8 most popular dog breeds found in shelters, some of these may surprise you!

According to the ASPCA approximately 3.3 million dogs enter US animal shelters every year, and around 670,000 more will be euthanized because homes could not be found for them.

Sadly, many Americans don’t consider rescue dogs when looking for a new furry family member. Perhaps this is because people start their search for a new dog by researching breeds to learn about their personality and traits, and inevitably fall in love with a specific breed. Then maybe they assume that they won’t find the right dog at a shelter or pound because most of the dogs up for adoption are mixed breeds.

However, this isn’t true (as you’ll see below) and every dog has its own unique personality, so you’re bound to find the breed traits you were looking for in a mixed breed dog. Any good shelter will know their dogs really well, so if you speak to the staff about what you’re looking for they should be able to introduce you to some suitable pups.

It’s worth remembering that mixed breeds can be less prone to genetic health issues, and so can be much cheaper to insure!

However, if you do still have your heart set on a specific breed, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to find some of America’s most popular breeds abandoned in shelters! Remember that dogs don’t always end up abandoned because they have issues and will be troublesome. Most of these poor animals are left through no fault of their own, and are just waiting to be snapped up by a loving family.

Pit Bull Types


It may not surprise you to read that Pit Bull breeds, including the Pit Bull Terrier, American Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, are the most popular breeds found in shelters in the USA. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is because they are the most difficult dogs to handle; far from it! The high proportion of Pit Bulls in shelters just reflects their popularity as a breed in general.

Take a look at our Pit Bull breed guide where we’ve busted some myths that give these smiley pooches a bad name.

Labrador Retriever


If you needed any more proof that rescue dogs aren’t all problem breeds, how about the fact that the Labrador – America’s favorite dog – is the second most popular breed found in shelters? Again, this reflects the popularity of the breed, and doesn’t mean that more Labradors are given up for adoption than any other breed. Labs are lovely, loyal dogs with kind natures.

Take a look at our Labrador breed guide to find out more about these lovable dogs.



These fun sized pups are hugely popular because of their portable size and their ability to adapt to apartment living and city life. However, some owners choose this low maintenance breed as a compromise because they don’t really have the time for a dog, and these people can get a sharp wake-up call when introduced to the responsibility of dog ownership! This could explain why so many Chihuahuas end up in shelters waiting to be rehomed.



Boxers are known for their lively, fun loving personalities. Constantly bouncing around and bringing joy and laughter into any household, the Boxer is a great addition to families always on the go. Sadly, Boxer energy can be too much for some people, and so they end up being rehomed. Lovers of the breed say that Boxers stay as puppies for their entire lifetimes, so there’s no excuse for not checking your local rescue centers and adopting a grown Boxer in need, instead of shopping for a new puppy!

For more information on Boxers, take a look at our Boxer breed guide

German Shepherd


The German Shepherd is one of the most loyal and trainable dog breeds, with many employed as working dogs by troops and police services. The German Shepherd is a big dog that needs lots of exercise, both mental and physical, and sadly some owners find that they can’t provide this. These dogs are always unhappy living in shelters where they are restricted to a small space. If you’re looking to add a German Shepherd to your family make sure to check your local dog pounds first to save one of these majestic animals from the stress of living in kennels.

Take a look at our German Shepherd breed guide to find out more!



Beagle is a French name which literally translates to “loudmouth”, so you can see how some of these smart pups may have ended up in shelters due to noise complaints from neighbors. However, for many, the Beagle’s vocal nature is just one more thing to love about them. Why criticize a dog just because he loves to sing? The personality and playfulness of this breed more than makes up for their love of telling you whenever there’s any animal outside the window… ever!

Find out more about these clever pups in our Beagle breed guide.



It often surprises people that the world’s cutest hot-dog on legs would be one of the most popular breeds to be found in dog shelters in the USA. Again, it reflects the popularity of the breed rather than a problem with them. However, Dachshunds are prone to spinal problems due to their long backs, which can be incredibly expensive if the owners don’t have pet insurance. Some are sadly forced to give their injured dogs to shelters because they can’t afford to pay for the medical costs.

Take a look at our Dachshund breed guide to find out more about this adorable dog.

Australian Cattle Dog


The Australian Cattle Dog is a working dog, happiest on the farm herding cattle or sheep, this breed thrives on having a job to do. So, when families move away from ranches and the Cattle Dog has to adapt to suburban life, sometimes these dogs can become unhappy. If you’re looking for a working dog, especially for a ranch or farm, it’s surely worth considering searching shelters for an adult cattle dog whose already learnt the ropes!

You can get an idea of certain breed traits and characteristics from breed guides, but adopting a dog from a rescue center will mean you can get a much better assessment of a specific dog’s personality from staff who have already got to know them. This will help you to pick one that fits with your family and lifestyle. 

Another main reason for dogs being rehomed is the devastating effects of unexpected vet bills when a dog is uninsured. Luckily some shelters will offer financial support for medical costs throughout a dog’s life after you have adopted it, but it’s still best to insure your new dog straight away to avoid the stress of a surprise bill.

By comparing and purchasing your pet insurance with Pet Insurance Review you are helping to support two major no-kill animal charities, and therefore supporting even more pets in need of homes.  We donate 5% of our revenue to our chosen charities – North Shore Animal League America, and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Take a look at their great work on their websites, or find out more about our work with them here.


Source: 247 Wall St