Genetics may play a big role in Pitbull agression

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Love Dog,- wolfdog, the- guardian
Barked: Mon Nov 7, '11 11:42pm PST 
Although I do not currently own a pit, I have in the past. Most versatile, adaptable, human-like dog there is for sure. And if you know anything about pit bull history, it's obvidog. It came over with us from England and stood ground for family farms during the Great Depression and accompanied soldiers in Vietnam. One of the greatest breeds in American history if you ask me.
HOWEVER, there is well known problem in pit bulls that we have all heard of, aggression. I have known a couple pits who were friendly as could be up until about 3 or 4 years old when they "snapped". My theory is that after a pit reaches its prime, a gene is unlocked and sets off the hormonal (chemical) drive to fight other dogs. Not all pits are going to "snap", just the ones more closely related to pit fighters in his family tree. I'm not big about pedigrees but maybe they would be a good idea to know family history or at least meet the parents when picking a new pit pup. What do you guys think?

Occupy Dog St.
Barked: Mon Nov 7, '11 11:50pm PST 
I have no doubt that the genetics of purebreds in general are causing all kinds of mental and health issues in our dogs.

This documentary is a real eye opener for ANYONE with a purebred, and anyone interested in dogs in general. Although I must warn some of you, it is graphic at some points because of the suffering of some purebreds you see. Oh and it has NOTHING to do with puppymills.

http://documentaryheaven.com/bbc-pedigree-dogs-expose d/

Edited by author Tue Nov 8, '11 9:53am PST


Occupy Dog St.
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 12:31am PST 
Not sure, but I think this link may have been bumped.. Just incase here it is again!

Its a great documentary on the history and inbreeding of purebreds. Well worth the time to watch!



Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 12:32am PST 
For picking a pup, it's up to you to research the lines. I'm not into Pits so their lines are unfamiliar but a history of stable temperament is usually not a hard thing to see. The breeder should be happy to help an offer you information on your pups lines. Meeting the mother I think is critical but the father eh. It helps but many breeders on my personal list don't own the stud so it's not always feasible.

That's not a bad documentary as long as you take it for the biases it has, and there are a lot and I'm not a huge club fan. They make some good points but at a certain point a puppy buyer needs to take responsibility for what they bought. If you don't know the health risks for a CKCS and you buy one, well caveat emptor... shrug Next time buy from a breeder who screens their dogs, get a cleared rescue or do the research in the first place.

They've already shown in foxes that aggression is in large part, genetic. They're called the Belyaev Experiments. There have been several documentaries and a good one (Well a clip but it's the heart of the point) pops up on youtube. Basically, they changed out pups from the tame and aggressive females to do a direct nature vs. nurture study. The aggressive-bred pups with the tame surrogate mothers were still extremely vicious, hence aggression is probably in large part a complex genetic cocktail.

This the same facility where they hypothesized how we have the variety of dog breed and colors from their ancestors. Highly interesting and I really recommend the documentary.

Edited by author Tue Nov 8, '11 12:44am PST

Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 5:50am PST 
Sure genetics can predispose a dog towards aggression, but after 3-4 years, the gene just snaps?

Eh, sounds a bit frivolous to me.

Make no mistake though, the aggression if genetically present is DOG aggression, not human aggression.

Spazzy Dalish- Doggie
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 6:16am PST 
Well, many breeds that generally show dog aggression don't start showing it until they are about 3-4 years old, so I suppose that's what that is.

With pit bulls, the ONLY way to ensure that your dog isn't dog aggressive is to adopt an older dog who is shown to be good with dogs, and even then it might change. I knew one pit who didn't start showing dog aggression until he was 6.

And generally, a pit bull from a good breeder WILL be at least a little bit dog aggressive, because they preserve the drive and the tenacity. Game bred breeders are still very good breeders, and the only breeders that I feel are producing REAL American Pit Bull Terriers. If you want to go to a breeder, and dog aggression is something you can't handle, get an American Staffordshire Terrier instead. The conformation bred AmStaffs are generally not as "hot" as the game bred dogs APBTs.

Will Take you- On!
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 12:11pm PST 
That is what I have seen over and over, although the expression I've adopted is that it's like they have a time capsule in their genes. When they get to that certain age, it opens up and they're dog aggressive. (Or it isn't there and they never are.) I don't like the term "snaps" because it implies a lack of sanity, when in fact the dog is completely stable. He just wants to fight with other dogs. There are many DA Pitties, and dogs in general, doing competition sports, therapy work, and generally being kick-butt family members.

Typically I have seen it happen around age 2. Later than that and I start to question health - thyriod, Lyme disease, etc. Around age 2 is when the hormones change and settle and most breeds start doing what they were bred to. It's usually even earlier in fighting lines, like the dogs coming out of New Haven shelters... I have seen 7 month old Pit puppies try to kill other dogs.

I still advocate properly socializing Pittie puppies, though, as long as you safely can. If it's not in that particular dog's genes, you'll end up with a wonderfully socialized dog. If it is, by teaching them something of the world of dogs you can lessen their drive to get there, get them used to listening to you around dogs, and gain precious seconds before an attack. Having lived with dozens of DA dogs... Seconds can be everything.

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 2:43pm PST 
it's less genetics 'snapping' than it is simply the dog maturing. Many breeds typically mature into less than dog-friendly dogs.

Never Say No
Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 4:50pm PST 
I second that. A lot of breeds can "surprise you" when they go from friendly puppy/teenager, to less-than-friendly adult. I would expect any pit bull regardless of how nice and socialized it was as a puppy, to start showing some signs of dog aggression by age 2 or 3. If it never does, nice. If it does.. that's pit bulls for ya.

I'm even expecting it from Nix. He's great with other dogs right now, but Border Collies aren't exactly known for being the friendliest when it comes to other dogs, especially of the same sex. They're not really playful, is what it is. They focus on their work and they don't like playful dogs interrupting them. I know a lot of Borders remain playful as they were when they were puppies, and that's great~ I always wanted a dog who was good with other dogs, but I wont be all that surprised if by age 2 he decides from then on that he just doesn't feel like playing with strange dogs anymore. As long as he's not going up and outright attacking anydoggy (in which case I would worry and I would try to fix that, don't get me wrong) I can accept it.

Ava did it too. Although in a different sense. When she was a puppy she was the biggest little social butterfly you ever met. Someone didn't even have to acknowledge her.. if she saw them, they were automatically her best friend. She started showing signs of being suspicious of strangers by.. I wanna say about 1.5 years, but she was still for the most part a social girl. Now at 2.5 years she's suspicious of most people. She still has her friends, and she doesn't shy away (not usually anyways. I can think of only one person she's shied away from.) but she makes a big deal warning me about new people, until they show that they're friendly, then she loves them. She's a nice girl, just kind of protective, which I like honestly. I prefer a dog who's a little wary of strangers, to a dog who's never met a stranger. wink

Barked: Tue Nov 8, '11 8:20pm PST 
I'm a little broken on how this thread is taking shape off of an OP that is pure conjecture. "Pit" is not a breed it is a mutt that shares physical characteristics so trying to figure out what bred traits they have is impossible. Even recognized breeds such as Am Staffs started in the same place until recognized by the AKC and bred for conformity. The dogs that came from the UK were not bred as guard dogs at all and in most cases human aggression was culled from the dogs. I think in most cases aggression can pop up because most people (not all) stop socializing and training after a few years a lot of dogs will act out and push limits but for some reason people think this will stop when a dog matures.
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