We were told #2 (now about 3.5 months old) is a Great Pyrenees / lab mix. As it turns out, he’s about 42% Pyrenees, and most of the rest is pit / staffie. Let’s be clear. I did not go to rescues expecting to get a “purebred,” or even really care about that. Nor am I afraid of pits. #1 (as I said) is a really great dog and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. And #2 is shaping up to be just as great in his own way.
He’s a little calmer than she was at this age, but it may just be the fact that he has a companion and she didn’t. But what bugs me is that in both cases, it really seems like the rescue intentionally obfuscated. Maybe they didn’t know. I think that’s plenty likely. But I also think it’s the case that these rescues are not inclined to advertise puppies / dogs that are pit mixes. I suppose I understand, but the deception is frustrating.
Note: This is not intended to be a “slag pits” thread. Every pit and pit mix (including mine) that I’ve ever met has been a sweet dog. But I’m a little irritated at what seems like obvious deception.
You’re… Starting to? When I worked at a shelter it was a running joke. This is not an accident on their part. They work with dogs every day, they know what a pitbull is. However, a lot of people don’t! So they can make excuses like “well it’s just a guess” even though they know what the actual breed is. The purpose of the “lab mix” and “hound mix” and “boxer mix” thing is to get dogs adopted out faster. Search Labrador Retriever on Petfinder and try to find more than 3-4 actual labs. It is not possible in many cities. It doesn’t “look” good because it isn’t good.
My standard poodle’s best friend was Huckleberry the ‘hound’ mix. Amstaf mix more like it, but such a great dog! When he moved away, my girl ran up to every tan and white pit she saw for a good 2 years – until she could smell them, then would walk away completely dejected.
Omg, that’s so sad😭😭
My heart ❤️
Yeah, my dog was listed as a “terrier mix” and I had a friend who works with dogs who said “yeah that probably means she’s a staffy mix.” DNA test says she’s half Staffy, a quarter miniature pinscer, and a quarter miniature dachshund. 😂
Well Staffies are… Staffordshire Terriers 😛
wow, I am extremely curious what your dog looks like with that mix of breeds!
Do you have any pics? I’m curious to see this interesting mix
Yep! My “terrier mix”’s DNA test came back with dachshund, chihuahua, and staffy!
What? That’s the mix I want! You’re so lucky.
My dog was described as a “lab mix” from the shelter. Being a first time dog owner I couldn’t tell the difference. Now that she’s grown it’s obvious she’s atleast 50% pitt. Sweetest dog ever. Would never trade her now but at the time I knew I was too inexperienced and wouldn’t have gotten her if I had known. It’s horrible to hide the breed like that, people need to know what type of dog they are getting to be able to care for them properly.
I have a similar but opposite story! My “4 year old lab mix” apartment dog turned out to be a 1 year old (likely) terrier mix. Imagine the look on my face when the vet told me her leg muscles looked similar to greyhound…
That’s one of the reasons I bought a golden retriever. Note that I’m not from the USA and we don’t have shelter dogs (and before anyone gets mad, not because we kill them, there just aren’t any and you can buy a stray dog from companies that bring them to Finland from other countries). I really wanted a rottweiler, but because it was going to be my first dog I wanted to play it safe. And he’s absolutely perfect
I imagine it would be a liability issue maybe.
Thank you for confirming. My dog i got 5 years ago was labeled husky/basenji. They can get creative with these mixes but i quickly realized she must be husky pit. Sure enough last week doggy dna test says 50/50 husky pit.
Even with my dog, she’s a Walmart parking lot puppy. The mom for sure is purebred lab, and the people giving away puppies were like “We don’t know who the dad is.” A vet said his best guess is lab/Catahoula, but looking at her and knowing the mom was a lab, it’s absolutely positive that the dad was a Catahoula/Rottweiler mix. I honestly don’t care if she has Rottweiler in her. My dog is the best pup in the world, at least for me.
Many rentals do not allow bully breeds, listing these dogs as the other half of their mix gives a little wiggle room
The purpose of the “lab mix” and “hound mix” and “boxer mix” thing is to get dogs adopted out faster. And housed. A lot of leases, communities, etc., have unfortunately adopted “bully breed” bans. But if the paperwork doesn’t contain that breed … I fostered the sweetest, most mellow pit you could ever hope to meet. I actually kinda broke the rules by taking him to the local dog park, after I got a good feel for how he was (there was a group of well known to me dogs that gathered early in the morning), and the photos and videos I took of him there were key in getting a landlord to waive their normal “no pit bulls” policy for the couple who ended up adopting him.
Actually, studies have shown that people generally are terrible at identifying breeds by visuals. https://sheltermedicine.vetmed.ufl.edu/2016/02/16/shelters-and-veterinarians-not-reliable-at-identifying-pit-bulls/ https://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/2016/02/17/dna-studies-reveal-that-shelter-workers-often-mislabel-dogs-as-pit-bulls/ https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/genetic-testing-shows-animal-shelters-often-misidentify-dogs-breeds-180970136/
Your first two links seem to be about the same study ordered and funded by Maddie’s Fund, and the third concludes that while it’s difficult to identify multibreed mixes entirely correctly, shelter staff are actually somewhat good at recognising pit type heritage once it’s prevalent enough
A good friend of mine works at a shelter. They got a skinny toy dog in. It was Black and Tan, therefore, it was a “miniature pinscher”. It’s not even, it’s more like a chihuahua, but they dubbed it min pin. Point being, just because someone works with dogs doesn’t mean they can eyeball a breed well.
Yeah, I was wondering if OP actually did a genealogy kit or they are just basing their complaint on visual guesswork.
Because many landlords do not allow Pit Bulls in the renters agreement. Because pit bulls have a higher home insurance premium And because pit bulls have a bad reputation in general. In the area that I live, almost everything has pitbull in it and it is extremely difficult to find anything that doesn’t. Still, everything is labeled as lab mix at the pound.
Pits have a bad reputation because too many people own terriers without acknowledging and working with the breed traits. Lying to people about what breed they’re adopting isn’t going to help breed reputation. People should know what temperament, energy level, and drive to expect in their dog. Breed is part of that. Shelters should never lie about what breed the dogs are.
