Blue merle mutt trotting
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Out of all the dog breeds, mixed-breed dogs have the least identifiable characteristics. Unlike the Golden Retriever that’s widely recognized for its color and fur or the Dalmatian that’s distinct for its prominent spots, mixed-breed dogs, popularly called mutts, do not possess their own trademarks. Instead of having a distinct color or coat, the Mutt is unique in its own way. It does not only offer loyalty and companionship, but it also provides you variety as it comes in different colors, shapes and sizes. Designed in a unique way, they are living proofs that there is beauty in diversity.

In addition to that, mixed-breed dogs outshine pure-breeds as they have their own distinct gene pool. With the genes of their parents combined, mixed-breed dogs are stronger in character as they are a fusion of two beautiful breeds. In the like manner, they are mild and loyal companions that are the perfect addition to any household. While they serve to love and protect their humans, they are also calm and less impulsive in nature. Indeed, mutts are gloriously beautiful in their own way.

Breed characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health IssuesAbove Average
GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsAbove Average

Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed Dogs
Weight: Unidentifiable
Life Span: 8 to 15 years on an average

A mixed-breed greatly differs to its pure-bred counterparts not only physically, but internally as well. While the latter has a set of specialized skills and personality, the Mutt can surprise you in a number of ways as there is no dog book out in the market today that can clearly define its overall characteristics. As aforementioned, the Mutt is unique and beautiful in its own simple way.

Perfect for people who love exploring, the Mutt is an ideal addition to any household as it can offer unparalleled loyalty and companionship. Plus, the great thing about adopting a Mutt is that you can live a life full of surprises. Instead of sticking to the dog’s manual, you can learn about its different characteristics every single day, and find joy in it. So if you don’t mind adding a bit of mystery into your life as a pet owner, a Mutt is the perfect choice for you.

Lastly, about ¾ of dogs found in shelters are mixed-breed dogs. Hence, deciding to welcome a Mutt in your family would mean a lot since you are changing a dog’s life. As we all know, unlike being in shelters, a dog can receive its much-needed love and attention in a home that can provide it more than just decent food and shelter.

With the help of people like you who have a big heart, the lives of mutts can tremendously change for the better. And hopefully, in the future, people would treat pure and mixed-breed dogs with fairness and equality because regardless of the breed, we, as humans, are the best caretakers of dogs and other animals.

Main Highlights
  • Unlike other dog breeds, the Mutt has no specific main highlight as its care and personality greatly depend on its origins and lineage. However, just like any dog, the Mutt should not be judged according to how it looks like on the outside. Instead, owners must be willing to explore on its unique characteristics as this is the only way they could give their pet companion enough care, affection and attention. Also, pet owners should always supervise child-pet interaction as each dog has its own temperament.
  • Taking care of a Mutt is like opening a box full of chocolates; it’s full of adventures and surprises. Hence, owners must always be open to new discoveries every day.
Breed History

At present times, people give utmost importance to a dog’s breed and lineage. However, this wasn’t the case in the earliest years as the first people in the world really didn’t care about branding a dog and lining it up to the ‘most expensive’ and ‘cheapest’ dog category. Truth be told, a variation of dog breeds existed in the past, but people didn’t really pay much attention to the dog breed as all that mattered was a dog’s loyalty and companionship.

Nonetheless, things changed the same way that preferences to dog breeds already made an impact on one’s decision to adopt a dog. Pure-bred dogs were labeled along with one’s capability to distinguish a pure-bred dog from a Mutt, and this basically sums up the origins of a mixed-breed dog.

In terms of identifying the lineage of a Mutt, it can be quite difficult to truly identify a mixed-breed’s heritage, especially if the Mutt had no pure-bred ancestors. However, owners of a Mutt that has slightly recognizable characteristics can learn about the pet’s characteristics and personality by researching on its possible mixes of breed. For instance, if the dog greatly bears a resemblance to Collies, owners can look up on this dog breed’s personality to get insights on how the overall characteristics of the Mutt.


As mentioned earlier, the Mutt has no distinct size since it can be a mix of a variety of breeds that differ in size and characteristics. Simply put, the mutt can be small, medium or large in size, depending on its origins.

Personality and Character

In comparison to pure-breeds, a mixed-breed’s personality is unpredictable in nature as it is highly dependent on the mix of its lineage, along with other factors such as environment, training and early socialization. Just like any other dog breed, it is highly encouraged for owners to provide early training and nurture the dog in a positive environment.

For owners who would like to take a proactive approach in deciphering their Mutt’s lineage, it can be possible to pre-determine the dog’s personality if it is truly a fusion of distinguishable breeds. For example, if the dog breed is a mix of a Pitbull and another dog breed, owners can research on some of the characteristics of a Pitbull, along with its most common health conditions, so the dog will be given proper care and attention.

Owners who are taking care of mixed-breed dogs from unselected breeds, on the other hand, can find it extremely challenging to pinpoint the dog’s lineage. Hence, data on its personality and characteristics can be almost impossible to find.

The bottom line is that personalities can differ from one mixed-breed dog to another. Therefore, owners should always be open to learning about their dog’s personality one day at a time. Unique inside and out, the mixed-breed dog opens its owners to a life full of amazing wonders and surprises.

