What Makes a Dog a Mutt? Everything You Need to Know About Mutts

Dogs can be from different types of breeds while some can be purebreds. You are likely to come across mutt, mongrel, crossbreed, or even designer dogs as nicknames for dogs as a result of multiple breeding. Today, we want to focus on mutts. We will look at what makes them great, how you can raise one, and tips for training a mutt. In the end, you will understand what makes a dog a mutt.

What is a Mutt?

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A mutt is as a dog resulting from two or more different dog breed parents. For such type of dog, it does not have a specific breed group. Considering that such dogs would inherit some of the characteristics of the parent breeds, it is easy to confuse them for a certain breed. However, before you can buy a dog, its breed information would be easily available.

Although some people overlook mutts, they often have many advantages just like other breeds. We will learn more about their benefits in this guide.

What is the difference between a mutt, purebred, and hybrid dogs?

Understanding the difference between purebred, mutt, and hybrid dogs can help you make up your mind the next time you are looking for a dog to keep.

Starting with the purebred, such a dog has parents coming from the same breed. The parents would be registered with the relevant association and can show they belong to a certain breed. The resultant dog will have all the desirable features you might have wanted in a specific type of breed.

There was a time when purebred dogs had all the glory and were a bit expensive. With the emergence of puppy mills, it is now easy to get your hands on purebred dogs easily.

Mixed breed dog

A mutt can also be described as a mixed breed dog. Just as the name implies, these are dogs as a result of mixing different dog breeds. In most cases, they are results of accidental breeding or sometimes stray dogs with no intention of mixing. Some examples include a pit bull crossing with a lab.

A mutt can also be a result of other mutts breeding. At this point, it would be hard to even get an idea of where the dog belongs in terms of breed. There was a time when people thought of mutts as being inferior. However, that has changed a lot over the years. A majority of the dogs you find at a shelter might be mutts.

So, what is a hybrid dog? It is technically a mix of two known breeds. Most people who own hybrids do not like it when you refer to their dogs as a mix of breeds. Well, hybrid dogs are an intentional mix of these breeds. Let us say you mix a Lab and a purebred Poodle. The result is a Labradoodle. It is worth noting that the breeding should be intentional and includes a purebred.

Why Mutts Are Awesome to Own

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So, why would you want to own a mutt. Like we said before, mutts were seen as inferior, but that is changing right now. Here are some reasons why mutts are awesome.

Unique dog

With purebreds, you already know what you are getting with a dog. Their characteristics and temperaments will always remain the same. However, things are different with a mixed breed dog. It would have different features from each parent making it come out as unique. If you want something different, then a mutt would be ideal.

Mutts are flexible

Because of their genes, mutts will often come out as flexible. You will find them easy to adapt to different households. Also, you will not need to have a specific skill set to take care of them. With such flexibility, you will find it easy to handle a mutt puppy.

Mutts can still compete

When it comes to dog competitions, most people would opt for a purebred dog. This is because their strengths and weaknesses are already known. It is surprising how mutts can also be great when it comes to competitions. There are various competitions where mutts did quite well in terms of agility courses.

Mutts can be great service dogs

If you have always wanted a service dog, then this could be an option too. You do not have to pay so much for purebreds when mutts are cheaper and can do the same job.

How to Adopt a Mutt

Understand the basics

First, understand what type of dog you want. With mutts, you can expect them to have a variety of energy levels and temperaments. Spend time thinking about which type of dog would be ideal for you. For someone who has a busy lifestyle, then you might not have enough time to take care of a certain type of dog. The same goes for the health issues a dog might have.

Another deciding factor will be the age of the dog you would wish to adopt. The chances are you will find most mutts in animal shelters. The shelter dogs will have a variety of ages, so you have to choose appropriately. Anyone looking to keep the dog for long should consider getting a young or puppy mutt.

You still have to think about the care of the dog that you want to buy. Depending on the parent breeds, mutts might have more upkeep requirements in some cases. Some might not need a lot of maintenance. The size of the dog is still crucial as it might determine some of the additional things you might have to buy to maintain it. This includes toys, grooming tools, and much more.

Once you are ready to get a mutt, consider selecting a good shelter. Ask around to get help from friends who might have used a shelter before. The best part is that shelters now have websites where you can check out the different dogs available. At least you would now visit the shelter knowing which type of dog you are considering to get.

