German Shepherd is top mixed-breed, but few mutts get flea preventives, study reveals


Census by Mars Veterinary reveals new data on mixed breeds.

National Report

-- Mixed-breeds account for more than half, 53 percent, of companion canines in the U.S., according to a new study, but what mixes are in those breeds has remained a question … until now.

German Shepherds, the second most popular purebred breed registered with the American Kennel Club, is the most popular breed found in the nation’s “mutts,” according to The National Mutt Census, launched in 2010 by Mars Veterinary.

Mars collected more than 36,000 samples from mixed-breed dogs across the country and combine the data taken from those samples with more than 16,000 responses from an online survey of mixed-breed owners.

“The Mars Veterinary National Mutt Census provides a vivid snapshot of the past and present trends in mixed-breed dogs,” says Dr. Angela Hughes, veterinary genetics research manager at Mars. “Thanks to the census, we know what breeds are widespread, as well as how people are caring for their dogs and what health concerns they may have.”

The remaining top mutt breeds, in order, are Labrador Retriever, Chow Chow, Boxer, Rottweiler, Poodle, American Staffordshire Terrier, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel and Siberian Husky.

Some of the top mutts are reminiscent of past trends, reports Mars. “If a breed was trendy in the past, but has fallen from popularity, it may still represent a large portion of the mixed-breed population,” states the report. “For example, the Chow Chow breed—popular in the 1980s—is commonly found at the grandparent or great-grandparent lebel in tested mixed-breed dogs. The American Staffordshire Terrier in contrast is a breed that appears to be growing in popularity against a trend of declining breed registrations overall.”

Other information revealed by the census deals with the care of mixed-breeds. Dry food is the most popular feeding choice for mutts (65 percent), followed by feeding a mixture of wet and dry (21 percent), raw food and scraps (9 percent) and all wet food (5 percent). Nearly 70 percent of mixed-breed dog owners in the census don’t use regular flea and tick preventives, but 48 percent say they sleep with their dogs. About 89 percent of mixed-breeds have been spayed or neutered, according to the study.

Additionally, most mixed-breeds are smaller dogs, with dogs weighing more than 80 pounds representing less than 11 percent of the mixed-breed population. About half of all the mixed-breeds in the census (46 percent) were obtained from a shelter, while 18 percent came from friends and neighbors.

Detailed information about the census results for each state can be found at

. Each state’s information includes data about breed types, but also the frequency of veterinary care, the human-animal bond, how the dog is cared for at home, who cares for the dog and compliance with veterinary advice.

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