Responsible Pit Bull Ownership
Any pit bull owner should fully admit that these dogs are not the right breed for everyone to own. Pit bulls are a breed that require a lot of attention, training, dedication, and most of all, a tough skin. With BSL rearing its ugly head in different parts of the world, it is important that pit bull owners are responsible, and a positive representative of the breed. Please, help set a good example!
– Pit bulls are affectionate and devoted family pets: That means that they require a lot of attention and love; Banishing a dog to the backyard for the entire day, or leaving him/her in a kennel hours on end is no way to treat your pooch. At the very least, two hours a day must be spent with your furry friend, or you might end up with a pit bull that is destructive and depressed.
– Pit bulls are agile and athletic: That means that they need a lot of exercise. Any dog, but especially pit bulls, need at least one hour of exercise every day. Without exercise, and a way to release energy, your pit bull may become bored and destructive, or simply obese!
– Pit bulls may possess animal aggression: A trait that is not uncommon amongst dogs of any breed, animal aggression simply means that your dog may not get along with other animals, especially other dogs. A responsible owner will accept this and ensure that any dog on dog socialization is monitored closely to prevent a fight from breaking out. In this case, off-leash dog parks are an obvious ‘no, no’ for any dogs possessing animal aggression.
– Pit bulls receive a lot of bad hype: This is why pit bull owners need to develop a thick skin, and instead of retaliating to any negative comments or stereotypes about the breed, they should aim to educate the public. Being a positive ambassador of the breed is one of the best ways to help people realize how wonderful these dogs really are.
Here are a few tips on what it means to be a responsible dog owner:
- Obedience train your dog: So that you may have him/her in check in all situations, whether in a crowd or around other animals, or even at home. Never hit or smack your dog; it IS abuse and no dog learns from negative disciplining.
- Neuter/Spay your dog: Breeding should be left to highly knowledgeable, reputable, and responsible people that have the experience and dedication. Please do not allow more unwanted dogs to end up in shelters or city pounds; there are many wonderful pets waiting for a loving and dedicated owner to take them into a forever home.
- Socialize your dog with everyone and everything: Slow, careful on leash introductions to other dogs and lots of interaction with different kinds of people. Never leave your dog unsupervised with other animals or children.
- Respect the local laws: Do not let your dog run around freely on the streets; this adds to the negative image that people have of pit bulls and dog owners in general. Please remember to pick up after your dog at all times – poop and scoop, don’t bend and pretend!
- Exercise your dog regularly: If you think that 15 minutes a day is enough, think again. A well exercised dog is a happy and healthy dog. At least one hour of exercise a day is needed for a medium sized breed.
- Do your research: Before you even think about getting a dog, do your research. Make sure your lifestyle can accommodate a new addition into your family. Check to make sure that you are not allergic to dogs, and that you have the time and dedication it takes to raise and care for a pet. The reason that so many dogs end up in shelters is because owners find that they have ended up with an animal that they were not ready for in the first place, or that they cannot cope with vet costs, behavioral problems and training, etc.
A.Barber’s APBT, Luna’s Dark Eve
It isn’t only “bad” dogs who bite. Dogs often bite when they are sick, injured or afraid. Some also bite to protect their homes, families, food and toys.
Different dogs react differently in each situation, so always be cautious, especially with dogs you don’t know. It’s important to be aware of situations which may frighten or anger a dog. A neighbor’s normally friendly dog may become aggressive if someone enters the house unannounced or if a child reaches through a fence to touch the dog.
- Don’t disturb a dog who is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
- Don’t approach a dog’s food, toys or bowl.
- Never tease, chase or yell at a dog.
- Don’t play roughly with dogs, or grab their ears and tails.
- Be aware that older dogs, and those with disabilities, may be easily irritated or frightened. Always treat these dogs with respect and be considerate of their limitations.
- Don’t take food away from a dog or pick up dropped food in a dog’s presence.
- Don’t run or ride a bicycle past a dog. Some dogs like to chase fast-moving objects.