Select the dog that you want

The rule of thumb is that you do not pick the first dog that you see in the shelter. It is important that you take your time to meet multiple dogs. Since many shelters have their dog profiles listed online, sample out various dogs that interest you the most. It will make it easy for you to check out various dogs once you get to the shelter.

Kernel cards are a nice way of learning more about the dog. Go through the kernel card descriptions to see if the dog has the features you are looking for. Sometimes when a dog is described as high-energy, it might translate to a problematic behavior. Inquire from the shelter staff what each of the descriptions mean before buying the mutt.

Try to interact with the dog to see how it interacts back. This helps you make sense of the dog’s behavior and how it might interact with you once at your home. Depending on the dog, some might show signs of aggression when you try to touch it. Such are signs of an aggressive dog, which might not be what you are looking for.

Finalize the process

At this point, you would have identified which dog that you want. All that is remaining is to finalize the process by filing some paperwork with the shelter management. Most shelters would require your ID and some proof of income. Some might need a signed permission from your landlord showing that your building allows pets.

With the paperwork done, you will pay fees, if any, to the shelter and off you go with your new pet.

Caring for Your Mutt Puppy

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As part of caring for a mutt, training is crucial. It is recommended that you start the training process from the day you get your puppy home. Depending on your knowledge about training dogs, you can hire a professional dog trainer or do it yourself.

Some of the training you have to include behavior training, obedience training, potty training, house training, and much more. By the end of all the training, the dog will be well mannered that you do not have any problem having it around your guests.


Your dog needs to eat. You do not just get any type of food for the puppy. A proper and healthy diet is necessary to keep the puppy healthy. The food that you buy for your dog is dependent on its age. Make sure you get food meant for a puppy.

Puppies will need feeding twice a day. Some of the food the puppy will like or hate it. Learn from this so that you only buy food your puppy loves. Once the puppy gets to 9 months, it is now safe to switch to feeding it once a day.

If you are unsure about which food to buy for the puppy, it is best to consult with your vet. When the puppy gets to the age of 1, consider shifting to adult dog food.


Even mutts could benefit from grooming. The grooming activity is essential to help maintain hygiene and keep your dog looking good. If you have a small dog breed, give it a bath in the small tubs or sinks. As for larger dog breeds, you can use the large bath tubs.

The market right now is full of various dog products you can use for keeping the dog clean. Always get products only recommended for pet use.

Tips for Training a Mutt

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Basic training commands

It does not matter the age of the dog; it still needs to know the basic commands. Such commands include sit, heel, come, and stay. After that, depending on the use of the dog, it can be enrolled in an advanced training.

It is crucial to dedicate enough time to train your dog. Training is important to prevent a certain type of behavior and keep the dog safe too.

For the basic training commands, dedicate around 15 minutes each day to teach your mutt dog about them. Going past 15 minutes might overload the dog with information. Use positive reinforcement such as treats if the dog turns out to be doing everything right.

Walking your dog

As part of training, walks are very important. For any new dog, walk it 2 to 3 times a day if you have the time. The walking activity will help it exercise, learn how to sniff, urinate, and much more. Walking the dog will always help to keep it from getting obese.

When walking the dog, learn to communicate with it. You might want to get a leash for your dog as it makes it easy to control it while in public.

Advanced training

If you find out that the dog is now conversant with the basic commands, it is time to take it to the next level with advanced training. The advanced training sessions are important to mentally stimulate the dog and make it good at doing some tricks.

Some people even use these dogs for various competitions once they master the different games and agility training too.


Any dog would love to have its own toys and play with its owner. Get yourself some new dog toys from the time you buy the new dog. By playing these games, your dog will end up with improved intelligence and fitness. Do not let your dog sleep the whole day and do nothing when games can be fun.

Get a professional if necessary

Dog training is not always easy. Sometimes a dog might have behavioral problems that make it hard to train. In such cases, it is best to involve a professional who would handle the dog better. A dog trainer will easily identify what is the problem with the dog and take the necessary steps to help the dog get better.

In Summary

Now that you know what makes a dog a mutt, go ahead and get one for yourself. As you can see from above, mutts are great and they are just as good as purebreds. The stigma that was once associated with mutts is now over. People are buying them from animal shelters and giving them a new home to enjoy.

If you decide to get one today, make sure you take good care of it just as you would do for any other dog. Always consider getting your mutt trained so that it maintains a good behavior around your children and guests.