5 Reasons Why I Love Mutts


My 10-year-old mixed-breed pup is half-German Shorthair Pointer, half-Samoyed, and all perfection. As a dog sitter, I have experienced the personalities of many different breeds. I’m here to tell you that mutts like Riggins are the best!

Riggins the lovable mutt. (All photos by Wendy Newell)
Riggins the lovable mutt. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Riggins looks like neither of his parents’ breeds. He’s missing his father’s white fluffy features, and you don’t see the sweet Sammy influence until you get to know him. It’s a little easier to see his mom’s Pointer body, but even then you really have to know what you’re looking for before you can pick out the traits. People we meet will guess that he’s part Dalmatian because of his adorable spotted “socks,” or Lab simply because that’s the go-to for black dogs. He has a Dalmatian buddy and many Lab friends — when Riggins is standing next to them, it’s obvious he isn’t kin. He is one of a kind, and that’s one of the many reasons I love my adorable mutt.

In honor of National Mutt Day, here are the five reasons why I think mutts are the best.

1. Mutts are healthier

Mikey, a long-haired Daschund/Papillon mix, proves the exception to the rule.
Mikey, a long-haired Dachshund/Papillon mix, proves the exception to the rule. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

It is generally believed that mixed-breed dogs tend to be healthier than their purebred pals. Mutts have a lower chance of inheriting breed-specific genetic disorders. A study published by the Institute of Canine Biology found that there are, in fact, 10 genetic disorders that are more common among purebred pups.

But if I’m being honest, I have to say that I have a stack of vet bills a mile high with Riggins’ name on them. Neither mutts nor purebred dogs are cheap!

2. Mutts are lovingly saved

Jax was rescued by Bear's family after being returned by the previous family. A shepherd brother and sister mix made to last!
Jax was rescued by Bear’s family after being returned by another family. A shepherd brother and sister mix made to last! (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Although all mutts aren’t adopted from shelters and rescue groups, and all purebreds aren’t purchased from breeders, in general, if you head to a local shelter, you will see aisles of cute mixed-breed faces looking up at you through their cages.

When you adopt a mutt, you join a club of fellow mutt rescuers. It’s a wonderful bond between people who will constantly be questioning, “Who rescued whom?”

3. Mutts are one of a kind

A hiker at Griffith Park gets sucked into Riggins' cuteness.
A hiker at Griffith Park gets sucked into Riggins’ cuteness. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

I’ve never been one to follow the crowd for the sake of being like everyone else. It only makes sense that I would have a unique pup. Riggins and his fellow mutt friends are proud of their differences and use it to their advantage. Riggins will make sure you see his spotted socks to draw you in, and he’ll then roll over so you can rub the black diamond shape on his chest surrounded by a big patch of white fur. It’s like a scratching bullseye!

4. Mutts are easy to groom

Good thing Sam, a Jack Russel mix, is easy to bathe. He earns one or even two every stay with me!
Good thing Sam, a Jack Russell mix, is easy to bathe. He earns one or even two baths every stay with me! (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Once again, this doesn’t apply to all mixed breeds, but many of my clients are cutie mutts and I can tell you they’re usually much easier to groom than their purebred pack members. I can throw Riggins and his buddies into the bath or shower, and after five minutes they come out shaking and rolling around all over the house in an attempt to dry off. One comb through, and they are usually good to go.

In fact, a couple of Riggins’ friends, a Schnauzer named Dragon and a Poodle named Morgan, refuse to get their breed-specific cut. Obviously, they see how much fun their free-styling friends are having and want to join in.

5. Mutts are fun to play the dog-breed name game with!

Sure, Asscher the gorgeous Golden Retriever or Happy the Blue Picardy Spaniel, two pups in our visitor pack, get a lot of attention, but most of the questions about the breed of the dogs with me are aimed at the mutts.

When Riggins cuddles up next to a fellow hiker on the trail, I’m asked, “He is so sweet; what kind of dog is he?”

Beaux the porgi.
Beaux the Porgi. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

If someone sees Beaux waddling up to them, they giggle and ask, “What is he mixed with?” I get to give the best answer ever, “He’s a Porgi. Part Pit and part Corgi.”

Monkey the Terrier mix.
Monkey the terrier mix. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

As little Monkey climbs up on rock after rock like a tiny little mountain goat, I’m asked what kind of scruffy fluff-ball breed is so active. My response? “A terrier mix.”

Shadow the Doberman/Whippet mix.
Shadow the Doberman/Whippet mix. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

A beautiful client pup who got the most questions about breed before moving to the East Coast was Shadow. When she was with me, I often had to explain that she was a mix between a Doberman and a Whippet. You would be hard pressed to find a more regal lady.

What would Riggins’ breed name be? A Pointyed? A Samoter? It’s like a fun game for people when my pack comes through. Name that dog-breed mix!

I’m not sure when the term “mutt” got a bad reputation or when we started using the words “mixed breed.” When the pack and I are out and about and someone asks what breed Riggins is and I reply, “Mutt,” I will sometimes be corrected with the response, “You mean mixed breed.”

Not really. I mean mutt. When I think “mixed breed,” I think of those fancy designer dogs, who are all adorable in their own right, Labradoodles or Schnoodles — really any doodle! Riggins and I aren’t fancy. We prefer dive bars over fine-dining restaurants, daisies over roses, and jeans that cost less than $50. We have allegiance to no specific group and a love for all. We are mutts!

Of course, I love all the dogs in my pack — purebred, designer breed, and mixed — but feel an extra connection to those sweet mutts like my darling Riggins.

Share pictures of your adorable mutts in the comments!

Read more about Wendy’s life with Riggins:

About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

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