Why are dog breeds are non-existent in INat?

I once tried to go onto a husky observation that was labeled as a domestic dog, and when I tried to id it as a husky, the option didn’t show up. When I tried other dog breeds, they weren’t there either. Is this because of the dog breeds not originating naturally, or has it just not been added?

Because breed is not part of a taxonomy, iNat is focused on wild subjects.


“Breeds” are just variants of a single species. They can look pretty different, but they are all Domestic Dog. A chihuahua can still impregnate a great dane and have non-sterile puppies.


All breeds are Canis familiaris. They aren’t subspecies.


And only dingo is separated (before more aboriginal dogs were separate, but I think they were lumped), all the common dogs are Canis familiaris familiaris.


This applies to all domestic animal breeds as well, not just dogs.

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If you know the breed of a domestic animal observation it might be good to mention it in a comment in case the observer has uploaded it because they wanted to know the breed.

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Let’s not encourage people to use iNaturalist for that purpose though - there are no doubt other web sites devoted to such questions.


Fair enough for casual observations. But for feral/wild organisms, there shouldn’t be a problem in adding the breed name in a note. There are projects, such as the Domesticated Biodiversity Project which ask for just that.

The breed observation field also exists for this purpose.

I’m also curious to see how the community feels about adding breed names as common names for domestic animals. There are times were a user enters a domestic breed as an ID to their observation only for it to save as a placeholder and not be seen by identifiers. There are also times where a domestic breed has the same name as a wild species, example being the Crested Duck, which leads to misidentification. If ‘Crested Duck’ existed as a common name for the domestic Mallard, maybe the issue wouldn’t exist.

What are your thoughts?

I don’t think breed names should be added as common names to iNat. It might prevent a very small number of misnamed observations but would likely confuse more people as to what the differences are between breeds and species, and what iNat should be used for (not domestic animals).


Would it really create that much confusion? Since the common name would just be replaced by the standardized species/subspecies name when the ID is entered. It would create that connection that a breed is not a distinct species and are all grouped under a single ID.

American Pekin would become Domestic Mallard as an ID.

Common names should apply to the whole taxon, not all dogs can be called this one breed, thus it shouldn’t be added, but if there’s a separate plant variety used in cultivation, it should get own name.


Besides, people constantly “invent” new breeds by picking out some minor variation. How many kinds of pit bull/Staffordshire terrier are there now? All look the same to me. I’m sure that a “splitter” could explain very precisely the differences between a Jack Rusell and a Parson Russell, but let’s not go overboard here.

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