Mutts or Mixed Breeds
If you've been reading my hubs you know I'm sort of obsessed with dogs. I love them all. They all have their own unique qualities and they're all endearing. No writing about dogs would be complete without talking about mighty mutts! I say mighty mutts because they are a combination of any number breeds and bring a variety of qualities and personality traits to the mix. There are a ton of mutts for rescue as well. Accidental pregnancies increase the mutt population but people decide this isn't the perfect dog, it's a mutt, so they don't want it.
What exactly is a mutt classification? A mongrel dog, one with parents of different breeds. In Hawaii they're called poi dogs and in the Philippines they're called askals and in Puerto Rico they're called Sato dogs. They're all different sizes and colors. No matter what they look like or what they're called they're still mixed.
It has been my experience and some research shows that mixed breed/mutts are often healthier than purebred dogs. Obviously mixed breeds are genetically diverse and aren't 'inbred' or bred just for a specific gene or appearance. That's not to say that mixed breed dogs can't have issues with their health, there are still genes to contend with. A study in Denmark showed that mixed breeds had longer lives than purebreds. Some even say they are more intelligent, happier and less aggressive.
The initial expense of a mixed breed is minimal. They can be found at shelters and often as mentioned earlier people who's dogs give birth to mixed breed puppies don't want them so they just give them away. Sometimes the parentage is known sometimes not. Of course the breed of the mother is usually known, it's the rascally father that may not be.
Yes there is a mixed breed club, Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America! If you are interested in showing your mixed breed or entering him in agility this would be the place to go. If you're a true mutt lover there's a site for that at Angelfire. On this site they claim all dogs started out as mixed breeds. Purebreds were the result of people wanting specific looks or traits and bred dogs accordingly.
My first dog was a mutt. I was two years old and my Uncle showed up with a little ball of fur. We named her Chipper and she lived to be fifteen. She was a great dog. When I got married we didn't have a dog at first and it just didn't seem right. My sister-in-law offered me a mutt (part poodle, part terrier and part who knows what) and I took her without hesitation. Her name was Girl. My son was born soon after we got Girl and she was his guardian from day one. She would walk by his carriage when we went for strolls and sit outside his room when he was sleeping. As we had more kids she became mother to them all. When my kids were young there were no leash laws. It was always easy for me to find my kids when they were out playing, all I had to do was look for Girl.
She had no special training, yet she was obedient and never bothered with anything that wasn't hers. She wasn't a big dog but not really small either. The kids would use her for a pillow when they watched TV and she loved it. When Girl was twelve years old we found her lying on the front step struggling to breath. The vet said she had probably been hit by a car and found her way home. We had no choice but to put her down. It was terrible. I was hysterical when I left the vet's office.
My husband was a truck driver at the time and was very upset. He wanted to make sure she hadn't been poisoned so he stopped at the vet's office during his run. The vet told him he had a stray that looked a lot like Girl but I was so upset he didn't have the heart to tell me about the stray. My husband told him to call me. He was a tricky, old, hometown vet. He called me and said he had this little stray that he would have to put to sleep even though he was only four months old. Would I like to take a look? I said I wasn't interested but he convinced me to just come and look.
When my kids came home from school their beloved Girl was gone but there was a new puppy in town. He looked like Girl's clone though a little smaller. He was very quick and my kids had been watching the new Flash Gordon movie. We named him Flash.
We later inherited Sandy from my oldest son. Sandy was a collie/lab mix and a great girl. She got along with everyone, including Flash. My youngest son was around eight at the time and always thought of Sandy as his dog.
Shortly after our beloved Flash left this earth we inherited a dog and cat from one of my daughters; a min pin named Rocky and a persian cat named Pebbles. Rocky was the first purebred dog I had ever owned. We're still not sure how "pure" he was since he was purchased at a Pet Store most likely coming from a puppy mill. Sandy and Rocky got along swimmingly. It was funny to see our big Sandy and little Rocky playing tug-of-war in the backyard. They played together and slept together. In between Rocky played with Pebbles but Sandy really didn't care about Pebbles one way or the other.
Sandy started having convulsions at about twelve years of age. We were able to keep them under control for a year with Phenobarbitol but at the end of that year we had to put her down. I held her head in my arms as they gave her that fateful shot and she gave me one last look before closing her eyes.
In between these dogs we had a beagle mix that was hit by a garbage truck before she reached a year, a border collie mix that came home from the SPCA with Parvo virus, and an insane lab/shepherd mix that couldn't be controlled and had to be put down(all of her litter mates met the same fate).
We were left with Rocky and Pebbles. Our children had grown and left the house so we decided one dog and cat was enough (not to mention our cockatiel and fish in the pond). Rocky developed a brain tumor at twelve years old and we had to have him put to sleep.
I lasted almost three weeks without a dog before convincing my husband we really needed another dog. Enter...Buzz...I have other hubs about Buzz, our now two year old Min Pin.
Through all of this I found our mixed breeds actually made less trips to the vet, had less illness and were just as intelligent and lovable as the purebred dogs. A dog is a dog and it is our job to love them. Someone once said "In a perfect world every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog."
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