That’s right, mutts are so fetch right now! Forget your Labradors, German Shepherds and English Bulldogs. I’m not here to talk about them Golden-doodles, Yorkie-Poos, or teacup Shih Chis. Mutts have way more wow factor than all those puppers combined.
Before you go labeling me a hater of purebreds, I’ll have you know that I was raised by the coolest Shih Tzu that ever lived. Also, the most gregarious dog my family ever had was a Golden Retriever. Both came from impressive pedigrees of show dogs. Which never meant squat to us. What mattered most were their personalities, not their looks.
The reality is that a huge reason why humans acquire dogs is their looks. There are studies that prove our fascination for certain facial features in animals. The less naturally canine, the better actually. There is also evidence that when choosing a shelter dog appearance is the single most important reason people adopt. Heck, I won’t lie that it was love at first sight for me with Hope.
There’s nothing wrong with our affinity for certain physical characteristics. I work with a woman who is obsessed with the fluffy furballs that look like they belong in Antartica. A friend of mine goes gaga for any blockhead in blue. My husband likes his dogs tall and wide. And I melt for a white dog with brown ears and eyeliner.
We all have our “type” and that’s okay. What’s not okay is that many breeders fail to prioritize temperament over aesthetics. In fact, a growing number of breed enthusiasts and behavior experts are becoming more vocal about reckless breeding practices that produce adorable but unhealthy dogs. It’s a problem that will continue to get out of hand if dog parents don’t speak up, too.
Adopting a shelter dog is one way of speaking against breeding malpractice. Not feeling as outspoken as I am about? Not to worry, you can still benefit from the popularity of mutts!
For instance, I dare you to try to take one of these marvelous mutts for a walk through your neighborhood without getting stopped by strangers asking you what kind of dog that is.
Truly, there is nothing more exotic than a mixed breed dog. Without fail, every single adopter I encounter ALWAYS asks me what I think said mutt is mixed with. It is as though figuring out their pedigree will unlock the secrets to their personality and behavior. Genetics does not work like that at all. In fact, how breed traits present themselves in dogs, particularly in mixed breed dogs of unknown origins varies tremendously. But that doesn’t stop us from playing the breed-guessing game.
I had a chance to meet Gabriel DePeyer, one of the founders of the national animal welfare organization, Best Friends Animal Society. This mover and shaker told me he actually didn’t like the mutt label. For someone who has been in the animal saving industry for many decades, the word rings understandably negative. It is linked to a past prejudice against mixed mongrels. DePeyer told me that he prefers instead to give these dogs their own unique labels. He had created some comically great ones. My favorite was the Carolina Cheese Dog, for pups that will do anything for cheese.
I am a firm believer that we can indeed transform the narrative of mutts. Their looks are the single most talked about topic among the humans that love them. It is the icebreaker, if you will, between strangers. It is in our minds, whether right or wrong, a window into who that dog is. Being a mutt is about the coolest thing a dog can be!
Truly, mutts are the new black. They are the Rolls Royce and Bentleys of the dog world. The limited edition versions. Made just. For. Me. I have no shame admitting that I enjoy how envious people are of my mutt. When strangers coo over her you’ll see me obnoxiously nodding my head. Yes, I know she’s the cutest patootie you ever did see.
More importantly, I thoroughly enjoy knowing that there is no other dog like my dog. She is unique. The only one of her kind. Like a treasure. I can’t believe I get to call her mine. My very own mutt. The coolest, smartest, bestest kind of dog around. Ask any mutt momma or dad. They probably think the same thing about their own mutt. And they are not wrong.
Want a mutt of your own? Adopt a shelter dog!