National Mutt Day, also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day, was created in 2005 and is celebrated every year on July 31st. National Mutt Day is all about embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs. The largest percentage of dogs abandoned or handed over to shelters worldwide are mixed breed dogs, approximately 80% of dogs in shelters are mixed breeds. Most pure breeds that end up in a shelter are generally rescued quickly either by a member of the public wanting a “less expensive” pure bred dog or by a specialised pure breed rescue. Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, have less behavioural issues, they live longer and are just as able to perform the duties of pure bred dogs such as bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue and guiding the blind. There are millions of loving and healthy mixed breed dogs sitting in shelters, who are desperately searching for a new home. In fact, some of the most famous dogs in the world are mixed breeds! That's why today we are celebrating some special world famous mutts...
Sinbad was a mixed breed dog that is 1 of only 2 animals to be granted the classification of non-commissioned officer by the United States military after being enlisted by the crew of the USCGC Campbell. Sinbad was assigned the title of Chief Dog (abbreviated K9C) and his rank was essentially the same as a human Chief Petty Officer. Sinbad spent 11 years at sea on the Campbell including combat in World War II that became widely publicised as part of the homefront campaign in the States. Sinbad was bought as an unwanted gift for one of the crew's girlfriends and after she turned him down, Sinbad was essentially a stray aboard the ship. None of the crew wanted to take ownership of Sinbad, but they all wanted to keep him around and so they enlisted him as a member of the crew. The crew said that Sinbad displayed the attributes of a sailor by "drinking coffee, whiskey with beer chasers at port bars, having regular duty stations, and generally demonstrating seamanship." Sinbad was even assigned his own service and Red Cross identification numbers, service record, and bunk! Sinbad was aboard the ship during WWII, and although publicity photos depicted Sinbad standing helmeted on the barrel of a large gun, he actually stayed below decks, keeping him away from the sound of gunfire. Sinbad was awarded 6 medals throughout his career and is remembered fondly as a vital member of the crew.
Bobbie the Wonder Dog
In August 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their daughters Leona and Nova, were visiting relatives in Indiana. Their two-year-old collie-mix dog Bobbie was attacked by 3 other dogs and ran away. After an exhaustive search, the heartbroken Brazier family were unable to find Bobbie and continued their trip before returning home to Oregon, expecting never to see their beloved dog again. Then, 6 months later, Bobbie returned to them. He had covered 2,551 miles on his own to make it back home to his family, including walking through deserts, swimming rivers and crossing the mountainous Continental Divide during the coldest part of winter. People were amazed by Bobbie's journey and he soon became the subject of newspaper articles including Ripley's Believe It or Not!, books, and film. He received hundreds of letters from people around the world and was rewarded with a jewel-studded harness and collar, ribbons, and keys to cities he had crossed. People who had cared for Bobbie on his journey wrote the family to tell about their time with Bobbie, allowing The Humane Society to piece together Bobbie's journey. Bobbie's story is one of the unwavering bond between a dog and their family and continues to inspire people to this day.
Higgins was an American dog actor that was very famous throughout the 60s and 70s. He is most remembered for his roles as the original Benji film, and the uncredited dog from Petticoat Junction, 2 of the most well-known roles he played during a 14-year career. In 1960, animal trainer Frank Inn rescued Higgins from the Burbank Animal Shelter as a puppy. Frank believed Higgins was a mix of Miniature Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, and Schnauzer. Higgins appeared in 149 episodes of popular TV series Petticoat Junction which he received a PATSY Award for in 1966 in the television category, and subsequently he was the cover star on an issue of TV Guide magazine. Frank, who trained thousands of animals of many species during his lifetime, told reporters that Higgins was the smartest dog he had ever worked with! Higgins's tricks included yawning and sneezing on cue. Benji came out of retirement at an estimated age of 16 to star in the 1974 feature film Benji, which became his greatest commercial success. Benji's daughter, Benjean, took over the role in the film's sequels.
Nipper was a terrier-mix dog from Bristol who served as the model for an 1898 painting by Francis Barraud titled His Master's Voice. This image was the basis for one of the world's best known trademarks, the famous dog and gramophone imagery that was used by several record companies and their associated company brands, including Berliner Gramophone and HMV Retail Ltd. Nipper originally lived with his owner, Mark Henry Barraud, in the Prince's Theatre where Barraud was a scenery designer. When Barraud died in 1887, his brothers Philip and Francis took care of the dog, then Francis took Nipper to Liverpool with him. In 1898, 3 years after Nipper's death, Francis painted a picture of Nipper listening to a wind-up Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph. Thinking the company may like the image, Francis offered it to James E. Hough, who turned it down, saying "Dogs don't listen to phonographs." On 31 May 1899, Francis went to The Gramophone Company with the intention of borrowing a brass horn to replace his black horn depicted in the painting. The Gramophone Company founder and manager, William Barry Owen suggested that if the artist replaced the machine with a Berliner disc gramophone, he would buy the painting. Francis did just that, and the image became the successful trademark we know today. When asked about the painting, Francis said; "It is difficult to say how the idea came to me beyond the fact that it suddenly occurred to me that to have my dog listening to the phonograph, with an intelligent and rather puzzled expression, and call it 'His Master's Voice' would make an excellent subject. We had a phonograph and I often noticed how puzzled he was to make out where the voice came from. It certainly was the happiest thought I ever had."