Cruelty- and neglect-related canine welfare concerns are important welfare and social issues. Dog breed has been identified as a risk factor for bad welfare, and yet its role in different types of canine welfare concerns has not been fully investigated. We conducted a retrospective study of 107,597 dog welfare complaints received by RSPCA Queensland from July 2008 to June 2018. The breed of the dog involved in the incident was either recorded as stated by the complainant or by the inspector attending the case. Dog breed was divided into groups following the Australian National Kennel Club nomenclature. Dogs of a non-recognised breed were more likely to be reported in welfare complaints than recognised breed dogs. Recognised breed dogs had a greater risk of being reported with poisoning, lack of veterinary support, abuse and being left unattended in a hot vehicle; while non-recognised breed dogs had greater risk of being reported with insufficient shelter, exercise and food/water, as well as overcrowding and abandonment. Utility breeds, terriers and working dogs were most likely to be reported, while toy, non-sporting breeds and gundogs were least likely to be reported. Common complaint types for utility dogs were: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise, and poor living conditions; for terriers: abandonment, intentional abuses and killing or injuring another animal; for working dogs: insufficient food/water, shelter and exercise; for toy dogs: lack of veterinary care, overcrowding and staying in a hot vehicle alone; for non-sporting dogs: lack of veterinary care, being left in a hot vehicle unattended and poor body conditions; and for hounds: killing or injuring another animal, intentional abuses and poor body conditions. Breed groups rather than breeds may be the best method of breed identification in a public reporting system as they group similar breeds together, and as our research shows, they relate to types of animal welfare complaints. Understanding the relationship between breed group and canine welfare complaints may help authorities improve public education programs and inform decision-making around which breed a new owner should choose.
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