Although the characteristics of dogs admitted to animal welfare shelters have been described previously, few studies have compared the statistics of different welfare shelters. The existing studies compare shelters that differ operationally and philosophically on factors such as whether they perform euthanasia or whether the shelter receives both impounded and relinquished animals. This study aims to determine whether differences in admission and outcome data exist between shelters when these issues are constant. The study sampled 3 metropolitan Australian shelters over a 12-month period. All shelters sampled serve both as municipal pounds and welfare shelters, perform euthanasia as required, and operate within the relatively small, culturally homogeneous environment of Melbourne. The study observed significant differences between shelters regarding the admission characteristics of the dogs, length of stay, and outcomes. The identification of these differences may enable us to establish "best-practice" procedures capable of implementation elsewhere. The differences identified in the reasons given for relinquishment between locations also may have policy and educational implications for animal control agencies.