- Don’t corner, crowd or stand over a dog, and do not put your hand over a dog’s head, as this may make the dog feel defensive.
- Don’t approach unattended dogs — in yards, in cars or outside stores.
- Adults should place themselves between their children and any unfamiliar dogs. Children should stand back and never put their faces close to a dog’s mouth.
- If you can’t avoid an unfamiliar dog and she approaches you, don’t stare. Allow the dog to sniff you. If you’re not sure she’s friendly, stand still and avoid eye contact.
- If the dog does attack, “feed” him your back pack, jacket, purse, or anything else that can come between you and the dog. Don’t try to run away as this may make matters worse.
- Teach children about safe behavior around dogs and about the importance of treating all animals with respect. Ensuring children understand and observe the safety guidelines will reduce the chances of a negative encounter with a dog.
- Babies and small children require adult supervision around any dog, even their own.
What You Can Do…
This section covers the following issues, and what you can do to help:
2. Report animal abuse or neglect to your local authorities. Aside from the police, your local shelter and animal control unit most likely has cruelty investigators that work to ensure that people are keeping and treating their animals within the law. Make sure you get as much details about the case as possible; try to include when/where/how/who/what.
– Animals left outside (or inside) without proper food, water, and shelter
– Left outside in very hot/cold weather
– Needs vet care and is not receiving any
– No grooming (hair matting is painful and considered neglect)
– Being physically abused
– Chained on short tethers
– Wounds on animals
– Patches of missing hair on animals
– Malnourished animals
– Animals that cower in fear or become unexpectedly aggressive when approached by their owner
– Confined in small area for long periods of time
– Animals running at large
– Owners not pooping and scooping
– Bylaw infractions (leash laws)
– Stray animals
– Injured animals and wildlife
– Dead animals
– Unsanitary conditions/fecal accumulation
3. Do not purchase animals from pet shops. This alone ensures that puppymill runners will continue to get paid for their abusive business, and continue to produce litter after litter. Boycott local pet shops that sell livestock, and let them know that you are aware of puppymills. If you notice breeder ads in your local newspaper advertising more than one breed of dog, contact the humane society and let them know of your suspicions. Inform people of the reality; much the general public is not yet aware of the horrors of puppymills.
Dog fighting is considered illegal and a felony in many parts of the world; but unfortunately, not in all. It is a serious threat to the community. Dog fighters are often involved in other crimes such as illegal gambling, illegal possession of weapons, and the selling and possession of drugs. Most dog fighters have a history of violence and criminal behavior not only towards animals but towards people as well.
The trauma and suffering that fighting dogs go through is disturbing. Fighting dogs are specifically bred, conditioned (sometimes by starvation, physical abuse, confinement, etc), and trained to fight in pits. Dog fights end when one dog is no longer willing to fight, or when one of the dogs is killed. If a dog loses a fight and lives, it is usually either shot, abandoned to die from its injuries, or electrocuted. When they are not fighting, these animals are either isolated in kennels or chained outside for most of their lives.
Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Some owners train their dogs for fights using smaller animals such as cats, rabbits, or small dogs. These animals are known as “bait.”
Some dog fighters who call themselves, “dogmen,” argue that pit bulls love to fight, and that they do not feel pain during the fight.
These dogs do not love to fight – they fight because they will be killed otherwise. They do not have a choice. Furthermore, pit bulls have the same nervous system as any other breeds, and therefore, feel pain as much as any other dog.
Signs of dog fighting:
- Ownership of several dogs and puppies that are confined by thick, heavy chains, or kept hidden from the public’s view.
- Signs of a “catmill” – a device that confines a small animal such as a cat or rabbit, and encourages the dog to chase it. As a reward, the dog will be allowed to kill the confined animal.
- Dogs with extreme and uncontrollable aggression towards other animals, especially towards other dogs. Please keep in mind, however, some dogs do possess animal aggression.
- Dogs that possess multiple scars and wounds, some with serious infections.
