While many dog lovers will soon be watching pampered pooches strut their stuff on the Westminster stage, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay offers this reminder: Dogs in shelters might not have a distinguished pedigree, but they are equally deserving of pomp and circumstance.

This week, forget the blue ribbons and celebrate shelter dogs, which come with blue collars all their own. These mixed breed mutts don’t need a silver cup to show off how special they are.

The top five reasons to make adoption your first option when considering a Best-In-Show companion:

5. No two dogs are alike. Why blend in with the crowd? When you adopt a mixed-breed, chances are he is one-of-a-kind and uniquely yours. Everyone loves a good story, and the amazing story of how you rescued your dog and guessing the breeds he’s comprised of is guaranteed to please!

4. Give your wallet a break. Adoption fees are substantially lower than the purchase price of pedigreed pups. And, most shelter dogs are already spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and micro-chipped. Studies also show that mixed-breeds have less health problems than purebreds, saving you even more money down the road.

3. Compete with the best of them. Some may think that pageants are for purebreds only, but mixed breeds compete in agility and other sporting contests, and their unique sizes and temperaments may even give them an edge.

2. Jack of all trades. Mixed breeds aren’t limited to only one ‘herding’ or ‘working’ category; they can do it all! Mutts are made up of the best of both worlds, and if their parents were also mixed, there’s no limit to the amazing characteristics one dog can possess.

1. Save a life! There are millions of dogs in this country without a loving family. When you adopt, you not only save a life, but you give a much-needed home to a dog that might never have had one. There is nothing like the feeling of rescuing an animal.

Help the Humane Society of Tampa Bay spread the word about adoption. There are millions of champion pets just waiting for loving homes in shelters across the country and at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Below are pictures of just a few of our beautiful mixed breeds available for adoption!

Pictured: Charlie: Standard Schnauzer Mix, Male, 2 years old; Marvin: Catahoula Leopard Dog Mix, Male, 4 years 1 month old; Sierra: Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever Mix, Female, 3 years old; Xena: Pit Bull Terrier Mix, Female, 2 years 10 months old. Pictures by Krista Sparkman

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