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Breed I.D. Workshop

Presented by California Federation of Dog Clubs

See below for information on purchasing the presentation for your group


Sept 2014 | TheDogPress Club News

Judythe Coffman, President, CFODC


About 6 years ago, those of us who had been involved in fighting the animal rights extremist’s threat to dog fanciers all across the state of California for several years, decided there was a pressing need to educate shelter employees and volunteers on how to identify breeds or mixes of breeds in shelters. Click image to enlarge or print.


Most of us also assist in our own breed’s rescue efforts and became increasingly frustrated by the misidentification of dogs in shelters. Not to mention the (mostly) useless pictures of dogs posted on shelter’s websites. Many times one or more of us drove long distances to a shelter because they claimed to have a dog of our breed, only to get there and find the dog in no way resembled the breed they claimed it was. (One of my fondest memories is a picture of an Ibizan hound who, when seen at the shelter, had 3 inch long legs, a feature that couldn’t be determined from the picture on the website.)


So a project was started. It took a couple of us (with input from several different sources) to develop our Breed ID Workshop presentation over the course of a couple of years. After a couple of “trial” runs, the program was finalized and we’ve been presenting it around southern CA in particular for a couple of years now. We’ve done several for LA City shelters including their monthly manager’s meeting as well as Kern Co, and Riverside Co. with another to be scheduled soon. We are also trying to get one or more scheduled for San Bernardino Co. We haven’t done any presentations at central or northern CA shelters yet, mostly because we've been too busy to spend a couple of days away from home due to the ongoing ridiculous legislation being proposed at the local and county level in southern CA.


We start off with a PowerPoint “loop” of pictures of kids, elderly, and disabled with dogs shown while we introduce ourselves and the reason we developed the program. Then we do a 10 question test, true or false, about “pit bulls”. The pass rate for most shelter employees & volunteers is about 50%.


We then show 20 pictures of dogs all of whom, except for one, are purebreds misidentified as “pit bulls”. The pass rate for this test is only about 30%. They complain vehemently that pictures do not show the full dog, do not show size perspective, and don’t even show some features of that breed. And we say, exactly!


Next is a PowerPoint accompanied by a narrative of specific points to look for to help in IDing breeds or mixes. For instance, if you have ears like this, a head like this, body like this and feet like this (all accompanied by examples on screen), then you most likely have a sight hound or a mix of a sight hound. Or a mastiff type, or a sporting breed. We cover all 7 groups recognized by AKC along with emphasizing why it’s so important to correctly ID breeds – to assess the predictability of personality per breed.


For instance, using the sight hound again, they can be couch potatoes in your home, but don’t ever take them off leash in an unfenced area because they will chase the first thing that moves.  This puts them in danger of being hit by a car, say, if living in the city, or being lost for several days if living in a more rural setting.  We explain that terriers will dig to China, and retrievers may retrieve anything and everything they can get their mouths on..


We finish up with a presentation on Canine Body Language with examples of different canine body postures/behaviors that reveal the dog’s status, from friendly to very aggressive. We also give them tips on how to approach a dog, when NOT to approach, and why kids are frequently unintended victims.


We leave the shelter with a copy of the CD and the narrative which includes pages on canine body language that can be copied, an AKC breed poster; the AKC” The Dog Listener” CD and coloring book.” Also "Tanner’s Tale”, a story we developed telling what constitutes responsible dog ownership with a coloring page on the back which we found works well with kids up to third grade; a trifold pamphlet we developed laying out what you need to do when you adopt a dog from a shelter, tips on handling behavior issues and a hotline number they can call for help. Click image to enlarge or print.


We have had very positive feedback from all the shelters for which we’ve done the presentation, and we feel it’s a positive for us as we’re being seen as helpful not the enemy. The BOD has decided that we will make the entire packet available to organizations or clubs in other states for $39.95 including postage. We can be contacted through our website EST 2002 ©


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