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Results from the First-Ever Mutt Census

Published: Apr. 06, 2011
Subject: Mutt Metrics
Category: More Bones to Chew On

Results from the First-Ever Mutt Census

Results from the First-Ever Mutt Census

Back in January, Woof Report wrote about 2010's most popular dog breeds in the U.S. as reported by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC compiles the rankings annually based on the number of dogs registered each year with the AKC, and includes listings of top breeds within major U.S. cities too.


And now we have insight into the most popular “breed” in the nation: the marvelous mutt!  Mixed breed dogs represent around 53% (or 38 million) of all dogs that share our homes in the U.S., but very little is known about them on the whole – until now.


This past March, Mars Veterinary launched the first-ever National Mutt Census to generate the most comprehensive analysis of the nation’s mixed-breed dog population to date. The Mars Veterinary genetics research team collected DNA samples from more than 36,000 mixed breed dogs to determine the breed history of each dog, and combined it with survey results from 16,000 mixed breed dog owners.


Results from the Mutt Census were published this week, and the German Shepherd is officially the most common breed identified in our nation’s mixed breed dogs. What’s particularly interesting about the data is that the most common breeds registered by the AKC are not necessarily those found most often in mixed breed dogs. For instance, the Chow Chow, a popular breed in the 1980’s and the third most common breed identified in mixed breed dogs, is only the 63rd most popular purebred according the AKC.


Angela Hughes, veterinary genetics research manager at Mars Veterinary, explains why there's a discrepancy in common breeds found in mixed breed dogs and popular AKC registered dogs, “The results of this poll provide a vivid snapshot of past and present trends in mutts. The DNA of America’s mix-breed dogs tells a story of which breeds were popular in past decades. If a breed was trendy in the past, but has fallen from popularity, it may still represent a large portion of the current mixed breed population.”


Top 10 most popular breeds found in the nation's mutts along with the breed’s 2009 AKC ranking in terms of popularity.

  1. German Shepherd (No. 2 most popular AKC registered breed)
  2. Labrador Retriever (No. 1 for AKC)
  3. Chow Chow (No. 63 for AKC)
  4. Boxer (No. 6 for AKC)
  5. Rottweiler (No. 13 for AKC)
  6. Poodle (No. 9 for AKC)
  7. American Staffordshire Terrier (No. 70 for AKC)
  8. Golden Retriever (No. 4 for AKC)
  9. Cocker Spaniel (No. 23 for AKC)
  10. Siberian Husky (No. 22 for AKC)

View the Mutt Census detailed results at the link below, and in the meantime, check out the additional trends with regard to our mutts from Mars Veterinary:

  • Shelter Dogs Rule!: Shelters are the most frequently cited place (46 percent) where people obtain mixed breed dogs, followed by a friend/neighbor or relative (18 percent).
  • Mutts Nibble on Kibble: Dry dog food is the most popular feeding choice (65 percent), surpassing mixed food (wet and dry - 21 percent), wet food (5 percent) and raw food and scraps (9 percent).
  • Sleeps With Dogs: Nearly half of owners (48 percent) reported that their dog slept with them.
  • Small Dogs Rule: For most mixed-breed dog owners, bigger isn't necessarily better. Breeds weighing more than 80 pounds represent less than 11 percent of all mixed breed dogs.
  • Population Control: Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) mixed breed dogs are neutered.


The Scoop:

Visit the Mutt Census site and click on the interactive map to learn about mixed breed dogs in each state. You'll find the top breeds detected in mixed breed dogs, feeding and activity details, any genetic diseases a mixed breed dog has been diagnosed with, and much more.


Thank you to Sarah Mae Scott on flickr for the photo of Coco.

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0 #2 Stacey at Woof Report 2011-04-13 09:50
Hi Liz - The study is from Mars Veterinary and is based on DNA as well as surveys from those who own mixed breed pups, but you make a great point! I do know people with small dogs that have learned large dog breeds are identified in their dog's DNA so it's possible...but to get the scoop, I've emailed Mars your question. I'll post a reply when I hear back and thanks for asking!
0 #1 2011-04-08 08:11
How is it that less than 11% of mutts weigh more that 80 pounds but most of the breeds listed in your mutt survey are large dogs?? Is the list based on guess work or DNA results?

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