Orange County Animal Services says it will no longer label dogs by breed

Yesterday Orange County Animal Services announced that it will no longer be labeling the dogs that come into its facility according to breed. The decision comes after months of discussion about the shelter and its policies. Local animal advocates have been attending the shelter's advisory board meetings to demand change and make recommendations about how the shelter might improve its relationship with the public and animal rescues, and ultimately, its adoption rates. Some say the shelter's new policy gives dogs – particularly those mixed breeds who've been labeled pit bulls – a better chance at adoption. As experts point out, breed labels issued at shelters are often wildly inaccurate – guesses by staff who don't really have anything to go on but the way a dog looks. As the CDC, the National Canine Research Council, the ASPCA and the HSUS have all pointed out, breed guessing is subjective and a breed label is not always the best indicator of a shelter dog's personality or behavior.

Related: Advocates still calling for change at Orange County Animal Services

From Orange County Animal Services' Facebook page:

The world today is a richly diverse mix of humanity, and our shelter pets are no less intricate and distinctive. Each animal is unique, brimming with its own personality, preferences, and potential.

Orange County Animal Services receives approximately 20,000 pets every year. In an effort to afford every four-legged friend the greatest opportunity to find a forever home, Orange County Animal Services will remove breed identification from kennel cards and on our website at

Our goal is to break down barriers associated with breed descriptions, leaving behind any division or stigma associated with breed classifications so that each pet can find a perfect match with a loving forever home. By allowing shelter pets to defy description, each pet can overcome any labels that might limit chances of adoption.

We hope this endeavor will boost adoption numbers for shelter pets. We want to be as effective as possible, and we welcome your feedback regarding this move.

Not to make fun of that bit about overcoming labels, but ... oh, what the hell ... dream big, dogs:

Photo via Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund,

Thinking about adopting a dog? Check out this gallery of dogs currently available at Orange County Animal Services: