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Have You Heard Of These Nicknames For “Mutt” From Around The World?

Some of the brightest, cutest, most loving dogs I have ever known were non-purebreds. Who doesn’t love a scruffy little something? Not to mention the fun we all have in trying to guess what breeds make up our best friends – the possibilities are practically endless!

In honor of National Mutt Day (July 31), here is a list of  some of the names these dogs are called around the world.


Let’s start with some of the more common ones, especially here in the United States…

All American – this term has been coined by registries like the AKC for non-purebred dogs that are registered to compete in performance events. One caveat to this is that for the AKC, an All American can be a purebred dog that, for whatever reason, does not have proof of pedigree.

Cross-breed – usually referring to a dog with two purebred parents. As in a “cross between a Pug and a Beagle.”

Designer – usually reserved for dogs that are technically mixed breeds, but were intentionally bred, such as a Labradoodle.

Mixed-breed – a literal term that is used the world over. It is an accurate description of a dog with more than one breed in his lineage.

Mongrel – this term seemed to be the most widely used term. Variations of it are used all over the world.  Equine Artist Ekaterina Yakovenko from the Ukraine explained that their word is метис, sounds like “metis” in Russian and Ukrainian, but it’s Latin, not English. “In simple talk this is ‘pooch’ or ‘mongrel,’” she said. In Vietnam the world is thú lai chó, meaning literally “mongrel dog.” Interestingly, in Botany it means a plant resulting from the crossing of different breeds/varieties.


Mutt – this term used to be used all the time. It has fallen out of common lingo as some people found it derogatory. The same can be said with word “mongrel” in the U.S. However some owners of mutts use it affectionately and even proudly don “I Love My Mutt” on t-shirts and bumper stickers.

And now for some of you may not have heard of…

Askal – used in the Philippines. It’s a shortened version of asong kalye, meaning “street dog.”

Bitzer – a personal favorite of mine, this is an Australian term. It’s a shortened version of the saying “bits of this and that,” as in the dog is made of a little bit of this and a little bit of that. This also happens to be the name of the Sheep Dog in “Shaun The Sheep.”


Heinz 57 – haven’t heard this one? It’s a cute reference to the slogan of the Heinz Company, “57 varieties,” indicating that the dog is probably a mix of several breeds. There is even a rescue group called AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport.

Poi Dog – The Hawaiian Poi Dog is extinct so the term is now used to refer to any mixed-breed dog. There is a rescue named after these dogs as well – Poi Dogs & Popoki.

Potcakes – sounds yummy doesn’t it? In the Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands, this is the term they use for the “breed” of feral mixed-breed dogs on the islands. Locals would feed the dogs the leftovers from their cooking pots in the form of cakes, hence the name.

Vira-lata – a term used in Brazil for mixed-breed dogs that means “trash can tipper” because the homeless dogs knock over the cans to search for food. (

Whatever you call your dog, they are all beautiful and unique – like this mixed-breed dog from Kalimpong, West-Bengal, India:

Image Source: Sukanto Debnath via Flickr
Image Source: Sukanto Debnath via Flickr


Know of others? Maybe you have a special nickname for your adorable best friend of unknown ancestry? Add them to the comments and let’s all celebrate the beauty of the mix!

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Written by Kristina Lotz
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