We’re the proud owners of a mutt named Jack. And not only is he a mutt, he’s also a mutty mutt with odd, muttish tendencies. He is unpredictable, nervous, and unable to dig a hole without first putting the thing he wants to bury inside the hole, which only gets in the way of his digging. He consistently bungles the most routine investigations and he barks in Polish. But he doesn’t have hip dysplacia! (In fairness, he might have mange.)
Hip dysplacia, like the bizarre smiles of European aristocracy, is the side effect of generations of inbreeding common to purebreds like the Royal Schnauzer and the Benedict Cumberbatch.
Because of this and other science-based reasons, Jack has made me decidedly pro-mutt. If you’re considering a dog for your happy household, here are 5 reasons I recommend picking up a mutt and skipping the purebred.
1. You can blame things on mysterious heritage
When you get a purebred dog, its behavioral tendencies are already well documented. So if it misbehaves, you’re clearly a bad dog owner who shouldn’t have shelled $600 on a Cumberbatch in the first place.
When you have a mutt, on the other hand, it can act as crazy as it wants. As you restrain the mutt from sure attack, people will say “is it a rescue?” and give you a pat on the back before they realize what a bad dog owner you are. Trust me, I know from experience.
Jack is known to lunge at small children, for example. But who’s to say his great-grandmarm wasn’t bred for that very purpose? Intriguing!
2. Purebreds are the product of bioengineering
Purebreeds are the product of selective breeding and they’re cultivated by humans. Do you know what that means, in practice? It means that instead of just adopting the millions of mutts who spend their lives in little cages, grown-ups with email addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” find each other on Craigslist, swap dog photos, arrange a meeting point off a highway in Pennsylvania, and then share sandwiches while two specific dogs get down to business. The owners of the male dog get paid a stud fee and the owners of the female dog sell those pure pups at a premium while the poor mutts in cages think about things like mange and curse their free-wheeling ancestors.*
Isn’t that evil-ish? The people who do it aren’t doing anything bad on purpose, but isn’t it kinda bad? If mutts knew English and you explained that humans were swapping dog photos with strangers instead of adopting them, boy, would they be upset, mange permitting. Sometimes the mange makes it hard to focus.
*Maybe it doesn’t really happen that way. This part isn’t based on science.
3. Crazy dogs are good dogs
All mutts are a little unhinged. That means they do hilarious things like bark at fire hydrants and join in human hugs. These things make you laugh and chuckle and they make life a little less serious and routine.
Now that we don’t really use them for herding or chasing down ducks, isn’t that what dogs are for?
Bonus tip: If you want an animal who behaves predictably, go with the cat. And if you find the cat too unpredictable, I recommend a new set of living room furniture, which can really spice things up depending on the pattern and fabric.
Extra bonus tip!: Never look a mutt in its eyes.
4. Mutts are already here, purebreds need to be created
I can see the purebred logic when applied to cars. There are millions of cars out there, but I’d rather drive one that’s brand new. But cars are different than dogs.
What makes them different? Odd question. Well, let’s see…instead of lungs cars have “engines.” Instead of guzzling gas, dogs “guzzle” oxygen. Dogs play catch, cars are driven places. Cars are driven by people, dogs are driven by a desire to eat bones and chew stuff, and we need to talk about how you’re using the word “driven” there. The list goes on.
It does? OK, well, dogs “sleep” at night while cars “get parked.” Instead of a brain, like dogs have, cars lack a basic central nervous system. Dogs sweat through their mouths while cars have complex exhaust pipes. Cars need a “key” to start while dogs just need you to walk into the room.
But the point is this: if cars had hearts and brains, buying a shiny new Cabriolet would not be the right thing to do. Go to the junkyard, pick out an old Subaru with a good personality and maybe just a slight case of mange, grab the keys for a small donation, and drive that Subaru to a better life.
5. Mutts appreciate it (this would make a good t-shirt)
As Tolstoy famously wrote, all adopted mutts are happy mutts. You’ll never hear a mutt say “My word, Eleanor, this is NOT what I had in mind when I was conceived at a farm outside Cleveland!” Unlike eloquent purebreds such as Cumberbatch, mutts can’t talk.
But if they could, here’s what they’d say: “hey human let’s go play give me bones who’s that stranger get him out of here i am so scared stop touching me what is that a ball give it give it give it how do you bury things anyway give me more of that dog food stuff when you have a chance can you take me outside what if i get in that bed for a quick sec i don’t see the big deal why does the mailman still think he can come so close remember when that person said they were a dog person ha ha ha i taught him a lesson i’m sorry if i embarrassed you it is probably the result of my heritage which is that i am a mutt tracing back to the beginning of dogs and we just run around and bark and eat stuff and get tired and hang out with you humans let me get a little closer you are the best except for other dogs and treats and running please don’t approach me from the side i get a little jumpy ok naptime.”
Something like that.
I have nothing against purebreds because purebreds are awesome mange-free dogs.
All I’m trying to say is this: let’s get all those mangy mutts adopted before we start corresponding with Tom and Deb. Let’s shut down those assembly lines until we get all those sad Subarus in garages.
Who’s with me?