December 2 is World Mutt Day
By: Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna
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December 2 is World Mutt Day! As a dog mom and veterinarian, I have been involved in the lives of thousands of Mutts. It doesn’t matter what you call them—mixed breed, Heinz 57, all-American—these are special and loveable dogs.
I am often asked the question: What is the healthiest breed of dog? This question is very loaded, and most people who ask have pre-conceived notions of what is healthy, or what breed may be healthiest. After a standard disclaimer, I often respond that some of the healthiest dogs I have ever seen were not a “breed” at all, but a Mutt.
To be a true Mutt, a dog must have at least 2 breeds in her genetic lineage. It is not uncommon for some dogs to have 10 or more breeds in her lineage. This family tree can be due to roaming, sometimes due to a lack of spaying or neutering a dog. It may also be due to poor husbandry, where intact (not neutered) dogs are kept together when a female is in estrus.
Mutts are special, because puppies from the same parents, and in the same litter may appear dramatically different. Depending on what genetic traits are expressed in each puppy, puppies may vary in size, shape, color, and appearance. Puppies may also have very different personalities!
Unfortunately, a large number of Mutts wind up in animal control facilities and shelters across the United States. These may be young puppies, or may be senior pets in need of a home in their last years. Regardless of their history, they all deserve our respect, as another living being.
So on December 2, raise a dog cookie to every Mutt you have ever known. And if you have room in your home and heart for another one, visit a shelter nearby. There you may find a Heinz 57 just for you.