V Voith, C Bond, E Ingram, K Irizarry, K Mitsouras, J Marilo
This study was undertaken to compare breed identification by canine adoption agencies with identification by DNA analyses of 20 dogs of unknown parentage.
Government legislation, housing associations, landlords, and insurance companies may prohibit ownership or impose constraints on ownership of specific breeds or mixed breeds. If people are unsure what breed a dog is, they are often forced to guess and asked to name “the breed the dog looks most like”.
The 20 dogs in this study had been adopted between ~ 6 weeks and 5 years of age from 17 different locations, and between 2.5 months and 11.5 years prior to the study.They were ~ 5.5 months to 12 years old at the time of the study. MARS VETERINARY™, Lincoln, Nebraska, performed the DNA analyses and reported to have “an average accuracy of 84% in first-generation crossbred dogs of known parentage”. All of the breeds identified by the adoption agencies were in the MARS ™ database. Breeds must have comprised at least 12.5% of the dog’s make-up to be reported.
There was little correlation between the dog adoption agencies’ identification of probable breed composition with the identification of breeds by DNA analysis. Only 25% (4/16) of the dogs identified by agencies as a specified breed mix were also identified as the same predominant breeds by DNA. In 15 of the 16 dogs, DNA analyses identified predominant breeds that were not proposed by the adoption agencies. In the 2 dogs identified only as “shepherd mixes” by adoption agencies, no German Shepherd Dog ancestry was reported by DNA. In the 3 dogs described as terrier mixes, a terrier breed was only identified by DNA in one dog.
 Voith VL, Ingram E, K Irizarry, K Mitsouras M, Irizarry K (2009). Comparison of Adoption Agency Breed Identification and DNA Breed Identification of Dogs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 12:253-262.