Fran Buell, professional trainer
Bare Paw dog Obedience
When talking about different dog breeds, we are all somewhat familiar with the terms purebred and pedigree. What we do not realize is the most popular canine in America does not have a pedigree nor is it purebred. America's dog is the "mutt." These are the black dog, white dog or Benji-type dog that we as owners think are the greatest dogs in the world. They are friendly, smart, healthy and even-tempered. Sometimes people are afraid of these second-hand dogs, but this should not be the case, as most of these canines approach you with the wag, wag, wag of the tail and lick, lick, lick of the tongue. They are the epitome of friendliness and cute to boot.
Mutt is the generic term covering many popular types of dogs. These dogs are divided into two general categories - mongrels, mixed breeds and mixes; and cross-breeds, crosses, hybrids and curs. Owners of mixed-breed dogs are proud of their mutts. Many are happy and flattered to have them called mutts as long as the "Oh, he's only a mutt" is not used. Mutts are the original dog who befriended man and the dog from which all current breeds were developed. The dog world is made of mutts and dogs who wish they were. If allowed, after several generations, purebred dogs would revert to the original brown dog.
There are no shows in which to show off the finest mutts, no certificates of authenticity and no PR person to endorse and advertise these versatile canines. The Heinz 57 dog is just loved by people for what they are: They are just our dogs.
Mutts are common in our society, but what many people do not realize, they are oftentimes uncommonly brave. Many mutts have received awards for bravery and valor for saving the life or lives of humans. Bailey, a Chesapeake Bay retriever-Lab mix that saved his owner from a raging bull who was charging.
Blackie, a dog of questionable lineage, alerted his family to a house on fire across the street from his home, then two weeks later, when his owners' house burst into flames, he ran from room to room, nuzzling and pulling the hair of the 10 occupants of the house, giving everyone time to escape.
Tango, a mixed-breed collie kept a mad mother cow from killing his owner by biting the cow on the cheek and not letting go until his owner could crawl away with only a broken rib and punctured lung.
These are just a few examples of the loyalty, bravery and valor of the loveable mutt.
The American Kennel Club has a top 10 list of favorite standards of dogs based solely on the amount of registrations. This features, from the top down, the Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, cocker spaniel, German shepherd, poodle, golden retriever, beagle, dachshund, Shetland sheepdog and chow.
The 10 most popular dogs in America from the top down are: the brown dog, the shepherd mix, the black dog, the poodle mix, the golden white dog, the Benji-type dog, the big bad fad dog, the cock-a-who, the UFO dog (unidentified furry object), and the sausage dog.
To learn more about this popular dog, check out the book "Mutts: America's Dog" by Brian Kilcommons and Michael Capuzzo. In it you will find a variety of mixed breed descriptions, and who knows, maybe your favorite mutt is among them.
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy training.