Dog Lifestyle, Pets and Family

Top Reasons to Get a Mixed Breed Dog: Breed Terms Glossary & Dog Word Search

July 30, 2023 is National Mutt Day a day to celebrate mixed breed dogs or as some call All American Dogs. To further that celebration we thought we would highlight some of our favorite reasons to get a mixed breed dog as published in our earlier article Considering a mixed breed dog? Check Out These Fun Mixed Breeds and Test Your Dog Breed Knowledge.

Dark brown and white dog looking into the camera and panting.

While lets be clear at The Popular Pets we love all dogs and dog breeds whether they are pure breeds or pedigreed dogs, hybrid dogs, designer dogs, mixed breeds, cross breeds and more with all of our hearts and we are not that big into labelling and categorizing much, including dogs.  However, in the dog world (like most pets) dogs are labelled. They are labeled by their dog genetics and breed which are supposed to indicate and drive the dogs established breed traits and breed characteristics.

Blonde Shephard like dog on hard surface with a woman in jeans and white shirt.
There are so many benefits to having a mixed breed dog

For some, a purebred provides some sort of certainty and predictability. However, there are so many benefits to mixed breed dogs or mutts, as some say, that we wanted to highlight some of the benefits of mixed breed dogs that you may not be aware of.

Don’t worry if you are confused about all of this dog breed terminology, we have a quick breed terminology glossary at the end of this post.

Reasons to get a Mixed Breed Dog

1) Helping End Dog Shelter Overcrowding.

According to Pawsome Advice annually, 6.5 million animals enter US shelters and while around 3.2 million of those shelter animals are adopted each year about three million shelter animals are euthanized in the US every year.

An estimated 80 percent of dogs who find themselves in the shelter system are not pure bred. Adopting a mixed breed dog is an excellent way to contribute to shelter’s efforts to find forever homes for dogs.

We often partner with Best Friends Animal Society, an amazing shelter that hopes to end the killing of pets by 2026 to create helpful content for you.

2) Less Dog Vet Care.

Vet in a white jacket looking into a brown dogs mouth to look for teeth issues.
Some believe mixed breed dogs require less vet care

As we discussed in our article on Considering a Mixed Breed dog?, although we know and say this at the risk of making a complete and utter over generalization: mixed breed dogs do tend to be healthier due to their good genetic diversity reducing veterinary care costs.

The typical mixed breed may be less at risk of the hip dysplasia issues common to a Labrador retriever or the overheating of a purebred bulldog resulting in the need for less vet care.

In short, many believe that adopting a mixed breed dog may mean fewer health issues and fewer visits to the veterinarian. This opinion is based on the belief that dogs who are bred for specific traits are more likely to inherit a genetic disorder or genetic predisposition for certain health problems, while dogs with a complex gene pool are less likely to develop illnesses which target specific breeds.

Many breeds have become known for common chronic problems like hip dysplasia, this is because that genetic disorder is being bred into the genes of the specific dog.

3) Reduced Cost of Dog Purchase

German wirehaired pointer dog sitting on a red chair looking at camera.
Well bred purebred dogs, like this Wirehaired Pointer will cost far more than shelter dogs

Adoption costs are far less than those of purchasing a purebred dog from a reputable breeder. In one of our articles, How Much Does a Baby German Shepherd Cost? German Shepherd Questions Answered from an Expert Breeder, we learned that baby German Shepherd can cost thousands of dollars and the importance of spending that money with a quality dog breeder to get a high quality purebred from purebred parents. While, a Shelter dog will come with a small adoption fee between $50-$500 to pay for the care the dog has had prior to adoption.

Added to that cost savings many mixed breed dogs from shelters or rescue organizations are up to date on their vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and may even be microchipped.

4) Dog DNA Tests Now Do Provide Predictability.

As we discussed before, finding and falling in love with a specific breed does allow for some predictability. You know, with great likelihood, that your basset hound will love to do scent work and will have a certain energy level. However, now with dog DNA tests you can test your dogs DNA and remove the guess work to determine what breed you have fallen in love with. At the same time, you can see how those breed traits affect your dog’s personality and looks.

A picture of a small mixed breed dog with a yellow graphic indicating this is a dog quiz.
Our Ultimate Dog Quiz contains all of the answers for mixed breed dogs from dog DNA tests!

5) Added Mystique of a Mixed Breed Dog.

As the Dog Tipper Blog so aptly put it in their article on National Mutt Day “mixed breeds–real mixes of mixes–have a special charm all their own. Maybe it’s the wonder of having a truly one-of-a-kind dog, one that’s not going to be confused with anyone else’s dog. Maybe it’s the mystery of wondering just what breeds lie in your dog’s family tree. Or perhaps it’s looking in that young dog’s face and wondering just what he’ll become.”

“Mixed breed dogs remind us that we’re all individuals. Although behavior might be more predictable in purebreds, remember that even within a purebred litter you’ll find variety. (Just think: are you just like your own siblings? Probably not.)”

Dark brown and white dog looking into the camera and panting.
Mixed breed dogs remind us that we are all a diverse set of individuals

You may find the love of your life in a mixed breed dog and you will rely less on known breed traits and maybe, just maybe, rely more on instinct.

