How to Identify a Dog's Breed

How to Identify a Dog's Breed

Increasing numbers of people are choosing to adopt animals from kennels or shelters rather than buying them in order to save them from being put down. Whilst pedigree dogs can sometimes be found there, it's true that it is more common to find cross-breed dogs that can't be identified.

It's quite easy to identify a Bull Terrier, a Beagle or a Husky, but most of us dog-loving amateurs are confused by the sheer number of new breeds that continue to appear as a result of cross-breeding. Below, AnimalWised will help you learn how to identify the breed of a dog.

Look at the dog's features

In order to identify a dog you should start with the basics; simply observe what the dog looks like, part by part. To do this you should study the following features:

  • Hair color and type: See if the hair is hard, long, short or curly, and take note of its predominant color.
  • Ear and tail type: There are many ear types, such as long and floppy, pricked, round-tipped or hooded ears. There are also many types of tails, such as curly, docked or sickle tails.
  • Size: You'll need to wait for it to grow a bit if it's a puppy, but you can rule out certain breeds by looking at its height and weight.
  • Head: There are square, domed or flattened heads, and those which face up or down. The type of nose also varies according to the breed.

Once you've checked all these features, all you'll need to do is research the pedigree dogs that display similar features to that of your own dog. At the very least you'll have been able to rule out lots of breeds, and you'll have a rough list of breeds from which your dog may derive from. Or, if your dog is a pedigree, you will find out what breed it is directly.

Study the dog's behavior

There are many dog breeds which have particular habits and behaviors associated to them, which can also help you work out what sort of dog you have. Observe the dog's characteristics.

For example, are they a playful dog or quiet, sedentary and likes lying around all day? Are they a controlling guard dog, or are they submissive and get excited when new people enter the home? The above information will help you to further narrow down the possible dog breeds.

See a list of dog breeds

When you've worked out what your dog is like on a physical and mental level, go and research dogs similar to your own on the Internet, or in a catalogue of dog breeds. For example, if you've narrowed the breed of your dog down to the final two or three, you could search for them in our list of dog breeds and find out if you're correct. This can be done by checking their photos and reading the information about them.

Something similar could be done with the breed book. All you'll need to do is search for the dog breeds you believe are similar to your own, and then examine their features and behavior to see if you've really got it right.

Talk to your vet

If you've still not been able to find out your dog's breed after following the above process, or you still have many lingering doubts, talk to your vet and ask them about it. They're an expert and they've seen thousands of different dogs; they'll surely be able to point you in the right direction.

Even if your dog is a mongrel of different breeds, you'll be able to detect the prominent breeds of your dog with a DNA test, which are sold in vet clinics and can be performed by the specialist themselves. All you need to do is collect the saliva from inside the dog's mouth, perform the test and wait for the result.

Breed is unimportant

If you've finally worked out the breed of your dog and they are not what you were told when you picked them up or bought them, don't be angry. The dog's breed is the last thing which they should be judged on, and you shouldn't pay any attention to it.

Both pedigree dogs and crossbreeds are great companions and will give you lots of happiness throughout your life.

Remember to give your dog the basic care and attention that it requires, such as a balanced diet, daily exercise, hygiene and training.

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