I feel like this applies less to mixes. Purebred sure but mixes can be completely unlike anything they’re purebred traits are
This. If you have adoption paperwork saying it’s a lab mix, typically your vet will also put “lab mix”. All of this paperwork can be shown to landlords or insurance companies so people aren’t turned away simply because of their dog’s genetic background. Coming from an owner of a “lab mix”, “Shiba Inu mix” and “Australian shepherd mix”. Definitely not pits or huskies by any means!
Landlords are onto it. Not only are many requiring pictures of dogs from multiple angles now, but a lot are just flat out banning all dogs over 25 lbs at this point. People are starting to ask for their pits to be Photoshopped in the Photoshop request groups and subs now. It does depend on the area and the demand for rentals, of course, but it’s becoming harder to rent with dogs in general because of dishonest paperwork. I do understand people feeling they need to put their own dogs first, but it’s not a victimless issue.
That’s actually gross. “Let’s all lie because the rules don’t apply to us.”
I had an interesting vet occurrence regarding this labeling. When we got our first dog, she was labeled a rott/boxer at 6 months old. The vet wrote that in no problem. At that point, we didn’t know what breed she actually was. After a fight at a dog park where she ended up with a cut that needed vet care, wouldn’t you know her records switched to pitt mix.
Yep, when I adopted my terrier mix (my best guess is Jack Russell x Pointer) the shelters and rescues were full of pits, chihuahuas, and dogs that were at least partially pit or chihuahua. Jasper was the first dog I saw that clearly didn’t have features of either in him so I took him home. It’s sad really that backyard breeders crank out and abandon so many pits and chihuahuas (who then further breed as strays) because then they fill up the shelters and you just can’t find anything else. And then people wonder why people buy from pet stores or others – it’s often the only way to get a dog that either isn’t banned in your apartment complex, or isn’t an aggressive yappy little thing (no hate on Chihuahuas though I personally can’t stand them). So I don’t blame them for just putting “lab” or “terrier” on the paperwork so it will make people more likely to adopt.
When we adopted our German Shepherd from the pound, they required our home owners insurance policy so they could verify there was no breed exception. Said pit and GSD are very common. I understand apartments but it surprised me about houses and insurance. Hell half the reason we bought a house was so we could get a dog.
And so little of that is based on convincing evidence. Insurers cite frequency of claims, and some *very old* statistics about dog attacks, but all of it has the same flaw. Something like (edit) 20% of dogs in the US are classified as “pitbull-type dogs” so of course a high percentage of incidents will involve pitbulls. Any real study on the matter would have to include a demographic correction. No such study exists, as far as I can tell. And, after the demographic correction it *may be* that working dogs are more of a true liability than “pitbull type dogs”
That’s because “pitbull type” is anything with Staffordshire or bull terrier in it. I wonder what it would look like with 2 other popular breeds
Something like 60% of dogs in the US are classified as “pitbull-type dogs” That’s interesting, do you have a source for that? I tried to look for info on the prevalence of various breeds some time ago but apparently it’s difficult to find reliable data, and the estimates for pit types I saw varied from 6 to 20something %
That’s going to need it’s own correction, soon, with the number of people trying to pass off their pet as an emotional support animal. If you need one, you need one, but service animals have to go through special training and certifications. You can’t just bring Max with you because you don’t want to leave him at home.
So I live in New Zealand and volunteer in a shelter. We will straight out tell you if there’s pit in it. (And if it does we tend to be pretty careful with who we let adopt them
Aren’t they supposed to Be banned here? Good that you don’t just give them out to anyone though
They are illegal to import but that doesn’t stop people sadly
There are a few rescues I follow, including where we got our pitty. Every pit mix is called a lab, pointer, or “mix”. They avoid pit and staffy like the plague. I get why they think not including the correct breed is helpful but it’s not. Potential owners should know what the dog is.
Pits have a Certain Reputation, and many and their mixes only get homes because that part is not acknowledged. Look at all the ‘lab mixes’ and ‘boxer mixes’ that are obviously anything but – however those people who adopt those dogs may be able to slip under breed legislation or landlord bans if they go ‘well the rescue said they were x, here’s the paperwork!’. It really, really is obnoxious. But I know why they do it.
We adopted a “lab mix” from a shelter. He looked ALL lab when we got him at three months old, now it’s clear in his facial and body structure that he has pit in him. In our case, it could’ve just been totally missed that he was part pit as his litter was abandoned. Regardless, he’s always been the sweetest puppy and we’re thankful his paperwork just says lab because we’re able to get around landlord bans.
Puppies are excuseable, they’re very hard to type. Just about every black and white dog is called a border mix when they’re small, etc. There’s less excuse for an obviously pit looking adult dog being called a ‘boxer mix’. I’m happy you’re doing well with your pup! I hope things keep going well, especially if the brat teenage phase is coming.
Imo it’s really irresponsible regardless of their intent, because they’re not lying to the landlord, they’re lying to their customers / would be owners. Different breeds have different temperaments, a lab is a very different dog from an amstaff. If someone is told they have a “lab mix” that’s in reality a pit mix that might have very little if any lab in it, they won’t know what to prepare for. It’d be different if they honestly told the potential owners that well the dog is a pit bull mix but if you want we can write “lab mix” on the papers wink wink, even though that would be shitty too for different reasons. But trying to dupe people into buying pits unwittingly because they wouldn’t get the dog if they knew the truth is just really, really irresponsible, imo. I don’t think a supposed good intent makes it okay to lie like that.
That’s probably why so many get returned. Pits and labs have different personalities and temperaments. Lying is beyond irresponsible
Exactly. I don’t mind people owning pit bulls but I want them to be PREPARED for owning a pit bull. I want them to know to look out for dog aggression. I don’t want them unleashing their dog at the dog park assuming it’s going to have a golden retriever temperament. There are consequences to this beyond getting dogs out the door. Breed matters because temperament matters, and I think if you’re adopting dogs prone to certain issues, choosing to obfuscate their identity so naive consumers who aren’t prepared for what they’re signing up for just isn’t it.
Of course it’s irresponsible. People adopt this ‘lab mix’ expecting a LAB MIX, and they get a high drive, high intensity, incredibly strong bullymix instead that risks their other pets, the neighbors’ pets, and so on. As I said to another user, I didn’t justify it, I just understand it. And understanding doesn’t mean agreeing with it.
