As every day is Mutts Day in our house, I don’t feel too bad about celebrating a day late. I do think it is great a whole day has been dedicated to honouring the mixed breed dog. After all, they are often the most misunderstood. They are also much more likely to end up in shelters. If you are lucky enough to share your life with one, you will also agree with how hard it is to find a key chains or stationary dedicated to your favourite breed.
The world is full of “I Love My Schnauzer” bumper stickers. But finding one that proclaims devotion to the Heinz 57 is nearly impossible. For that reason alone I think these awesome dogs deserve their own day!
Most of the dogs I’ve met online are mixed breeds adopted from shelters. That’s why it’s so odd that Shiva is currently the one of two mutts in our agility class. She was the only rescue in our life skills class and in our early obedience classes. I also think she was one of very few participating in the Canine Good Neighbour Test last June. Given how many there are in most communities it’s surprising that in my day-to-day life most of the dogs I see are purebreds. Or, at the very least, from a very recognizable heritage.
Does this mean more dogs are being spayed or neutered? Will one day the mutt be a breed of the past?
I have doubts about this.
Growing up, I was taught to look down on mixed breed dogs. They were products of irresponsibility. Mutts were thought to be less-than, owned by criminals and other unsavory types. They were dogs one could not trust. They ran wild in the streets and had unpredictable natures. I assumed they also had health problems due to the mixing of genetics not meant to be paired. None of my friends owned one. The only dogs I ever played with had CKC papers, well-known pedigrees, and fancy long-winded names like “Articlight Kennel’s Midnight Whisper”. (This was actually my childhood dogs’ registered name.) When I pictured myself getting my own dog, I always thought I’d have a pure-bred golden retriever purchased from a famous breeder. Mutts were for people who didn’t care enough about dogs.
Obviously, I was very wrong. I am so glad my mind was changed somewhere down the line. But I think this stigma still remains. The reason I don’t see that many in our classes is because people still think less of mutts than they do of their single-breed counterparts. Agility handlers want shelties or border collies, dogs they know will take to the sport. They are reluctant to take a chance on a dog they know nothing about.
But today, in honour of Mutts Day, I declare my pride in my mixed breed mutt. Shiva can do everything a pure-bred dog can do. She may not come from impressive stock, we many have no idea who her parents were, and she may have been found wandering on the wrong side of town, but she can mix it up with the best of them. When it comes down to it, regardless of heritage, they are all just dogs.
So Happy Mutts Day to you all, whatever your dog is. I hope you were able to get out to celebrate together!