5 FACTS ABOUT DOGS
Those of us who have a lovable mutt know that they can be the most loyal companions. While loving on our canine pal, we occasionally ponder the breeds that combined to create our perfect sidekick. In most cases, we will never know. You do know their favorite treat, their love of car rides, and their ability to take up an entire king-sized bed. Whether you love a mutt or a purebred, did you know these 5 facts about dogs?
The word “mutt” is derived from the term muttonhead describing the mental slowness of sheep. In the 19th century, the term came to be applied to people. Eventually, the word was shortened to mutt. Today the word “mutt” also applies to dogs with mixed or uncertain pedigree. Their mixed status doesn’t fit in any recognized pedigree and often was not the result of intentional breeding. Despite the negative use of the word, some dog owners use the term affectionately to describe their canine companion and often use it as a badge of honor since many mutts are adopted or rescued animals that are an integral part of their family.
If you’re curious about your dog’s lineage, doggie DNA tests offer you an opportunity to find out. Perhaps you adopted a dog where only the mother’s breed was certain. A DNA test will help you determine the breed or breeds of the father. Does that curly tail on your mutt make you think he’s part Rhodesian Ridgeback? How about your pup’s ability to smell bacon smoking from miles away? Or does your little yapper herd your family through the house and yard? DNA testing might confirm your suspicions.
You can also test for genetic disorders. Dog DNA tests run between $99-$200 with the least expensive ones only providing genetic breed information. How accurate are they? When it comes to identifying breeds, the more genetic markers the company searches the more accurate the test is. Another factor in accuracy is how large their reference database is for comparison. Identifying genetic markers for a disease is much more accurate than identifying lineage. Tests on the market advertise a range of 90-98 percent accurate. So if you’re super curious about why your pup has a thick fur coat and loves being outdoors in the winter, DNA testing might be an option for you.
What Makes A Mutt?
There is a difference between a mutt and a crossbred dog. The genetic makeup of a mutt includes 3 or more breeds. A crossbred animal is a cross between two purebred parents. Though one parent of a mutt may be purebred, the other parent was either a crossbreed or a mutt.
Mutt vs. Purebred
The reasons for their breeding range far and wide and fit into seven major dog groups: Working, Herding, Toy, Hound, Sporting, Non-sporting, and Terrier. Through breeding, the desirable characteristics are multiplied and enhanced. While a mutt might also feature certain characteristics such as strength, webbed feet, or herding instincts, these traits are less pronounced and appear unreliable in future generations.
Mutts and purebreds face different types of illness, too. Purebred animals are more likely to carry genetic traits that make them susceptible to joint and stomach issues, cancers, and lung conditions. Mutts are more likely to face infections early in their life due to shelter conditions or being strays. On the balance, though, veterinarians tend to agree that mutts live longer and face fewer long-term health issues.
Many purebreds have inherent traits that may cause issues if your lifestyle doesn’t fit the dog. Herding or protective instincts such as barking may not be suitable where you live. If you are away from your home a lot, breeds with high energy will not thrive in your home. These traits are multiplied in purebred animals. A mutt tends to have a more mild temperament and may fit more lifestyles and some purebred animals.
If you have allergies, selecting a purebred dog that is bred to reduce shedding and dander is easier than choosing a mutt with unknown breeds. Certain hair types also shed less.
Admit it. You’ve discussed your dog’s pooping habits. But did you know that a study was published in 2013 in the journal Frontiers in Zoology that determined dogs prefer to poop in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field? The more calm the Earth’s magnetic field, the more likely a dog is to align their body north to south during potty breaks.