Dog Lifestyle, Pets and Family

5 Famous Mutts You Want to Know (Number 3 will surprise you!)

We love all dogs but we do have a soft spot for mutts and as we lead up to National Mutt Day also known as Mixed Breed Day celebrated every July 31st and December 2nd we thought we would highlight some famous mutts that have worked hard or are still working hard to keep us safe, entertain us, and most of all love us in true mutt style.

A black and white photo of Laika the space dog, a mixed breed dark brown and white terrier in a harness.

Laika the Space Exploring Mixed Breed

We all know the story of Laika,  the Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth.  But, did you ever consider that Laika was a mutt?  Laika was a stray Samoyed terrier mix from the streets of Moscow.   No capacity for her recovery and survival was planned, and sadly she is thought to have died of overheating or suffocation hours into the flight but remembered at the same time for her important contribution to space exploration.

Laika the space dog

Benji the Do Gooder Mixed Breed

Benji was a lovable stray that starting in 1974 started an entire media franchise that was reignited in 2018 with a Netflix series.  Kids love Benji for his do good work.  The Benji franchise has been entertaining us for decades all based on the hero dog, a Benji, a mutt or mixed breed dog.  Benji was a Schnauzer, Cocker, Mini Poodle mix.

The ever popular Benji!

Old Yeller Best Mixed Breed Friend

Old Yeller described by some as the saddest dog story in history was based on the Mastiff Labrador Mix, of the same name.  Old Yeller has been described as an important cultural film for baby boomers, with Old Yeller’s death in particular being remembered as one of the most tearful scenes in cinematic history.  Mutts are entertaining us again even while making us weep!

The motion picture poster for Walt Disney's Old Yeller movie showing Old Yeller a lab cross.
Old Yeller thought to be some as the saddest movie of all time

Sergeant Stubby WWI Mixed Breed Dog

Sergeant Stubby is described by We Are The Mighty as one of the most impressive dogs in American military history. Sergeant Stubby, also a mutt, a Pitbull mix, wandered onto the Yale campus during a Regiment training.  He fit right in and from then on was an important part of military efforts in WWI.

He earned his title of sergeant by serving in the trenches in France during WWI, alerting troops of incoming gas attacks and rescuing wounded soldiers. He even captured a German spy all on his own!

The heroic canine is the most decorated war dog of WWI, earning numerous medals and becoming the mascot of Georgetown University. The newspapers loved him, and pretty much everyone knew his name. As appropriate for such an icon, he later became the subject of a book.

Sinbad The Coast Guard Mixed Breed Dog

Sinbad served in the Coast Guard for 11 years and throughout his service became very decorated solider for his service.  All in all he was awarded The American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.

Sinbad had his own bunk, he was originally snuck on board by a crewman and was loved by all.

Sinbad most decorated dog!


Mutts are special and they have served us all well in so many different capacities but always with dedication and love.  We know that some love the predictability of a pure bred but we appreciate mutts for their individuality and their contributions and their just plain ability to be our best friends!

Also check out our articles and resources celebrating mixed breed dogs:

Reasons To Get a Mixed Breed Dog Plus Breed Terms Glossary and Free Printable Breed Terms Word Search

Considering a mixed breed dog? Check Out These Fun Mixed Breeds and Test Your Dog Breed Knowledge

DOG QUIZ: Ultimutt dog quiz, how well do you know your mutts? Can you guess these mixed breed dogs?

For more fun quizzes check out check out Motherpuppin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s for more dog fun and tongue and cheek advice for navigating life with your dog!

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Famous Mixed Breed Dog FAQs

What is the most popular mutt?

The most common dog to be bred with other dogs is currently a poodle due to the designer dog breeding of so many different doodle mixes (we have captured 20 of the most popular here) shelters are currently proclaiming a crisis as it relates to Pitbull mixes as they along with senior dogs, are the least likely to be adopted.

What is a mixed breed dog?

Mixed breed dogs are any dog that is not 100% of one dog breed meaning they have one or more dog breeds in their genealogy. This is why we count doodles among mutts even though they are bred specifically to be a mixed breed dog a doodle is not in an of itself a breed. Mixed breed dogs are also called mutts.

Why are dogs called mutts?

The word mutt came from “muttonhead” derived from the word mutton another word for sheep. Sheep are known to not be very intelligent so mutt is actually a negative word which is why there has been a push to refer to mixed breed dogs as mixed breeds as opposed to mutts. We know that mutts are certainly not anything less than a purebred.