Are you a dog looking to be adopted? Better hope your human captors don't label you a 'pit bull'.
New research has found it is three times quicker to house a pit bull if you don't tell prospective new owners that's what it is.
Researchers in Arizona looked at a number of pit bulls in dog shelters, and found those labelled as a 'pit bull' breed were seen as more aggressive and less adoptable than those labelled something else, or not labelled at all.
Pit bull breeds include American and English bulldogs, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and American Pit Bull terriers.
"We were surprised how very similar-looking dogs sometimes get labelled 'pit bull' and other times as something completely different," says study author Lisa Gunter.
"These dogs may look and act the same, but the 'pit bull' label damns them to a much longer wait to adoption."
The researchers also showed pictures of pit bulls and other dogs to nearly 230 people, and found they consistently rated pit bulls as less approachable and more dangerous than other breeds.
But each dogs' perceived friendliness or aggressiveness also depended on their handler. Pit bulls pictured with an elderly woman were seen as friendlier, while a tattooed man made them scarier.
"Removing breed labels is a relatively low-cost strategy that will likely improve outcomes for dogs in animal shelters," the authors write in the study, published in journal PLOS One.