Breed Labels
Start Accurately Identifying dogs in your care


Using physical appearance to identify a dogs breed mix doesn't have great accuracy odds. Research has shown that not only are we wrong 75% of the time, we also disagree with each others breed guesses. To be more accurate, start telling adopters the truth - We don't know.


Animal shelters do a great job disclosing their dog's medical and behavioral history to adopters. It's time to make the same ethical choice with breed labels. It's important, to be honest, and transparent with adopters. It also helps limit future liability.


When shelters stop taking time out of their already busy schedules to make breed guesses based on physical appearance, they give themselves more time to focus on more important things like making good matches.

Need help making the change?

Train the Team

Pre-Recorded & Live Virtual Presentation 

Animal Farm Foundation is dedicated to helping shelters across the country end breed guesses for dogs in their care. You can train your team via a pre-recorded presentation or schedule a live virtual session for staff and volunteers to engage with the presenter and ask questions.   

Only 9% of the cumulative variation among dogs on the 8 behavioral factors identified can be attributed to breed.

So little (almost none) of the variability on the agonistic threshold factor (behaviors commonly labeled “aggression”) can be attributed to genetics at all that it is of no utility in predicting behavior in individual dogs.

The majority of mixed breed dogs have more than 4 different breeds in their ancestry.

Morphology varies too extensively among mutts and people typically place too much weight on associations between a few traits and specific breeds to make visual identification reliable.

The dog breed most commonly appearing in the ancestry of mutts is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which appears in the ancestry of 10% of mixed breed dogs.


What Kind of dog is that?

As humans, we like to categorize things so we can relate to them. When we see a dog we often think, “What kind of dog is that?” 

Let’s play a game. For each dog, guess what you would label the dog’s predominant and secondary breed (the breeds with the highest percentages in their DNA).

How did you do at guessing those breed labels? What did you think about the results? It’s okay if your guesses were wrong. Collectively animal welfare professionals are wrong 75% of the time when they try to visually identify dogs.

Suggested reading

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