Breed Identification on Mixed-Breed Dogs Isn’t That Accurate

Adoptable mixed-breed dogs might be mislabeled more often than we think. Here’s what a recent study found!

A mixed breed dog looking disappointed or upset.
A mixed breed dog looking disappointed or upset. Photography ©GlobalP | Ratsanai | Getty Images

Many dog lovers assume the breed identification listed for adoptable dogs is accurate, but as it turns out, such labels should be taken with a grain of salt.

Researchers at Arizona State University’s Canine Science Collaboratory recently genotyped DNA from more than 900 shelter dogs to see just how often those breed labels assigned by shelter staff were correct. In the study sample, 125 different breeds were identified.

Shelter workers had the most success identifying the primary breed in a mix (accurate 67 percent of the time), but when they tried to guess at the secondary breed, that accuracy dropped to just 10 percent.

Thumbnail: Photography ©GlobalP | Ratsanai | Getty Images.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you! 

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer from Southern California who specializes in the pet industry. Reach her at

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6 thoughts on “Breed Identification on Mixed-Breed Dogs Isn’t That Accurate”

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  3. Pingback: Breed Identification on Mixed-Breed Dogs Isn’t That Accurate – contem dicas

    1. Right!!! LoL all about the click to link referral bucks I guess.
      My 4th grader hates writing weekly book reports but he can write a better book report than this ‘article’ anytime!

  4. I can see this being very true. I have two mixed dogs and have no clue, other than their main breed, what they are. The oldest dog I am sure has white German Shepherd in her. I have no idea at all what else she is mixed with. The second dog I am sure has pitbull in her. I think she is mixed with some husky, to make her a pitsky…. because she has piercing blue eyes, and black eyeliner all the way around her eyes and long pointy ears….not floppy ones like a pitbull. But that is just a guess based off the very unique and striking features of a husky. I could be wrong. Without dna typing I think it is impossible to tell what the main breed is for 100 percent sure, let alone the secondary breed.

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