National Mutt Day: Why mixed breeds are the best

Holland the Pup on adventures in Montana with her dad the Traveling Food Dude. Photos by Adam Vosding.
Holland the Pup on adventures in Montana with her dad the Traveling Food Dude. Photos by Adam Vosding. /

Happy National Mutt Day!

Here at Dog O’Day, while we know there is definitely a place for responsible breeding of purebreed dogs, there are far more dogs out there who are mixed breeds, and they’re pretty amazing, too.

And for licensed veterinarian Emily Katribe, the medical director for Best Friends Animal Society, this is true as well.

“As an adult, the first dog I had was a rescue mutt that I encountered at the local non-profit clinic where I was volunteering before vet school. Akasha and I were immediately connected, and we spent the next 16 years together. She was my ‘heart’ dog,” Katribe said in a press release.

Now her current rescue dog is Franklin, who survived Hurricane Harvey and was initially interesting from a medical perspective due to having distemper, though Katribe has since long moved on from seeing him as a patient to his becoming a member of the family.

My (Wesley) heart dog was Sunny, who was half Beagle and (reportedly) half Lhasa Apso. (I also suspect that Corgi or Dachshund may have been the non-Beagle half). She was very grouchy and a fantastic guard dog, though chill and a fantastic listener.

And, of course, our Holland the Pup is a mostly-Labrador mix who brightens Instagram and Facebook with her travel tips.

For National Mutt Day, we celebrate the reasons mixed breeds are fantastic.

1 – All mutts are special in their own ways

There are dogs of all sizes, types, and temperaments in shelters throughout the country, and some become social media stars (ask our Dog Twitter friends Canadian Penny or Penny Lane Pup, who have a little of just about everything in their ancestors.)

2 – Mutts are generally less likely to have hereditary diseases than purebreed dogs

Because mixed breeds usually have a variety of different breeds in their DNA, it’s less likely that the specific genetic weaknesses found in many strains of purebreed dogs will be dominant. In other words, most of the bad genes will probably cancel each other out.

3 – Temperament is likely to be less neurotic

Because of the second reason presented above, mixed breeds are usually calmer and less neurotic as well. Author Jon Katz has had several mostly-Border Collies that didn’t quite live up the ideal of the breed throughout his adulthood, which he has chronicled through some of his books.

4 – A near-purebred can often be just as great

“One strategy to get the best of both worlds – choose a mutt that is primarily of your chosen breed,” Katribe suggests “You’ll get the hardiness of a mutt with the look and, potentially, behavioral tendencies of your chosen breed.”

While our Great Pyrenees former staff dogs Thelma Lou and Buddy were nearly purebreeds (Thelma Lou was three-fourths Pyr, one-fourth Anatolian Shepherd, her son Buddy was seven-eighths Pyr, as his dad Andy was purebred), they made terrific livestock guardian dogs, with some of the quirks of being bred to be loners.

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Best Friends is seeking to make all shelters no-kill (as much as possible) by 2025, and things are looking up in that direction. Give your favorite mutts a pet for us, and enjoy National Mutt Day.