Introducing the American Shelter Dog

April 14, 2011

In animal shelters across the United States, the majority of dogs are mixed breeds of unknown origin. It is a common practice for staff to guess a dog’s breed based on appearance and the “best guess” is used to identify the dog. Once identified as a breed, adopters may have false behavioral expectations associated with the breed labeling. For instance, dogs identified as lab mixes may be expected to love to swim and retrieve balls. Now with DNA testing, we are able to better identify the actual genetic makeup of a mixed breed dog; however, due to limited resources, animal shelters are unable to afford such testing. Research conducted by the Western University Veterinary School, the Animal Farm Foundation, and the ARL of Boston had collected DNA samples from more than 30 shelter dogs. The results concluded that their best guess of breeds were often wrong. The results indicated that many labeled as lab mixes, were really just black dogs with floppy ears and other dogs were the makeup of a variety of other breeds. Instead of depending on inaccurate breed labels, KHS hopes to encourage people to choose and adopt their future companion based on accurate personality profiles and the best personality match for their family and lifestyle. Determining what breed to put down on the slip and post on the Internet for the dogs who come into the shelter is not as easy as you would think. We ask the same question each time a dog comes to us and each time the answer is the same. The question, “What kind of dog are you?” Kitsap Humane Society is introducing the America Shelter Dog for pets who are of mixed descent and who are clearly not one breed or another and whose parental history is unknown. We believe the American Shelter Dog has a unique life, journey and reputation in society. For those who choose to adopt a shelter dog, we hope they share in the pride of adopting an American Shelter Dog.