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What do you think about her breed mix, and how should we describe her?

  • I think she's part pit bull, and I think you should describe her as a pit mix.

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  • I think she's part pit bull, but I think you should just describe her as a terrier mix.

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  • I don't think she's part pit bull, so you should just describe her as a terrier mix.

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Missy was found when she followed someone home and we weren't able to find her family, so we know nothing about her breed mix other than what we can see. She's now our foster dog with a local rescue group. I'm asking because if she's part pit bull, we can't adopt her to anyone who lives where there are rules restricting dog breeds. I'm sure people here know what a wonderful breed pitties are, but we can't change those rules. We just need to make sure she goes to a home that can be her forever home.

She weighs just over 50 pounds, the vet's estimate of her age is a little under 2 years old, she loves to zip around the yard and lie in the sun, and she enjoys snuggling with her human. But those things can be true about many dog breeds.

The rescue group doesn't have the funds to do a DNA test on her. Most rescue groups don't.

Aside from breed restrictions, one line of thought is that if we describe her as a pit mix, that could turn away some people who believe the inaccurate pit bull stereotype. If we just describe her as a terrier mix even if she is a pit mix, one of those people might meet her, fall in love with her, and realize how unwarranted that stereotype is.

Based on the above and the photos below, should we describe her as a pit mix? For now, she's described as a terrier mix. Whether or not you think she's part pit, what are your guesses about her breed mix?

Thanks for your responses.
 

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I would go with "Bully Breed Mix" myself. She doesn't really look like a pittie (unless there is a lot of something else, like Lab, in there), but might be an American Bulldog mix.
 
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She reminds me of a pit- but it could also be bully, or even a little bit of staffie- given that actual breed is unknown, and that many people are prejudiced against pitbulls (and even staffies or bully dogs), terrier mix is probably the best bet, as it's unfair to reduce her risk of adoption based on a speculation that she might be a pit.
 
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Personally I'm of the "if you don't know the breed, don't name the breed" school of thought about rescue/shelter labels..."mixed breed" is the most accurate option if you're required to fill in that blank. Breed guesses are notoriously inaccurate. But you do need to assume she's part pit until proven otherwise due to breed restrictions, so I'd be 100% up front about that with potential adopters. Make it clear when describing her and her ideal home that it's possible she's part pit or other bully breed, so adopters can make an informed choice.
 

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Yes, lots of breed restrictions on rentals or homeowner's insurance are decided arbitrarily by whether the dog looks pit bull 'enough' for whatever person happens to be evaluating the case, so it's important to be up front that there's a possibility she has APBT content and could be targeted by breed restrictions with potential adopters. It may discourage people who buy into the 'pit bulls are evil and super dangerous' narrative, but I'd worry that someone with that attitude might give the dog back after their neighbor/friend/uncle/date told them their dog was an APBT or pit mix anyway, regardless of how true it is (lots of people out there who identify any dog of any size with a short, smooth coat and kind of blocky head as definitely a pit bull).

I think 'terrier mix' or 'bully breed mix' are just fine, and I don't think it's necessary to try to tack on a specific breed so long as rescues are clear about the potential risk of BSL for bully-looking dogs.
 

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"Possible Bully breed mix"

Doesn't look completely APBT or AmStaff to me at all but breed rules by landlords/housing, insurance, HOAs etc don't give a hoot. Even DNA tests in some locations have not been enough to circumvent stupid breed specific laws.

If its government restrictions, adopt outside the area.
If its landlord type restrictions, get a letter of approval for the dog for any renters.

The dog looks cute and good size and age for adopting out so breed should not be an issue unless your whole county has a ban.

I would NOT label the dog anything that you don't known for sure
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the useful feedback, everyone.

Where I live, there is no breed ban. However, most landlords have a list of dog breeds not allowed, and pit bulls are typically on that list.

The vet's guess was that she's a pit bull / Lab mix. Because of her size, I don't see how she can be that unless those are 2 of 3 or more breeds. They said there was something about her head shape that made them think Lab.

I think she's part Boston terrier. She's managed to perk both ears at the same time only once, and when she did, her face really looked like a Boston terrier. I see that same look when I hold her ears up for her. She's about the right size to be a Boston terrier / pit mix if the pit bull half was a smaller dog. Also,while her bark is about the pitch you'd expect from a dog her size, the pitch goes up at the end of the bark, sounding like a smaller dog.

One person who met her pointed out the indentations in her head that she said were marks of a pit bull or pit mix.

I didn't say all this at first because I wanted to get people's guesses based just on her description and photos to start. Does the above change any guesses?

Whether or not it does, it sounds like most people agree that we shouldn't describe her as a pit bull mix when we don't know for sure but that prospective adopters should know about that possibility. And if they live where there is a list of banned breeds, we'll have the landlord sign something saying that this dog is allowed or the adoption won't happen.
 