- Fresh wounds, punctures, and lacerations on dogs.
- Dogs with shortly cropped ears that have been bitten and torn.
- The presence of treadmills and spring poles (although this equipment may not necessarily indicate that it is used for dog fighting, as treadmills and spring poles are also used to condition dogs for weight pulling competitions or simply for exercise).
- Blood stains in a confined area.
- Groups of people of all ages coming and going from a site at all hours. Be suspicious if this is an abandoned property.
According to authorities, following is a list of the most common items you might find when searching a fighter’s residence.
1. Solu-Delta-Cortef + Dexamethasone (Azium) (Prednisolone or Flumethasone).
Anti-Inflamatory/anti-shock injectibles. Reduces swelling.
2. Pain Killer (Lidocaine) or any kind.
3. Vitamin K Injectible. Promotes blood clotting.
4. Lactated Ringers + I.V. Catheters & Set-Ups.
5. Injectible Antibioctics. Ampicillin, Amoxicillin, or plain Penicillin Procain are used to prevent infection of wounds. MUST HAVE.
7. Gauze and Leg Tape.
8. Pound Flesh or Caustic Powder. Helps stop bleeding.
9. Albacillian or Baytril.
10. Hydrogen Peroxide.
12. Prepodyne Swab (for ears).
13. Iodine Shampoo or Betadine Surgical Scrub (for bathing).
14. Sutures (both silk and gut), Staple Gun and Removers.
16. Granulex Spray.
17. Scalpel and/or Surgical Razor.
18. Surgical Scissors.
19. Sterile Gloves.
20. Sterile Vaseline or KY Jelly.
22. Super Glue. Used for repairing split ears and tailtips.
23. Leather Shoestring or Equivalent to be used as a tourniquet in case an artery is hit.
24. 3cc Syringes w/ 22-Guage Needles.
25. CytoMax + Canine Peak Condition (or Peak Performance).
26. Oxygen Set-up.
27. Blood Transfusion Set-up.
Areas that can hold dog fighting pits:
– an abandoned house
– a vacant garage
– an isolated warehouse
– a commercial or residential basement
– a secluded park
– a farmhouse or barn
If you suspect dog fighting, don’t hesitate to call authorities!
…back to top…
*information courtesy and copyright of unchainyourdog.org
Guard Dog, from Patrick McDonnell’s comic strip, Mutts
Life for a Chained Dog
Dogs can survive on just food and water. But to be happy, dogs need exercise and daily love and attention from their guardian. There is no worse punishment for a dog than keeping him permanently chained for hours, day after day. Dogs are highly social, and are pack animals. Dogs chained for long periods of time tend to become anxious, aggressive, neurotic, territorial, and dangerous.
Imagine being chained to a tree year after year, day after day, hour after hour. You watch the back door hoping someone will come out to play with you. No one ever does. You long to run and stretch your legs, but all you can do is pace back and forth over your small patch of packed dirt. Sometimes you get tangled up in your chain. You shiver in the winter cold and pant in the hot summer sun. Fleas biting your skin are a constant torture. Eventually, you stop barking for attention.
You have given up hope.
Humans have many of ways to entertain themselves: movies, video games, shopping, television…Your dog only has YOU. Your dog is depending on you to make his life either a good one or a terrible one. His fate is in your hands. If you cannot give your dog a happy life, should you even have a dog?
Are you concerned about a chained dog in someone else’s yard? There are many things you can do to improve that dog’s life!
The first thing to do is get acquainted with the dog’s owners.
Bring a friend with you for safety reasons, and knock on the door. It is very important to be nice, friendly, and respectful to the dog’s owners. Offer a sack of dog treats as an ice-breaker.
Remember to stress that anything you offer is free. People love free stuff! Start out by politely introducing yourself.
Things to say:
- I am a volunteer with the humane society and I came by to offer you some free resources for your dog (even if you are not a member of a specific humane society, most people recognize the term “humane society volunteer” as someone who cares about animals.)
