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8 Most Common Dog Breeds In Shelters

Posted: 01/02/2024 | BY: Erin Cain | Categories: Uncategorized

According to the World Animal Foundation, roughly 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized each year, including 530,000 cats and 390,000 dogs.

Although many of the most popular dog breeds are found in shelters, many people don’t consider rescuing a puppy. Shelters and pounds are home to an overwhelming number of beautiful puppies, and they all deserve a home.

Many dogs end up in shelters only because they weren’t a good fit for their owner, and the breeds below are most common because of their popularity and a few “flaws.”

These are some of the most popular breeds you’re likely to find at your local shelter, and why you’re going to fall in love with them.


Most Common Dog Breeds In Shelters

#1: Pit Bulls

Why are Pit Bulls commonly found in shelters?

Pit Bulls get a bad rap because of the stereotype that they are aggressive. Their sometimes intimidating look and intense energy make many people wary of them. Often, someone will buy a Pit Bull only to cast them aside when it’s time to start a family in fear of aggressive behavior.

Why should you adopt a Pit Bull?

You should adopt Pit Bulls because the myth around them is just that: a myth! Pit Bulls aren’t actually any more aggressive than other breeds of dog. They simply match their owner’s personality, and media portrayal makes them popular among more aggressive owners. Pit Bulls are energetic, highly intelligent and, often, very sensitive.

#2: Labrador Retrievers

Why are Labs commonly found in shelters?

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. So, with a high proportion of people owning these dogs, a high proportion of them end up in shelters as well.

Why should you adopt a Lab?

Labrador Retrievers are popular for good reason – they’re loyal and easygoing. While Labs have a lot of energy, they know when is the right time to expend that energy. You should adopt a Labrador Retriever if you need a new best friend, because they’ll become that easily. You might also adopt a Labrador Retriever if you need a work out partner – they’re one of the best dogs to exercise with!

#3: Chihuahuas

Why are Chihuahuas commonly found in shelters?

Chihuahuas peaked in popularity in the 2000s, found mostly in Paris Hilton’s purse. That popularity hasn’t fallen far, though. Chihuahuas are popular among owners who “don’t have time and space for any other dog.” This concept leaves them in shelters often, because owners who didn’t actually want a dog in the first place can be distant or find a rude awakening.

Why should you adopt a Chihuahua?

Chihuahuas’ popularity isn’t unfounded. While mischievous, Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and take to training very easily. Chihuahuas are great for apartment living or when you like to travel with your dog, because tight spaces aren’t so tight for them.

#4: Boxers

Why are Boxers commonly found in shelters?

Boxers might not look like they have a lot of energy, but they’re bursting with it. Unfortunately, like Pit Bulls, their look sometimes leaves potential owners hesitant. A lack of research about a dog breed can lead to some poor decision making, and that’s landed many Boxers in shelters.

Why should you adopt a Boxer?

If you talk to someone who owns a Boxer, they’ll happily tell you, “Boxers stay puppies for their whole life.” Who doesn’t love puppies? Boxers have a lot of energy but can be easily tired out. As they mature, they’ll keep that puppy energy but gain a new, calm temperament that makes them very nice to chill with.

#5: German Shepherds

Why are German Shepherds commonly found in shelters?

German Shepherds are smart and physical. If you can’t commit to exercising both their brain and their brawn, you’ll find that your German Shepherd starts to act out. German Shepherds also don’t like small spaces, so if they can’t be out in the open they’ll do the same. This leaves them in shelters often, where they’re even less comfortable.

Why should you adopt a German Shepherd?

German Shepherds are the second most frequently registered breed in the United States. They enjoy this distinction because of their sharp wit, fierce loyalty, and lively personality. Shepherds are very adaptable to a situation, able to help with police work or play with the kids. German Shepherds are big, goofy, incredible partners.

#6: Beagles

Why are Beagles commonly found in shelters?

Did you know that Beagle is French for “loudmouth?” It is, and they can be … and that’s probably why they’re one of the most popular breeds found in shelters. Yapping and barking their way through life, Beagles can grate on some people’s nerves. Combine that with their popularity, and shelters fill up fast.

Why should you adopt a Beagle?

Beagles love people, and especially kids. There’s a reason they show up in so many childhood TV shows – they’re lively and energetic, but easily bond with new members of “the pack.” Maybe it’s because their personality is so similar. Beagles love to use their nose, a feature that makes them excellent playmates.

#7: Dachshunds

Why are Dachshunds commonly found in shelters?

Dachshunds are a very popular dog, which we can surmise is the main reason they’re found in shelters so often. There might be something more, though: Dachsunds commonly have spinal problems. Unfortunately, their “hot dog” cuteness comes with drawbacks. Without pet insurance, many people can’t afford the medical cost of keeping their spines healthy.

Why should you adopt a Dachsund?

Many Dachsund owners are very breed-loyal. Here’s why: Dachsund’s are energetic, hyper-intelligent, and very charming. Dachsund’s have a portal to your heart, and they’ll jump through it as soon as you see them. Knowing their tendency to have back problems, you’ll want to get a pet insurance quote right away to keep health care costs manageable from the start!

#8: Australian Cattle Dogs

Why are Australian Cattle Dogs commonly found in shelters?

Australian Cattle Dogs are outside working dogs. They love the outdoors. If you feel like you know where this is going, you’re probably right. Australian Cattle Dogs are one of the most popular dog breeds found in shelters because people adopt them with little-to-no outside space. Lack of space can lead to your Australian Cattle Dog acting out.

Why should you adopt an Australian Cattle Dog?

As long as you have space, you don’t need to do much else to keep your Australian Cattle Dog happy. Australian Cattle Dogs are very low-maintenance and very protective. They’re a great family dog and an excellent best friend. They’re easy to train and happy to help around the house, as well!

The experts at Gentle Dog Trainers Australia say, “Despite their strong prey instinct, Cattle dogs are very loving and get along well with children and other pets once properly socialised”.

The most popular dog breeds found in shelters often crossover with the most popular dog breeds in general, and for good reason. Many breeds you’ll find in shelters are some of the most amazing dogs you’ll ever meet. They’re only looking for a new home because they were a mismatch with their owner.



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  4. PetCareRx. (2019). How to Care for a German Shepherd. Retrieved from
  5. Worrall, S. (2016). The Most Feared Dogs May Also Be the Most Misunderstood. Retrieved from


The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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