feel left out because it does not have a pedigree? Print one out here:


Mutts Central:


New Yorkers looking for a good place to find a pet should check out the Mighty Mutts web site at:


For more information about the "Madcap Mutts" dog show, visit:


The Joy of Mutts:


Mighty Mutts, Mighty Mutts is a no-kill, wholly volunteer organization dedicated to helping to save the stray animals of New York City:


100% Mutt:


Your Mixed Breed Dog:





Home  |  Photo Album  |  Why Adopt?  |  Adoption Sites  |  NDRC's Poll  |  Puppy Mills  |  Breed Index  |  Link To Us!  |  Canines Online  |  Dogs in the Encyclopedia  |  Dog Facts  |  Ways To Help When You Can't Adopt  |  Awards I Have Won  |  Win My Award  |  Award Winners  |  Sign My Guestbook!  |  View My Guestbook!  |  What Is Rescue?  |  Your Dog's Age  |  Quiz: Are You Ready For A Dog?  |  What is Your Dog Saying?  |  How to Choose the Right Dog  |  Preparing for your New Dog  |  Supplies  |  Books and Magazines  |  Taking Care of your Dog  |  First Aid Supplies for your Dog  |  First Aid  |  Toxic Plants for your Dog  |  A Checklist for a Healthy Dog  |  Warm and Cold Weather Suggestions  |  Dog Food  |  Recipes  |  October: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month  | Save a Stray  |  Are You Nuts About Mutts? | To Neuter or Not to Neuter? |