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For shelter dogs, identification of breed mix and heritage can be a matter of life or death. This is particularly true for the thousands of dogs who—based on appearance—are labeled as “Pit Bulls” by shelter workers. However, in a recent study led by Lisa Gunter in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, it was determined that shelters inaccurately represent the breed heritage of three-quarters of dogs sampled.

The study, the largest reporting of breed heritage in sheltering to date, involved 919 dogs in the care of the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL) and the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS).