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Top 10 Dog Breeds Most Commonly Found in Shelters

  • 4 min read

You’ve been looking to adopt a new family member and every shelter you go to seems to have a lot of common breed types available. Unfortunately, a lot of people adopt, breed, and buy without being fully aware of everything that goes into training their new pet to be a functioning member of the household. There are many reasons for someone to surrender a pet but every case is different. These are the top 10 dog breeds most commonly found in shelters and the reasons as to why.


Labrador Retreiver in front of a the Christmas tree

10. Labrador Retriever

Yes that’s right, the Labrador Retriever is America’s most loved dog, but sadly it’s also one of the dog breeds most commonly found in shelters all over the country. It is considered that their good reputation as loving and loyal pets could be their downfall, due to overbreeding to meet demands for their popularity. Easy to train, the Labrador can be a perfect family pet!


Beagle in play bow position

9. Beagle

These dogs are cute and sweet with adorable floppy ears but were originally bred as hunting companions. Due to this, the Beagle has a big voice that it’s not afraid to use. As hunting dogs, this is a good trait to alert their owner to potential prey. But as house pets, their loud bark can be a nuisance to landlords and neighbors. In addition, their stubborn nature makes it difficult to train this trait out.


Black and Brown Chihuahua with tongue hanging out

8. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is most likely on this list due to it’s gained popularity from fashionistas and movie stars toting them around in purses. They were also the stars of a lot of movies in the 90’s and early 2000’s and seemed to be adorable accessories on film. In reality, a Chihuahua is just like any other pet and requires training, care and a comfortable home. Once people realize they’re more work than they thought, they are often surrendered.


German Shepherd sitting in a snowy backyard

7. German Shepherd

Often times, German Shepherds are purchased as guard dogs due to their reputation. Although, without proper training, exercise, and mental stimulation, these dogs are prone to destructive and aggressive behaviors due to their abundance of energy. They need to have a fulfilling job to perform or they will often times become out of control. People who surrender GSD’s are mostly unprepared for the time and energy they need to devote to raising this breed.


Eldery Daschund sleeping

6. Dachshund

There’s a lot of personality in this small dog. People tend to find the Dachshund irresistible but are unprepared for their stubborn and quirky nature. Known diggers because of their past as badger and mole hunting dogs, this breed can ruin your lawn and your home if you are unprepared to train them. Their long spines also put them at risk for back injuries. They are usually surrendered due to people finding them more trouble than they are worth.


Boxer rest on the arm of a couch

5. Boxer

This playful and energetic breed loves companionship from their families. They need a lot of attention and are extremely loyal. If you don’t have enough time to devote to your Boxer, they can become destructive in search of something to do. Provide a Boxer with structure and lots of love and they can be great family pets.


Smiling pitbull walking in the woods

4. Pit Bull

Out of all the dog breeds most commonly found in shelters, it’s the Pit Bull that wins by a landslide. This breed is often abused, and neglected leading them to have a hard time trusting people. A huge amount of misrepresentation in the media and breed specific laws keep people from bringing a Pit Bull home. Bad people often are the ones tainting this breeds name. Treat these dogs right and they will be loving and loyal family pets.


Jack Russell Terrier in the back seat of a car

3. Jack Russell Terrier

This breed is highly energetic and without proper training can be more than a handful. A well trained Jack Russell in a movie can be a very tempting looking pet for most people, assuming their small stature will make them more manageable. This breed needs vigorous daily exercise to offset their boredom behaviors such as digging and constant barking.


American Staffordshire Terrier lauing on a front porch

2. American Staffordshire Terrier

A lot of the same laws and regulations that apply to Pit Bulls also affect the Staffy. This athletic, affectionate, and loyal dog breed faces a lot of discrimination. These dogs are extremely similar to Pit Bulls, and visually almost impossible to tell apart. They can become aggressive when they are mistreated by bad people and often are.


American Bulldog with bottom teeth showing

1. American Bulldog

Another dog that tends to get lumped in with Pit Bulls is the American Bulldog. They are visually similar with their blocky heads and thick musculature. American Bulldogs face a lot of discrimination from people who think they look mean and pass over them at a shelter. Housing restrictions from landlords and city laws can also keep people from being able to bring one of these dogs. They can do extremely well in the right hands with someone who has experience training stubborn dogs.


Many of the reasons that these dogs show up on the list of dog breeds most commonly found in shelters are pure speculation. One thing for certain is that a lot of unprepared owners are underestimating how much time goes into raising a dog. Make sure to always do your research and evaluate for yourself whether you will be able to take care of the individual needs of the pet you are considering adopting. A dog should never be an impulse purchase.

If you’re considering adopting a dog, always check your local shelters. There’s a lot of dogs in need, and you might discover that a pup from one of these dog breeds most commonly found in shelters is waiting just for you, ready to fill that spot in your heart, as well as your home.