I mean a lot of the lab mixes you see in shelter are part lab. They’re just also, you know, part pit. They’re not actively deceiving anyone with eyes and a brain by saying “Fluffy is part lab part something else”. It’s up the the adopter to do their own research and use common sense to avoid breed mixes they’re not a good fit for. That’s literally part of being a responsible pet owner. If your not equiped to handle a (breed) mix maybe don’t adopt a dog that is clearly part (breed) Jesus Christ this reminds me of the time animal control took a GSD and claimed it was a wolf. It clearly wasn’t- anyone who’s ever seen a picture of a wolf or a wolf content dog could tell you that- but the owners were forced to spend thousands fighting animal control to force them to do a DNA test before euthanazing. Dog was 100% German shepherd. Dog went back home. Animal control presumably went back to not being able to tell the difference between a pet dog and a wild animal.
My shelter actually did that – my dog is very clearly a pit mix, and they said that, but put “large mixed breed” on her paperwork with my understanding of why. So I think if they DO inform owners, it’s a bit different.
It’s still not justifiable. They are a high energy, high prey drive, and more often than not a very strong willed breed. And yes that includes the mixes. There is a reason why pitbulls/pitbull mixes flood shelters, No one wants them. Pitbulls languish in shelters/rescues for years. At that point euthanization would be a mercy for them. Lying about a dogs breed has ruined many shelters reputations and helped the anti-pitbull lobby’s cause. (Edit) Thanks for the reward but maybe use the money on ethical shelters my friend.
While I agree with you that it’s irresponsible to deliberately obfuscate the breed, tbf I don’t think anyone should be adopting any dog described as a “mix” expecting any particular temperament, pit mixes included.
I didn’t say it was justifiable! Understanding is not condoning.
You know absolutely nothing about rescue. Pitbulls flood the shelters and rescues because they are over bred not because no one wants them. They are one of the most popular breeds out there. How the hell are rescues and shelters supposed to know what breed the dog is unless they do a DNA test which just isn’t practical for them to do. One, there isn’t enough time. Two, it’s too expensive. If you want to know the creed of the dog you are getting go to a breeder and pay for the papers. You get high energy, high prey with lots of breeds. The worst ones I’ve encountered in rescue have been the collie mixes not the pitbulls.
Oh, I absolutely know why they do it. And like I said, our dogs are absolutely all we could want from them. I’m not mad about that at all, and really, I’m not “mad” about anything here except just the intent, I guess. But it’s true that leaving “pit” off the adoption papers might be beneficial for people renting.
Sometimes it still works out well in spite of it, like what happened with you and your two. Sometimes it ends in tragedy.
From my work in rescue over the decades I can guarantee you they absolutely intentionally lie/deceive people with the mix guesses. Some are so very obviously pure bully breeds, but they’ll make up something fancy as a mix and it blows my mind that people actually believe it. People will say their 100lb purebred american bulldog is a lab mix or something bogus lol. So yeah it is horrible and irresponsible that a rescue/shelter would lie, but they do because otherwise the dogs never stand a chance of being adopter or for legal reasons they fudge a fake breed mix etc. Of course on the flip side it also fails the dog as not everyone can handle some breeds etc. Sometimes in very young puppies it isn’t obvious, but as they mature they turn into very obvious bully breeds so that I can understand because it isn’t always cut and dry in that respect. But yes, from experience (knowing those who run rescues and seeing things first hand, you are correct and it drives me absolutely insane. It is infuriating because it’s failing dog and adopter, and of course it’s never okay to be intentionally deceitful .
They are. People don’t want to adopt them as much and also some of them have had past “incidents” that are not explicitly disclosed to adopters and are cloaked in non-threatening language like “better in a single dog home” or “not a fan of small children or cats,” which really translates to “I have bitten or mauled these groups of living creatures.” They also sometimes move them around from state to state and change their names to try and get them adopted. It’s a thing specifically with no-kill shelters in particular
Today a rescue on Instagram posted something to the effect of: was in an incident that led to the death of a small dog in the household. Before that comment, they bashed the owners for abandoning the dog.
I feel bad saying this, but some dogs do need to be euthanized. Animal attacks are highly stimulating events for the animal and they are likely to repeat them. It’s the same reason Tillikum of seaworld notoriety kept being implicated in attacks on humans. Orcas are undeniably smarter than dogs and the conditions do vary substantially, but humans were unsuccessful in correcting his aggressive behavior despite pretty advanced inter-species communication standards. As humans, we have a special bond with dogs and can communicate remarkably well with them. But we can’t communicate well enough to always rehabilitate aggressive tendencies that escalate towards actual serious damage. It’s honestly sometimes less cruel to euthanize a dog than keep moving it around, keeping it in shelters, and forcing it into home after home to adapt only to be removed shortly after. Human children and other animals equally deserve the right to live lives free of pain and physical/mental trauma which these animals often take from them.
I kind of feel like if a dog has killed another dog it lives with, then euthanisation might be the only option – especially when there’s so many dogs that need adopting.
My dog was a “doxie mix’ aka “dachshund mix”. Aka small dog. Magically, she has NO dachshund in her. She’s over 40% pit, 27% weimeraimer and a bunch of mix of big dog. Lied through their teeth and they don’t feel bad at all. Just happy we fell in love with our girl and we didn’t keep her foster brother.
Holy moly how big did she get?
Yeah, this has been an issue for a while now. Backyard breeders are pumping out pits and pit mixes like there’s no tomorrow, and shelters are filled to the brim with them. Anything that’s not a pit or an elderly dog with health issues will get snatched up quickly, while pits just rot. I’m not saying I agree with it…I’m very much against shelters lying about the dog’s past and their breed. Duping adopters is a big no-no. It should be illegal, in my opinion. Pits are not at all like labs in looks or temperament, and at least to me if the dog has a lot of pit in it, it’s very easy to tell. Pits, Staffs and AmStaffs have a very distinctive skull shape and their features are usually front and center when mixed with another breed. They have small eyes that are far apart, an indent in the middle of the skull, and wide mouths. Labs, on the other hand, have rounder more expressive eyes that are not as far apart and a narrower skull shape. It’s one thing to label an obvious mutt as a “best guess,” but shelters are labeling obvious pits as every other breed under the sun. I’ve seen an obvious brown pit with prick ears being labeled as a “Pharoah Hound” for example. They’re adopting out a high drive, high energy, dog aggressive breed to people who don’t have the experience or capacity to correctly handle such a breed. It’s led to a lot of accidents and even deaths.
