Standard for Identifying Dog Breeds


8 May 2006

THE FIRST NATIONAL Guide to identifying dog breeds, NZS 8800:2006, will help animal control officers and dog owners correctly identify dog breeds and colours, as required by the Dog Control Act 1996. The use of this Standard will strengthen evidence used for prosecution and provide quality assurance for data uploaded to the national dog database.

The Standard is sponsored by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and will be available in May 2006.

"The new Standard will be crucial for implementing new provisions in the Dog Control Act, and will ensure a consistent approach for identifying dog breeds and colours throughout New Zealand. This approach is necessary for capturing accurate information at registration, and for enforcement and evidence collection purposes,” says Jane Johnston, Senior Policy Analyst at LGNZ.

The expert committee responsible for developing the Standard comprises representatives from: the NZ Institute of Animal Control Officers ; the NZ Companion Animal Council; the SPCA; the NZ Kennel Club; the Department of Internal Affairs; the Society of Local Government Managers and the NZ Veterinary Association.

“Animal control officers have sometimes found it difficult in court when prosecuting owners of offending dogs after dog attacks, because the dog’s breed has been incorrectly identified. The new Standard will help improve this,” says Arnja Dale, Chair of the Dog breeds Standard committee, and NZ Companion Animal Council and SPCA representative.

The New Dog Breeds Standard

  • Outlines a process to identify dog breeds based on common physical attributes of dogs, to allow breeds and cross breeds to be identified with greater accuracy and consistency.
  • Establishes a ‘how to’ guide to help consistently identify the prominent breed makeup of dogs.
  • Provides guidance on specific attributes for a number of dog breeds. The Standard refers to the list of breeds and colours that have been developed by the DIA in conjunction with organisations such as the New Zealand Kennel Club, for use in the national dog database.

“A practical flow-chart about the identification process is included in the Standard, along with sections that provide criteria and examples for each part of the identification process,” says committee member Ken Muir, National President of the New Zealand Institute of Animal Control Officers. “There are many pictures of specific dog breeds to support criteria as examples.”

Although it is acknowledged that all dogs will be microchipped over time, captured information on breed and colour will provide additional information to assist with identification.

Copies of the Dog breeds Standard (NZS 8006:2006) will be available for purchase on-line in mid 2006: or call 0800 782 632.