Today is one of two annual celebrations of National Mutt Day, so brighten your day by hugging a sweet mixed breed today!

You have to love a mutt, which is defined as a dog of multiple breeds, or questionable origin. You know the type! They're not as refined looking as, say, a pure-bred Golden Retriever or German Shepherd. But they're unique, affable, and sometimes even healthier than the thoroughbreds.

I love a mutt named Gifford, whose breed is a 'Heinz-57' kind of mix. He has some Springer Spaniel and Husky, along with a little German Shepherd. We're told he has some hound, which seems to be a pretty dominant influence, with his lean body and enthusiasm for chasing birds.

Giff is one of the sweetest dogs I've met, with a very affectionate nature. If he thinks I'm sad or upset, he'll actually lay his head along mine, as if he were giving me a hug. He enjoys snuffling our ears, and curling up to sleep with us. Incredibly fast when he runs, he can sail over any obstacle, including our Golden Retriever, Lola, that gets in his way. His coat has a beautiful color combination that reminded us of ice cream, (hence the name) and a big-dog bark that will make you jump back a few steps when he gets upset.

Mutts are generally sweet, affectionate, and loyal dogs that too often get overlooked in favor of purebreds and designer breeds. But love a mutt, and you'll never be left out in the cold. They'll stick by you through thick and thin, and make you laugh when you're at your lowest.

So hug (or better yet, give a treat to) a mutt today, in honor of National Mutt day. I've shared a few of my favorite pictures of Gifford here. Show us your mutt by posting his/her picture underneath this post on our Facebook page. We want to see them!

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