Another dog shelter sheds practice of labeling dogs by breed

An "American Shelter Dog" up for adoption at the Portsmouth Humane Society. The shelter has announced that it will no longer refer to dogs by their breed. Credit: WAVY/Erin Kelly

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A humane society chapter in Virginia is among a growing number of shelters that will no longer categorize dogs by breed.

WAVY-TV reported Friday that the Portsmouth Humane Society will refer to its dogs simply as “American Shelter Dogs.”

The shelter said breed labels can be misleading, even when they’re accurate. PHS said it can tell potential pet owners everything about a dog’s personality, the commands it knows and if they’ll be a good fit for a particular family.

Few dogs arrive at the shelter with information about their breed. And DNA tests are unaffordable for most shelters.

Breed labels can also promote preconceived notions about a dog’s temperament. Such assumptions can impact how long a dog waits to be adopted.