We got our puppy from the Humane Society. They wrote on the paperwork "shepherd mix". They told us it was a pit / shepherd mix, but that's not on the papers.

When I search for pictures of 'pit terriers', our dog looks very similar. We'd like to fly internationally but the airline has a "no pit terrier" policy. Is my "shepherd mix" paperwork from the Humane Society enough to "prove" that the dog isn't a pit terrier?

  • 2
    I won't post as answer, because I'm speculating: but I think the airline point of view is: what looks like a pitbull is a pitbull. Kennel Club papers might overcome this (why American Staffordshire Terriors might be able to fly) but Humane Society paper work will not impress the airline. I hope you have different airline options.
    – Paulb
    Aug 25, 2016 at 1:10

3 Answers 3


I highly doubt the Humane Society paperwork can prove anything.

Most of the paperwork is educated guesses since most dogs are brought in or rescued from abusive homes. At best I would say that paperwork could convince people that don't know anything about dogs but I would not put any stock into it. Most of the time it is up to the landlord/airline/person that bans breeds anyway.

Most dog adoption places that I have come across usually put "mix" or "unknown mix" or another type of dog for pit terriers because of the bad press surrounding them.

I would also like to point out that the reason they ban them on international flights is because they are outright banned in a lot of countries. I am not positive, but I doubt you can fight the law in those countries with Humane society paperwork, especially when they told you that it was a terrier mix.

  • So what's the alternative to paperwork? The best, semi-educated guess of a customs official? Aug 24, 2016 at 21:31
  • 2
    Well that completely depends on the country or countries you travel to
    – Ian
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:34
  • The alternative is "Mutt" and judgement call, or possibly paying for genetic work, or changing airlines, or finding a solution other than flying. Note that the dog is likely to be held for extended medical quarantine upon arrival in many countries.
    – keshlam
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:18

Ask the airline. It's their policy, it's their judgement call, it's their obligation to explain this to you if they want you to buy a ticket.

If you don't like one airline's answer, try others.

  • Well, I suppose what I don't like about that is, in all my years of traveling I've learned that airlines (and everyone else) will say one thing, then another. If there's no codified policy about mixes, how to determine the breed, etc. then it's an expensive crap-shoot. Aug 24, 2016 at 3:01
  • Ask the airline if they gave anything in writing. We really can't tell you much more than that. The overreactions to this set of breeds is a nuisance, and probably unreasonable, but their sudden popularity is also irrational so ...
    – keshlam
    Aug 24, 2016 at 11:57
  • We just got her because she was a cute dog - I know nothing about breeds and so on. I think the core of my question is, do people typically just go with what's on the paper, or do they go on their visual observations? Aug 24, 2016 at 12:12
  • 1
    I expect this will actually depend on who is on duty as much as anything else. Again, I think your best bet is to try another airline.
    – keshlam
    Aug 24, 2016 at 13:05

Evidently there are DNA kits available for you to take a sample and mail in. If your vet does this it will cost more. I would trust the kit over the description of the shelter.

I once looked for shelter cats that were Siamese from shelters that had an online presence. The vast majority of cats shown there to be Siamese had no resemblance to the breed that I could see. There are probably many others like me who would not trust there opinion on this matter.

Try the DNA test. If it does not work out, just keep it to yourself. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.