There are many dogs breeds such as golden retriever, poodle, pug and many others.

I would like to know the most common word used to refer to some dog that has no defined breed. I tried a translation of a common term used in my native language and I've got: mutt and pooch.

What of them are actually used?

  • Did you look up the definition of pooch? It doesn't mean what you want, I think. – stangdon Mar 3 '17 at 12:43
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    What @stangdon said. Mutt and pooch are simply slang/childish terms for dog in general (the former usually disparaging, the latter often "affectionate"). The word for a dog that has no defined breed is mongrel, which isn't at all "slangy" (there's also crossbreed, a somewhat more technical term that some would consider superior to a mongrel). – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '17 at 12:54
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    @FumbleFingers - but "mutt" does tend to mean a mongrel. – stangdon Mar 3 '17 at 13:05
  • A purebred dog can be called a pooch. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 3 '17 at 13:16
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    As a matter of curiosity on Pets.SE both appear with roughly equal frequency. – Chenmunka Mar 3 '17 at 13:58

In the UK at least, the Kennel Club, which registers pedigree dogs, uses the term Mutt when describing a dog of uncertain pedigree.

The term Mongrel is widely used but is often thought nowadays to be a derogatory term - inferior to a pedigree.

Note that there are also other descriptions:
A Crossbreed is a dog that is bred from two known and defined pedigree parents.
A Designer Dog is one of the newly recognised interbreeds, such as the Cockerpoo or Puggle.

Depending upon your intended use, I suspect one of these other terms may be better suited than either Mutt or Pooch.

  • Your two links to pages on thekennelclub.org contain nothing to suggest they specifically reserve the term mutt for a dog of uncertain pedigree. Quite the opposite, in fact, since the strong implication of the page titled Choosing the right dog: key considerations to find the best mutt for you is that the readers are likely to select a specific pedigree breed after considering their various characteristics. Plus I just did a site-wide search for the word mutt, which didn't turn up anything else to support your assertion. It's just a "slang, affectionate" usage to them. – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '17 at 13:19
  • True, the mutt page is aimed at getting people to buy - and thus pay the KC to register - one of the recognised (inter)breeds. – Chenmunka Mar 3 '17 at 13:23
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    @FumbleFingers: In AmE, mutt is often used as a synonym for a dog of unknown pedigree or the offspring of such a dog, the "opposite" of a purebred dog, so to speak. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 3 '17 at 13:38
  • @TRomano: I don't deny that - it's primarily an AmE usage anyway. I'm just taking issue with the idea that this specific meaning is somehow "endorsed" by the (British) Kennel Club. – FumbleFingers Mar 3 '17 at 14:16
  • I'm not saying that the word is endorsed by the KC, just used by them. – Chenmunka Mar 3 '17 at 14:26

To quote a TRomano's comment:

mutt is often used as a synonym for a dog of unknown pedigree or the offspring of such a dog, the "opposite" of a purebred dog, so to speak

Because of this meaning, "mutt" has a negative connotation. As such, it may be used to describe a dog for which the speaker has some kind of negative feelings. If a purebred dog bit your hand, for instance, you may yell "You mutt!".

"pooch" is simply an alternative word for "dog". It's not used very often nowadays but almost everyone would understand what you mean. The idiom "screwed the pooch" (meaning the subject made a mistake) is the most common usage.

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