Arizona State University’s Canine Science Collaboratory researchers Lisa Gunter and Clive Wynne collected DNA from over 900 shelter dogs that were at the Arizona Animal Welfare League and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL) in Phoenix, AZ, as well as the San Diego Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SDHS) in San Diego, CA.
They found that although only 5% were purebreds, there were 125 distinct breeds that made up the mixed breed dogs. They also found that unless the dog was a purebred, shelter employees could only determine the mix about 10% of the time.
Interestingly the three most common breeds were the American Staffordshire Terrier, Chihuahua and Poodle but they represented less than half the dogs in the shelters.
The researchers feel that since the bully breeds stay in shelters up to three weeks longer before being adopted, that the emphasis should be on the individual dog’s behavior to match them with their new families rather than the breed. They stress that a behavior assessment program would be very beneficial for shelter dogs.
I personally agree that each dog should be judged on its own merit rather than its breed. Labeling all individuals of a specific breed is profiling at its worst.