The PitBull Discussion

This is a forum to discuss legislation and legal matters pertaining to the rights and welfare of dogs. Please remember to counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice and responses.

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we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Wed Oct 10, '12 3:46pm PST 
I disagree with the idea that it is owners. It is not. It is the people breeding these dogs. Breed for aggression and you will get aggression. Breed for the conformation, temperment and functionality the pit type breeds should have and you will get a sound, stable dog.

Banning is stupid and useless. But so is ignoring the fact that (at least in MY area), far too many pit type dogs HAVE been bred for undesirable qualities.

These breeds, like every other breed, need to be removed from the hands of breeders who are not breeding responisbly.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Wed Oct 10, '12 7:00pm PST 
Even a sound, stable, well bred dog can be a disaster in the wrong hands, though. And a well bred pit still could well be DA, it is what makes up their 'correct' drive, does it not? I think it was Mulder who argued a while ago that it would be impossible to 'remove' the DA from a pitbull and be left with something that even vaguely resembles the original breed, and I'm going to agree with her. Yes, some breeders churn out horrible specimens, but even the most perfectly bred pitbull still has the potential to be DA (in conformation shows I've seen, the handlers seem to bank on it to obtain correct stance on the end of the lead when seeing another dog), and responsible owners need to accept that as part of their breed, just as a border collie owner need be aware of their dog's potential to stalk and herd, or a greyhound to chase prey.

Edited by author Wed Oct 10, '12 7:07pm PST


Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Wed Oct 10, '12 9:13pm PST 
What I've noticed is that if you say to someone that, for instance, Bullmastiffs have a tendency towards DA, especially SSA, if they know the breed they will agree with you.
But if you say many pit bull breeds have a tendency towards animal aggression/DA, you are met with outrage by the people that claim to love the breed the most (I'm not referring to anyone in this thread, this has just been my personal experience in general).

Does it not do ANY breed a disservice to disregard inherent breed qualities? I mean, (ideally) you don't get a Border Collie ignoring its inherent drive to herd, as Jackson mentioned. Isn't denying that many pit bull breeds have a tendency towards DA/animal aggression akin to denying that most Border Collies have a tendency to want to herd? thinking

I don't remember where I read this, but I read that if you're not breeding/selecting FOR temperament, you're selecting/breeding AGAINST temperament, whether you mean to or not.

And what about genetic experiments that have shown aggression is almost entirely genetic? (Not to say you can't take a soundly-bred dog and turn it aggressive) but I mean "inherent" aggression.

I'm no expert on the breed and I have never worked with one. I very much like pit bull breeds and I am against BSL. I would LOVE to own one someday. But I do think that the droves of people that want so badly to change its reputation, could be doing the breed a disservice by spreading the message that they are the all-around perfect breed that would be great for everybody and that are never inherently aggressive. I imagine what it'd be like if the same thing happened with a breed such as the Bullmastiff, and it totally freaks me out!

While obviously owner education and proper training does matter a lot, I think Asher makes a great point about the breeding of these dogs. Unethical breeding of any dogs can potentially churn out dogs that do not have good temperaments, couple that with the unethical breeding of a fad dog with the potential for inherent animal aggression/DA to many people that do not know how to properly handle such a dog, and you get a mess.


we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Thu Oct 11, '12 3:53am PST 
I have worked with many, many pit bull type dogs. And I agree with you, Farley. These dogs have the potential to be sweet, completely owner focused dogs who get along with everyone and they have the potential to be a total disaster. And most people with dogs commonly called pit bulls are not getting them from breeders, but rather from shelters or byb's. You just don't know a dog's linage in those cases.

And yes, many components of aggression ARE genetically predisposed.

And I too find it interesting how breedism is allowed and encouraged when it comes to some drives yet we stick our heads in the sand when it comes to other drives.

I happen to love Molossers. I am a sucker for those pushed in faces. And I think that pit bull type dogs have many desirable qualities. But deliberate ignorance as to their potential for undesirable qualities does not serve them well.

A better discussion than PB's are bad or PB owner's whose dogs go wrong are bad would be how do we get these dogs (and every other breed, from the biggest to the tiniest) out of the hands of people breeding only for profit and make sure the dogs being bred in tis country are sound of body AND temperament.

And that does not just apply to PB type dogs. While aggression is usually culled in mills and therefore not as much of a problem many other temperament and physical issues are propagated to the detriment of the breed.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Thu Oct 11, '12 12:29pm PST 
Pit bulls are primarily terriers. Their early breeding in the US relied heavily on the Staffordshire terrier and bull terriers. APBTs have even less bull dog in their breeding than the Staffies. People tend to forget that well-bred terriers are first and foremost high drive hunting dogs. They're not necessarily bred for aggression, but hunting drive. That is what got used by those breeding fighting dogs for human entertainment. Did they start selecting for it? Sure. But claiming they are inherently more aggressive than any other terrier breed isn't the whole story. At the same time, fighting dog breeders culled any dog that showed any sign of human aggression so that they wouldn't be bred. So pits actually wound up being exceedingly low on the HA scale. A correct pit temperament should disply no HA.