- I live in the area and saw your dog in the backyard. I have an extra doghouse I’d be happy to bring over. Is that OK?
- I noticed your dog lives on a chain. I’m sure he would love the chance to exercise. Could I come by a few times a week to walk your dog?
- I love shepherds. My shepherd died and I really miss him. Can I go back and meet your dog? What’s his name?
- I have a friend who owns a fencing company, and I can probably get some fencing materials donated if you would like a fence for your dog.
If the owner seems receptive, ask if you can go with the owner to meet the dog. Ask the dog’s name. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the dog and the owner, and to learn why the dog is on a chain. Sometimes you can help solve the problem. For instance, if the dog is chained so it won’t breed with another dog, investigate low-cost sterilization for the dog (people in Little Rock can contact CARE to find about about free and low-cost sterilization.)
If the dog is chained because he is a fence-jumper, offer to put up fence extensions, put the dog on a trolley or tie-out, or to put up an electric fence or hotwire. If the dog is chained because the owners never really wanted the animal in the first place, offer to find the dog another home.
Bring along materials for the owners to read, too.
Be Constructive, Not Critical
If the dog is too thin, infested with parasites, matted, etc–DON’T be critical of the dog’s owner. You don’t want to make him mad! Just say, “I’ve got some extra flea treatment at home I can bring over to put on Boss” or “I think Boss would look better with a few more pounds on him. How about if I bring over a free case of dog food for you?” or “I like grooming dogs. Could I come over sometime and get these mats out of Boss’s hair?”
Once you have met the owner, try to keep up a good relationship. Leave dog treats and toys on their porch. Stop by to check on the dog. Offer to take the dog on walks and to the vet.
Eventually, the owner may let you have the dog. Although some chained dogs are aggressive, others make perfectly good pets with some love and training. If the dog is relinquished to you, you can now place the dog into a good home. Sometimes a dog owner will sell the chained dog to you. Offer to buy the dog only if you think the owner won’t go right out and get another one.
Some people steal chained dogs to provide a better life for them. The problem with that is that the owners might put an new puppy right back on the chain. And, since dogs are legally considered property, stealing a dog is a felony.
Some people chain their dogs as guard dogs. Explain that chained dogs do not make the best guard dogs. Chained dogs become aggressive, not protective. An aggressive dog will attack anyone: the child next door, the meter reader, the mailman. The way to raise a protective dog, who knows how to distinguish friend from foe, is to socialize the dog and bring him inside with the family.
Besides, what can a chained dog do to stop an intruder except bark?
Two Main Goals You should keep two goals in mind when talking to the owner of a chained dog:
1. Educate the owner so that he will think of the dog in a new light; as a living creature who needs love and attention and care. Hopefully, he will learn how to treat dogs better in the future.
2. Helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the owner to relinquish the dog. You may not be able to convince the owner to put up a fence. Even if all you can do is get a decent doghouse, a well-fitting collar, and some toys for the dog, that is a success and the dog’s life has been improved.
Patrick McDonnell’s comic strip, Mutts
Things you can do to help improve the life of a chained dog:
1. Tell the owner to bring the dog inside every now and then!
2. Get to know the dog’s guardian
3. Call your local animal control office
4. Offer to buy the chained dog from the owner and place it into a good home. “$50 bux sound good?”
5. Put up a fence instead of chaining for long periods of time; gives the dog freedom to the backyard
6. Change the law in your community to punish irresponsible owners who abuse chaining priveledges!
7. Educate people about chaining
8. Talk to the owner and offer to take the dogs on walks if he is not able to
9. Talk to your local shelter and advise them to do screening and adopt out to responsible people
10. Be an ambassador for responsible dog ownership
Remember, chaining a dog responsibly for short periods of time is not the issue, but chaining a dog constantly without any attention, exercise, mental stimulation, or social interaction is abusive and neglectful. Chaining does not have to be ‘wrong,’…it is when dog owners take advantage of chaining that it becomes a big problem. Banning chaining may not be the answer, but changing legislation in your state/province/country to target animal cruelty, neglect, exploitation, and irresponsible ownership is.
