ETA: Meant to title it "CallING..." not "Called..."
Speaking from experience working in a shelter for a few years (and currently), and also as a dog trainer, here are some facts:
-some shelters will deliberately label a dog an unlikely breed (ex. Pharaoh hound/ X) to increase novelty and chance of adoption
-some shelters will deliberately not label a dog as a bully mix to avoid breed bias
-most shelter employees make judgments based on a few phenotypic traits rather than DNA testing or behavior (ex. "This is a tall stripey dog... Dutch shepherd/X!)
-shelter employees, among others, are mostly wrong about what breed a dog is.
-most shelter dogs are mixed with more than 2 breeds.
-breed labeling REDUCES adoption rates and INCREASES shelter stay for some dogs. So it directly impacts welfare.
-removing breed labeling has increased adoption rates for all breeds, in some shelters.
Here is a study that tested over 900 shelter dogs with the Wisdom Panel DNA test: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0202633
Parsimony is important. In the shelters where the study was done, "4.9% of the dogs identified as purebreds. The three most common breed signatures, in order of prevalence, American Staffordshire Terrier, Chihuahua, and Poodle, accounted for 42.5% or all breed identifications at the great grandparent level."
This does not mean this is the case for all shelters across the country; there are surely regional differences. But you can probably bet money the big fluffy white dog you adopted is not a purebred Akbash. When in doubt, it is more accurate to go for common breeds or be vague (or DNA test). For example, "poodle mix" versus "Portuguese Water Dog mix", "terrier mix" versus "Black Russian terrier mix", "shepherd mix" rather than "Dutch shepherd mix."
DNA tests are not 100% accurate. Wisdom Panel is about 90% or more accurate (I don't know how this was tested but it was one reason why the scientists in the linked study chose Wisdom Panel). That is still more accurate than any person.
It is also important to call a dog what it is to promote accurate public perception of the breed, for safety of people and dogs. Since I have a Dutch shepherd, I'll speak from this perspective. Let's say the pointy-eared, stripey dog you adopted was labeled as a Dutch shepherd mix and so you call it that. Let's say the dog is mellow, great with kids, laid-back, and pretty much the perfect family dog. Three things may happen: 1. People will think Dutch shepherds behave this way. 2. People inquiring may want Dutch shepherds. 3. The owner may seek out a pure bred Dutch shepherd because their adopted dog was so great.
However, the problem is Dutch shepherds are typically NOT laid-back, mellow, or good-with-all. They bite hard, they are bred to bite+hold, AND they have the aloofness that shepherds tend to have. They can be neurotic. They are still bred purely for working and sport purposes. The majority of them do not do well in average pet homes (though they make great pets when well bred and well trained).
You may think that the problem is solved by the fact that GOOD breeders will screen potential buyers and refuse to sell to someone without an accurate perception. However, there are bad breeders too, and THIS is where the unassuming buyer is more likely to get an animal. Poorly bred dogs of certain breeds are a bite risk. They are less likely sold with a contract that is stringent about breeding rights, so they more likely breed, and create more unstable, bite risk dogs who are not good representatives of the breed, and are more likely to be sold to further unassuming pet homes. The big picture is, people and dogs can get hurt. And breeds can become ruined over time as populations become inundated with poorly bred dogs (to meet demand), rather than well bred ones.
I feel like this has already happened to the German Shepherd Dog and I think it is rapidly happening to the Malinois.
For fun, here are some DNA tested dogs I know who have no Dutch shepherd in them. Physically, they look like they can. Behaviorally, they don't act like one:
Here's my Dutch shepherd, from a very reputable and well known breeder in this country. Has been breeding for over a decade and primarily sends dogs to police, search and rescued, bite sport, and other sport homes. And all the other stuff like pedigreed, registered, breeder health tests, etc.
I hope this post is informative. I'm not trying to gate-keep Dutch shepherds or prevent people from getting them, or any other breed. But I think it is important that people receive accurate information and do their research before getting any dog. And the culture of simply calling a dog ____X purely based on looks is harmful in so many ways. Thanks to research, it is hopefully changing over time. Many shelters are already removing breed labels and I hope the trend continues.