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Lost or Stray Dogs in Disaster Areas: A Tool for Recording the Description of Unclaimed Dogs Housed by EMA-Designated Animal Rescue Groups.


For a printable version of this document, which includes also
a Canine Characteristics checklist and a Canine Breed list
click here

The Canine Characteristics Checklist (CCC) is designed to standardize the identification process of mixed breed and purebred dogs who are presumed to be lost and whose owners are unknown.

The Alabama Pet Registry (APR) lost and found pet Bulletin Board service relies on accurate and objective descriptions of dogs to help match pets with their owners. Therefore, APR only distributes CCC information to professional animal caregivers.

16 identification categories represent the most comprehensive description that can be obtained of an animal by simple observation and limited examination. Words, phrases and illustrations are provided for the convenience of the user, however, "Other" and "Describe" spaces appear in most categories when more information is required or if the user prefers his/her own expression. Although the CCC category labels are fairly forthright, a statement about each is provided to prevent any misunderstanding by the user.

The CCC is primarily designed to help identify mixed breed dogs, about which no physical characteristic standards exist. Therefore, we recommend that all CCC category labels for mixed breed dogs be filled in as completely as possible.

The words "Purebred Optional" signify categories that do not require completion: These dogs are assumed to meet the general classification standards for their breed, however, all exceptions and variations should be noted.

    1. What breed of dog is he/she - Is he/she a purebred or a mixed breed. Breed name or breed number from the accompanying Breed List may be used. Mixed or number 268 is recommended for dogs whose breed is uncertain or who exhibit multiple breed physical characteristics.
    2. If the dog is Mixed (268), what breed of dog does he/she look the most like. List no more than two breeds, in primary and secondary order.
  1. SEX: Dog is either a male or a female.
  2. ALTERED: Spayed, neutered or not sure.
  3. AGE: Actual or estimate of dog's age.
  4. WEIGHT: Actual or estimate of dog's weight.
  5. SIZE: Opinion as to dog's relative size; small, normal, or large, when compared to his/her age and breed.
  6. IDENTIFICATION: Microchip Implants, Tattoos, Collars and/or Tags are the most common types of collateral identification. Microchip scanners may not be able to read or detect every manufacturer's microchip; the industry has not yet standardized its products. Report what you know, don't know or suspect about the presence of a microchip.

    Tattoos are found on the stomach, inside ears, upper inside legs, and can be anything from numbers and words to a design. Describe what's observed.

    Collars can be one of several types such as invisible/electric fence, no bark, choker or flea. Describe color and material, and if the fastener is made of metal, plastic or velcro. Tags are usually owner, rabies, license or pet registry types; describe tag type and information on each.

  7. COAT: (Purebred Optional) A dog's coat length is either shaved or natural. Note any shaved or clipped areas, especially if the breed or the season of the year appears incompatible with the dog's appearance.

    A dog's coat has length, texture, and distribution; select, circle the appropriate descriptors or provide a personal description.

  8. NUMBER OF COLORS: How many different colors appear in the dog's coat. Colors must be distinctive. A dog with light and dark gray fur has one color, not two.
  9. COLORS: This area is the most subjective. Many people use the words blond, gold, yellow interchangeably. Chocolate, too, is seen as dark brown by many. Choose the color(s) that you and one other person agrees with and use the L/M/D columns to differentiate between shades of color. The objective is to use generic, not artistic, terms to describe colors.

    Note: The number of colors chosen here should agree with the number of colors in 9 above.

  10. COLOR PATTERNS: (Purebred Optional) Dog fanciers use these terms to describe patterns of color. Select one or provide your own description.
  11. EYES: Color of a dog's eyes is an important identifier. Select one of the eye colors listed and indicate whether the color is a light, medium, or dark shade.

    (Purebred Optional) Shape and size of the eyes is less important than color as an identifier; choose appropriate shape and size descriptors.

    Abnormalities such as odd, crossed, missing eyes or eye prosthetics should be noted if encountered.

  12. MUZZLE: (Purebred Optional) Muzzle or face of a dog can be short, medium or long.
  13. NOSE: What color is the dog's nose?
  14. EARS: (Purebred Optional) Select a descriptor or provide your own description.
  15. TAIL: (Purebred Optional) Select a descriptor or provide your own description.

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