Adopting a dog brings new adventures and joyful experiences to a family. With an adoption from a rescue or shelter, there may also be many questions about the dog’s history. A common question for new dog owners is, "Just what breed or breeds is that pup?" Although you will love him no matter his heritage, knowing his breeds can give you understanding of his behavior and let you know if there are potential medical concerns common to a particular breed. However, unless you have a pure breed or opt to have a simple medical test done, determining a mutt’s breed mixes is a challenge. You may have to settle for an educated guess.
Compare the breed standards of the American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC) to the features of your dog. The standards are highly detailed, giving you specific features to compare your dog to such as height, weight, coat color and quality, physical structure and temperament.
Look at dog photos on rescue websites, such as Petfinder. Here you can see photos to compare your dog to of many mixed breed dogs, with their breed mixes determined by people with experience.
Go to a local pet event with your dog or with a photo of your dog. Local pet adoption events and other pet events will have many professionals and others who are highly experienced with dogs and may be able to recognize your dog’s breed or breed mix.
Ask your veterinarian what breed she thinks your dog is. Veterinarians have hands-on experience with hundreds, even thousands, of dogs, making them a great resource for determining your dog’s breed.
Get a DNA test. Tests are now available for mixed-breed dogs that analyze the dog’s DNA to correctly determine their breed mix. These tests only require a cheek swab that is mailed back to the company.