So you want to be a breeder?
Let us consider reality! There are thousands of dogs being given up to shelters and city pounds, waiting for a forever home, while endless litters of puppies are being delivered because of inexperienced and irresponsible “backyard” breeders. Perhaps it is long overdue that we leave the breeding to those that have the experience, the knowledge, and breed for the “betterment” of the breed in which they specialize.
The Puppy Mill Problem
Aside from damaging the breed as a whole, certain irresponsible breeders, known as “puppy millers,” are creating a network of misery and greed, for the sole purchase of profit. Every time a puppy is purchased from a pet store, another puppy mill is being supported. Thousands of dogs throughout the country are suffering because of puppy mills. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are locked into tiny cages where they freeze during the winter and swelter during the summer.
If you are not willing to adopt a dog, and would rather purchase a puppy, let us differentiate between a reputable breeder, and an irresponsible one:
- Motive for breeding is mainly due to one or all of the following reasons: for fun, for money, for the kids.
- Do not properly screen buyers to ensure that potential owners have done their research on what it means to own a dog, or on the breed in general.
- Breeds the dog to any other available dog; sometimes resulting in purebred pups/sometimes in mix-breed pups. Backyard breeders do not have concern for genetics, pedigree bloodlines, or breed improvement.
- Offer no extended health guarantee, and refuses to help if problems arise; whether health or behavioral.
- Bitch and Sire are not health tested for hip dysplasia or for other genetic problems such as cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism.
- Little knowledge of the breed, and is not involved in rescue or championship breed standards of any reputable club or kennel. Simply not involved in showing the dogs and improving the breed.
- Pups raised in makeshift accommodations, sometimes unsanitary, indicating lack of long-term investment in breeding and lack of true care for the puppies well-being.
- Not willing to show both parents to interested buyers.
- Prices are at the low end of local range, since must move pups quickly. Advertises in the local newspaper classifieds.
- Has no concern for the wellbeing of the puppies, and does not provide a detailed contract regarding the future of the pups; does not use AKC’s limited registration option or ask for spay/neuter contract to guard against the breeding of sub-standard pups. If owner cannot keep the puppy, is not interested in taking it back.
- Has no references and/or refuses to give out veterinary contact information.
- Sells mixed-breed dogs for an arm and a leg.
Look for these types of breeders:
- Has been involved in the breed at hand for years, and has/is involved in rescue and conformation showing.
- Is not in it for the money. Most dedicated breeders end up looking more funds than gaining.
- Breeds solely for the betterment of the breed.
- Has experience and extended knowledge of both the bitch and sire, their bloodlines, and the breed in general.
- Screens and provides proof of genetic health testing.
- Is glad to provide any information about the parents and the puppies.
- Does NOT breed dogs that are under 2 years of age, and has one litter no more than once every two years.
- The dogs are house pets first. Any breeder that keeps their dogs in outside kennels most of the time may end up with puppies that possess temperament defects due to improper socialization from lack of a household environment.
- Will gladly provide the contact information of their veterinarian and several past purchasers to serve as references.
- Provides health guarantee and insists on staying in touch to ensure the wellbeing of the puppy.
- Ensures that pups do not leave the mother and litter until they are at least 8 weeks of age.
- Is interested in who the buyers are, and makes sure to fully screen; goes as far as visiting purchaser’s home.
- Makes reservations in advance for the puppies that will be produced and is willing to take back puppies from buyers if the need arises.
- Temperament tests the parents and the litter.
- Has a detailed contract in place for the pups, ensuring that they must be spayed/neutered, and brought back to the breeder if the buyer cannot keep the dog for any reason.
Not sure what to feed your dog? Constantly hearing different opinions and so called ‘facts’ about what the canine diet should be like? With the dog food industry being one of fastest growing industries in North America, it is no wonder that there might just be too much information out there. The problem is, it is hard to differentiate what is valid and what is just another advertising project.
