Identify Dog Breed By Characteristics

By | 10.05.2021

The full guide about identifying dog breed by characteristics

Maybe you have wondered, “What breed is my dog?”

From fulfilling your fascination to a higher understanding of your own dog and that means that you may provide tailored attention, there are lots of advantages to figuring out which particular breeds produce your mystery mix. Identify Dog Breed By Characteristics.

Your veterinarian or perhaps even the shelter staff, if you adopted may offer ideas about your puppy’s ancestry. But when by visual cues alone, even pros misidentify your dog’s breed about 75 percent of the time.

So, in this informative article, you’ll learn four techniques for discerning your dog’s breed.

Why Do I Have to Know my Dog’s Breed?

Knowing a dog’s breed is equally important, partially simply because it’s fun to know, and partially because it can help you learn what types of health or behavior issues to watch out for.

Finding a sense of your pet dog’s breed may also assist you to determine whether a dog is going to be a very good fit for the way you live.

Some dogs were designed with specific tasks at heart, like helping hunters on land or in the water, protecting houses, herding, or ridding houses and barns of rodents. Different dogs are just meant to be companions.

All that said, most dogs really are a mishmash of several breeds, perhaps maybe not a 50/50 mix of 2 purebreds, rendering it much harder to determine your dog’s type.

Therefore, if you have ever adopted a stray or whether you have ever possessed any kind of non-AKC registered dog, there is a good chance you are not sure of your dog’s breed.

The good news is there are some techniques to at least help you make an informed guess.

Characteristics to Help Identify Your Dog’s Breed

No two dogs are completely equal, however, dog breeds do share common physical characteristics. When attempting to figure out what type of dog you have, here are some items to think about.

Characteristic #1. Head Shape

Your dog’s head will fit right into one of three primary categories.


Long-headed dogs with pointy snouts, such as greyhounds, collies, etc. After measuring your dog’s head’s width and length, the length is longer than the width.


Wide-skulled dogs, such as boxers and pugs. If you measure your dog’s head’s width and length, then the length will probably be shorter compared to the diameter.


Dogs whose head shape falls in between. When measuring your dog’s head’s together length and width, the amounts will be approximately equal.

Characteristic #2. Ear Shape

There are various kinds of dog ears. It’s easy to feel helpless. We will not describe a variety of types, but a generalization of your dog’s ear shape is going to do. Here are some frequent ear shapes.


A vertical ear, very common in dogs. These ears are pointed out and erect (Husky).


Surgically erect ears. Perhaps not ordinary (Great Dane).

Blunt or round:

Sharply erect ears with a smooth curve (French Bulldog).

Drop or pendant:

Classic hanging ears (Basset Hound).


V-shaped ear dangling down.

Cocked or semi-pricked:

Neither fully erect nor pendant (Pitbull breeds).

Characteristic #3. Coat Texture

Identifying your dog’s coat type is also pretty simple.

Smooth or short-haired:

These dogs have fur that’s close to the body. These are your short-haired dogs and require the least amount of grooming. For example, Beagles, Dachshunds (short-haired), and Labrador Retrievers.


These coats are usually an inch long and require moderate grooming to reduce tangles and matting. These dogs do shed. Their fur may also be rough or silky. For example, Golden retrievers, German shepherds, etc.


Long-haired dogs often have hair or fur that hangs on the floor and need thick grooming within the routine maintenance and attention. For example, the Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Afghan Hounds, etc.


Wire-haired dogs are bristly into the touch. Several forms of terriers, along with Irish Wolfhounds, have wiry coats that can get tangled if not cared of.


Curly-haired dogs have tender ringlets or waves just like human hair. These dogs possess soft, thick curls. For example, Poodles and Bichon Frises.


Many dogs have coats that consist of two layers, a dense, wooly short-haired undercoat, and a major coat of long hairs. The undercoat protects your dog from both hot and cold weather, whereas the topcoat helps repel dirt and moisture. For example, Miniature Schnauzers, Pomeranians, Huskys, and Golden Retrievers.

Characteristic #4. Coat Color and Pattern


The most common dog coat is sturdy. A brown dog could be classified as strawberry or liver brown, and dogs with red coats may be classified as orange, rust, cinnamon, and ruby (think Irish Setter). Gold colorations consist of pale yellow, blonde, honey, and apricot, and cream coats are nearly white. Black and white coats are self-explanatory, although each can have underlying tones. Blue dog coats appear as off-gray when comparing to standard grey.



Contain two colors and is otherwise known as patched or tuxedos. Some common color combos consist of black and tan, white and tan, or black and white. For Example, Rottweilers, Doberman Pincers, Belgian Malinois, and Border Collies.


