Two dogs chewing on a stick

Celebrating National Mutt Day

Brownsburg Animal Clinic invites you to join us in celebrating National Mutt Day—December 2—to appreciate, honor and celebrate mixed-breed dogs.

Just what is a mutt?

It’s not a purebred dog, which results from selective mating of only registered stock of the same breed. The American Kennel Club currently registers 200 separate dog breeds. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale—the World Canine Organization or FCI—recognizes 356 breeds worldwide.

It’s not a hybrid dog, which results from the deliberate mating of two purebred dogs from different breeds with the goal of reproducing the most desirable characteristics of each breed in the resulting offspring.

A mixed-breed dog or mutt is born of two dogs that are not from the same breed—or perhaps not from any one particular breed themselves. Usually, a mutt’s ancestry is unknown. Mutts come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

Some of our favorite patients are mutts!

Are Mutts Healthier Than Purebred Dogs?

It is widely believed that mutts are healthier and live longer than purebred dogs, but many of our purebred patients are living long, healthy lives while some of the mutts we care for have seemingly more than their share of health problems.

To determine if mixed-breed dogs are indeed healthier than purebred dogs, a study published in 2013 used medical records of more than 27,000 dogs treated at the veterinary clinic at UC Davis, comparing the incidence of 24 genetic disorders in mixed-breed versus purebred dogs.

The researchers found the incidence of 10 of the 24 genetic disorders was significantly greater in purebred dogs. The incidence of one disorder—ruptured cranial cruciate ligament—was greater in mixed-breed dogs. For the other 13 disorders compared, the researchers found no difference in incidence between mixed-breed and purebred dogs.

So yes, mixed-breed dogs have been shown to be at lower risk than purebreds for some genetic disorders. But for many, there’s no significant difference.

A summary of the study is posted on the Institute of Canine Biology website.

Should Your Next Dog Be a Mutt?

The choice of your next pet is a very personal one, and there is no right or wrong answer. But if you’re open to adopting a mixed-breed dog, you’ll find they generally have all the makings of fine companions and family pets, just as the purebreds and hybrids do.

You’ll also find mutts are more readily available than purebred dogs. About 80% of shelter dogs are mutts.

While the costs of care and feeding purebreds, hybrids and mutts are similar, the up-front cost of acquiring a mixed-breed dog is typically lower than the hundreds or even thousands you’ll pay for a purebred or hybrid dog.

Best of all, your mutt will be one-of-a-kind.

How Will You and Your Mutt Celebrate?

If you are already the proud owner of a mixed-breed dog, we hope you’ll make every day a special day for your mutt.

Some extra pats on the head and tosses of the Frisbee, a longer-than-usual walk, a ride in the car that could include a trip to the drive-through—anything you know your mutt loves (within reason!) will be a great way to celebrate twice-yearly National Mutt Day year-round.