Reasons a mutt should be your next dog

“Mutt” and “mongrel” have long had negative connotations, but there’s no need to turn one’s nose at mixed breed dogs.

Dogs of any kind, regardless of lineage, can be cherished companions who offer years of tireless love and affection. In fact, mutts have gained steam as dogs of choice thanks to new, more trendy monikers, such as “designer dogs” or “cross-bred pups.” In addition, many well-recognized purebreed dogs popular today were likely once amalgams of different breeds that were carefully crafted to acquire the desireable traits of popular breeds.

Many mixed-breed dogs are beautiful, well-behaved pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that 36.5 percent of American households have dogs. Many of those pooches are mixed-breed dogs. Here’s a look at what can make mutts stand-out pets.

• Healthy pup: Mixed-breed dogs may not be prone to genetic diseases specific to one particular breed and may be less likely to develop an inherited disorder. According to Dog Reference, something called “hybrid vigor” explains how a mutt’s mixed ancestry makes it hardier and more robust. The average lifespan of a mutt is longer than that of most purebred canines. This doesn’t replace the need for quality veterinary care, however.

• Life-saving choice: Animal shelters are often bursting at the seams with mutts. Choosing to adopt a mixed-breed dog can reduce overpopulation and ensure that dogs will not be euthanized.

• Affordability: Mutts are typically more affordable than pure breeds because a person is not paying for lineage, show titles and AKC registration. Some mutts actually may be free if a family is giving away puppies.

• Unique qualities: No two mixed-breed dogs are the same — even among litter mates. That individuality can be an advantage.

• Moderated traits: Many purebreed dogs were bred to serve specific purposes of the breed. A Border Collie, for example, is designed to herd and requires rigorous exercise to remain healthy both physically and mentally. Stripped of that primary job, a dog might be destructive or become depressed. Comprised of different breeds, a mutt may have a less intense drive to fulfill its breed standards, perhaps making it a more easygoing pet.

• Trendy: Thanks to puggles and labradoodles, it’s now chic to have a mutt.

Mixed-breed dogs can be the ideal puppy pets and can be a first stop in one’s search for a new canine pal.