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

Why Adopting Mutts Can be Better than Purebreds

A lot of people assume that purchasing a purebred dog is better than adopting a mutt from a shelter. And, this may be true if you are planning to get a dog for a very specific purpose such as for showing or hunting. However, if you simply want a great family dog and a new best friend, you may discover that a plain old mixed-breed mutt may be your best bet.

If you are thinking of getting a dog, you may already have searched the various breeds and decided upon the exact type of dog you you want. But, just know, that dogs, like people are unique. Just because a dog is a purebred, doesn’t guarantee that the dog will have the exact personality or qualities that you had hoped for. Not all golden retrievers are friendly and not all labs are mellow. And, mixed breed dogs can be surprisingly friendly, fun, and have the most interesting personalities. The key is to check out a variety of mutts at the shelter, take a dog home for a short trial and see if it is a fit.

Mutts are Less Expensive

Adopting a mutt at a shelter is usually not very expensive. According to the Animal Humane Society, adoption fees average from $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, there are a lot of backyard breeders who do not breed in accordance to AKC standards, which can create genetic problems in the puppies they sell.

Mutts Can be Healthier

Because mutts are mixes of different breeds, they are more likely to be fairly healthy and robust. There is a lower chance that they will have genetic health issues passed on to them. Mutts tend to be hardier and are less likely to suffer from some of the typical problems that are handed down from one generation to the next within certain breeds.

Due to inbreeding, purebreds often have a host of health problems. The darling little Welsh Corgi, as an example, frequently has problems with hip dysplasia as they age. Pugs. who are wonderful laps dogs that love to cuddle, can snore to beat the band! They can also have some airway obstruction issues due to their small heads and necks.

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, any dog, like humans, can have cancer or other health problems. But the genetic inbreeding of purebreds just increases that probability. That’s why many mutts are simply healthier dogs in general, and they tend to have longer lives.


Mutts come with a wide array of personalities and temperaments. In general, they are often more flexible and less high strung than some purebreds. Yet, you may discover some of the unique attributes of certain breeds folded into a mutts DNA, such as the high energy of the terrier or the hunting instinct of a hound dog. They may be good herders or they may prefer to bask in the sun and hang out in their yard all day. But in general, they tend to be really good family dogs, since they are often very adaptable.

Even purebreds can vary from their supposed attributes. Our Golden Retriever was given to us by a friend who had bred him to be a service dog. But he turned out to have a stubborn streak and was not easy to train. However, he was a great family dog, and loved to go jogging with me. Even though we had some challenges, he was a very loving, special dog.

I also had Beagles when I was younger, and Beagles are almost impossible to leash train due to their instinct to hunt and run. I loved those Beagles, but they were forever running off. They loved to chase rabbits and did everything they could to break away from my hold on the leash. They were also very creative about finding ways to push through a gap in the fence and even found a way to climb over a locked gate.

Now I have two sweet, female liter mates who are a Cattle Dog/Pug mix. Like my Beagles, they also have adorable personalities. They both think they are lap dogs even though they each weigh about 35 pounds. Georgia, the black one looks like a really big pug, and Charlotte, the slightly larger one, looks like a small blue healer. She loves to chase around the yard all day barking at birds and other potential intruders. She is definitely the boss of all of us! You can learn more about them on our About Us page.

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. 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?

Mutts display a wide variety of personalities which will continue to blossom and grow as they are slowly integrated into your family life. Just as you watch and wait to see how a baby will grow into childhood and develop his/her own personality, so you will notice how your newly adopted dog will have a personality all of his or her own.

You may never be able to figure out which breed characteristics they have inherited, since it may be more the two or three. But when you adopt a mutt, you will most likely have a loyal, adaptable, and sturdy dog who will be with you for many years. And the good news is that the majority of dogs at the shelters and rescue facilities are mutts. So there will be an abundance of dogs to choose from.

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

Adopt a Mutt Because they Need You!

The shelters are full of stray and abandoned mixed breed dogs. They just want to be part of a family and will be loyal, loving pets. Visit the shelter and check them out. Find out as much as you can about their background and personalities from the shelter staff. See if they may be a fit for your home and family. Take them home for a trial of at least 5-7 days and get to know them. Remember, they will need your patience and guidance. Moving to a new home will be a big adjustment for them. So don’t give up too quickly if they have some initial problems.

Help put an end to back yard breeding factories that are often unhealthy, crowded environments. Reduce the genetic problems passed down by breeding purebreds.

Adopt a mutt! And, you will find a dog to enjoy for many years to come. Your efforts, love, and care will be rewarded 100 times over!

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