This Sampling of Dogs Shows How Inaccurate Visual Identification is

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May 2019

Recently, we’ve noticed a disturbing trend of some people falling back on old habits of randomly labeling dogs. These habits often relate to labeling dogs “pit bull” or “blocky-headed-whatevers.” We all know these labels don’t have any meaning and are inaccurate.

What a lot of people miss when we talk about removing breed labels is that they are inaccurate across the board.

Because we spent some time in South Carolina recently and saw a lot of inconsistent labeling, we decided to use some SC shelters to highlight how unreliable and subjective visual identification is.

We grouped our findings by label to show how different most of these dogs are from one another. Get ready, because there are a lot of pictures of a lot of dogs – and a lot of labels that are about to make you very confused!

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So what have we learned?

Each group of pictures can be a headscratcher on its own, but when taken into the context of all of the other photos, all of these labels are flat out confusing. 

And don’t forget, many of these dogs are from the same shelter or from shelters just a few miles apart. 

With labeling this subjective, unreliable, and inconsistent, how can it possibly be accurate? And if it’s not accurate, how can we possibly use it as reliable data for legislative or policy decisions?

 

 

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