If you’re on the market to rescue a shelter dog, then there is no doubt that you have noticed a few similarities from pound to pound. In many cases, there are a few breeds that are predominant in just about every shelter across both Canada and the United States. So if you’re just looking for a sweet companion to share adventures with then take a look at these top 5 most popular breeds in shelters today. They may surprise you!
While the Labrador is generally speaking, one of the most sought after breeds on the planet due to its pleasant disposition, they are also extremely prominent in shelters. It is likely because Labradors are thought of as family dogs, as they are typically great with children, that they are often purchased from one of the many available breeders around.
However, Labradors are also very loyal dogs who like to be with their humans as much as physically possible. Therefore, after they create a bond with their person, it becomes difficult for them to share the spotlight when children become a larger part of the picture. While they are not aggressive toward the child, they can become needy and jealous in its presence.
More often than not, their families then feel as though they don’t have the time for their Lab, or that they cannot give him what he deserves. The Labrador then ends up at the shelter in the hopes that they will find another family to spoil them. Black Labs however, don’t always find the homes they need in time as they are the least likely of all colored dogs to be adopted, statistically.
Oh, beagles. They are said to be one of the most trusting dogs in the world, so how much more heart-breaking is it that the end up in shelters? Beagles are often used as the subjects of animal testing in the cosmetic world because they place so much faith in humans. Unfortunately, this blind naivety also causes them to believe that they will be family dogs for the rest of their lives.
While, due to their impeccable senses of smell, beagles are often bred to be working dogs in the southern United States, they are not always bred to standard and require many medical procedures with regards to their ears, eyes, and backs. When hunters purchase beagles from backyard breeders, they are expecting a dog who will be of use to them in the fields, following the scents of other animals and ultimately leading them to their trophy, they are not looking for a dog who will cost them thousands.
That said, many beagles often follow their noses much too far away from their owners and never return. They are often found as strays, their owners having given up on finding them as it would be much easier to simply purchase another working dog. Beagles are also a very loud breed that love to howl during the day when their owners are gone, or at night when they are bored. For this reason too, beagles end up in shelters as they are deemed too high maintenance.
Very similar to the beagle, coonhounds are too, bred as a working breed. They are to date, the most popular hunting companion, as they have an excellent sense of smell, love to run and chase, and are very loyal. They are fantastic in packs, getting along with most other dogs, and can make great family dogs. Coonhounds however, also have a mind of their own, can be stubborn, and distracted.
A coonhound is considered useful to a hunter if he is loud, as this is the only way his owner will be able to track him in the woods at night. However, not all hounds feel the need to shout at the top of their lungs. Some hounds don’t even feel the need to work at all! Out of every five coonhounds bred, only one will be a successful hunter’s assistant. But what happens when they get bored? Or old?
While agile enough to clear 7 ft walls, coonhounds are considered a large breed dog. This means they can often be subject to medical issues like hip dysplasia and are then rendered useless to their owners. Instead of bringing them to a shelter, hunters will often just let the dog loose in the field, where they feel he is happy to roam and play until he is found. Once found, their coonhound will join the ranks of his siblings in a shelter, at this point however, trained to be too loud and too energetic to be a family pet.
Yes, you read that correctly! While Yorkshire terriers are considered a designer breed by society, and appear to be treated like royalty by celebrities, what you wouldn’t guess is that many of them actually end up in the pound after the novelty has worn off. So the next time you are thinking about shelling out thousands of dollars for a puppy, make sure to check out a shelter first!
Extremely popular, Yorkies are often purchased as lap dogs, as gifts or as playmates for children, and while they do love to snuggle and are easily carried, there is much more to the Yorkshire terrier than meets the eye. A common misconception is that Yorkies are low maintenance. Of course, we’ve all seen them being toted around in handbags, but Yorkies can often have very feisty personalities if not trained. They are also a breed that is known to nip, to bite, and to have a bad attitude if spoiled.
Many expect that their dog will be easily trainable because he is small, but that is simply not the case. Many Yorkies actually have small-dog syndrome, which causes them to act out in order to make up for their size, and as such will require just as much training as a large dog. They are also very prone to collapsing tracheas, skin conditions, and as they are so fragile, can be hurt easily.
5. Pit bulls
Last but not least, the most popular breed of dog in shelters today is the pit bull. Of course, the breed name itself is an umbrella for all of the various sub-breeds the term has to offer. Under this umbrella are Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and the list goes on. But what unifies these breeds is that they are often surrendered to shelters due to a lack of training, to over-population or to stigma.
Originally bred as nanny-dogs, pit bulls can be some of the friendliest, nurturing dogs around if trained correctly. They genuinely have a very friendly temperament and can be excellent family dogs. However, over time pit bulls have been stigmatized by society thanks to a few bad egg breeders. Because pit bulls have relatively large litters, they are deemed money makers for backyard breeders. Due to their muscular appearance, many of these breeders advertise their pit bulls as champion fighters, guard dogs, or all around tough guys.
Sadly, many of these dogs fall into the wrong hands and are not properly cared for. They are used as bait dogs, are trained to protect their owners at all costs, and when the dogs are surrendered to the shelters when they are no longer needed, they are considered to have too much emotional baggage to be rehabilitated.