• Close to 75% of mixed breed dogs in an animal shelter, including pit bull mixes are mis-identified, as the wrong breed.
• “Pit Bull” type dogs are no more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior than golden retrievers.
• Breed discriminatory policies do not make communities safer and many of these policies are being repealed in favor of breed neutral approaches to dangerous dogs.
• At least three dogs from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels went on to earn therapy dog certifications.
So, what is the most crucial thing anyone can do to help pit bull type dogs? Treat them as individuals! A GOOD DOG IS A GOOD DOG…regardless of its breed or appearance. We all know that “you can’t judge a book by its cover” than why do we do this with animals?
What does all this mean in regards to pit bulls? It means, we MUST start to treat dogs as individuals. It means, we MUST stop relying on breed identification as a predictor of a dog’s behavior or a dog’s temperament…whether it be pit bulls, chihuahuas or any breed in between.
As stated by Amy Marder, VMD, CAAB Director, Center for Shelter Dogs “It is impossible to breed label or predict the behavior of dogs of unknown history and genetics solely on the basis of their appearance. There is so much behavioral variability within each breed and even more within breed mixes that we cannot reliably predict a dog’s behavior or his suitability for a particular adopter based on breed alone. We must take the lead and free ourselves from stereotypes that imply simple solutions to complex issues in order to better serve our animals and society.”
Even a dog’s background info is not a reliable indicator of their temperament or behavior. A shining example of what can occur when dogs are treated as individuals is three dogs in Michael Vick’s kennels…Hector, Johnny and Leo. Each one is now a certified therapy dog. So, please…let’s stop judging dogs based on their appearance or breed, instead judge them based on their individual personalities. Each dog has its own charm and disposition. Embrace that!
Animal Welfare League