Why not start by doing your own research on the industry and how to read the label. Know the difference between certain types of ingredients and how to go about choosing a food that is right for your dog. There is no cookie cutter model!
Here are some excellent websites that break it all down and compare different brands of dog food that are out on the market as we speak:
– To reduce the chances of side effects such as diarrhoea, vomiting or apathy towards eating, it is recommended that the diet be transitioned over a 10 day period: For the first 3 days, mix two thirds of the old food and one third of the new food.
For the next 3 days, mix half of the old food and half of the new food.
For the next 3 days, mix one third of the old food and two thirds of the new food.
On the 10th day, serve all new food.
***If transitioning from dry food to raw or vice versa, it is not recommended to mix these two as there have been reports of pancreatic issues associated with mixing raw meat with processed, cooked kibble. Instead, transition straight from one food to the other.
If lose stools develop, add a quarter cup of boiled white rice or pumpkin puree as a separate meal.
What you can do to help the fight against BSL:
1. Stay informed – Visit the website and the BSL links provided to make sure you know what is going on in your city.
2. Contact your MPP – Let them know that you oppose breed specific legislation, and that you demand stronger laws pertaining to animal abuse and neglect. Punish the DEED, not the BREED. Click here for a guide on how to write an effective letter.
3. Understand the law – Be a responsible owner. Make sure you follow the bylaws in your city and show others that you are providing a good example of what it means to be a responsible dog owner.
4. Stay active – If there are any events or fundraisers in your community that help in the fight against BSL, try to show up and donate your time and money if you can.
5. Educate others – Let others know about the reality of BSL, and how it will not help to keep communities safer from dangerous dogs. Let people know that its important that animal cruelty laws be strengthened in order to prevent irresponsible and abusive people from owning animals in the first place. Any dog in the wrong hands can become a dangerous animal.
6. Boycott businesses that discriminate specific breeds – certain airlines and hotels will not provide you with their services if you have a specific breed of dog. Tell them how you feel about this discrimination, and let them know that you will definitely be staying away from them.
7. Support local pit bull rescue organizations and shelters – Volunteer for them if you have the time, donate items such as pet beds, towels, crates, food or money.
8. Show your dog off to the public – If you have a well trained, well behaved pit bull, why not show everyone what kind of breed this really is?
9. Do not support anti-pit bull humane organizations – PETA, for example, is anti-pit bull. Other organizations may also claim that they are pro animal rights or welfare, but may be keeping similar information from the public. Always make sure you know about who and what you are supporting.
10. Do not breed your dog – There are far too many abandoned and homeless pit bulls in shelters and city pounds waiting for a good home. Do not add to the problem, leave the breeding to the experts!
REGARDING THE STATUS OF BILL 132
November 18th, 2009, MPP Cheri Di Novo from Parkdale-Highpark, Toronto took her private member’s bill to Queen’s Park for the removal of breed specific legislation. The bill has passed its first reading and will be brought back to the legislature Fall 2010.
We are encouraging all supporters in favour of Cheri’s bill not to give up and keep advocating for the cause. Having a full year, means we have 12 months to spread greater awareness, educate the general public and use our power to convince our MPP’s to vote in favor of the bill next time around. Please continue to contact your MPP, display posters, write letters, and tell everyone you know about the great injustice caused by BSL / Bill 132. WE thank ALL of our supporters who took the time to contact their MPP and Cheri, who displayed posters and who came to Toronto to join in on the rally. Cheri’s office reported receiving over 1,000 letters of support which is outstanding.
Please keep sending those letters and making those phone calls! We are stronger in numbers! For more information, please visit:
This is what Breed Specific Legislation does to innocent dogs. This picture shows just one load of dogs killed as a result of the Denver BSL. And we ask ourselves, who would ever support such cruelty? Apparently, politicians and a brain (or media!) washed public. ITS TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE!
