15 Dog Breeds Most Likely to End Up In a Shelter

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Most dogs in shelters are mixed breeds, but purebred dogs are also found there. Purebred dogs in shelters need homes just like mixed-breed dogs. If you are interested in adopting a dog, you can find them in shelters. Here is a list of the 15 dog breeds most likely to end up in a shelter.

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American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terriers and similar Pit Bull-type dogs are the most common purebred dogs in shelters. Nearly 18,000 of them are waiting for homes. This breed has many homeless dogs, but they can be great pets for the right family.

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Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are a beloved breed in the U.S., but they often end up in shelters. Despite their friendly nature, Labs need lots of exercise, and if they do not get it, they can develop destructive behaviors. Instead of investing in training, some owners give up their Labs. Many people choose Labs based on their appearance without understanding their needs.

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German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of the most favorite pets in the world. But that also means excessive breeding which has caused these dogs to end up in shelters way more than other breeds. These dogs may have health and behavior problems due to their breeding practices. They can be wonderful pets for the right home.

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Dachshunds often end up in shelters due to their rash behavior. Because they were originally bred to hunt badgers, they have strong personalities. So, these dogs can be difficult to manage for people who are not familiar with the breed.

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Australian Cattle Dogs

While Australian Cattle dogs are beautiful with their speckled coats and striking eyes, their appearance is not their most important trait. They have high energy levels and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. One of the many reasons why they end up in shelters.

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Just like German Shepherds, beagles end up in shelters due to overbreeding, backyard breeding, and unprepared owners. They have a high prey drive and bark very loudly. Moreover, beagles can develop severe separation anxiety if left alone, leading to destructive behaviors.

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Border Collie

Border Collies are high-energy dogs. That means they have a need to play and be active. Without enough exercise, they can develop anger issues and do destructive things. Because many owners do not know about this fact, these dogs are instead sent to shelters.

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Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are great family dogs, but they need proper training to maintain that kind of temperament. Without proper training, they can develop behavior issues. Although Retrievers are less in number compared to the other dogs in the list.

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Shih Tzu

Similar to Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzu’s are bred globally. They are small but have lively personalities. Owners buy them for the small size, completely ignoring their needs for proper grooming and training.

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Rottweilers need training from a young age due to their strength, but they are generally devoted and good-natured dogs. Despite their historical use as guard dogs, they are not aggressive and are protective of their families. They are playful and adaptable, and they get along well with children.

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Siberian Husky

Despite their striking appearance and Hollywood fame, huskies are often misunderstood. They are known for being high-energy, vocal, independent, and intelligent. But owners who do not know about their needs for training, exercise, and nutrition can easily become overwhelmed.

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Doberman Pinschers

While less common in shelters than some breeds, these dogs are surrendered more frequently due to their reputation, lack of training, and owner relocations. Owners who do not understand their needs surrender or abandon them, and breed restrictions in housing complexes lead to surrenders.

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There is a misconception that Boxers are lazy dogs, possibly due to their resemblance to Bulldogs. However, owners often surrender their Boxers because they underestimate the exercise needed to keep them happy. Boxers require hours of daily exercise to prevent destructive behavior and house soiling, especially if left alone for long periods.

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Would you believe that in 2013, Chihuahuas were the second-most surrendered purebred dogs nationwide? Chihuahuas are known for being protective, loyal, and sometimes fear-aggressive. They often become attached to one family member and need consistent patient training and socialization to discourage behaviors like resource guarding. Without proper education, some owners misinterpret their Chihuahua’s behavior and surrender.

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American Staffordshire Terriers

The AmStaffs face similar negative stereotypes as pit bulls and bulldogs due to their historical association with dog fighting. AmStaffs are affectionate, intelligent, and self-assured dogs that form strong bonds with their families. Many apartment and condo complexes categorize AmStaffs as bully breeds and prohibit owners from keeping them in their homes.


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