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Accuracy of identification of pit bull-type breed dogs in shelter homes in the USA

K. R. Olson, J. K. Levy, B. Norby, M. M. Crandell, J. E. Broadhurst, S. Jacks, R. C. Barton, M. S. Zimmerman

SHELTER staff and veterinarians routinely make subjective dog breed identification based on appearance, but their accuracy regarding pit bull-type breeds in unknown. Due to restrictions or bans on dogs identified as pitbull-types, it is important to identify types correctly. The study aimed to measure agreement among shelter staff in identifying shelter dogs as pit bull-type breeds and compare breed assignments with DNA breed signatures.

Four animal shelters in Florida, USA, were recruited for the study. At each shelter, four staff members assessed 30 dogs and assigned a primary breed for each dog based on its physical appearance. The terms American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, pit bull and their mixes were included in the study definition of ‘pit bull-type breeds’. Whole blood was collected from each dog and was submitted to a DNA testing laboratory for breed identification. Statistical analysis was then performed to assess agreement among shelter …

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