The Dangers of Dog Breed Labeling

For generations, especially in England, the Pit Bull’s affectionate nickname was “nanny dog”. Today, the Pit Bull is the dog most likely to be shot by the police. For generations, families wanting a loving, dependable, and protective babysitter for their children chose a Pit Bull. Today, the Pit Bull is considered by many to be the most dangerous and ferocious of dogs. For generations, pit bulls have been known for their gentleness, loyalty, and reliability. Today, pit bulls are the main target of breed labels. You may have heard of it being called breed-specific legislation. So what made yesterday’s beloved family pet the object of hatred and fear today? Perception.

While “pit-bull type” dogs are the ones most commonly labeled “dangerous,” many other breeds have been labeled dangerous as well, including the Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Cane Corso, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, and Siberian Husky.

So why are pit bulls strategic targets? Is this because their ancestors took root in battle, and aggressive reproduction was considered essential? Is this because some unscrupulous breeders today selectively continue these aggressive traits for their evil purposes? Is it because they have become typical “poster pets”, being regarded as fighting dogs, abused dogs, and abandoned dogs? Is it because too many mixed dogs look alike and are often mistaken for real pit bulls?

Sadly, choose any or all of the above, and you would be right. What about the responsible breeders who breed pit bulls with good temperaments? What about the mixed-breed dog with that “certain look” which has no bearing on its real personality? Once again: perception. The foundation of which is built on half-truths, anecdotal accounts, word-of-mouth, and hastily, if faultily, drawn conclusions.

Perhaps the most telling of all is the assumption that “pit bull type” dogs are, in fact, actual pit bulls. Studies have shown that people who report either witnessing a dog attack or having been attacked themselves could NOT positively identify the dog as an actual pit bull. The truth is that any breed or mixed breed of dog can be aggressive. Labeling a breed as dangerous can be just as dangerous as the label itself. All too often, it gives people a false sense of security around other, supposedly safe breeds. Everyone should, instead, be educated about responsible dog ownership and proper bite prevention measures.

In most shelters in North America, most dogs are mixed breeds of unknown origin. Nevertheless, it is common for staff to guess the dog breed based solely on their appearance. Guess a breed is as dangerous as labeling a breed as dangerous. why? Because its meaning is very serious. Because this affects the welfare of thousands of dogs, including laws, landlords, insurance companies, and service providers. It even affects the policies and adoption practices of humane societies and the animal shelters themselves.​ ​

Animal experts and behaviorists have cautioned for years that neither visual identification nor DNA test results can accurately predict a dog’s future behavior. To that end, they concluded: ” We have to observe every dog. “Let’s end the dog breed label. It all starts with you.

Published On: December 21st, 2022Categories: Dog knowledge