Include three colors. Tricolor coats are usually contrasted with a standard white chest and underbelly, and encircling coloration around your dog’s dorsum, face, and down the limbs and tail. For example, Beagles, Basset Hounds, and Basenjis.


Coats include patches or marbling of color chiefly around all regions of your dog but the stomach. For example, Great Danes, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds, among others.


Have uneven spotting around the body and so, therefore, are typically black and white (Great Danes) as compared to standard spotting as seen about the Dalmatian.


It’s a normal tiger stripe (black, brown, and golden ). For example, Bull Terriers, Plot Hounds, and Greyhounds.

Saddle patterns:

Have black coloring to the rear that gradually fades. For example, German Shepherds and Airedale Terriers.


Characterized by black-tipped hairs which stand out against other milder colorations. For example, Shetland Sheepdogs, Pomeranians, and German Shepherds, among others.

Characteristic #5. Dog Size

Dogs, of course, come in all different sizes, and some breeds are available in a variety of sizes too. Your dog’s size may provide you with a good idea of exactly what your dog’s key breed is.

Here are the overall dog sizes by weight:

  • Toy: around 12 lbs
  • Small: 12 to 25 lbs
  • Medium: 25 to 50 lbs
  • Large: 50 to 100 lbs
  • Extra Large: 100+ lbs

This is sometimes a little confusing because it doesn’t take into account build and height. By way of instance, Miniature Schnauzers stand about 12 to 14 inches and weigh anywhere from 11 to 18 pounds.

A Miniature Bull Terrier, on the flip side, stands approximately 10 to 14 inches, roughly the same while the Miniature Schnauzer but can weigh between 25 and 33 pounds. That’s nearly twice as far as the Mini Schnauzer.

Characteristic #6. Dog Tails

Your dog’s tail may also provide some insight into its breed. Below are some of the more common kinds of dog tails:

Docked Tails:

These breeds generally possess a portion of their tail cut off when they are puppies. A number of herding breed dogs originally had their tails docked therefore that the herd critters couldn’t nip at the dog’s tails. This is sometimes somewhat tricky since it isn’t the dog’s natural tail length. For example, Dobermans, Great Danes, and Schnauzers.

Curly Tails:

These tails can curl up and the way over into a ring shape, or else they could flake out into a corkscrew shape. For example, Pomeranian, Basenji, Pugs, Chow Chows.


These dogs don’t have a tail at all. For example, Corgis, Jack Russell Terriers, and Brittany Spaniels.

Video Explanation


Where You Can Find Help Finding Your Dog’s Breed?

Taking each of the above information regarding characteristics to look to determine your dog’s breed, you can Google the many physical traits and see what you get.

But there are also other websites, apps, and even DNA kits to make the process easier for you.

1. Have a dog breed identification quiz

Don’t have time for several of the research required by the first approach? Online dog breed quizzes take most of the leg work out of visual identification. After answering a couple of straightforward questions regarding your dog’s appearance and traits, you are going to find a set of potential matches.

Much like the possibility above, quizzes rely on visual cues. So, they probably won’t find the ancestry 100% right, particularly if a few breeds produce up your mix. Still, they are pretty fun to take.

Many quizzes like this exist. But whilst the world’s leading dog DNA service, we chose to make our own! It’s short, you just need to answer three questions concerning your dog’s ears, tail, and head shape.

2. Breed game “What is my dog?”

Sponsored by Wisdom Panel, a leader in dog DNA testing kits, the “What’s My Dog?”. The website includes a pretty extensive quiz comprising silhouetted thumbnails with a large variety of dog ears, tails, and muzzle types (132 of each) from which to choose. You go through and select the closest shape for your dog for each category, and also the overall game offers you the breed type you selected for each image.

Could it be accurate? Well, let us start off by saying there are certainly a lot of choices in this particular game – 132 for every category, and also lots of silhouettes are alike. So it’s sort of hard to determine which option is the best.

Nevertheless, we simply tried it with our dog, who is without a doubt primarily a Miniature Schnauzer, however, our results came up Manchester Terrier, English Spaniel Terrier, and Irish Terrier. Granted, our dog never had her tail docked like the majority of Mini Schnauzers so that threw off the tail possibility. But it did not obtain another two categories right either.

3. The dog scanner app

There are numerous apps to help you identify your dog’s breed insight, but the main one we opted to try is called the dog scanner. For this particular app, you use your phone’s camera to have an image of your dog, or you can upload one already on your phone if you prefer.

Does this function? We must mention, we are pretty amazed. Just uploaded two distinct images of the dog. The very first came back as 87% Miniature Schnauzer, 13% Maltese. This was a recent picture of our almost 10-year-old dog, along her fur is now an extremely light gray, which made it look almost white from the image. We think that’s where the Maltese came out from. Uploaded the following photo of Puggles out of when she came home and it came up using 100% Miniature Schnauzer.


