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Dog Facts: The Mutt Edition

By Wendy Rose Gould
published: May 1, 2018 - updated: July 28, 2023 • 3 min. read
Mixed breed dog

Key Takeaways

  • Mutts are mixed-breed dogs that have a bit of mystery in their genetics.
  • Mutt dogs can have a wide range of physical characteristics and personalities.
  • Mutts are often affordable to adopt, easy to find, and have good health.
  • Many mutts are less prone to genetic conditions compared to purebred dogs.
  • Mutts can compete in dog shows, which are no longer just for purebred dogs.

Last updated July 28, 2023.

There’s something inherently lovable and endearing about “mutts” — aka dogs who are a mixture of breeds versus purebred. In a way, they’re kind of like one of those mystery eggs you get around Easter where you have no idea what it will contain, but you know it’s going to be good. Here’s more about the varied temperaments and physical characteristics of mutts and reasons why a mixed-breed dog may very well be the “breed” you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Mutt Personalities, Physical Descriptions

As you might have guessed, mutts display a wide range of personalities and physical characteristics, and ultimately, their temperament depends on the mixture of breeds they possess. They can be shy, goofy, crazy intelligent, aloof, quiet, loud — you name it. Their appearance usually runs the same sort of gamut. Mixed-breed dogs can have floppy tails or curly tails, perky ears or droopy ears, large frames or small frames, broad snouts or small snouts, and so on.

If the mutt is a simple mixed-breed dog, meaning comprised of only a few breeds, you’ll have a better idea of what their personality and physicality will be like as they get older. Contrarily, if you have a complex mixed-breed dog, meaning the dog is made up of numerous breeds (such as those whose parents were also mutts), then this is much more difficult to predict (enter the mystery egg analogy here).

Note that mixed-breed pups are not the same as purposefully crossbred dogs, such as the labradoodle or puggle. These aforementioned types are carefully bred to create new breeds, which are purebred henceforth and are usually created from two distinct breeds. An interesting, slight deviation from this, though, is the Alaskan Husky, which is actually a mixture of Northern dog breeds that are bred together for specific dog sledding skills. They all look very similar to each other, but are actually mutts.

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Mutt Health

Like personality and appearance, a mutt’s health also varies widely. However, as a whole, they are regarded as more robust and healthier than purebreds because they’re not as prone to genetically inherited health issues.

“Many mutts have a lower rate of hip dysplasia, certain knee diseases, most spinal diseases, many heart diseases, plenty of cancers and a whole lot of skin, blood, brain, liver and kidney diseases, among others,” wrote veterinarian Dr. Patty Khuly for VetStreet.

Also, while many purebreds are bred responsibly, that isn’t always the case. Puppy mills and unregulated backyard breeding are serious issues, and they’re something that mutts usually avoid as a whole.

healthy paws loves muttsReasons Why Having a Mutt Is Awesome

  • They’re typically more affordable to adopt than purebreds. You can sometimes find mutts for free, or if you adopt from a shelter, for around $50 to $200. Many purebreds will cost you hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars.
  • Mutts are also much easier to come by, as humane societies and shelters are filled with them. As such, they are more likely to be put down in high-kill shelters. Adopting a mixed breed could save a life, and they’re so eager to love you!
  • As mentioned, their health is generally considered better than a purebred’s health due to a lack of inherited hereditary ailments.
  • Mutts can still compete in dog shows! The Westminster Dog Show opened its doors to mutts in 2014. They can also compete in agility training via organizations such as the NADAC, and they’re able to be trained as service dogs, too.

One of our favorite breeds is “mutt”! Share a picture of your marvelous mutt with us on Instagram by tagging @gohealthypaws. And if you aren’t already a pet parent with us, look into getting a free quote to help safeguard not just your special pup, but your wallet too.

wendy gould
By Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She has been in journalism for over a decade, and has been freelancing almost that entire time. In addition to lifestyle reporting, she also works with brands to create marketing content for their websites and blogs.

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