JACKSONVILLE, FL - Don't judge a dog by its spots. That is the message Jacksonville Humane Society is sending in 2017.
Breed labels for dogs is going to be eliminated starting on Jan. 1.
"We can't tell just through visual identification what a dog's breed, predominate breed or even mix of a breed is. That is not reliable in the slightest," JHS Executive Director, Denise Deisler says.
Deisler explains that breed is in the eye of the beholder, so taking away the label helps rid people of preconceived ideas about a dog and its personality. She says other shelters in America have tried it and and seen positive results.
"People began focusing on the actual behavior and traits of the dog as an individual," Deisler adds.
Take the dog Aleah for example. At first glance she looks like a retriever, but she also has an under bite like a pug and the gullet of a St. Bernard. Deisler says she is simply mixed to the point that staff isn't sure what she is, but they can tell you is she likes to play, good with kids, house trained and a staff favorite.
Deisler says she understands some apartments have breed restrictions on dogs.
"We will try to work with the landlord to try and get them to understand what we do know about the dog. We will allow the adopters to take the animal for a sleepover so they can meet the dog and see the dog and see his personality, rather than making a judgment on an arbitrary label applied to them," says Deisler.
Though, ultimately, it will have to be decided between the adopter and landlord.
So come 2017, JHS hopes adopters will focus on the personalities of the pups as they put, their best paw forward.
If the public has questions, there will be adoption specialists on hand to help people and answer their questions.