Next, we tried the app on some photos from dogs at the shelter, and while we have no idea if there had been accurate, then the results at least appeared to make sense. For every single breed type that the app selects, it shows you that an image of the breed of dog which means that you may compare.

4. Use a dog DNA test

The techniques above can be entertaining. But in the event you truly want to be certain about your pup’s breed makeup, there is really only one choice, your pet dog DNA test. This method looks past your pup’s outward appearance and also uses genetic clues to determine their own ancestry.

For the highest accuracy, you will want a test using a sizable reference sample database. Why? Because DNA test calculations compare submitted genetic trials against other samples in a database to determine the best match. So, a pool of samples creates a test “smarter”. And that means more reliable results.

Employing the largest dog breed database on earth, Wisdom Panel tests to screen 350+ breeds, types, and forms. Because of this, we are able to identify breeds that other services don’t even test for.

In addition, we report breed mix down to 1%, follow ancestry back three generations, test to health states and traits, and more!

5. Consider your pet dog DNA kit

If all else fails, your vet and veterinary team will have a good idea about what a dog is. Many individuals in the community see countless dogs per week, and it’s probably they will find a way to narrow down your dog’s breeds.

Still not satisfied? Opt for a dog DNA test. Embark DNA and Wisdom Panel are commonly recommended dog DNA test kits. They have been recommended to us by colleagues. As with all DNA tests, there’s room for error and consequences are not always conclusive.

Additional Questions

1. What’s the difference between purebred and crossbred dogs?

This is an easy principle rule out. If you acquired your dog from an avowed registry and source, such as an American Kennel Club breeder or a breed-specific rescue, then you probably have documentation of one’s dog’s pedigree or a business idea of what your dog is comprised of, and hooray, you scored 100%. Yes, your dog is purebred. Your feathery Golden Retriever’s parents are, you guessed it, Golden Retrievers.

2. What are the best-crossbred dogs?

This is really a hint question. There’s no such thing as a “best” dog breed. Certain crossbreds are also, however, so well-established, that they are usually informally defined as purebreds. A few of those crossbreeds include:

  • American Bully (American Pitbull Terrier + Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
  • Black and Tan Coonhound (Bloodhound + Black and Tan Virginia Foxhound)
  • Bull Terrier (Old English Bulldog + Old English Terrier)
  • Eurasier (Chow Chow + Keeshond or Samoyed)
  • Miniature Pinscher (German Pinscher + Italian Greyhound or Dachshund)
  • Vizsla (Weimeriner + German Shorthaired Pointer)

Do bear in mind, however, that not all of the purebreds or even crossbreeds will exhibit the desirable traits or character of your own parents. Breeding always comprises the risk of inherited breed-specific health difficulties along with similar negatives attached to concentrating a genetic pool. Traits like aggression and genetic malformations can be common in blatantly bred dogs when not done responsibly.

3. Are mixed-breed dogs healthier than purebreds?

Your mixed-breed dog likely won the genetic lottery. According to the Institute of Canine Biology, the study of 24 genetic illnesses from mixed and purebred dogs from greater than 27,000 UC Davis veterinary clinic records demonstrated:

  • The incidence of 10 genetic disorders (42%) was significantly greater in purebred dogs
  • The incidence of 1 disorder (ruptured cranial cruciate ligament, 4%) was mixed breed dogs

The good news, your mixed-breed dog is less likely to come up with dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. The bad news, mixed-breed dogs are more likely to rupture a cranial cruciate ligament.

4. Is selective breeding good or bad?

Selective breeding makes it possible for the encouragement of animal and plant characteristics that are somewhat far more beneficial to farmers. By way of example, should they have selectively bred cows, this livestock could produce more milk compared to those typically bred, and the gene could be offered for their own offspring.

5. Is it wrong to buy a dog from a breeder?

You are not killing a shelter dog if you purchase your pet dog from an accountable breeder. Morally, it is your choice to own a dog or maybe not, and at which, that dog comes from is your own choice. Reputable breeders are not puppy mills. Many dogs from pet stores come from puppy mills.

Video Experience

Final Review

From online searches to dog DNA testing, it’s never been easier to determine your dog’s genetic makeup.

Whether a dog, can be a real mixed breed, or if your pet dog is more like others dogs, who are primarily one specific breed, understanding your dog’s breed is able to make your function being a dog owner more satisfying and keep your dog happier too.

Additionally, if you are looking to adopt your dog, researching your dog’s breed beforehand may help ensure that you choose your dog which may suit your personality and way of life.

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