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Dog Breed Matters
Own a Dog you are Responsible
As the argument for/against pit bulls continues in the media, the question remains, should we have special laws against some breeds thereby discriminating one dog from another? I want to offer my few cents in response to a recent article.
As a genuine dog lover, I would not want to believe any breed to be better than the other. I have owned dogs and grew up with them and I have come to believe that breed really does matter. A dog is not just a dog, it is not that simple. It makes a difference which breed of dog you get regardless of how you take care of it or even train it. Of course most dogs will become hostile if abused; I am not talking about that.
I have a German Shepherd currently, my first, and I had no idea how the herding instinct was so ingrained in my dog’s personality. She’s constantly keeping an eye on everybody at home and prefers for people to be in the same room. When walking her, she repeatedly looks back to see if someone is lacking behind. All of the sheep need to stay safe and together. It is kind of cute unless I decide to go swimming and she gets upset. The further I swim the louder she’ll howl and when let loose, she’ll come after me. The first-and only time- I experienced this she was not so nice. She nudged and scratched me even bit my hand trying to get me back to shore. Very annoying. I guess she feels unable to sufficiently protect me in water. Even when I am sitting on the beach, she circles around. Sometimes I wish to be left alone; I don’t need so much protecting. Gee. On the other hand my mother’s Dachshunds would take off any chance they got. We had four of them over the years and they would disappear for hours and roam around looking for things to hunt like foxes. They would somehow find fox holes and yap their heads off until we came running. One time part of an ear was badly torn by a fox. Those little sausage dogs could put up a fight. Another time one of them bit a young fawn’s leg in half. The little bambi needed to be put down and I was a very upset 11 year old. Didn’t pet the dog for like a week..
Why did these Dachshunds need to go and hunt stuff, why not stay put like my shepherd? I believe these traits were bred into this breed of hunting dog just like they were bred into my shepherd. There are 35 breeds of hound dogs and 25 different herding breeds (according to AKC), too many to mention but it kind of makes sense.
For generations dogs where used to help their owners with farm animals and for protection. Hunting was also a useful thing as was retrieving stuff. (Have you ever met a retriever who would not stop caching the ball? This one retriever, could do it all day yet my shepherd would grow bored after a while.)
So where does it leave us with Pit Bulls? There are many types of dogs that are referred to as pit bulls according Wikipedia: American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier but also any mix of these breeds.
Some say the American Pit Bull Terrier is the same as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Others say just as forcefully that they are entirely different breeds.
These bull and terrier breeds were used for bull and bear–bating among other things since the early 1800s. When those sports became illegal in 1835, dog fighting sprung up in its place in Europe, Russia and here in America. That is when some of these dogs were selectively bred for their fighting prowess (Wikipedia). But paradoxically the American Pit Bull Terrier is well respected for its intelligence and noted as good family dog, great with children (Also Wikipedia). It is confusing, so I think anyone thinking about owning a pit bull type of dog should do their research first.
In conclusion; I think dogs described as Pitt Bulls, especially the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terriers could be the sweetest of dogs or fall victim to their own dog fighting past. I am not an expert by any means but I have seen the inherent traits of my dogs surface on their own, so the same is probably the case with Pitt Bulls if they happen to have a genetic predisposition for aggression and fighting. Then, if there is even the slightest of chances that these breeds may one day become overly aggressive and attack, don’t we owe it to ourselves and these dogs to take precautions by neutering and by perhaps enforcing special laws to ensure the safety of people around us as well as other animals should it become necessary? I think so. And also many of us should probably do a bit of research before deciding which breed of dog to get. We are directly responsible as owners not to inflict harm on others by the dogs we have and love. The Dachshunds we had when I was a kid, should never have been able to roam free in any forest. I wish we had known that then and spared a fawn’s life, and the lives of any other creatures that may have fallen prey to our dogs over the years.