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National Mutt Day: July 31 & December 2

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Did you know that National Mutt Day — recognizing the joy of mixed breed dogs — is celebrated not once but twice a year?

It’s been said that every dog has his day, but one-of-a-kind canines with intriguing ancestries have TWO days dedicated to celebrating their diverse DNA. Observed both on July 31st and December 2nd, since its launch in 2005 by celebrity pet and lifestyle expert Colleen Paige, National Mutt Day (also referred to as National Mixed Breed Day) has helped to shine a spotlight on our mixed breed dogs who may not have a pedigree, but who would be an integral part of a forever pet parent’s family tree.

Reasons to Adopt a Mixed Breed Dog

An estimated 80 percent of dogs who find themselves in the shelter system are not pure bred, but they are ready to give pure love to their special someone. Following are just a few of the many reasons to adopt a mixed breed dog.

If you opt to adopt a dog with an unknown lineage you are helping to end the plight of puppy mill dogs, who are forced by backyard breeders to live in nightmarish conditions as they give birth to litter after litter of puppies, many of whom are burdened with medical problems due to their sad start in life.

Adopting a mixed breed dog might mean fewer visits to the veterinarian! Many believe that dogs who are bred for specific traits are more likely to inherit a genetic disorder, while dogs with a complex gene pool are less likely to develop illnesses which target specific breeds.

The cost to welcome a mixed breed dog from a shelter or rescue into your heart and home is much less than that of a purebred dog. Shelter fees are much lower than those of breeders or pet stores, and many mixed breed dogs from shelters or rescue organizations are up to date on their vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and may even be microchipped.

The pet parent who chooses to adopt a mixed breed dog from a shelter may be saving their new barking buddy’s life and either buying time for another shelter animal by freeing a space in a kill facility or saving another life by emptying a cage at a no-kill shelter or rescue that will go to a dog in need. Each year 7.6 million companion animals enter the US shelter system, where 2.7 million face their fate.

Fun Facts

Did you know that many “Heinz 57” dogs have become stars on the big and small screen? The long list of dogs who have made the leap from shelter to stardom include:

  • Spike, a Mastiff/Labrador Retriever mix who moved movie audiences in the title role of Old Yeller.
  • Higgins, a terrier mix who wowed canine-loving movie crowds as Benji.
  • Aleister, a former shelter dog who starred as Sorry alongside Keira Knightley and Steve  Carell in the 2012 feature film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
  • Barley, a Lurcher mix from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home who acts as Demelza’s canine companion Garrick in the BBC adaptation of author Winston Graham’s Poldark novels.
  • Marti, whose “Hard Knock Life” in a shelter later led to stardom as Sandy in the 2014 cinematic retelling of Annie.
  • Peanut, a Border Terrier mix who portrayed Baxter, the barking buddy of Ron Burgundy in the comedy Anchorman.
  • Bo, Chip, Kelly, Stella, Topsy and Zelda, all mixed breed dogs who together took on the role of The Grinch’s sidekick Max in the big screen retelling of the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Ned, a mixed breed originally from a rural Mississippi shelter who got his big break playing Martin in the ABC series Downward Dog after he was “discovered” at PAWS Chicago.

Dogs who are an amalgam of breeds can be highly intelligent, and today mixed breed dogs from shelters are often chosen to train for vital roles as service dogs, search and rescue dogs and therapy dogs.

Adopting a Mixed Breed Dog

If you are pondering the possibility of adopting a mixed breed dog, a good starting point in your search is one of the many websites which list adoptable animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country, such as,,, and