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Of Mutts and Men
Whether you refer to him as a "Heinz 57", "Mutt" or "Crossbreed", there are hundreds of thousands of these "just a dog" mixes throughout the United States. 

Keep in mind that choosing to add a dog, whether purebred or "Mutt", is a significant commitment of time, resources and money.  While the return on your investment is significant, you must remember that this is a lifetime commitment.  

Don't think that choosing a mixed breed means you don't have to do your "research".  While a mixed breed dog isn't as predictable as a purebred, you still need to know what to expect from the "shepherd" in your shepherd mix .  

Now, on to the advantages of adding mixed breed dog to your family. 

  • They're easily available and unfortunately, in plentiful supply.  A visit to your local humane society will provide an overwhelming selection of the products of random breeding.  (It's estimated that 70-80 percent of shelter populations are mixed breeds.)   

    A trip to the shelter should be a pre-requisite for buying any dog (or cat for that matter) if for no other reason than to see the damage not neutering/ spaying a pet can cause. 
        
  • Mixed breeds are "affordable" to acquire. Prices range from "free" to less than $100 if your choose to adopt a dog at your local humane society.  

    A dog from the humane society has already had a general health exam, shots, worming and- in better shelters- has already been neutered.  Shelter dogs are, by far, the best bargain around. 

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However, being of mixed parentage offers:

  • No health benefits 
    "Mixed breeds are healthier than purebreds" is a myth).  The inheritance of structural problems such as hip dysplasia is complex and can multiply through the generations; thus mixed breed dogs are also potential victims.  

    Unlike purebreds, mixed breeds are rarely if ever screened for genetic abnormalities, so there is no way to avoid the painful and expensive genetic diseases that plague pure bred dogs.
       
  • No temperament advantages 
    "Mixed breeds aren't as high-strung and are friendlier than purebreds," is a myth.  Mixed breeds can be high-strung, laid back, friendly or vicious.
       
  • No longevity advantages 
    "Mixed breeds live longer than purebreds," is another myth.
       
  • No promises 
    Mixed breeds are by their nature, very unpredictable as to size at maturity, temperament, or coat type. 
       
  • No economic advantages 
    Aside from initial cost, it's as expensive to feed, house, medicate and maintain a mixed breed as a purebred dog.
       
  •  is still a commitment lasting the life of the dog.

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The truth is, mixed breed dogs can be plagued by genetic disease, be too hyper, too hairy, too smelly, too aggressive or too hard to train just as they can be sweet, submissive, eager to please and beautiful.  Unlike the purebred puppy from a reputable breeder whose parentage is carefully chosen, it's just harder to predict which mixed breed puppy will grow up with the traits you adore.   

Read more on how to choose a mixed breed dog.