I saw a “beagle/cocker spaniel mix” that was a pitbull solid tan color. It didn’t have the wavy fur, any of the beagle coloring or features, and it was HUGE. It was kinda funny how they weren’t trying to hide what they were doing.
But….Why are pits and pit mixes being pumped out at such levels?
Because it’s VERY easy to get a pitbull, unneutered or unspayed, from nearly any municipal shelter. Grab two for 100$, crank out puppies and sell them for 300$, and you have easy profits!
I know people who byb them and claim to be promotors of the breed, really it is because people will pay cash for cute pibble puppies in the right circles. Same people treat dogs like they’re disposable so they’ll be back in 2 -3 years because something happened to the other dog. Ran over, picked up by animal control and forced to rehome due to breed bans, one person I know of got really into meth and just stopped feeding his dogs. Claimed someone was poisoning them. Got new ones – same thing. No one around here cares enough to make sure people like this don’t get their hands on more animals.
Most pit mixes in shelters are also lab mixes- at least in my parts. I spent an insane amount of time looking for a dog that wouldn’t eat my cat (or was young enough to be raised with her) at rescues when my pup died last year. They’re not lying about the dogs being lab mixes. They’re just not saying what the other breed is. It’s super obvious when the other breed is pit.
I admit, I always wondered with all these lab mixes, where the labs are. No sarcasm, I’ve genuinely never noticed the labs that should be making up a good part of the population..
The most egregious mislabeling I’ve ever seen was a 60 pitbull labeled as an Affenpinscher.
In my town they don’t say what breed they think they are.
Rescue groups can be super shady. I heard about this stuff all the time volunteering for a rescue. They wouldn’t tell adopters that a dog had bitten someone or killed a cat, etc. Some were under investigation for stealing money from the rescue. It was crazy.
The shelter where we got our dog from told us they don’t like to label any dog as pit bull (unless they look like a pure one) because a lot of people won’t adopt or apartments won’t allow these dogs. They said it’s impossible for them to know if a dog has some pit in them just by looking at them and they don’t have the money to do a dna test on each dog.
I suspect that’s the going reason here as well. As some of the other folks have noted, I think the biggest concern would be the degree to which the pit / staffie genes express themselves over other breeds. Ours so far have been pretty manageable, but to be perfectly honest, at the very beginning if I could have avoided a pit mix, I probably would have. My biggest initial concern was my senior cat. And #1 has learned the cats are off limits, but she’s still obviously tempted…
Yup. Our dog was supposed to be a hound pit mix but they labeled her as a hound lab mix since it’s not obvious that she has pit in her. We still aren’t sure but we’ll get her a DNA test out of curiosity
My dog looks like he is slightly part pitbull. When I did a DNA test, it said he was about a third. I’ve been looking for apartments and I don’t tell anyone and that he’s part pitbull I just say that he’s a mutt because no one needs to know I’ve done a DNA test. He is a canine good citizen and I’ve been turned down from apartments because of how he looks. People freak out if a dog even slightly resembles pit at all. There are other breeds that are more aggressive than pits. But it’s fine for them to be in the apartment. Smh.
In my area every single “Lab mix” clearly has pit in it. Makes it hard if you actually like Labs…
This is why I will only go to breed specific rescues in the future. I absolutely do not want a type of dog that is inclined to be dog aggressive, and unfortunately, that’s a likely trait of many Pit type dogs… while any dog can develop dog aggression, I would rather not get a type of dog prone to it…
For what it’s worth, I adopted a cattle mix from a cattle dog rescue who turned out to have staff genes. You can see it in his wide smile, but it’s not too obvious otherwise in looks or temperament.
They 10000% do. My 4.5 month old puppy was obviously a pit mix but the humane society refused to admit that, they told me his mom was a lab and he was some sort of mix but they had no clue what. I don’t mind, I’m not afraid of pits but I’d rather they be honest. I did the embark test and he’s definitely a mix, and while he does have lab in him, it’s not enough for a parent to be a lab, plus embark said his parents were a pit and husky mix and a boxer bulldog mix. He’s 41% APBT and only 16% lab, 11.1% German short haired pointer, 8.6% boxer, 7.1% bulldog, 5.7% husky, 4.3% Rottweiler and 6.2% super mutt dna from a hound breed and border collie. I don’t expect them to know all that of course, but the point is, everyone could tell he had pit in his mix from day 1 and they tried their best to hide that
“Lab mix” and “boxer mix” are codewords for “basically a pittie but if we say so your apartment won’t let you have the dog”
This has become standard practice since regular dog breeds have become so successful in the animal rescue and adoption initiatives since the 70s. It’s with this success that shelters would ultimately close shop if it weren’t for pitbulls. All shelters and rescues have left are fighting dog breeds they hope to adopt out in the hopes of generating income. They intentionally mislabel and misbreed pitbulls in order to get them adopted out quickly. They do this as well as conceal the animal’s reactivity towards children and other pets. They’ll go so far as to conceal an animal’s bit history as well. They also use coded language to downplay the severe behavioral or medical issues the animals may suffer from. This, along with unethical breeders, and the public being generally uninformed regarding statistics, dog psychology and behaviors, breed specific traits, and being unaware of propaganda have led to the crisis we see at hand
I used to work in shelters, it’s usually deliberate because pit bulls have a rough reputation. Unfortunately, that reputation is earned when it comes to how they tend to interact with other animals. They tend to be excellent with other pets until they’re 2-3 years old, and then things change. This is a huge problem because people aren’t expecting it at all, whereas they might have if they’d known what kind of dog they adopted. Some shelters (such as the ones I worked with) will vehemently deny pit bull, even, as opposed to just saying something vague like “Lab mix,” and adopters take their word for it. This also used to work when it came to getting around landlords’ breed restrictions, but they’re asking for pictures of the dogs from multiple angles now, or just flat-out banning all dogs over 25 pounds to make sure no large pits/pit mixes get in (yay…). So that’s not going to work anymore in a lot of cases. If their insurance company performs an inspection, and sees a pit/pit mix on the premises, they’ll lose their insurance, and all current claims.
