Help! I just got a dog and I have no idea of the breed!

Dogs are one of the most popular household pets that people have today.  With so many different breeds of dogs, it can be very difficult to tell what breed of dog you have.  While it is true that some people choose to pick their dog in advance, therefore already knowing the breed, there are just as many people that either adopt the dog from a shelter, pound, or other family; or find the dog as a stray.  In these cases, the breed of the dog is most likely unknown, and it could be a mix of more than one breed.

Factors to look for that will help you narrow it down

 your dog breeds

  • The coat/fur of the dog

?     While cats are separated into long hair, short hair, and hairless categories, dogs almost always have some sort of coat or fur.  Simply by petting your dog it can be easy to determine what his or her coat feels like.  Is it curly or straight?  Some dogs, like poodles, have very curly hair.  Other dogs, like Labrador retrievers, have straight hair.  Is the coat short or long?  Is it soft or rough?  Is it a thick coat of fur despite what time of year it is (since some dogs get a thicker coat during winter), or is it a thin coat? 

  • The weight of the dog

?     One of the easiest ways to start determining your dog breeds is by looking at the weight of your dog.  There are pretty much three categories of dogs: small, medium, and large.  By deciding which group your dog falls into, it can narrow down the different choices that you have about which breed of dog you have.

  • The height of the dog

?     In addition to the weight of the dog, the height can also play a factor.  Most dogs that are small in weight are also small in height, so ruling on whether the dog is tall or short can be helpful.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of dogs that do fall into the category of medium when it comes to height and weight, and that can be difficult.

  • The facial and body structure of the dog

?     Some dogs, such as pugs, have an extremely distinctive facial structure, known for their pressed in faces as well as their curly tails.  Dogs such as dachsunds have a particular body structure, known for their long bodies and short legs.  Looking at the facial structure and body type of your dog can help you determine which breed he or she is.

  • The color pattern(s) of the dog

?     Two breeds that are very distinctively known for their color patterns are pit bulls and boxers.  These dogs have very easily noticeable patterns in certain colors, depending on the breed.  This may not be as helpful with other dogs who have less distinctive color patterns.

Other ways you can research dog breeds:


            If you’ve tried all of the above methods and are still coming up empty handed, don’t get discouraged!  You can always look at the American Kennel Club website or any other dog encyclopedia to see pictures of different dog breeds and compare them to that of your dog.  You can also talk more about your dog breeds with your veterinarian.  They are the most experienced when it comes to seeing different breeds of dogs, and may be able to give you a head start on how to find out this answer once and for all!

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