Just A Mutt

What type of dog is she?

That’s what I usually reply when asked “What kind of dog is she?” It seems most people are disappointed by my answer. Risa is a very unique-looking (aka weird-looking) dog. I suppose everyone expects her to be some rare breed or some new designer dog. Alas, no. She is simply a mutt.

Perhaps it’s my word choice too. I always call her a mutt. To most people, this is a derogatory term. But it matters not to me. Mixed breed, mongrel, All American Dog. . . Whatever you want to call her doesn’t change what she is. She is a dog without a purebred pedigree. A mix of this and who knows what.

I have, at times, toyed with the idea of making up a fancy name for her along the lines of goldendoodle or puggle. There’s only one major problem with that: I don’t know what type of mix she is. If I knew, I would probably answer “border collie cross” instead of “mutt!”

Border collie + greyhound = Risa? I think there's more to it than that.

At one point, I decided to call her a “Western Montana Herding Dog.” I’ve always suspected she has some herding breed(s) in her and she was born in the western part of Big Sky Country. However, I had to stop calling her that after I took her herding. She had no herding instinct at all and preferred chasing sheep rather than trying to gather them up and move them somewhere.

I suppose I could answer “lurcher” as I’m fairly certain she fits that description. A lurcher isn’t a breed of dog, but a type of dog. It’s a cross between a sighthound and another breed of dog (historically it was a herding breed or a terrier). However, that requires more explanation than “mutt” and still doesn’t give any definitive answers. I have no idea which sighthound or other breed(s) are in her background.

It is certainly human curiosity to want to know. I do not blame people for asking. I wish I knew what she was! Honestly, I would love to give a straight answer and one more descriptive. But I cannot. I will never know for certain what breeds are behind my dog. People can continue to guess what she is. I like when they play the guessing game with her mix. I have heard some combinations that sound plausible and others that are out there in left field. Her uniqueness is something I treasure.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what she is. It’s clear to me that she’s certainly more than “Just a mutt.” She’s my friend and my close family. My exercise partner. My social life (I meet the best people through my dog!). Risa has helped me be a better person and has taught me many things. She’s a one-in-a-million dog. And she’s all mine. 🙂

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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2 Responses to Just A Mutt

  1. Kim says:

    I personally like All American. To me, it really is a reflection of what Americans are, a little of this, a dash of that and a pinch of who knows what thrown in to create something unique and special. But, like you, at the end of the day, it is not his breed but rather who he is that makes him my partner and heartdog.

  2. Jamie says:

    I completely understand. A melting pot dog. Still, I prefer to use ‘mutt.’ Even though it’s use is often derogatory, I’m using it to label something that I clearly value greatly. And I like that. 🙂

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