This is exactly what I found when I went to shelters trying to adopt. All of the pups there were labeled as Lab Mixes or Terrier mixes and it was pretty obvious most of them were Pits or Mixes with very strain Pit genes. I don’t hate Pits, but I don’t want one in my home, would not be a good fit. I gave up and went to a reputable breeder because it seemed like all the shelters weren’t being honest. For me, that made them possibly untrustworthy when assessing a possible pets tempermant and health.
Pits are terriers
Right, but there are tons of terrier breeds, and they’re being intentionally vague about which it is.
Yes, they do this. The whole “nanny dog” scam was a shelter marketing ploy. They do it (hide pit background/lie) to keep the dogs safe from people who would but them for fighting. In spite of their intentions, it’s a bad practice, and not in the dogs best interest.
They did this exact thing with my puppy. We rescued her and they knew she was 50% rottie and purposefully left it out of all paperwork
Definitely true. We did a DNA test on our rescue “boxer mix” and not only did she not have any boxer in her, but she was a purebred Staffie.
Shelters lie 100%. If they admitted a pit bull, Akita, rottweiler mix was up for sale hardly anybody would take it. Whereas if they lie and say it’s probably just a shepherd German, golden retriever, boxer mix it will likely have a home much easier. The lying can be beneficial to get some dogs homes but at the same time it can easily cause trouble. I think the lying can be flat out dangerous. My extended family have a story with a lying shelter – they got an Akita mix puppy (having been told it was a golden mix) when they were nowhere near experienced enough – they were also completely unprepared for the sudden “flip” in personality. It took them years and thousands of dollars in dog training programs to get the aggression under control. If my family wouldn’t have had enough money nor cared enough to find a solution to the issue their dog would have went on to seriously hurt or even kill another dog or even a person with its aggression which I find so dangerous. It’s why my mother always told me purebred dogs were the safest bet – you can research and learn about the breed, decide if they could be a good fit for your lifestyle, even meet a few breeders with the bred and see the breed for yourself, before you ever find a reputable breeder and decide to get a puppy. That way you can know their potential flaws and be ready to work through them should they crop up. (Not saying I’m against mix breeds, just that I don’t trust shelters, and take what they say with a grain of salt.)
To be fair, trying to identify the breed mix of a dog based solely on looks is highly inaccurate… so I wouldn’t immediately jump to something nefarious behind the inaccurate breed “guess” by rescues. Maddie’s Fund did a study where they did DNA tests on dogs in shelters so people would have breed info prior to adoption. And if the DNA results showed absolutely zero Pit in the dog, but the dog looked pittie, it still would never get adopted.
Anyone who wants links to studies to show this: https://sheltermedicine.vetmed.ufl.edu/2016/02/16/shelters-and-veterinarians-not-reliable-at-identifying-pit-bulls/ https://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/2016/02/17/dna-studies-reveal-that-shelter-workers-often-mislabel-dogs-as-pit-bulls/ https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/genetic-testing-shows-animal-shelters-often-misidentify-dogs-breeds-180970136/ Edit: there’s also another a few other studies that explains the issue behind the dog bite remarks, and it was that dog attack statistics are based ONLY on visual indentification. Well, as it turns out, 70% of the time a dog in an attack did not match visual indentification vs DNA testing. Ontop of that, people generally can only correctly indentify a pit bull 2/5 times.
The pit bull articles are about 5 years out of date minimum. If you go to r/doggydna , most bully mix shelter dogs at this point have a lot of APBT and Staffy in them, including dogs that don’t really look it. Their population is getting seriously out of control. It sucks for the dogs because most people rent and can’t adopt them, or can’t manage a dog with DA/reactivity. 1 in 600 has a home at this point. That’s… a lot of shelter pits.
When I adopted my dog the Humane Society listed her as a lab mix on their official paperwork. No person who has ever seen a dog before would make that mistake. But in lots of places if you rent an apartment, you’re not allowed to have an “aggressive breed” of dog. The Humane Society labeled her a lab mix, and that’s what the paperwork said. What was my landlord going to do? Get her genetically treated?
This benefitted a friend of mine. All black, soft haired, lanky dog labeled a black lab. That dog definitely has GSD genes. But their landlords never questioned the shelter papers.
To be fair, depending on what these pups look like it can be difficult to ID breed in very young puppies. Obviously I’ve seen both lab mix and boxer mix puppies that are very clearly *not* either of those, but with the shepherd plus bits of other breeds and GP in these pups respectively I could see why it wasn’t suspected depending on what they looked like. Given the stigma, adoption issues and potential legal consequences for the pup in a given area and the fact that short of running an Embark panel on every pup you can’t always be 100% sure I can see why in a young ambiguous-looking pup they would go with something other than pit mix. I don’t think it’s right to do with pups who are very clearly pit/pit mixes however, but on the other hand there are hundreds of non-pit looking rescue/shelter dogs who end up Embarked and having pit-type ancestry to some degree. Yet nobody would feel lied to because how could you know. I wouldn’t jump to ‘omg the shelter/rescue lied and had malicious intent’.
Pyrenees are another breed that seems like there are a ton of floating around shelters. Who knew 100+ pound dogs with strong willpower and 40 metric tons of fur that sheds year round would be hard to place.
I lived on a farm with working Pyrs and I cannot imagine the amount of mayhem a bored Pyr could create!
I wouldn’t jump to ‘omg the shelter/rescue lied and had malicious intent’. Oh, I fully recognize that the only real “intent” would be that people would adopt rather than being paranoid about the whole “oh no, it’s got pit, it’s a bad dog.” Clearly that’s not the case. And it’s true, most puppies for breeds of a certain size– especially mixes– look pretty similar. Funny enough, I was joking with my SO just yesterday that given where we live, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if #2 turned out to have a decent proportion of pit in him. The shelters around here are full of pits and pit mixes. I was right, as it turned out. Probably a good bet here that if you have a medium-sized dog whose parentage you don’t know, it could very well have a decent amount of pit / staffie in it.
