Mongrels #JusJoJan

Today’s word for Just Jot It January is mongrel. We have Geoff of TanGental to thank for it, so thanks, Geoff! Seriously, go on over to Geoff’s blog and have a look around.

“Mongrel” is kind of a nasty word, isn’t it? It refers to a mixed-breed animal (primarily a dog) or plant, but it has this connotation that isn’t especially nice. I mean, we mix breeds of dogs a lot, sometimes creating whole new breeds, like a cockapoo (a cross between a cocker spaniel and a poodle). Rightfully, a cockapoo is a mongrel, but you don’t hear them called mongrels. They’re cross-breeds or hybrids. Mongrel is applied to dogs that, well, you don’t know what breeds there are, usually because no one exactly supervised the mating of the male and female dogs that went into it. We also call them mutts, which is actually a nicer word than mongrel. If you had a dog that was part Labrador Retriever, part German Shepherd, part Golden Retriever, part dachshund, etc. and someone asked you “What kind of dog is that?” you’d probably say, “Oh, he’s a mutt” rather than “Oh, he’s a mongrel,” because it sounds nicer. “Mutt” gives you the idea that he’s a nice dog, where “mongrel” implies that he isn’t a nice dog, and will probably bite you if you got too close.

dog photo: dog animales002.jpg
Buttons, the mutt (source: Photobucket)

You also get the sense that a mutt makes a good pet, while a mongrel doesn’t. Do you have a mutt?

15 thoughts on “Mongrels #JusJoJan

  1. Buttons is cute! πŸ™‚ I have a mutt, have always had mutts in adulthood. Coupla Staffordshires when I was a kid, but mostly mutts πŸ™‚ They say mutts live longer, and I hope they’re right.
    More likely to call my kids lil mongrels than my dog! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have no idea who Buttons belongs to or even if his (her?) name is Buttons, but you’re right, he is cute. Purebreds all have their issues, and the crossbreeding tends to minimize them, and makes for a fun dog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I hear or read “mongrel”, the first thing that comes to mind is the line from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”:
    “Maybe you’ll get a replacement. There’s plenty like me to be found: mongrels who ain’t got a penny, sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground.”


  3. all the dogs I’ve ever had were mongrels/mutts. All were great pets. My family used to tease that WE were mongrels, since we were half Irish, half Italian. Actually more went into it than that, since neither of my parents were purebloods either. No bad connotation as far as I’m concerned, the mixture makes it stronger!


    1. Our family is as Irish as Paddy’s pig, but for some reason we all tended to marry Eastern Europeans or Scandinavians. Funny to have a kid with an Irish first name and a Polish last name, but it works.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My family believed that Irish should only marry Irish. (Thus, I’m 98% Irish and there’s a good chance the other 2% is as well.) When Mary (who’s Lithuanian) and I were going to get married, Mom lectured me on that. That was almost 39 years ago, and Mary and I are still married. In fact, it’s less common for my cousins to marry Irish. Of course, Mom once made the comment that the Irish are a bunch of mutts…

      Liked by 1 person

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