Mars Veterinary’s first National Mutt Census, released this week, was launched in March 2010 to reveal the “paw print” of America’s mixed breed population. Mixed breed dogs account for about 53 percent of all pet dogs in the United States, according to Mars Veterinary, maker of the Wisdom Panel Insights dog DNA test.
The Rockville, Md.-based company collected DNA samples from more than 36,000 mixed breed dogs. These samples then underwent genetic analysis by the Mars Veterinary team to determine the breed history of each dog. This genetic data was combined with more than 16,000 responses to a Web survey from mixed breed owners. The survey asked questions about their dog’s size and weight, his feeding and exercise habits, whether he was adopted from a shelter, as well as questions about the dog’s health.
“The Mars Veterinary National Mutt Census provides a vivid snapshot of past and present trends in mixed breed dogs,” said Angela Hughes, D.V.M., veterinary genetics research manager at Mars Veterinary. “Thanks to the census, we know what breeds are wide-spread, as well as how people are caring for their dogs and what health concerns they may have. The hope is that the pet community will use this information to provide better care for the nation’s mixed breed dogs.”
While German Shepherds prove popular as both a pure breed and mixed breed, the most common breeds registered by the American Kennel Club are not necessarily the most common breeds found in mixed breed dogs, according to Mars Veterinary.
Below is a list of the top 10 most popular breeds found in the nation’s mutts compared to AKC’s ranking of popular breeds:
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)
The survey also revealed that shelters are the most frequently cited place (46 percent) where people obtain mixed breed dogs, followed by a friend/neighbor or relative (18 percent).
- About 89 percent of mixed breed dogs are spayed/neutered.
- Breeds weighing more than 80 pounds represent less than 11 percent of all mixed breed dogs.
- Dry food is the most popular feeding choice (65 percent), surpassing mixed food of wet/dry (21 percent), wet food (5 percent) and raw food and scraps (9 percent).
- About 69 percent of respondents reported that they don’t use flea and tick control medicines regularly.
- About 48 percent reported that their dog slept with them.