The Power of Dog Breed Labels in Pet Listings

Shelters and rescues often list dogs for adoption on platforms like, hoping to connect with potential adopters. Understanding the role of breed labels in these listings can significantly impact the visibility and success of adoptions from these online listings. Here's why breed labels matter online:


1. Improved Search Results
Potential adopters on use search filters to find the perfect pet. A substantial 38% initially search for specific breeds, and this percentage rises as they narrow down their preferences. The breed label increases the chances of your pets being found in these tailored searches.


2. New Pet Alerts
New Pet Alerts, where pet seekers receive emails when matching pets are added to our website, are another key way to reach potential adopters. An impressive 60% of these alerts are created with a specific breed in mind. Breed labels ensure your pets show up in these personalized notifications.


3. The Most-Searched Breeds
Understanding which dog breeds are most popular in website searches can guide your labeling choices. Breed labels can be viewed as proxies for size, simplifying the search process. See the top 20 most-searched-for dog breeds here.


4. Breed Labels Impact
Removing breed labels online can have varying impacts on different breeds, especially the top 10 most-searched ones. For example, reclassifying American Pit Bull Terriers as "Mixed Breed" may make them invisible to potential adopters searching specifically for that breed. American Pit Bull Terrier searches may represent just 2% of all searches nationwide but account for 40,000 annual searches in Kentucky alone.


5. The Value of In-Person Communication
Removing breed labels in the shelter is a different matter. In a face-to-face setting, staff or volunteers can engage with adopters, discussing their needs and preferences. Observed pet behavior and personality indicators can be more influential in guiding an in-person adoption process.


6. The DNA Factor
Studies have shown that DNA tests can increase adoption rates. While it's not solely about breed labels, knowing a pet's breed mix will positively influence adoption outcomes. Consider funding DNA tests for mixed-breed pets or those in your care for extended periods.


Breed labels play a key role in helping potential adopters find their ideal canine companion online. They serve as vital search criteria and can be the key to successful adoptions, particularly when coupled with in-person conversations and the potential of DNA testing.


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