How many times have you tried to guess what breed(s) your dog is? I am always asked by clients to identify the breeds that make up their mixed breed dog. My refusal to guess is no doubt a let down to my clients but I know from studies done in the 1960’s that it is very difficult to correctly identify dog breeds based on looks alone. Well, thanks to Dr. Victoria Voith, a veterinary behaviorist, I can now show people how misleading it is to guess mixed breeds based solely on appearence.
Dr. Voith took a group of mixed breeds from various shelters, rescues, foster homes etc… and had their DNA tested to see which breeds made up the individial dog. When the results came back and were compared to the results of dog professionals guessing the breeds that made up the dog based on appearence alone it turns out the dog professionals ( shelter staff, foster home staff etc…) were only correct 25% of the time! Bottom line, looks can be deceiving and we are not able to accurately identify breeds contributing to a mixed breed based on looks alone.
If anyone is interested in seeing pictures of the dogs used in the study and the results of what breeds the mixed dogs actually were, you can order a copy of the poster by contacting Kara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information is especially important considering all of the “breed based” legislation that is occurring and adoption policies by various organizations that may be based on the presumed breed.