Happy National Mutt Day! Held twice a year on July 31st and December 2nd, this holiday is all about “embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs,” according to event founder Colleen Paige. In addition to celebrating the uniqueness of mutts, National Mutt Day also brings attention to the many mixed breed dogs currently searching for homes.

So in honor of this fun day and this worthy cause, we’ve put together a list of five reasons why we love mutts! We’ve included photos of some fabulous mixed breed dogs submitted by our Facebook fans. Thanks to all who contributed. Now let’s celebrate, and help more mutts find their forever homes!

1. Mutts are mysterious.


Sophie – Photo by Kathy Delaney Borock

When walking their dogs down the street, mutt owners are often asked “What kind of dog is that?” Guessing a mutt’s breed mix can be not only a fascinating puzzle but also a way to bond with fellow dog lovers. Short legs might signal a Corgi or Dachshund ancestor, while curly hair often points to a Poodle mix. Personality traits can also come into play. If your pup takes to fetch quickly and tirelessly, perhaps she has a bit of a retriever in her DNA? Speaking of DNA, dog DNA tests have become an increasingly popular way for mutt parents to learn more about their adopted pets’ unknown origins. Whether they opt for the test or choose to keep things mysterious, mutt parents know that all that really matters is that they love their unique and special pup!

2. Mutts have great names.

Dozen and Buddy the Puggles

Puggle brothers Dozen and Buddy – Photo by Leslie Madden Fleischman

Once they’ve guessed at or even solved the mystery of their mutt’s origins, many mutt parents love coming up with creative names for their dog’s special “breed.” Most people have heard of Cockapoos (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle), Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever/Poodle) and Puggles (Pug/Beagle), but there are many more funny, adorable, strange and sweet new mixed breed names that are becoming popular. Last week on the blog, we picked 30 of them for our “Cutest Mixed Breed Dog Name” list. With names like Cheagle, Pitsky, Schnoodle, Horgi and Poochin, how can you resist?


3. Mutts are generally healthy.

Aspen the farm dog

Aspen, roaming around her home in Maine – Photo by Janice Luckton Kanzler

In 2013, a study in The Veterinary Journal found that mixed breed dogs live on average 1.2 years longer than pure breeds. This finding supports the theory of “hybrid vigor,” which is the idea that “the more breeds in a dog’s genetic mix, the less likely it is that the genetic problems of purebreds will manifest themselves.” A purebred dog from a responsible breeder can live a long healthy life, too. But as Cesar Millan says when asked which breed of dog is the healthiest, “Of course, I see very healthy purebreds and very unhealthy mixes, but if you want to go with the odds, pick the mix every time.”

4. Mutts can compete in dog shows, too.


Nadine – Photo by Janice Kennedy Amato

The Westminster Kennel Club, one of the most famous dog shows in the country, made headlines in 2014 when it opened its ranks to include mixed breed dogs in its agility competitions. Dog agility is an activity that any dog and dog parent can join and enjoy. It involves the “handler” leading their dog through an obstacle course that can include hurdles, tunnels, poles, seesaws and more. The judges evaluate both speed and accuracy, and determine a winner. At 2nd Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster in February 2015, 15 mixed breed dogs participated. Roo!, a husky mix dog from Menlo Park, CA, won second place in her height division, and successfully defended her 2014 title as the highest-scoring mixed breed dog in competition. Way to go, Roo!

5. Mutts are magic.

Callie and Maisy

Callie the Pit Bull-Lab mix cuddles up with her best friend Maisy the Black Lab – Photo by Faith Tryon

Ok, so they’re not actually magic. But if you adopt one dog in a shelter or rescue, you not only save his life, but also save the life of another homeless dog. Sadly, 31% of dogs who enter shelters are euthanized, according to the ASPCA. By bringing home a rescue, you allow the organization to devote space, time and resources to another animal in need.

Purebreds can also wind up in shelters, and they certainly deserve a great home of their own. Mixed breeds, however, make up 75% of all dogs in shelters. So chances are, the dog you take home from the shelter and the dog who takes his place will be a mutt. If you are looking for a furry friend, why not consider a magical rescue mutt, who can save a life simply by following you home.