"Mutts: Americas's Dogs": A Review

The library system has all sorts of books about dogs: training dogs, dog health and personal stories about dogs.  Mutts by Brian Kilcommons and Michael Capuzzo [636.7009 K48] is the book about most American dogs. It is an appeal for adopting shelter animals and an explanation of why mutts make such good pets.

Dogs are the most genetically plastic mammals, ranging in size from five pounds to nearly 300 pounds.  Dogs were the first animal domesticated by humans, and a case can be made that dogs cooperated in this.  Many later species were domesticated with the assistance of dogs.  Any animal that lives in herds was domesticated with the  help of dogs.

Humans have also over-bred dogs.  Hybrids tend to have fewer physical and behavioral problems than many pure breeds.

The authors divide mutts into simple categories: sporting mutts, hound mutts, working mutts, terrier mutts, toy mutts, herding mutts, non-sporting and mystery mutts.  As with pure-bred breed descriptions, various physical and behavior characteristics are given for setter mixes, shepherd mixes, gentle giant mixes and more. 

There are mini-biographies of mixed breed individuals, including one remarkable one in the gentle giant category.  Joe is a great Dane/German shepherd mix; Jane is a 100 pound human with multiple sclerosis.  They met at a shelter, and Joe carried her to the car.  Joe helps her get up in the morning, helps her up when she falls , opens doors, locates bathrooms , fetches eggs from the refrigerator, and, oh yeah, Joe takes the money and card out of the ATM for her.

Ten Most Popular Dogs in America

1. The Brown Dog

2. The Shepherd Mix

3. The Black Dog

4. The Poodle Mix

5. The Golden White Dog

6. Benji-Type Dog

7. The Big Bad Fad Dog

8. The Cock-A-Who? Dog [sometimes mistaken for Benji]

9. The UFO Dog

10. tie - Sausage Dog/Your Dog