My shelter dog was described as a Shepherd mix. She most def has some pit in her. I figured they do that since so many housing places don’t allow Pits. It’s like a way around the rule. It doesn’t say Pit on their paperwork therefor the dog won’t be automatically denied by the landlord.
Rescues tend not to have funding so they can’t splurge on dna tests. They can only assume based on superficial characteristics or identify based on the owner who surrendered the pup.
Will not consider a unknown rescue for this reason. I don’t like pits and don’t want to go look at all of them behind bars. I’ll adopt an old lab or golden that I’m sure of in a heartbeat though.
In all fairness, a lot of rescues are not listing any assumptions of the breed whatsoever, which I like! I think that’s a good thing. A lot of people are scared of pits and pit mixes without reason, and a lot of people get pits for the wrong reasons. My dog, alongside many others, are marked as lab mixes because they are the most generic looking dogs. My dog was marked as a lab mix and he’s mostly beagle and husky (though very mixed). My friend had a pit/rottie mix, and people often called the pup a black lab and would comment on how great of a breed they are – she never corrected them because of the stigma pits have. So in a sense I agree, if you know a dog has a pit parent, it is worth mentioning and I think some shelters do intentionally leave it out. However on the flip side, there are so many pits out there looking for homes and can’t find one because they are a pit mix. I don’t think it’s worth getting upset about tbh because if you don’t know what a pit looks like, it’s a bit silly to be disappointed about getting a pitty mix post-DNA testing.
Interesting. The shelters where I live make it known that the majority of the dogs are pit bulls or mixed with pit bulls.
The shelter I got my pit mix labeled her as a terrier mix.
Whoever is in charge of guessing breed mixtures at shelters and rescues barely know what they are looking at. Been looking for little senior to adopt and what is shown is so baffling. Even saw a pic of a medium sized mixed bully breed listed as a ‘small’ dachshund. They have no idea. It’s all guesswork.
My “Border Collie/Lab” mix is all AmStaff except for one great grandparent who was a mix. She was pregnant when she was rescued and a bunch of her pups got tested and it said she was 100% so I got her tested. They also said she was 40lbs and liked leash walks and chilling on the couch. She was 40lbs alright and all skin and bones. After ages of healing her, including bilateral TPLO and finding out she is allergic to poultry she is 65lbs and gets walked a total of about 2 hours a day including going out for a sniff. I knew she had one of the pit breeds in her just by her picture but yeah, they were a bit off about their breed “guess”. I am figuring they said border collie because she is black and white. The damage I see is around BSL and landlords etc. I am lucky, very lucky, that our landlord has no breed rules but other complexes near ours have specific no Pit rules and you can be evicted for it. If it looks at all like a Pit it is a nightmare of either giving up your dog or trying to move somewhere that allows them. I wish “rescues” realized that they are harming dogs when they do this.
In my area growing up, we had to say dogs that were clearly pits were boxers. Animal control would auto euthanize any pitbull. No questions asked. Tagged but just got out of the house? Super friendly? Still put down…. Most of the rescues I knew growing at least, would lie to save the dog. And most animal control people were too lazy to argue about it. Maybe that’s some of it? Obviously not all.
Lots of places don’t allow pits or any dog that is even part pit. I always thought they avoided it for this reason.
Our “Corgi-Lab” puppy is 0% Corgi and 15 % Lab. The rest is pitt, staffy, and super mutt. He’s amazing and a sweetheart, but knowing the breed is really helpful for training and understanding the dog’s needs. We were fortunate to be able to focus his training around breed specifics after we knew more. Not being transparent to future dog owners is bound to lead to misunderstandings and potential returns to shelters for people that don’t want or can’t put in the time.
It’s difficult to ID dogs, puppies especially, given that most shelter dogs aren’t purebreds. My own pup was supposed to be a Shiba Inu mix, yet had 0 shiba in him! He’s not quite 5 months and is already the size of an adult Shiba Inu. But, his mom looked like a big Shiba (she’s partly Samoyed), so they called the puppies Shiba mixes. Shelters often have very little information to go off of. I agree with other posters here that say that pitties have a certain rep, and so I can see where they might be reluctant to label them as such unless they scream ‘I’m a pit bull’ in their features.
I think sometimes they definitely do it to help get them adopted, and I agree with the others who say this is irresponsible if your goal is to find forever homes and not just move dogs. However I also just think they are really bad at guessing breeds sometimes lol. Mine was labeled as a Newfie mix, despite having literally zero Newfie traits aside from his size and the fact that his fur is black. (Ironically he does happen to have a decent amount of bully ancestry, like 30%, but I never would have known if I hadn’t done the DNA test since he doesn’t look it at all so I don’t think that was deception on their part)
Were you able to identify the pit ancestry when you adopted them? It sounds like you only learned this from genetic testing, which rescues do not have unlimited access to. Did you also say you got them as puppies? It’s very difficult to ID dogs as puppies, as you say. For the most part I’d give rescues the benefit of the doubt. Although I have heard of rescues changing paperwork for adopters whose apartments have breed limitations, they typically want to be up front with the adopters themselves because it sucks having to take dogs back from adopters.
I am going to butcher a saying here: “Don’t ascribe to malice what may be simple ignorance.” I cannot find the reference at the moment, but less than one tenth of one percent of a dogs DNA determines its appearance. This includes fur color, body shape, head shape, fur style, etc… There have been several studies done in which shelters (or outside organizations) went through and identified “pit bulls” in a shelter and then sent a sample for DNA testing. Generally, the correlation between “expert” witness selection and DNA was poor to say the least. One graphic of such a study is here . Here is a link to the study . Some quick bullet points from that study: 120 total dogs Shelter staff believed 55 to be pits There were both false positives (dogs were pits but not identified by shelter staff as such) and false negatives (dogs were not pits but identified as such) Only 32% of the 25 pit bulls (8 of them) were properly identified as pitbulls by all staff. Individual staff members accuracy ranged from 33% to 75%. Not bad for baseball, but not great if you have the traditional 90/80/70/60 grading scale from school. My local shelter did a similar study though a grant they received for DNA tests though I am not sure they did a published study. They did a small sample size (10 IIRC) and their accuracy was also in the 20-40% range as I recall (I am friends with the person who was the shelter director at the time). Given the poor accuracy of guesses, they now just label most as mixed breed because without DNA testing, no one truly knows, and DNA testing is still way too expensive for regular shelters/rescues to do. One of our dogs, Mochi, had an Embark DNA test done. Picture 1 , Picture 2 . Per DNA testing he is: Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see Spoiler alert. Click to see
I can almost kind of see it in his head shape especially in the puppy pic, but yeah in the older photo he looks nothing at all like a pit.
