5 Reasons Mixed Breed Dogs Make Great Pets Why Mutts Are Giving Purebreds a Run for Their Money

5 Reasons Mixed Breed Dogs Make Great Pets

If you think those fancy purebreds have something going for them, wait until you hear what mixed breed dogs have to offer. Here are just a few reasons why many pet parents are choosing to go for a mutt nowadays.

Considering bringing a mutt, or mixed breed dog, into your family? Already a proud pet parent of a beloved mutt? Learn how mutts compare to purebred dogs, and why they make great pets!

1. Mutts May Be Healthier Pets

To achieve desired traits, purebred dogs are often the result of inbreeding, leading certain breeds to have a higher risk of developing serious health problems, like cancer. Due to genetic mixing, mutts are less likely to have such genetic defects since a mixed breed dogs are less likely to inherit a problem caused by a recessive gene, meaning that the issue will never become a health problem (or be presented, as veterinarians would say).

2. Mutts May Live Longer

Since mutts are generally thought to be healthier than purebreds, this lower probability of having genetic defects is likely going to affect their lifespan, making the average lifespan of mutts theoretically greater than purebred pets.

3. Mutts May Have More Moderate Personalities

While not all dogs of a particular breed behave a particular way, generalizations about a breed can hold true for many. Since mutts can claim multiple ancestral ties, they are less likely to fall into any extremesโ€”be it extremely aggressive or extremely shy.

4. Muttsโ€™ Uniqueness Is Something to Celebrate!

The popularity of Benji, Old Yeller, Tramp (of Lady and the Tramp), Laika (the first dog to orbit Earth), the comic strip โ€œMutts,โ€ and, in more recent times, the Marvelous Mutts, give mutts, and their families, reason to be proud. Even some dog shows and competitions are officially recognizing mutts, allowing mixed breed dogs to participate in the challenges, pomp, and circumstance.

5. When You Adopt a Mutt, You Help Reduce Pet Overpopulation

Mutts are still at a disadvantage when it comes to having a permanent homeโ€”three-fourths of the millions of pets in shelters in the United States are mutts. But you, and pet parents like you, can help.

Are you concerned about not knowing enough information about a mixed breed dogโ€™s health or genetic background? DNA tests for dogs are available and can reveal some of the breeds in your dogโ€™s makeup, which can provide clues about health and behavior.

Is Your Dog Affected by Breed Specific Laws?

Breed specific laws place restrictions on certain dog breeds in certain areas. More than 4 million dog bites occur in America each year, and in 2012, 38 people were killed by dogs in the United States. Some communities have decided to take action by enacting breed specific legislation -- or BSL.


A great deal of controversy exists on how to prevent dog-related injuries. Groups like the Humane Society and the American Kennel Club reject BSL as a solution, and support strategies that emphasize education and responsible dog ownership as means to reducing attacks. These organizations are opposed to breed-specific legislation, arguing that these laws do little to prevent dog attacks, are expensive to implement, and unfairly target dogs when it is their owners who should bear the true responsibility. Nevertheless, many communities in the United States have enacted BSL in an attempt to reduce dog-related injuries.


Such legislation can range from outright bans on ownership to restrictions on animals in public locations, or higher fees required for ownership. Most breed specific legislation involves a municipal court deeming that a certain breed is โ€œuniquely dangerous,โ€ and that for the โ€œprotection of the publicโ€™s health and welfare,โ€ the dog must be banned or restricted in some way.

There are three main categories of Breed Specific Legislation on the books in the United States as of July 2012.

1. Breed Bans

This type of legislation makes it illegal for people to own particular breeds of dogs within the area of jurisdiction. Fines or animal seizures are permitted by law. In some cases, those who had their dogs before the BSL was enacted are permitted to keep their dogs.

2. Breed Labeling

When a breed of dog is labeled as โ€œpotentially dangerous,โ€ โ€œdangerous,โ€ or โ€œvicious,โ€ owners of these dogs are subject to additional restrictions beyond those with unlegislated dogs. These dog parents may have to pay higher registration fees, muzzle their dogs when off property, restrict them on property, microchip their dogs for identification purposes, or carry liability insurance starting at around $100,000.

3. Mandatory Spay or Neuter

In an attempt to reduce populations of specific breeds, some communities have enacted laws that require owners to spay or neuter specific animals. This can reduce specific breed numbers in public, as well as the number of unwanted dogs that wind up in shelters. Pit Bulls can sometimes make up to 50% of shelter dog populations.


In the great majority of cases, BSLs by city or county refer specifically to Pit Bulls -- either by deeming them dangerous, or by restricting them in some way.

For example:

  • 50 Missouri counties deem Pit Bulls to be vicious or dangerous, or place an outright ban on them.
  • 39 Kentucky towns made similar rulings, with most banning Pit Bulls entirely.
  • In Massachusetts, 27 counties have deemed Pit Bulls to be dangerous or vicious, and have restricted them in some way.

In other cases, some counties are extra zealous in their breed specific legislation.

For example:

42 states, including Washington D.C. and certain Native American territories, have some sort of breed specific legislation on the books.

These are not necessarily outright bans, but do include limitations of some sort. In almost all cases, limitations and bans are declared at the municipal level -- in counties and villages -- as opposed to being accepted statewide.

To check for BSL in your area, visit www.understand-a-bull.com.

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