Dog Breed Terms Glossary

Purebred Dogs

These are simply dogs that have registration papers that indicate both parents were registered and of the same breed. It has no bearing on the quality of the dog but simply means that particular canine is only one breed of dog.

Mixed Breed Dog

Mixed breed is a different name for what is essentially a mutt, a dog of different breeds. The mixed breed dog’s parents were not registered and both parents are not of the same breed. These types of dogs come in a variety of coat types and colors, shapes, and sizes.

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States.


Sometimes a negative connotation but a mutt is nothing different than a designer breed dog or a mixed breed dog, the parents were not registered and both parents are not of the same breed. The only thing predictable is the unique look your dog will have. Mutts can of course come in all sizes, small size, and be large dogs.

The name mutt actually does have a negative connotation coming ultimately from a reference to sheep “mutton” and their lack of intelligence.

Designer Dog

Like the many doodles See our article on 20 of the most popular doodles, designer dogs like doodles, which are simply poodle crosses, intentional mixing of breeds and is sometimes called a “hybrid” dog.

These types of dogs are created by intentionally combining existing breeds to form new ones. Most existing dog breeds were created in this way and likely are hybrids. Many dog breeds are so ancient, though, their origin is obscure.

Small blonde dog a poodle cross standing on the grass.
Mixed breed dogs like doodle mixes are considered a designer dog

Large Breed Dog

A dog is considered a large breed dog if it is at least 50 pounds (sometimes 70 pounds) and has a height of around 24 inches.

Medium-Sized Dog

A medium sized dog is a dog that is above 10 inches, the maximum height of a small dog and smaller than a large breed dog which means a medium sized dog is less than 24 inches. A Siberian Husky is an example of a medium sized dog.

Small Dog

A small dog is a dog weighing around 30 pounds (14 kg) or less and standing less than 10 inches at the shoulder.

Giant Breed Dog

A giant dog breed is a breed of dog of gigantic proportions, sometimes described as a breed whose weight exceeds 45 kilograms. Breeds sometimes described as giant breeds include the Great Dane, Newfoundland, St. Bernard and Irish Wolfhound.

Hybrid Breed

Is the intentional mixing of breeds and is sometimes called a “designer” dog. These types of dogs are created by intentionally combining existing breeds to form new ones. Most existing dog breeds were created in this way and likely are hybrids.

Many are so ancient, though, their origin is obscure. Some hybrid breeders are dedicated to establishing the variety as a true breed, like the various doodle mixes, to create a predictable type, working with generations of dogs.

Pedigree Dogs

A pedigree dog is one that has parents which are both of the same breed. These parents must be registered with The Kennel Club or with another club or society.

Therapy Dogs

A therapy dog is a dog that provides therapy services to individuals in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or other facilities focused on care. Therapy dogs are not any particular breed but typically have extremely great temperaments to enable them to provide therapy support services.

Therapy dogs are different than emotional support dogs and service dogs.

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing involves examining your DNA, the chemical database that carries instructions for your body’s functions. Genetic testing can reveal changes (mutations) in your genes that may cause illness or disease. Dog breeders perform genetic testing to determine if there is a propensity for a genetic disease of a dog in their breeding program.

Designer Breeds

A great family dog can come in many shapes and sizes as we discuss in our article Dog Breeds that Families Love and many designer dog breeders are attempting to answer the call of the needs of families with the intentional combining of existing breeds to form new ones which may become a sort of breed all their own like those of the doodle craze we discuss in our article What is with the Doodle: 20 Doodle Mixes

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 some of our favorites include:

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering

It goes without saying that given that 80% of shelter dogs are mixed breed dogs even despite all of their good traits and the many reasons why we should adopt mixed breed dogs that there is utmost importance to spaying and neutering your dog. When we celebrated spay and neuter month earlier this year we compiled a list of spay and neuter clinics and more information about spaying and neutering your dog.

Check out our other fun resources to celebrate National Mutt Day

Free Printable Dog Breed Terms Crossword Puzzle

The Ultimutt Dog Quiz: Test your dog breed knowledge by trying to guess the breed of these six dogs in the dog quiz

Motherpuppin Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s a tongue and cheek guide to everything dog including tons of mixed breed talk and more quizzes!

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

Reasons to Get a Mixed Breed Dog FAQs

Why should I get a mixed breed dog?

Getting a mixed breed dog has many positive benefits including greater genetic diversity which may reduce vetcare, helping to prevent euthanasia and emptying of shelters, less expensive and more individuality and now with DNA testing also predictability for breed traits. Mixed breed dogs have a ton of love to give and can make great family dogs.

Are mixed breed dogs more trainable?

Mixed breed dogs can be very trainable than other dogs, whether or not they are more trainable, despite one study, will depend on the breed mix and the dog breed you are comparing the mixed breed to, for instance, a mixed breed of a lab cross will be definitively more trainable than a terrier mix which are known for their hard headedness. However, we could not help but note that mixed breed dogs made up many of the dogs in our Amazing Dog Series, including many scent and conservation working dogs denoting their trainability under real life circumstances.

Are mixed breed dogs good pets?

Mixed breed dogs make excellent pets! Of course, the type of mix will drive some of the characteristics of your dog but mixed breeds like 16 year old Zooey rescued from a kill shelter by us at age 2 years we believe that mixed breed dogs can make excellent pets with training, love and socialization.