National Mutt Day 2020

December 2nd is National Mutt Day, so we'd like to share some information about mixed breed dogs and the value of adopting! Around 70% of dogs in shelters are descendants of more than one breed. Mixed breed dogs make wonderful companions and pets, so if you're looking to add a canine to your family, it's a great idea to include mutts in your search.

Best Friends Animal Society includes the opportunity to adopt a mixed breed dog among the benefits of adopting rather than purchasing a dog. Mixed breed dogs are generally considered healthier and have a lower rate of genetic diseases typically found in particular breeds or found within closely related breeds. Dogs whose genetic background includes multiple breeds also tend to live longer. That can mean less money spent on vet bills and more time spent with your beloved dog.

Breeds and Personality

Purchasing or adopting a purebred dog doesn't guarantee that particular pet's temperament, as the personalities of individual dogs vary widely. A 2019 article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the most influential genetic area associated with behavior could account for around 15% of a dog's temperament. Individual aspects of a dog's genetic makeup come together in complex ways and, along with environment and training, have a moderate impact on behavior.

The Impact of a Dog's Training and Environment

A 2020 article published in the journal Frontiers of Veterinary Science found that breed had a smaller impact on behavior than the dog's training. A dog's previous and future owners can also have a substantial effect on their personality development. Over time, dogs' personalities change to become more similar to that of their owner, as a 2019 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found.

Ultimately, every dog has a unique temperament, which potential adopters should consider when deciding which dog to bring home. Fortunately, shelter staff, volunteers, and fosters devote a considerable amount of time getting to know each animal. For pets who have lived in a foster home, the shelter or rescue can provide detailed information on how they behave in a home environment.