/ mutts

8 Reasons to Love a Mutt

Published August 31, 2012 in Love For Earthlings, What's New |
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Mutts are unique

The standard for breeding purebreds calls for breeding puppies whose appearance and temperament are of exactly the same standard and quality every time.

A mixed-breed dog is awesome because without these standards, the dog is intrinsically unique. On top of that, when visiting a shelter to adopt a mutt, the selection of choices is more varied and unique than you’d find at a breeder or pet store.

Mutts are more flexible

Mixed breeds tend to be more flexible and more middle-of-the-road because they are not as strongly programmed as purebreds. Mixed-breeds are thought to adjust more easily to a variety of households and living conditions, whereas purebreds tend to be bred with a specific skill set in mind, such as herding or hunting.

Though domesticated dogs are no longer put in specific situations in which they are expected to perform tasks that they have been bred or programmed for, the breed traits are still in their DNA makeup.

Housetraining is provided

Many mixed-breeds found in shelters did belong to someone before – people who could not keep them due to allergies, or moving homes, or for some other reason. Because of this, many mixed breed shelter dogs come already potty-and-housetrained. A definite plus towards their adoptability!

Mutts have fewer health issues

There are some people who claim mixed-breed dogs are healthier than purebreds. While this has not been proven scientifically, it is known that certain purebreds are more prone to specific illnesses.

Mixed-breed dogs are thought to be less likely to develop these illnesses because even if they are part, say, Golden Retriever, they have fewer Golden Retriever genes than a purebred one.

You can skip the puppy stage

While many fur parents cherish the puppy stage, there are others who just do not have the time and patience to train a new puppy. With a mutt from the shelter, you have the choice of adopting a young or adult dog over a baby. In these cases, the dog’s size and temperament will already be pretty set, too, so there will be no surprises in the future.

Mutts require cheaper start-up costs

Some shelters only require a S$50 administrative fee (on top of the sterilization charges, which are mostly mandatory at shelters) in order for you to adopt a dog. Purebred dogs can run up to and over S$2,000 to $3,500.

Other than that, a mixed-breed from the shelter is likely to have received up-to-date vaccinations, which will save you even more money.

You are saving a life

Even if a purebred puppy does not get adopted (highly unlikely in and of itself), the puppy is already living in the home of a breeder, probably even still with its parents.

A mixed breed dog living at a shelter, however, has a high chance of being euthanized. Adopting one means you are directly saving a life, a fact your grateful new dog will not soon forget.

A Mutt’s uniqueness will rub off on you

A mixed breed dog is for the adventurer in all of us. When purchasing a purebred dog, you are buying a specific temperament that has been honed through strict breeding practices over a long period of time.

With a mixed breed, a puppy especially, the unknown genetic line leaves all that up in the air. Appreciate the spontaneity behind this and that makes you unique by association with the unique mutt you have chosen to adopt.

Adapted from Top Reasons Mutts Are Awesome, which originally appeared on petMD.com

Deconstructing the ‘Designer Dog’

Published August 17, 2012 in Dr Peto Says, What's New |
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While the term “designer dog” is fairly new, there is nothing new about them. Although many people who were new to the dog world saw the pairings of different breeds as a 20th century fad that was worth noting, avid breeders had been crossing purebreds for centuries.

The difference was that earlier hybrids were intended for work purposes – to make better hunting or shepherding dogs, in many cases. The Australian Shepherd is a wonderful example of this, but she is not the only one. Some of our most recognized and entrenched breeds started out as designer dogs. The Bull Terrier (Old English Bulldog+Old English Terrier) became “official” in 1885.

One of the main sticking points may be that hybrid dogs are not recognized by breed clubs, leading some to wonder why anyone would pay the hefty prices, but that has not slowed the still growing movement. There are currently over 500 “designer” breeds recognized by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, and some breeders take their programmes very seriously.

Breed Qualities

Today’s designer dogs are more likely to be companions than work mates. They are bred for appearance, temperament, and often for their hypoallergenic (i.e., non-shedding) qualities. In fact, the Labradoodle , one of the most popular designer dogs in Australia, originated there in the 1970s. Even this breed began as a working dog.

The Labrador, recognized for its excellent guiding abilities, and the Poodle, known for its intelligence, trainability and very low shedding, were paired to fill a need for disabled people who had allergies to dog dander. This initial endeavour turned into a movement that has become a serious world-wide breeding programme. While the Labradoodle is not an officially recognized pure-breed yet, it is well on its way to becoming one.

The Poodle, in part because of its hypoallergenic quality, is one of the most popular breeds for crossbreeding. The Poodle has been the progenitor of the Cocka-Poo (Poodle+Cocker Spaniel), the Yorkie-Poo (Poodle+Yorkshire Terrier), the Pug-a-Poo (Poodle+Pug), and even the Saint Berdoodle (make a guess).

Choosing Responsibly

Just as consumers are willing to hand over their hard-earned dough for the latest gadgetry, they will also fork it over for the newest and cutest puppy breed. That can be both good and bad, since we only want the ethical breeders to continue their programmes, but there will always be opportunists in the ranks taking advantage of the supply and demand chain.

To bring a hybrid to its full potential takes true dedication to the vision and an ethic that supersedes monetary rewards.

You want a breeder who gives serious thought to the compatibility of the pairs, provides proof of the parents’ health and well being, along with the results of genetic testing to screen out genetic problems such as hip dysplasia and eye disorders. In other words, just as with a purebred, you should expect papers with your hybrid puppy too. It is not advisable to breed your animal companions on your own.

Not all hybrids will have the vigour to pass the muster, but you can count on seeing a lot more of them join the ranks of the purebreds. And you will be able to say, “I knew them when…”

Adapted from petMD