Dog Breeds

When I was developing software for animal shelter management, one of the most common requests from our users was to all them to use “mixed” as a primary breed indicator.  I refused, knowing that using that term was just an excuse for the user to not identify the breed.

I still feel that way; however, I have to admit that in my early days breed identification was much easier.  Something happened since then to cause pet owners to randomly breed dogs into new breeds that were difficult to determine the original breed that they arose from.

One unfortunate outcome arose that most of the dogs had phenotypic characteristics of a wide, thick head of a pitbull, thus exasperating the problem in which half of the shelter’s animals were described as pitbull mixes.

At this time, sterilization is still the best answer to pet overpopulation.  Pitbulls have led the way in the problem of shelter overpopulation.  I’ve always believed that any breed that overwhelms a shelter should be identified as the breed that pet owners would be forced to spay/neuter.

What is in a Breed?

Due to the restrictions placed on pitbulls, and the fact that pitbulls are in the largest numbers in animal shelters, many shelters have stripped dogs of their breed so as to disguise the pitbull dogs among the other dogs.  The shelters see this as giving pitbulls a chance at adoption when potential adopters cringe an the notion of adopting an aggressive breed dog.

This behavior of disguising the breeds of dogs in animal shelters make it more difficult for owners of lost dogs to find their pet.  The breed of an animal is the greatest descriptor for identifying an animal.

The fact that an animal shelter disguises the breed of an animal makes you wonder what else they are hiding.