Lovable Mutt
little boy with shaggy mutt

This mutt's origins may be a little questionable, but his future is secure with this loving family.

John Howard/Lifesize/Thinkstock

While mutts aren't technically a breed, you should consider the possibility of rescuing a puppy or an abandoned older dog when choosing a family pet. Every mutt is unique, and their hybrid vigor makes them much less prone to the health problems and personality quirks that often come with some inbred pedigreed dogs. Best of all, rescuing one literally means saving a life (and potentially saving a small fortune in vet bills).

While mutts tend to be friendly, intelligent and excellent at dog sports, the one downside is that getting a mixed-breed puppy can be a bit like rolling the dice if space is an issue. All puppies are tiny, so it can be difficult to tell whether the dog will grow into a petite pooch or a pony-sized hound of the Baskervilles.