Two mixed breed siblings dogs, Georgia and Charlotte sitting on my couch. Each a pug-Cattle dog mixed adopted mutt.

What are Mutts and Why They Can Be Awesome Dogs to Adopt

Last updated on November 11th, 2023 at 07:14 pm

Mutts, are a mix of dog breeds which are becoming increasingly popular in the world of pet ownership. But what exactly are mutts, and why should you consider adopting one? Simply put, mutts are dogs that are not purebred and have a combination of two or more breeds in their genetic makeup. While some people may prefer purebred dogs for their predictability in terms of size, temperament, and health, mutts offer a unique set of advantages that make them a great choice for many pet owners.

One of the main reasons people choose to adopt mutts is their adaptability. Because they don’t have rigid purposes engrained in their DNA like purebreds, they can more easily adapt to a variety of environments and jobs. This means that mutts can be well-suited for a wide range of lifestyles and living situations, whether you live in a small apartment or a large house with a big yard. Additionally, mutts tend to have fewer health problems than purebred dogs, as they have a more diverse genetic makeup that can help protect them from inherited diseases.

Overall, adopting a mutt can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for both the pet and the owner. In the following article, we will explore the benefits of adopting a mutt in more detail and provide tips on how to choose the right one for your lifestyle. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or a seasoned pet parent, you may find that a mutt is the perfect addition to your family.

Understanding Mutts

Definition of Mutts

Mutts, also known as mixed-breed dogs, are dogs that have parents of different breeds or are a combination of various breeds. They can be a mix of two or more breeds or a mix of unknown ancestry. Unlike purebred dogs, mutts do not have a breed standard or a pedigree. This means that their physical appearance and temperament can vary widely depending on their genetic makeup. The term mutt may seem negative, but mutts can be better behaved and healthier dogs than a specific breed.

Common Characteristics of Mutts

Mutts are known for their unique and one-of-a-kind appearance. They can have a combination of physical traits from their different breeds, which can make them stand out from purebred dogs. They are also known for their good health and longevity. According to researchers, dogs with greater genetic diversity often live longer than breeds with less genetic diversity. Mutts are also less prone to genetic disorders that are common in purebred dogs.

Another common characteristic of mutts is their friendly and outgoing personality. They are often described as loyal, affectionate, and playful. They are also known for their intelligence and adaptability. Since they come from different breeds, they can inherit different skills and abilities, which can make them versatile and trainable.

Benefits of Adopting Mutts

Adopting a mutt can be a rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog. Here are some benefits to consider when adopting a mutt.

Health Advantages

One of the benefits of adopting a mutt is that they tend to be a healthier dog than a purebred dog. This is because purebred dogs are often bred for certain physical traits, which can lead to genetic disorders a higher risk of health problems. The genetic make-up of purebreds can carry more consistent and defective DNA. On the other hand, mutts are a mix of different breeds, which can result in a stronger immune system and fewer health problems.

I co-owned a Golden Retriever several years ago who was bred by a reputable breeder. What I did not know at the time, was that Goldens, as a breed, have a high incidence of cancer. Sadly, our dog, Monty, died prematurely of heart lining cancer. Of course, like humans, any dog can have cancer, but purebreds often have higher rates of developing certain types of cancer. Additionally, many large breeds, including golden retreivers can develop hip dysplasia which is an inherited disorder due to inbreeding.

Frequently, a mutt dog tends to live longer than many purebred dogs. According to, mutts can live up to 3 years longer than purebred dogs. This is because they have a more diverse genetic makeup, which can help prevent certain health issues.

Behavioral Advantages

Another advantage of adopting a shelter dog is that they tend to have fewer behavioral problems than purebred dogs. This is because purebred dogs are often bred for certain behavioral traits, which can result in undesirable behaviors such as aggression or anxiety. Mutts, on the other hand, have a more diverse genetic makeup, which can result in a more balanced temperament.

Shelter dogs, and often, rescue dogs, are also more adaptable than purebred dogs. Most are grafeful to be in a loving home and are often eager to please. Mixed-breed dogs usually don’t have rigid purposes engrained in their DNA like purebreds, which means they can more easily adapt to a variety of environments and jobs. They can go with the flow of your lifestyle with more ease than purebreds, as long as you get them the exercise and excitement every dog needs. A mixed-breed dog can often make a wonderful service dog or emotional support dog, according to NALA Rescue.

Adoption Process

Adopting a mutt is a rewarding experience that can bring joy to both you and your new furry friend. However, the adoption process can vary depending on the rescue organization or shelter you choose to work with. Do some research to ensure the organization or shelter has a good reputation. You can also visit our Adopt Don’t Shop page for more information about finding a good organization.

Choosing the Right Mutt

Many rescue organizations and shelters will have a questionnaire or interview process to help you find the right mutt. They may also have a variety of mutts available for adoption, so take your time and choose the one that is the best fit for you and your family.

Be sure to do a meet and greet that allows you to spend some time with the dog you are most attracted to. You may even be able to do a short home trial. Remember, however, that a newly adopted dog will need several days to weeks to fully adapt and become familiar with your home and rules. Be gracious and patient as you make your choice.

Even though mutts often live long, healthy lives, they may need veterinary care when first adopted. Shelters and rescue groups provide some of this, but if a dog has been neglected for a while they may need some longer care to get them back on their feet again.

Mutts are Often Less Expensive

Adopting a mutt at a shelter is usually not very expensive. According to the Animal Humane Society, an adoption fee can average $118 to $667. But a lot of shelter and rescue programs offer free services or only charge for the cost of vaccinations. On the other hand, purebreds can be very expensive and sometimes challenging to find.

Purchasing a purebred dog can cost hundreds to several thousands of dollars. Finding a reputable breeder is another concern. Unfortunately, dogs in pet stores can come from disreputable backyard breeders and puppy mills who do not breed in accordance to american kennel club standards, which can create genetic and behavioral problems in the puppies they sell. These pups and their parents are often kept in harsh, neglectful situations and may have severe health and behavioral problems.

Why Adopt A Mutt?

In general, a mixed breed dog will not have any expectations placed on him or her regarding how to behave. Most dogs can be trained for obedience and task related activities. A mutt can often turn out to be a very healthy dog due to the lack of inbred health issues. Environmental factors such as a harmonious home, patience and consistency are needed to train any dog regardless of breed. Mixed breed dogs can be just as smart, if not smarter, than purebreds. See my post, Are Mixed Breeds Smarter thann Purebreds?

The good news is that prospective pet parents can find all types of dogs at local shelters and rescue groups to meet their life style and home situation including large homes to small apartments.

My sister adopted two female, small mixed breeds at separate times and they are now best friends and as adorable as ever! They each have their own unique personalities with lots of energy, joy, and playfulness. We have no idea what breeds may have gone into their heritage. But they are each very special members of the family.

Gia and Mini. Who knows what breed? Just cute!
Photo by Judy Swayne

Mutts are Great Dogs With More than Just One Lineage

The shelters are full of stray and abandoned mixed breed dogs who need a good home. They often live longer than purebreds, can be more loyal, and may have fewer healthy problems in the long run. Even though the word mutt may have a negative connonation to some, dog lovers know that it means several breeds rolled into one. Which, can actually mean a better dog!

By going to a local shelter or rescue group to find your new dog, you may find a good fit and a great best friend. Additionally, you will help put an end to backyard breeding and puppy mills that are often unhealthy, crowded environments. Mutts make wonderful pets, and you will be rewarded with loving, loyal, and grateful pooch for many years to come.

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