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Effects of phenotypic characteristics on the length of stay of dogs at two no kill animal shelters

By W. P. Brown, J. P. Davidson, M. E. Zuefle

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Adoption records from 2 no kill shelters in New York State were examined to determine how age, sex, size, breed group, and coat color influenced the length of stay (LOS) of dogs at these shelters. Young puppies had the shortest length of stay; LOS among dogs increased linearly as age increased. Neither coat color nor sex influenced LOS. Considering only size classifications, medium-size dogs had the greatest LOS, and extra small dogs and puppies remained in shelters for the least amount of time. Considering only breed groupings, dogs in the guard group had the greatest LOS and those in the giant group had the shortest LOS. The lack of effect of coat color was not expected, nor was the shorter LOS among "fighting" breeds compared with other breed groups. Coat color and breed may have only local effects on LOS that do not generalize to all shelters, including traditional shelters. Understanding the traits of dogs in a specific shelter and the characteristics of these nonhuman animals desired by adopters are critical to improving the welfare of animals served by that shelter.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 2-18
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2013.740967
Language English
Author Address Division of Natural Sciences, Keuka College, Jephson Hall, 141 Central Avenue, Keuka Park, NY 14478,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal genetics
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. APEC countries
  6. Canidae
  7. Canine
  8. Carnivores
  9. Characteristics
  10. Coats
  11. Color
  12. Developed countries
  13. Dogs
  14. Effect
  15. Mammals
  16. New York
  17. North America
  18. OECD countries
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. Pets and companion animals
  21. phenotypes
  22. pigmentation
  23. shelters
  24. traits
  25. United States of America
  26. vertebrates
  27. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed