Why I Love Mixed-Breed Dogs

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Because I have many friends and colleagues that are involved with dogs, I have a separate address book for just those people (yes, it is a paper book). Each letter of the alphabet is separated by a quote about a dog. My favorite one is “Never judge a dog’s pedigree by the kind of books he does not chew” – Unknown.

This quote is close to my heart because all of the dogs I have owned have been mutts adopted from a shelter. Although I can see the beauty and appreciate the lineage of purebred dogs, my heart has been captured over and over again by the mutt. I do pay attention to the prominent breeds within the dogs I choose. Each breed brings its own mixture of personality traits, health issues, and looks. My heart dog Sophie was a German Shepard Dog/Doberman mix. My family had German Shepards when I was a child and I have always been drawn to them, so it made sense to gravitate to them when it was time to get my own dog.
Before bringing a second dog into the family, I researched which breeds would fit with her personality, age, and temperament. I felt that a Great Dane or Labrador Retriever would be a good match, so I started my search. It took a couple of months, but I saw a Great Dane/Lab mix up for adoption at my local shelter, so I took it as a sign, and off Sophie and I went to meet him – and ultimately bring him home. Fast forward several years and I had to say goodbye to my Sophie. I knew that I couldn’t bring home another German Shepard Dog. It would have hurt too much. I started my breed research again and decided that I would keep my eye out for a Great Pyrenees (My local shelter gets them in periodically, and I had spent some time with them while volunteering) or Irish Wolfhound (gorgeous, but thought I would never own).  And would you believe there was a female mix of the two when I went for my volunteer shift next week at the local shelter? Yeah, she’s at my house now.
I’ve been told that you don’t always get the dog you want, but you get the dog you need. I think I have been blessed with getting both. I would have missed out on having the dogs I needed if I only had eyes for purebred dogs. If you have room in your life and in your heart for a dog (or another one), keep your options open by watching out for that special mix. Do your research for breed traits and check your local shelters for the breed that fits your life the best. Oh, and by the way, as I look through my address book that tells me not to judge a dog’s pedigree by the kind of books he or she does not chew, I should tell you that both covers are chewed off and the very page I’m looking at has tell-tale teeth marks. The culprit is my Shenanigans pictured above. Gotta love dogs!
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.
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