Labeling of
Non-Purebred Dogs

Removing breed guesses in animal shelters puts the dog’s individual personality at the forefront and removes bias from staff and adopters

Not only are appearance-based breed labels typically inaccurate, they are loaded with stereotypes that might not apply to an individual dog. They tell us nothing about a dog's personality and subsequent behavior.

Let's change the way we think about "breed"

Research provides evidence that breed labels are arbitrary and can be highly inaccurate.

Happy open mouth dog with tongue showing smiling at the camera
I would go through shelters, I would see any dog that had relatively short brown hair was identified as a German Shepherd or shepherd mix, and anything with a curled tail was a Siberia Husky and they didn't look anything like a German Shepherd or a Husky.

Dr. Victoria Voith

Professor of Animal Behavior

I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% ... still a dog.

Dog DNA tests have become increasingly popular as a way to uncover the genetic background of mixed-breed dogs but, as one NYT’s reporter asks :

“How would knowing Rascal’s breed mix help me understand this unique little weirdo we’ve adopted?”

The answer is, it won’t.

Thanks to recent revolutionary research, we now know that breed has minimal correlation to personality.  You also have no way of knowing what 21.8 % of the “shetland sheepdog” your dog acquired. Was it is coat length, tail shape, or something you can’t see on the outside like nerve function or digestive function?

While it’s okay to embrace these tests for entertainment, always prioritize spending time with your dog and learning about its unique personality.

*These tests claim to accurately identify the breeds present in a dog’s ancestry. However, it is important to note that the accuracy of these tests can vary.

A simple break down of the Canine Genome

We’ve created an easy-to-understand infographic about the complexities of the canine genome and how genetics affect appearance and behavior. 

Love, dog and couple at an animal shelter for adoption at an outdoor rescue center or pound. Welfar
"when somebody’s in our kennel and they look at a dog, they can’t tell if it’s a Lab mix, if it’s a pit mix, or if it’s three different dogs in one. But by the name “pit bull” being on the kennel card, it may deter some adopters just because of the negative stereotypes that are associated with that". "When there is no breed label on the kennel card, people who are interested in a particular dog may look at their personality."

Carolina Mlynarczyk

Orange County Animal Services | Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator