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Nuts About Mutts

Flash, a Beagle-Bassett Hound Mix
Flash, a Beagle-Bassett Hound Mix
Photo by Katherine Moss

When that urge to find a canine companion strikes, many people envision themselves acquiring a specific breed, such as the gentle and intelligent Golden Retriever or the playful Jack Russell Terrier. However, there are hundreds of mixed breed dogs out there--the mutts--that are just as deserving of a human's love.

Desirable traits in a dog may include beauty, intelligence, loyalty, playfulness, or even strength and ferocity. A prospective dog owner generally searches for a particular breed with its characteristic personality traits in mind. While it is true that certain breeds possess certain distinguishing traits, it is also true that pure bred dogs can have genetic abnormalities that can have negative effects on their well-being. For example, Bassett Hounds are scent hounds that were originally bred to hunt rabbits. Generations of inbreeding have left them with long, heavy bodies and short legs. These faithful and loving dogs can weigh as much as seventy pounds, but their short legs and long backs contribute to hip dysplasia and arthritis later in life. Adopting a mixed breed dog can provide an owner with the desirable traits of the dog's parent breeds without the potential genetic problems of a pure-bred dog.

For some prospective owners, price can also be an issue. Pure-bred dogs are typically bought through a pet store or local private breeder. Prices range from $200 to $5000, depending on the rarity and needs of the breed. Through an adoption agency, however, a mixed breed dog can be adopted for just the cost of immunizations and the altering procedure.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, adopting a mixed breed dog provides the owner with a special, unique friend unlike any other. A Dalmatian looks like all other Dalmatians, but each Bagle (Beagle-Bassett Hound mix) is unique. So, when considering what sort of dog to buy or adopt, why not go nuts about mutts?