It really is a dog’s life because out of 85 million households in the United States that have pets, approximately 60 million dogs make many of them their homes. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds, but many people love mutts. In fact, they are celebrated on National Mutt Day.

What is a M​​​​utt?

A mutt is a dog that doesn't have a specific breed but is a mixed breed dog. These days, different kinds of dogs are crossbreed to create “designer dogs,” which is a nicer term for mutt. Some of the designer dogs that may have heard of includes:

  • Labradoodle – a mix of a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever.
  • Puggle – the cross between of a Pug and a Beagle.
  • Cockapoo – the breeding of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.
  • Schnoodle – which is a Poodle and a Schnauzer.
  • Chorkie – a mix of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Chihuahua.
  • Pomsky – the cross between a Pomeranian and a Husky.

While many mutts are accidentally bred, some of them, such as those listed above, are bred on purpose. While they are not only adorable, they can bring in a lot of money for breeders. However, there are many good reasons to adopt crossbred dogs.

Benefits of Crossbred Dogs

If you’re looking for a dog for your children or yourself, consider adopting a mixed-breed dog, or mutt. There are many advantages to getting one instead of a purebred dog.

mutt with the words on the side "it's almost time for national mutt day"

Mixed-breeds are Healthier

Purebred dogs have many health problems that are specific to their breed. For instance, hip dysplasia is common in large breeds like German Shepherds and St. Bernards. Cavalier King Charles spaniels often develop a heart condition called mitral valve disease, and Dalmatians can get urinary crystals.

The causes of these diseases are often breeding. Purebred dogs are bred to bring out specific characteristics, such as a Dalmatian's spots or the King Charles' long floppy ears. Mixed-breeds are healthier because diseases caused by intentional breeding does not plague them.

However, their size, coats, color, and other characteristics can be unpredictable. For instance, the size of the Pomsky is impossible to guess. The puppies may grow up to be small dogs, or they may become medium-sized mutts.

Longer Life Spans

Since they are healthier, most mixed-breed dogs live longer lives. While the average lifespan of a purebred Standard Poodle is 11 to 13 years, most mixed-breeds have an average lifespan of up to 15 years. Of course, that depends on their diet, how much exercise they get, and how well they are treated.

Better Personalities

Mix-breed dogs usually have a calmer temperament than a purebred dog. Many smaller purebred dogs can be energetic and bark a lot. However, by being bred with a more relaxed dog, such as a Labrador or Beagle, they will often produce puppies that are less apt to run around and bark all day.

Pitbulls and Chow Chows can be aggressive, but if they are bred with a dog known to be calm, like a Black Lab, they will probably be a calmer dog. While dogs are not necessarily bred for their personalities, if they are mixed-breeds, they will usually be more friendly, calmer dogs than their purebred ancestors.

Due to their better temperaments, most mixed-breed dogs are kid and other pet-friendly, they are loyal family dogs, affectionate, and easier to train. Being trainable helps them be better dogs because you can train them not to bark too much, come or sit on command, and to walk leisurely at your side.

black and white mixed breed dog with the words on the side "national mutt day"

They are Much Cheaper

Purebred dogs can be very expensive, especially since most of them are acquired from breeders. A purebred Standard Poodle puppy can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 if you want one with papers. However, the median price is usually around $1,000.

However, if you go to an animal shelter, you may only pay a hundred dollars or so to adopt a puppy. In some cases, if the shelter is overcrowded, they may offer them at discounted rates because they usually have too many being dropped off by people whose female dogs had unwanted litters.

There is also a downsize to adopting a mutt, such as unknown health history and unpredictable size, but the benefits usually outweigh the problems, especially if you get a puppy.

Celebrating National Mutt Day

While the origins are many unofficial national days are unknown, the origin of National Mutt Day is easy to find. This day, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, began in 2005. An animal welfare advocate and pet expert, Colleen Paige, started the day to bring awareness of mutts to save them.

Approximately 80% of the dogs in shelters are mixed-breeds, so they are more likely to get euthanized than other types of dogs. Mixed-breeds are the result of not spaying and neutering animals and allowing them to breed, or designer dogs that are not wanted because of illness or other problems.

Mutts are purposely celebrated on two days each year, December 2st and July 31st. The December date is in the middle of the holiday season and encourages people to adopt at shelters rather than buy puppies from shelters or pet stores. Most puppies in pet stores are from puppy mills and could be ill.

One way to celebrate those dates is to donate to a local pet shelter. Even a small donation of $5 can help the shelter buy food, collars, or other necessities for the animals they try to save. Along with a lot of dogs, you will also find cats, horses, rabbits and other animals in shelters ready for adoption.

collage of an adorable mutt to celebrate national mutt day

Declaring a National Day

Like mutt day, many people and charitable organizations declare national days to bring awareness to causes. Whether that cause has to do with animal welfare, a rare disease, or something fun like National Pie Day, you can register to designate a day of your choice.

Businesses also declare national days to promote their products. While they may want National ABC, Inc. Day, the organization that approves national days will usually break it down into a category. If ABC makes tires, then the day may become National Check Tire Tread Day.

To register a national day, you need to go online to the National Day Calendar website and fill out the registration form. If your day is selected, they will notify you and send a certificate declaring the day.

They also put the day on the calendar and their social sites, like Twitter and Facebook, every year. They will send out press releases and media notifications to the 20,000 newspapers, talk show hosts, and radio broadcasters that follow their site, so your day is promoted.

How to Pick Out a Dog

If you want to celebrate mutt day by adopting a dog, here are some tips for picking out the right one from a shelter for your household.

Be Open Minded

When you go to the shelter, it is important to keep an open mind. Although you may have preferences, don’t overlook dogs that may not fit your list. If you have a large dog in mind, then you may miss the medium-sized dog that would make the perfect companion for yourself or your children.

Consider Temperaments

When you go to the shelter, you want to consider the dog’s personality or demeanor. If you want a dog that can go walking or running with you, you’ll want to consider one that is in good shape and energetic. If you want one to cuddle with, then look for affectionate lap dog type. If you have kids, ask to see dogs that have a calm personality.

smiling mutt

Tour the Kennels

Before stopping at a specific dog and considering him or her for your household, take a walk throughout the shelter to view the other dogs. Check for those who come to the door to greet you and which are standoffish.

While a shy dog could be a good companion, some shy dogs may not have a good personality or are nervous because they are scared. A scared dog can bite, which is something you don’t want, especially if you have other pets or children.

Take Your Pick into the Playroom

Most shelters have a room to meet a dog or cat that you’re considering for adoption. Take advantage of this room and meet those you’re considering taking home. It will give you a better way of checking out the dog, seeing what type of personality it has, and whether he or she gets along with you. If you form a connection with one of the dogs, then you can apply to adopt it.

While you don’t necessarily need to adopt a pet on National Mutt Day if your neighbor down the street may be trying to give away a litter of puppies, you will be more likely to get a healthier pet when you adopt one.

The shelter will ensure that the dogs they have are up-to-date on their shots and are in good condition before putting them up for adoption.