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The term mutt is a shortened version of muttonhead. The definition of a muttonhead is a slow-witted, foolish or stupid person and based on the notion that sheep are stupid. Muttonhead was first sheared, pun intended, in 1901 to Mutt. In 1904 it was used as a term of contempt for a horse and then in 1906 used in dogs which is the term must of us are familiar with. Other words that have been used to describe a mutt include mongrel, Heinz 57, cur, tyke, pooch, scruffy dog, mixed breed, crossed breed.
If you read my article last week about cancer awareness then you already know that pure bred dogs are more prone to cancer. Here are a few other advantages to owning a mutt:
1. They are usually healthier. Pure breed dogs are usually bred for confirmation qualities. The American Kennel Club judges dogs based on their appearance and how close they are to that breed’s standards. Because of this, some of the original qualities that the breed was intended for such as health traits and temperament are sometimes bred out of the dog.
2. They can excel at dog sports like Frisbee, flyball, agility and obedience. Mutts can be more energetic. Unfortunately sometimes this is the reason they are relinquished to animal shelters and rescue groups. Until the early 1980s mixed breeds were unable to compete in obedience trials but there are now venues available for mixed breed dogs.
3. Higher intelligence? There are no studies proving that mutts are more intelligent than pure breed dogs and it really depends who you ask. I do know that my dogs are smarter than some high school students.
4. Good reproductive traits. A study was done which proved that mutts were superiors mothers compared to pure bred dogs. They produced more milk and took better care of their babies.
These are all great reasons for owning a mutt. Just a little something to keep you thinking until next week’s article: Do you consider a designer dog a mutt? Do you think people should breed designer dogs and sell them?
Please e-mail me with your questions at ACoffin@aol.com and put “Ask Dr. Anna” in the subject line or mail your questions to 123 West Harrison Guthrie, OK 73044.
Spay and neuter your pets!
“The reason dogs have so many friends is because they wag their tails and not their tongues.” author unknown