If you’re a dog mom or dad, chances are you have at least one shelter dog in your life. The question is, thought, what kind of dog should I get or adopt? This blog post will break down the most common breeds found in shelters and why they might be there. I’ll also share some tips for how to prepare your home and family for welcoming a new canine!

Here are the most common dog breeds in shelters you can find:

Labrador Retriever

These gentle, friendly animals make excellent companions for active families with a lot of space to run. Labs require regular exercise and plenty of physical attention from their humans! Some Labradors can be dog-aggressive so it’s best if you have older children.

Labrador retrievers are commonly found in animal shelters because due to their popularity believe it or not. Labs are generally found in shelters due to overbreeding.

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds out there in the United States, which may lead some people to think they’re easy pets- but that couldn’t be farther from what’s true! Labs require significant exercise and an owner who is ready to give them lots of love too

A Labrador Retriever can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, which is why they are often surrendered when the family realizes what it takes in terms of time and financial commitment.

Labrador retrievers have a low chance of being euthanized at shelters because they’re so popular – most people want one!

American Pit Bull Terrier

These pups are by far the most common general breed found in shelters. They’re also the most common dog breed found in shelters due to overbreeding.

Pit bulls make there way to shelters because of what’s called the “Pit Bull problem.” Too many people are breeding them in order to turn a profit – which leads to overcrowding.

Pit bulls are best for families and homes that are already familiar with the breed. This breed has a history of abuse and overbreeding, so they may be resistant to trust new owners.

Pit bulls have lively personalities and are very loving, loyal, easy to care for, hilarious, trainable, and more once you gain their trust. This can make them amazing family dogs.

German Shepherd

These dogs are also common in shelters due to what’s called the “purebred problem.” People buy them from pet stores and breeders without doing their research, which leads to overcrowding.

German Shepherds are what is called a “protection breed.” They have an intense guarding instinct that makes them very difficult to place in most homes. To make matters worse, these pups can cost up to $2,000! These dogs often end up at shelters because they’re too much for families that aren’t prepared for training and the dog’s intense guarding instinct.

German Shepherds are have a strong sense of loyalty. They not only protect their owners, but also all their family members. The strong loyalty and protective instinct make German Shepherds a good guard dog and companion.


Beagles are very popular dogs, but they’re also what is called a “sighthound” breed. Sighthounds are fast, agile dogs that require a ton of space to run around in. Beagles don’t do well in small apartments and can be quite difficult to place with families who live full time indoors or already own other pets because their instinct is so strong as a hunting dog, as well as the barking and howling.

Beagles can be a great for families with a large yard or those who are home all day to give them the space they need, but for most people this breed is just not what’s best because of how challenging they can be. Their are affectionate, yet independent, temperament make them an awesome dog for many families.


Another small breed, Chihuahuas are what we call “barkers” because they tend to yap and bark a lot. They’re what is called an “inherently high-strung dog,” which means that the smallest thing can set them off into barking fits or hair triggers for becoming aggressive with other dogs or people.

Chihuahuas, however, are great companion dogs. They love attention and are loyal to their owners. They are also what is known as “wash and wear” dogs because they don’t require a lot of grooming or upkeep.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Usually being grouped in with the “Pit Bull” breed, American Staffordshire Terriers usually face breed discrimination. These pups are commonly found shelters for that very reason. They are what is considered a “high-content” dog, meaning that they have some Bulldog or Terrier in their lineage.

Like the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffys are strong, smart, athletic, and affectionate pups. Originally bred to fight other animals, they were also bred to be friendly and loyal towards people. This makes them poor guard dogs because they’re too friendly towards people, unless they have a history of abuse and fighting.

Staffys can make great family dogs if you are looking to adopt a dog. They score very well on temperament tests, scoring better than many other breeds, like Beagles and German Shepherds. They are also highly intelligent and easily trainable with proper training.

As a note, shelters usually don’t differentiate American Staffordshire Terriers from American Pit Bull Terriers.


Every dog has their own personality, and what we’re looking for in a pet may not be what is best for another family. The most important thing to do when adopting any dog from shelters and rescues is research what kind of life it’s led so far (potentially through the rescue group) and what they need from you as owners.

Also make sure you spend the time with the pup before jumping straight to adoption to get a feel for how they might adjust to your home. This will help you find the right dog for your home.

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