The Internet is abuzz with images of a massive, 175-pound dog. He’s being touted as the “world’s largest Pit Bull,” and BuzzFeed put him forth as a positive example that “helps dispel perceptions about the breed.” While the breeder/owner of this dog, Dark Dynasty K9s, advertises itself as a kennel that specializes in “Pit Bull Terriers,” this dog is neither an American Pit Bull Terrier nor should he be the face of Pit Bulls.
Responsible breeders of APBTs are meticulous about structure and temperament, aiming for a healthy, well-tempered dog who falls within the given breed standard. Dark Dynasty K9s’ website proudly proclaims it is associated with the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association, yet its dog, Hulk, does not come anywhere close to meeting the written standard for the breed under either registry. I contacted both UKC and ADBA for a statement regarding the legitimacy of the breeder’s registration claims, and ADBA responded that Hulk is not registered through its association. The UKC has not yet responded to my inquiry.
Such an irresponsible breeder should not be written about in a positive way. The APBT was originally bred to be a lean, muscular dog who was simultaneously agile and fast. The cutoff weight is 60 pounds, although the ADBA breed standard does have a clause that reads, “It is important to note that dogs over … these weight and height ranges are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive.” It goes on to note that a very serious fault is “excessively large or overly massive dogs.” Certainly, Hulk fits this fault qualification as he weighs almost three times the maximum weight for males.
Photos of other dogs produced by this breeder show turned feet and oversized bodies. The website also lists breeding and planned breeding of their dogs that include one female, Fessa, being bred more than once within a year, meaning that this female, who has not even turned two years old yet, is being bred at every heat. An article by Kim Campbell and Debra Eldredge, D.V.M., notes that a female used for breeding “should be at least two years old so that permanent healthy screenings can be done.” Clearly, Dark Dynasty K9s are much more interested in money than producing healthy dogs.
Hulk himself is set to produce another litter this month, with the second pick of male or female puppies going for $7,000, no doubt a price helped by Hulk’s surge in popularity online. Of course, the breeder again claims that the dogs are registered. Its website goes on to describe how the dogs are raised together and as part of the family, yet it includes images of a child riding one of the dogs like a horse. Loyal dog lovers just put the Palin dog scandal to bed, but Hulk with a kid on his back somehow qualifies as “cute” rather than harmful.
Going through the website and breeder’s Facebook page, I can only question the knowledge of the media outlets that chose to showcase him, particularly those that called him an example for Pit Bulls. Perhaps they were only using him as clickbait, but continuing to share his images and story as a positive thing is more damaging to Pit Bulls than is helpful.
Other Pit Bull lovers and advocates have taken to social media to speak out against irresponsible breeding and the use of Hulk as an example for Pit Bulls. Hello Bully, a 501c3 non-profit organization, has spent the last 10 years rescuing and rehabilitating Pit Bulls in the greater Pittsburgh area, as well as providing a free Pit Bull spay/neuter program. The group took to social media to let its followers know why Hulk is not a good example for Pit Bulls:
While some of us believe that there is such a thing as responsible, ethical breeding, none of us will jump to defend someone who is exploiting animals. Breeding protection dogs and selling them for $20,000 is not ethical. Breeding for weight and head circumference is certainly worlds away from responsible breeding. Ear cropping, completely illegal in some countries, seems to be the cherry on top of an exploitation sundae. Hulk may be a lovely dog. He is not the face of Pit Bulls, and his breeders being the face of our movement is insulting. They are a part of the problem that we are working so hard to fix. … We appreciate feel-good stories. There are thousands of great breed representatives and ambassadors out there in rescues and families across the nation, thousands upon thousands who would have been a great face for a movement seeking to set things straight for Pit Bulls, and save lives.
Hello Bully is absolutely right. Pit Bulls like Hello Bully’s own Tyrion, Oogy, and Wallace the Pit Bull, to name a few, are all excellent examples for the positive Pit Bull movement. They all overcame difficult hurdles in their lives, showing boundless resilience and a love for humans. Their owners used their popularity for good, supporting spay/neuter, education, rescue, and rehabilitation. BuzzFeed and other websites could truly help make a difference if they shared more stories like theirs rather than support irresponsible breeders such as Hulk’s owners.
What do you think? Tell us your thoughts about Hulk and Dark Dynasty K9s in the comments.
Read more on Pit Bulls by Meghan Lodge:
About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.