Health and Potential Problems

In general, mixed-breed dogs are healthier and less prone to a number of dog-related medical conditions since their gene pool is wider and more versatile. Unlike pure-breeds that are vulnerable to specific ailments, their genes can be healthier and more adaptive to differing environmental conditions.

Nevertheless, this does not guarantee that a mixed-breed dog won’t suffer from medical conditions, most especially if its parents are not healthy. The only thing that owners can do to secure the welfare of their dog is to research on its lineage if they can.

If you are considering a mixed-breed dog, below are some of the common medical conditions you must watch out for:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A well-known medical condition amongst dogs, hip dysplasia refers to the condition where the dog’s thigh bone does not fit into the joint of the hips. While this may not affect dogs at a younger age, mixed-breed dogs become more vulnerable to this disease as they age. Hip dysplasia can either be symptomatic or asymptomatic. To confirm whether the dog is suffering from this condition or not, owners should consult their veterinarian and ask for an X-ray screening.
  • Allergies: Allergic reactions are also common amongst different breeds. Basically, there are three types of allergies which range from a food allergy, contact allergy and airborne allergy. Since there are a variety of causative agents, it is essential for owners to determine the cause of the allergic reaction before resorting to a particular treatment.
  • Ear Infection: Ear infection can be traced through regular inspection. Commonly, it affects dogs with long ears, but this does not mean that dogs with small ears are exempted from this condition. To prevent ear infection, owners must regularly check and clean their dog’s ears.
Care Features

Specific care features for a mixed-breed dog are difficult to outline, especially since these dogs come in a variety of shape, sizes and characteristics. However, basic care features such as adequate food, shelter and attention are necessary to maintain the dog’s overall well-being.

In addition to a dog’s basic needs, owners must also make room for mental stimulation and physical exercise. Aside from regular bathroom breaks, regular 30 to 60-minute walks are also crucial to keep the dog healthy inside and out. Owners who have a spacious and well-fenced backyard are encouraged to keep their dog off-leash regularly so it can run freely since running and jogging are crucial in keeping the bones healthy.

Lastly, it is integral for pet owners to raise their dog in a nurturing environment. Aside from positive interaction, they must also clothe their dog with love and affection.

Feeding Schedule

A mixed-breed dog’s daily food requirement highly depends on its size, weight and level of activity. In terms of feeding, owners are highly advised to divide food into two equal servings. To help you get an idea of how much food a dog most likely requires, below is an outline of amount per serving depending on a dog’s weight:

  • Over 150 pounds: 2 to 3 cups per serving
  • 100 to 150 pounds: 2 to 2.5 cups per serving
  • 80 to 90 pounds: 1.5 to 2 cups per serving
  • 60 to 70 pounds: 1.25 to 1.5 cups per serving
  • 40 to 60 pounds: ¾ to 1.25 cups per serving
  • 30 to 40 pounds: ¾ to 1 cup per serving
  • 20 to 30 pounds: about ¾ cup per serving
  • 10 to 15 pounds: ¼ to ½ cup per serving
  • Less than 10 pounds: 1/8 to ¼ cup per serving

Note: While these servings provide you an outline of how much food your dog needs, it still depends on your dog’s level of activity. As a general rule, it is best to provide your dog food twice a day than leaving the food within its reach every day. By serving regular amounts, you are able to measure your dog’s food intake on a daily basis.  Also, don’t forget to buy high-grade dog food so your pet companion can get all the nutrition it needs.

Coat, Color and Grooming

Mutts, as aforementioned, can come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Along with this, the coat can also greatly differ from one mixed-breed to another. To give you an idea on how to take care of your pet companion, below are some of the most prominent coatings, along with their proper care:

  • Short Coating: For short-coated mutts, owners should brush their pet companion on a weekly basis to get rid of unwanted shedding on furniture sets and beddings. A rubber curry brush is ideal for this coating type.
  • Long, High-Shedding Coating: Dogs with long coats that are vulnerable to shedding should be combed with a pin brush once a week or as needed.
  • Long, Low-Shedding Coating: Just like dogs with long, high-shedding coating, mixed-breed dogs with long, low-shedding coating can also take advantage of a pin brush. Just like regular hair, it necessitates brushing. The only difference is, owners only need to brush it about every 5 weeks or so.

Aside from brushing the coating, owners should also trim their pet companion’s hair as needed. Also, regular tooth brushing and nail trimming sessions should take in place to keep the dog well-groomed. To establish a healthy foundation in grooming, owners must start early so their pet companions would get used to these positive grooming habits.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Children and pet compatibility are highly dependent on the dog’s genetic make-up and early experiences. While there is no way to tell whether a mixed-breed dog’s temperament is bad or good, early socialization and training can teach the dog how to properly socialize with children and other pets in the household. As an owner, positive reinforcement is crucial in ensuring that dog is equipped with the knowledge and skills to socialize with humans and other pet companions.

Lastly, children must be taught how to positively interact with their pet companions. Just like other dog breeds, mixed-breed dogs can have their own level of tolerance and temperament, so children should avoid tail pulling and other bad habits. When a child interacts with any pet companion, adults should be vigilant in providing supervision to avoid unwanted accidents.

A mixed-dog breed may not have a particular ancestry or lineage, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve a place in your household. If you are seeking for a loyal pet companion, you can always find joy in taking care of a mixed-breed dog since it has all the qualities that you are looking for in a companion.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.