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Mayday for Mutts 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on May 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

mutt dog in the autumn time

Mayday for Mutts 2024: What It Is & When It’s Celebrated

Mayday for Mutts is celebrated on the first Sunday of every May. This holiday is designed to celebrate mixed dog breeds and encourages adoptions from animal shelters, where many wonderful dogs need and deserve a shot at an excellent life.

The History of Mayday for Mutts

The term “mutt” originally referred to dogs with no specific breed or lineage to trace. Today, they are more commonly known as “mixed breeds.” The holiday was started by Karen Derrico, author of the book Unforgettable Mutts: Pure of Heart Not of Breed. The holiday coincides with “Be Kind to Animals Week,” which is also celebrated on the first Sunday in May and was implemented by the American Humane Society in 1915.

Derrico’s intent for the holiday is to bring awareness to the importance and satisfaction of adopting a mutt or mixed breed, as mixed breeds often take a backseat to purebred dogs. Mutts are affectionate, loyal, and loving and make excellent companions without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a purebred dog from a breeder.

Nowadays, designer breeds are taking the world by storm. Designer breeds, also known as hybrids, are a mix of two separate purebred dogs to produce extraordinary dogs with excellent traits and characteristics from both parent breeds. For example, Goldendoodles are a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Designer breeds are often expensive (although not as much as purebreds), whereas mixed breeds are generally much cheaper.

black mixed-breed dog (mutt) sitting on the stairs in the park
Image Credit: Karolsejnova, Shutterstock

Benji Helped Popularize Mutts

In 1974, a mixed-breed mutt named Higgins played the part of Benji on the Big Screen, and he stole the hearts of millions. Higgins (Benji) was labeled as a Border Terrier but thought to be a mix of a Cocker Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, and possibly a Miniature Poodle but could have had other breeds mixed in. This adorable little mutt came from an animal shelter in Burbank, California, and he helped the public realize just what amazing dogs mutts can be.

What Is the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America?

The Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America (M.B.D.C.A.) was founded in 1978. The club began holding shows for mixed mutts since there were no shows for mixed breeds in the American Kennel Club (AKC), which is intended only for purebred dogs that can be registered as such.

A scruffy mixed breed dog with an underbite and floppy ears
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

What Is the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry (AMBOR)?

The American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry was founded in 1983 in New Prague, Minnesota, to also provide a venue for shows for mixed breeds since they were not allowed to compete in AKC shows. Mixed breeds could compete for the same type of titles in the AKC.  In 1990, the club reached an agreement with the Illini Obedience Association to allow mixed breeds registered under AMBOR to compete in top-level competitions.

Top 3 Interesting Fact About Mutts

1. They Rarely Have Genetic Disorders

Mixed mutts rarely come with predisposed or inherited genetic disorders due to a limited gene pool, such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, or other medical issues. In short, mutts seem to be generally healthier than purebred dogs due to the many possible different lineages.

brindle and white Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog standing outdoors
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

2. They Tend to Live Longer

Mutts or mixed breeds tend to live longer than purebreds. However, this isn’t always the case, as the lifespan depends on a few factors, such as environment, care, and possible pre-existing medical issues. As for pre-existing medical issues, mixed breeds seem to not be as predisposed as purebreds, though it’s not impossible.


3. They Are Much Cheaper Than Purebreds

We’ve already touched on this topic, but there is no doubt you will spend much less on a mixed breed dog rather than on a purebred. The sad reality is that people have become fascinated with buying purebred dogs when many mixed-breed dogs are stuck in shelters and need homes. These dogs make wonderful companions if given the chance, and they deserve a great life!

A sweet mixed breed dog enjoying a neck scratch from a female
Image Credit: HartOfTheSouth, Shutterstock

How to Celebrate Mayday for Mutts 

You can celebrate this holiday in many ways, such as:

Visit/Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

If you’re not in the market for a dog, you can visit your local animal shelter to volunteer or just spend time with the dogs in the shelter. Your visit and contribution will make a huge impact on the dogs there, as well as the shelter itself. You can also make a monetary donation if you cannot physically help, which goes a long way in helping provide for the dogs in the shelter.

shelter volunteer feeding the dogs
Image Credit: ALPA PROD, Shutterstock

Share Your Photos Online

Post pics of your beloved mixed-breed pooch and explain what an awesome dog he is! Share funny stories or anything else about your dog that you feel comfortable enough to share with the public.

Participate in Your Local Mayday for Mutts Festivities

Grab your mixed-breed dog and head out for a day of fun. Check with your local community to see what events are being held to celebrate the day. If your community doesn’t have anything planned, consider implementing events with your local animal shelter to bring awareness and have some fun.

happy Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog looking up as its owner pets it
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Adopt a Mixed Breed Dog

What better way to celebrate the holiday than providing a dog in need with a loving home? If you’re looking to add a dog to your family, we strongly encourage you to adopt from a local shelter rather than buy from a breeder. Too many wonderful dogs need homes, and a mixed breed will be far cheaper. We understand some may want a purebred dog, but if that is not of utmost importance, you will not regret adopting a mixed mutt.

How to Keep Your Beloved Mutt Healthy and Happy

If you’ve decided to adopt a mixed breed, congratulations! You have made a great decision. Now, you’ll need to take care of your new pooch so he stays happy and healthy. Ensure you feed top-quality dog food with top-quality protein without fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

Depending on your dog’s age and activity level, ensure you exercise him daily to keep the muscles and heart in excellent health. Take him for yearly checkups, and give him lots and lots of love. Don’t forget toys!

Summing Up

Mixed breeds make exceptional pets, and they come with many excellent qualities. You won’t spend as much money, and you’ll be saving a dog’s life. Even if you’re set on a purebred dog, check out local rescues of the breed you’re after, as these dogs need loving homes too. Most of all, when Mayday for Mutts rolls around, plan on participating in activities and visiting your local shelter to volunteer or adopt.


Featured Image Credit By: 12photography, Shutterstock

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