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You wrote "She's now our foster dog with a local rescue group. I'm asking because if she's part pit bull, we can't adopt her to anyone who lives where there are rules restricting dog breeds."

So do you volunteer for the rescue or work for it? The rescue itself should have guidelines regarding how they handle breed labeling. And if they use any sort of database that runs adoptions, they will have "X breed" or "medium mix" or whatever they choose printed on Missy's papers for her adopters.

In general, breed labeling/guessing is often wrong and is damaging to adoption programs in general. Here is an article on it: More than a label: Shelter dog genotyping reveals inaccuracy of breed assignments
And here is the study it references: A canine identity crisis: Genetic breed heritage testing of shelter dogs

I love trying to guess breeds and all for fun. But speaking to the perspectives of placement/adoption, rescues, etc... It is an outdated thing to do.
 
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She's well within the weight range for an APBT, actually - might even be a little large for a female. Well-bred APBTs tend to be in the 30-70lb range by my understanding, with females tending towards the smaller end. I don't think that means she's purebred, but I wouldn't assume she necessarily had to have a smaller breed in there.

Phenotyping dog breeds - guessing the breed mix by just looking at physical features - is honestly all guesswork, and there's some wild ways genetics interacts to produce looks you'd never believe. If anyone tells you a dog is DEFINITELY part XYZ because of something like indentations on the head or any other single physical trait I'd take the advice with a grain of salt. Even from vets - they're trained to diagnose and treat medical concerns, not in breed type analysis. They may see more dogs than most people, and that could certainly count for something, but their guess is still just a guess.
 

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I think she's part pit bull, and I think you should describe her as a pit mix
She reminds me of a pit- but it could also be bully, or even a little bit of staffie- Water damage restoration Michigan given that actual breed is unknown, and that many people are prejudiced against pitbulls (and even staffies or bully dogs)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, everyone. We've decided to keep describing her as a terrier mix in her profile, but we will mention the pit bull possibility to prospective adopters, especially if they rent.

Another possible clue into her breed is that she's very interested when she sees birds. Most dogs ignore them. It could be because of her prey drive, but I'm wondering if it's a clue to one of the breeds in her breed mix.
 

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I love trying to guess breeds and all for fun. But speaking to the perspectives of placement/adoption, rescues, etc... It is an outdated thing to do.
Yup. When people hear a breed or type, they have automatic associations, for good or for bad. You're setting up expectations that the dog may not fulfill for that person. Better to just label "mixed breed" and let the potential adopters get to know the dog as an individual, IMO. (Again, with the disclosure about possibly running afoul of breed restrictions in the description and discussed with the potential adopter.)

IMO even "terrier mix" is a possible stretch...she could well be mostly not terrier, theoretically might not be a terrier at all.
 

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Missy was found when she followed someone home and we weren't able to find her family, so we know nothing about her breed mix other than what we can see. She's now our foster dog with a local rescue group. I'm asking because if she's part pit bull, we can't adopt her to anyone who lives where there are rules restricting dog breeds. I'm sure people here know what a wonderful breed pitties are, but we can't change those rules. We just need to make sure she goes to a home that can be her forever home.

She weighs just over 50 pounds, the vet's estimate of her age is a little under 2 years old, she loves to zip around the yard and lie in the sun, and she enjoys snuggling with her human. But those things can be true about many dog breeds.

The rescue group doesn't have the funds to do a DNA test on her. Most rescue groups don't.

Aside from breed restrictions, one line of thought is that if we describe her as a pit mix, that could turn away some people who believe the inaccurate pit bull stereotype. If we just describe her as a terrier mix even if she is a pit mix, one of those people might meet her, fall in love with her, and realize how unwarranted that stereotype is.

Based on the above and the photos below, should we describe her as a pit mix? For now, she's described as a terrier mix. Whether or not you think she's part pit, what are your guesses about her breed mix?

Thanks for your responses.
Looks a lot like my 60 pound English Pointer mix. Google english pointer.
 

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One of the Ivy League schools here in the U.S. did a study in two parts where they had you look at 25 dogs. Each was a known mix of 3 breeds. You were supposed to rank the breeds. ALL of them looked like Pit mixes! NONE had any pit in them and it was confirmed by DNA testing. They did this to prove, even with veterinarians and experienced dog people, it was impossible for them to reliably guess the breeds in a mix of 3 different breeds.

I personally have a Boxer/Black Lab mix. Initially she looks a bit pit if you really look at her. But the first give away is she doesn't fight like a pit (I know I'll get flack for it but all the pits I've fostered bite and hold). Then you look at her teeth and there's an obvious underbite. Then you see her black coat in the sun, and you can see the brindle boxer color under the black! I guess what I'm saying is no gov could possibly say a dog was pit by looking at them and most DNA tests won't say pit, or at least that's what I've been told.
 

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Take a look at my post about my previous dog Behr. Buff build and big head is not automatic "pit". But pit is likely if no mother breed is mentioned at turn in. Mentioning age and size is critical too
 
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