The rescue I foster with is specifically a pittie rescue, but we also take in free roaming dogs from the nearby rez … and one thing that seems to frustrate some potential adopters (but I really like) is that unless we’ve actually seen the parents, the dogs are just listed as a mixed breed. Sometimes people try to get us to guess what we think they are, and we are not supposed to even venture a guess.
It is fun to do DNA tests on rez dogs. They are truly a mixed breed. The dogs from our rescue never have more than 30% one breed. It is usually in the 20’s, and about 5 main breeds, and 7% supermutt.
The rescue I got my 50 pound American Bulldog from said “American Staffordshire Terrier and Boston Terrier mix” 😂 we were like uhhh no she’s definitely some sort of pittie or similar breed. No Boston in her whatsoever. Embark actually confirmed she’s 100 percent American Bully which was slightly surprising but still not Boston by any means.
American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the breeds listed under the “pitbull” umbrella.
You’re right. But Boston definitely isn’t and she is not Boston at all. It’s hilarious they tried to say she is any part Boston.
to be fair, the vast majority of shelter/rescue dogs have a fair amount of of pitbull/amstaff in them. if they labeled every dog they suspected of having pit DNA as a pit mix, they wouldn’t have much of anything else lol
I mean, labeling them differently doesn’t change what they are though. Sometimes I’ll go on petfinder just to see what’s out there for adoptions and they’re literally all pit bulls or chihuahuas regardless what they are calling them.
oh trust me, i agree! i just know at the shelter i volunteer at, they tend to label dogs, for example, as ‘hound mix’ instead of ‘pitbull mix’ even though they’re both true because many people come in with a specific breed or breed mix in mind and are more likely to adopt a dog who is labeled as a hound rather than pit, even if they’re 50% hound 50% pit
I guess I’m sort of confused… It sounds like the dogs did not look like they had pitbull in them and then you later found out through a DNA test that they did? If I’m reading that correctly, why do you think the shelter staff willfully mislead you? Maybe you and I have different perceptions about the “expertise” of shelter staff, but I’ve always assumed they just take their best guess.
That has me confused too. If OP didn’t want to adopt a pit mix, I’m assuming their dogs didn’t look like pits when they adopted them. It’s one thing for shelters to describe them as a lab mix or something that looks similar, but it’s not like a Great Pyrenees looks like a pit. Plus being a pit mix doesn’t mean it’s going to have behavioral issues or be dog reactive/aggressive. Plus Staffies don’t even have the same temperament as APBs.
I worked in multiple shelters that had no problem calling something a pit mix. Usually these shelters and rescues don’t have the funding to test the breeds, so they go on looks or what previous owners told them (if they were surrendered). Past adopters would send us updates after a dna test and you’d be surprised how many we labeled pits came back with little or no APBT. Even my own dog, I adopted from one as a puppy. They labeled him “pit bull mix”. His top two breeds are American Bully and German Shepherd. He acts nothing like an APBT, he’s far more GSD personality wise, but he’s always looked like a pit even with less than 20% APBT dna. It’s hard sometimes and you have to take calculated guesses based off of little to no information. But I will say, if you couldn’t figure out your dog was APBT without the DNA test, neither could the shelter staff. Guaranteed.
As someone who works in rescue I can say that unless you are specifically told what the breed/s are then it’s purely a wild guess. And even when you are told by the surrender they are still mostly wrong. Unless you do a DNA test you are only speculating on the breed, which for a rescue to do it’s just not practical financially or timely. If a rescue wanted to get the dog adopted by lying about the breed they would say the dog is a golden retriever mix. I actually started with a rescue that would do this and many other unethical things which is why I’m no longer with that rescue. The #1 misidentified dog is the pitbull. Dogs that are not pitbulls are labeled as pitbulls more often than the other way around. That being said, the #1 dog in rescue is also the pitbull. So is it possible that a rescue might suspect the puppy or dog they have might have some type of pitbull in them but decide to go with another breed the dog looks like they might have? Yes. Because when you do a search on Petfinder.com for pitbull there are almost 17,000 hits that come up. The chances of finding your sweet rescue a home is impossible. I personally have had my pitbull foster for over a year with no serious inquiries. The last one I had was for 2yrs before he found his forever home.
You mean a bit like this dog that’s a “labrador/golden retriever mix” that’s “good with other dogs, according to the rescue? https://dl5zpyw5k3jeb.cloudfront.net/photos/pets/48577386/2/?bust=1601655293&width=560 I’m only linking to the image and not the petfinder page because it has the rescue’s info on it.
It would be one thing if 90% of the clearly pit bull types were labeled as such. But when I see them, they almost never are. I could see if it was truly ambiguous to not make assumptions, but I see so many massive wide wedge heads that are practically 100% to standard being called some mix of rare dogs that i imagine are rarely if ever in shelters or cross bred at all because they so badly want to avoid calling a spade a spade.
That dog clearly doesn’t have lab in it.
I worked at a shelter, it was pretty well known that they would try to avoid pit being in the name. Terrier mix is this closest they’d get (which isn’t a lie), but if they can get away with it they’ll say lab mix or whatever breed the pup resembles. It helps with the stigma and landlords.
Stigma or not, its setting future owners up for failure because they aren’t prepared to handle a pit. Lying is only hurting the dog in the long run
The issue is apbt are intense dogs that aren’t for beginners. When a shelter doesn’t label a dog as an apbt it could lull adopters into thinking they are getting something they aren’t. However, an apbt is different than an am staff, is different from a staffy, and when you throw other dogs in there you really can’t tell. In my opinion, it’s better to just label dogs as mitts unless there is some reason to label it something else.