Most of the terrier breeds can have a tendency toward DA, they all need to be socialized and handled properly to avoid developing those tendencies. That's not finished in puppyhood, either, it should be ongoing throughout the dog's life. Not following through with that is a common mistake that inexperienced terrier owners make.

IMHO part of the problem is that the only large breed terrier that most people come in to contact with on a regular basis in the US tend to be pits. Kerry Blues can be even more DA, but few people see them out and about on a regular basis. Part of the reason why the pit has the reputation that it does is due to sheer numbers and overrepresentation in AC's and shelters. That speaks volumes about the current poor breeding practices leading to so much over breeding, lousy back yard breeders etc. that have contributed to so many temperament and health issues that we regularly see in pits. I'd be willing to bet that VERY few people have ever even seen a well-bred, correct APBT. Try finding a stellar breeder, it's not easy. They exist, but they're rare and so are their dogs.

Pits certainly do have the potential to be wonderful, safe and stable companions. I've been fortunate to know and care for several excellent pits. My family is full of pits and pit mixes. You couldn't ask for a more people-oriented dog, they can be such a pleasure to train. But they are a very powerful breed and unfortunately there are many people who own them that don't know how to handle them properly or even worse use it for nefarious purposes. IMHO wether it's poor breeding or poor handling/socializing, they're done a disservice by humans, more so than just about any breed I can think of (although the sheer use and abuse I've witnessed in racing greys over the years comes close. It's not a coincidence that their numbers in rescue are also very high.) Quite often it's ignorant humans who want to use a dog to look and act tough. That's where the bans start happening; they're meant to target the dogs misused by a certain sub-culture. I live in a very pit friendly area, that's largely because pits here are pets, not props.

Razzle Dazzle-
Barked: Thu Oct 11, '12 5:10pm PST 
Legislation against Pit Bulls is ILLEGAL...you can not base a law on a few aggressive dogs ( that got that way because of their owners mistreating/abusing/fighting them) If we outlawed dogs based on aggressive personality every breed would cease to exist because dogs get aggressive because of people...not themselves. A dog is not born into aggression...anger is learned...point blank!
Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
Barked: Thu Oct 11, '12 6:15pm PST 
Archer is correct. Turner was bred to fight. That's what his "breeder" was vying for. Where he was found is know big time for back yard fighting. They purposely look for the agressive dogs to breed. So I knew that there was a greater chance of him being reactive. Grunt was two lovebug pits that found each other in the moonlight. He is opposite polar from Turner, it's caught me off guard and I'm working through MY concerns. Owners are a big part, the breed just wants to please. But a fight dog is bred to produce a "better" fight dog, with more gameyness... confused

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Fri Oct 12, '12 6:21am PST 
"Legislation against Pit Bulls is ILLEGAL...you can not base a law on a few aggressive dogs ( that got that way because of their owners mistreating/abusing/fighting them) If we outlawed dogs based on aggressive personality every breed would cease to exist because dogs get aggressive because of people...not themselves. A dog is not born into aggression...anger is learned...point blank!"

First, the legality of breed bans is dependent upon where on lives. Here in PA they are not legal (according to our state's laws and regulations). Neither are dog limit laws (but local governments still put them on the books). And our state dog laws are also what makes PA such a bastion for millers.

Other states and countries may differ.

Second, aggression has a very real genetic component to it. As does the predisposition for being angry. Nature and nurture work hand in hand. Breed for aggression and you will get aggression. That is exactly what is happening in pit type breeds. Denying it does nothing to solve the issue and in the end it is the dogs, both those specifically bred to have aggressive tendencies and those who get lumped in even if they do not have an aggressive bone in their bodies, who suffer.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Fri Oct 12, '12 3:20pm PST 
My city is quite possibly eliminating BSL very soon, but the EHS just put out a video with a representative saying that aggression is not genetic and that it can't be bred for, and that it's nothing more than a form of communication.

confused I think this kind of misinformation is a problem!


Edited by author Fri Oct 12, '12 3:33pm PST


It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Fri Oct 12, '12 5:55pm PST 
Thank you Farley. You made a very good point against the people who lean a bit too far in presenting pits as ideal for everyone. Some bully sites call them "Pinkers" and they ARE causing a disservice with their well meaning message. No dog is ideal for everyone. As I've said before, someone with a diability that affects their walking or balance would have difficulty managing even the most well behaved pitty. These are muscular doggies, you better be in fairly good shape too.
It's also in the attitude of the owner. I would not let someone who's a control freak anywhere near a bully, bullies have been bred to obey and please their human even to the death. You don't want to brutalize a dog that could hurt you right back tenfold. The best training for a bully is teaching it to be happy because it's making you happy...they're that perceptive.
I laid down with my boy tonight for a catnap. I wanted to see how he was with being in bed and laying in my arms. You never saw such a peaceful guy. I'm going to start having him sleep with my daughter so he gets his nightly cuddles. Sophie sleeps next to me, she's staked out our bedroom as her territory. With Callie you see a pitbull/dogo face on a puppy body...but looking beyond that he's just the average ubercuddly dog.
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