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Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Date: 27/07/04, updated on 27/07/04 (855 review reads)
Advantages: Tend to have better health than pedigress., Are often very loving, loyal dogs.
Disadvantages: Hard to gauge their potential personalities.
My mum had always kept dogs and she had always owned pedigrees, until about 9 years ago.
Our previous family dog (a border collie) had died and my mum insisted that we weren't getting another dog because of the heartbreak involved when they pass away. So for a year we were canine free, but we all missed having a little four-legged fur ball getting all our clothes covered in hair. It was January when my dad decided to take the family sledging, and being the big kid that he is, he insisted on having the first go. The plastic sledge, however, wasn't so keen on that idea and promptly broke. Cue tears from my sister and I and a hasty retreat to the car amid promises of a new sledge. It was while we were driving around trying to find somewhere to buy a sledge that we passed a rescue centre and went in for a look.
A litter of puppies had just been brought in. All were black apart from one little brown bitch that we instantly fell in love with. So that is how my family came to be acquainted with Meg the dog, our first mongrel.
Like any puppy, she was playful even if a little nervy from the start, and like any puppy she took a bit of training before she stopped chewing on everything in sight and making little puddles on the carpet, but now she's grown she's a marvellous dog.
Mongrels are far cheaper than pedigrees and therefore seem a good choice for first time dog owners. If my memory serves me well, I think Meg cost us £40, while the price of pedigrees vary, but is generally going to be about £100 at cheapest, and usually substantially more. However, it can be a bit of a gamble as it can be difficult to gauge the natures of mongrels if their two parents are not known. It is also hard to assess what they are going to turn out like. Meg looked very like an alsation as a puppy, but now looks more like a cross between a collie and a spaniel. <
Mongrels often seem to have better health than pedigree dogs and a longer life expectancy, although careful care and feeding can obviously increase any dog's health.
However, if a particular quality is needed in a dog eg. intelligence, a pedigree is a far better choice as certain breeds tend to have certain characteristics, while mongrels can really turn out any old way.
Like any dog, a mongrel will need company and training. Dogs are not a good choice of pet for an owner who is going to be out a lot as they are social animals and can be quite destructive if left alone for long periods of time. Meg is quite a lazy dog, and so we usually only make a point of walking her 2 or 3 times a week, although we do give her the chance to run around the garden most days, and usually put aside some play time for her every morning and evening. She isn't a large dog, but still takes up a fair amount of space. I wouldn't mind so much if she didn't insist on stealing the couch! She's relatively inexpensive to keep. She gets fed tinned dog food generally, but gets dog biscuits quite often and sometimes gets meat such as chicken or tuna served up.
Pet shops and animal rescue centres will be more than willing to advise you on caring for your pet. In fact, the animal rescue centre we bought Meg from paid to have a chip implanted in her and paid for her to be dressed, which is standard practice there with dogs bought, and something that would not be provided as part of the service if you bought a pedigree.
Of course, vet bills are the most expensive aspect of having a dog, especially since puppies require so many injections. There is pet health care plans available now, enabling you to spread the cost of vet bills, however.
There can be a lot of snobbery in the dog world, but I would advise a potential dog owner not to overlook a mongrel, especially th
ose in rescue homes waiting to be re-homed. Mongrels can be loyal, obedient, loving dogs, and I know I wouldn't swap mine for the world.