So I used to be on a board for a rescue and it’s super hard to know what puppies are. Most of the time they were dumped on us or left at the shelter without parents and we had to do a best guess. Until they’re about 6 months old we’d always just do our best to decide, but I’m sure we were often wrong. It was never malicious, one pit I had had a litter of puppies, all of them were advertised as pit mix puppies, and they grew up to be great Dane size and unless you saw the mom you’d think Dane/lab. I myself adopted a dog last year thinking he was Shepard/pit and now it’s pretty obvious he’s malinois/boxer. We fully expected an 80+lb dog based on his looks and size at the time, but he’s a petite and agile 45lbs-ish and not very tall when compared to a Shepard. With all that said it is totally not ok if they did intentionally lie to you, and they’re dicks for that.
I almost adopted a pit from a rescue and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. They told me she was an 11 week old scruffy terrier mix with a wire coat that was around 6 lbs. Two weeks later, they told me that she was a 10 lb 8.5 week old and promised left and right that she wouldn’t be over 40 lbs, which is … a boldfaced lie according to everyone who I talked to about puppy size estimates with a puppy that big/young. 😞 I live in a 800 square foot, 2 br apartment with an elderly cat and roommate. The apartment complex doesn’t allow pitbulls/staffies, and while my apartment doesn’t have a weight limit, I wanted something small enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about weight limits. I had to call off the adoption, and was sobbing for a week. I had told them all of the information up front about how I didn’t feel comfortable with a dog over 20-30 lbs, which is why a dog this size/age was perfect for me, because it fell into the “small” category of size and I needed a small dog. ANYWAY, sob story aside, I don’t get it. Give people honest information… giving pitties/staffies to random people thinking they are getting a labrador (or in my case wire jack russell mix) is irresponsible. Pits are GREAT dogs, but like all breeds, they are not a good fit for all people or situations
I think its for housing purposes, a lot of buildings, communities, and landlords deem Pitbulls an aggressive breed and so they are banned from the living area, it allows people to bypass that
I’m surprised this is even a question, but I also live in a place that has a ton of pits. But yes… the shelters here are full of “lab mixes” or “heeler mixes” that are obviously at least half pit. I like other peoples’ pits, but I do not want one.
“Pit Bulls” in a lot of places in the US and Canada are a legal, financial, and renters liability. There are several places that have breed restrictions which require the euthanasia of pit bulls or pit mixes. But, a lot of people have commented that already so here’s a personal anecdote. First week at a new job a coworker asked if I had pets, I said yeah a 10 year old dog, and she asked to see pictures because she also had dogs. I showed her my very sweet boy and the first thing out if her mouth was “oh wow you have that thing in an apartment?” I was extremely confused she went on to say; “well how big is it?” That’s when I realized due to the closeup of the photo she thought my 20lbs Boston terrier was a pit bull. Either way nasty reaction and I kept away from her after that. The thought that you might have a pit bull is enough to cause major scrutiny especially with middle aged and older populations in the US. Even if they have no damn clue what they’re talking about.
You had access to DNA tests, the shelter did not, why does that immediately lead you to the conclusion that your local shelter is maliciously deceiving people?
This is why is frustrates me that people call all the blocky head dogs “pitbulls”. There’s one “Pitbull” American Pitbull Terrier. Then there’s American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, Boston Terrier, American Bully(and it’s four sizes) American Bulldog, and definitely a few more related dog breeds. While they are all closely related they are different breeds! People always call my American Bully a “Pitbull” when he is in fact VERY different from a true APBT. His breed may have been made by mixing a bunch of bulldogs together but they did it on purpose so someone could have a blocky headed Pitbull looking dog without the drive and game ness of a terrier. My American Staffordshire Terrier gets called either a “Pitbull” or “is she a Pitbull mix, she’s so little compared to your other Pitbull!” I understand that not every single person is going to know every single breed in the world and I very kindly and willingly (because I love all these breeds dearly) explain to them my dogs exact breeds and as much about them as I can! It’s definitely frustrating seeing dogs posted on shelter pages TOTALLY labeled wrong. I would love all the friends to get rescued but I want them to be able to go to homes that know what they are getting into. I hear a lot of people say it doesn’t matter what their dog is but I have to disagree, it doesn’t hurt to take a DNA test and find out what breed or breeds your dog is made up of so you can train it in a way that it will respond to well and also because of health issues! An average person who meets my Amstaff gets to see her super sweet side because she loves humans and they say “she’s so sweet and perfect!! I want her!!!” Then I say well, she’s a handful! Get her around some rodents, birds or small animals such as bunnies and she turns into a full on hunting terrier. Most people we think she is an awful murderer dog if they saw what she would do to a cute bunny but she was made that way and she can’t help it! It’s also bad for their mental health to keep them from using their instincts! I try not to let her kill anything but if she sniffs out a groundhog or sees something I let her sniff around and “search” for it and when it’s been what I think is a good amount of time for her to do that I call her back and tell her she’s a good girl! She always smiles at me and continues on with our walk! (I always have her on a leash btw!) Sorry bit of a rant! I think it’s very important humans are educated on the different dog breeds and what they were made for so that dog can live it’s best life!!
I’ve been fostering two puppies that I got at one week old, they are ten weeks today. They are pit/lab mixes, we named them Finn and Jake. Jake looks nothing like a pit bull, he’s very fat and fluffy and has already gone to adoption. Finn very much looks like a pit bull and I’m so worried for him, that no one will want him because he’s a pittie. He’s the sweetest, snuggliest guy that loves everyone he meets so I’m sure he’ll be fine, it just makes me sad that Jake got adopted so fast and Finney has been looked over.
I don’t hate pitts or any breed. Some you gotta be more careful with then others however lying about the dog breed is fucked. I get that pitts are in shelters the most of any dog however you can’t lie about parentage or history of the dog. People should know the animal that is in there home and if people don’t want pitts and you lie that just turns people away from adoption not to mention the other people they talk about.
Theyre not going to pay for q dnq test for each dog. Plus, its all about creating a paper trail for insurance, etc.
Would you have adopted your pups if you HAD been told that there was a possibility that they was any bit of pitty in their lineage?
To be totally fair, rescue workers don’t know shit about the ancestry of most dogs or even basic breed identification. They pretty much go based off of color before literally anything else. There’s also the fact that you can’t always tell what breeds are in a dog just by looking, especially puppies. All black dogs with floppy ears are obviously lab mixes, forget that both traits are highly dominant and are present in several breeds.