Lets take a look at the facts when it comes to dog attacks:
Although the ever popular media myth may claim otherwise, dog attacks are not breed specific. The reason that pit bulls receive all the media attention is due to the extent of the damage that these dogs are capable of. Despite not having lock jaws, which is a complete myth, pit bulls are capable of powerful bites due to their extremely strong jaws and willingness to hold on. And although responsible pit bull owners do not deny that these attacks have been horrifying and feel sympathetic towards the victims, pit bull owners also face hardship and suffering from society due to their choice of breed. In this case, there is more than one victim involved.
Demonstration against Bill 132 in Toronto, Ontario
American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) results 2008
– Boarder Collie 80.6%
– Cocker Spaniel 81.9%
– Great Dane 79.2%
– Golden Retriever 84.6%
– Old English Sheepdog 76.6%
– Beagle 81.0%
– Bearded Collie 53.3%
– Rhodesian Ridgeback 82.4%
– Samoyed 79.2%
– Staffordshire Bull Terrier 88.0%
– American Pit Bull Terrier 85.3%
– American Staffordshire Terrier 83.9%
It is upsetting to see that simple stats such as these are not mentioned by the media, or the governments in favor of BSL. The American Temperament Test Society is responsible for testing hundreds of breeds for their temperament: how they respond in various stressful situations. If they portray any form of aggression, shyness, or fear, they automatically fail. Pit bulls received a higher grade than most other breeds. Could this possibly hint at the fact that pit bulls aren’t “ticking time bombs?” The liberal government doesn’t think so, despite educated and researched facts presented to them by various expert organizations such as the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Ontario Health and Safety Board, just to name a few. But instead of stating opinions, let us look at even more facts that are so clearly discarded:
BSL has proven that banning a specific breed of dog does not create safer communities. In many countries where pit bulls (or any other breed for that matter) have been banned, dog attacks have not decreased in number. Instead, the criminals, “dog men,” and irresponsible owners that owned aggressive dogs and never obeyed laws in the first place, simply moved onto to other breeds; German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Dogo Argentinos, etc.
-1990(the year the ban was introduced) 214 bites
The expert input on Breed Specific Legislation (specifically Bill 132 in Ontario):
“Bill 132 willfully legislates profiling, prejudices and paranoia, which is what it will create.”
– Cathie Cino, expert cited by Bryant in legislature
– 81 of 103 presenters spoke against BSL
– 49 organizations representing dog experts spoke against the ban; 4 represented breeds named in the bill and two represented animal rights organizations.
– Not a single expert organization representing dogs approved of this approach.
– These experts included animal control from Mississauga and Sudbury.
– Victims of bites by other breeds spoke against breed specific legislation
The experts’ (including the Canadian Veterinary Association, the CKC, the UKC, and various dog trainers and behaviorists, to name a few) opinions:
Pit bulls are inheritantly dangerous and may attack at any time: According to the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), the pit bull is no more vicious than the golden retriever or the beagle. The ATTS test puts various breeds through a series of tests dealing with unexpected situations and strangers. Dogs that possess any signs of unprovoked fear or aggression automatically fail the test. The pit bull passed with a high 83.9%, compared to the average 77% scored by other breeds.
Like any other dog, a pit bull that is properly raised and socialized in a loving environment will remain friendly and faithful. Unfortunately, as the pit bull still remains one of the most highly abused and exploited breeds in the world, there also remain sad examples of poorly bred and mistreated pit bulls that are the byproduct of irresponsible breeders and dogfighters or “dog men” as they like to call themselves. These unfortunate animals that are improperly raised and unsocialized may show temperaments that are far from those of the authentic and well cared for pit bull.
Pit bulls have lock jaws: One of my all time favorite myths. It seems that the media is obsessed with portraying the pit bull as some sort of superhuman monster with immortal capabilities. However, our good friend, “science,” has yet again proven this rumor to be nothing more than a jaw dropping lie. These are dogs, with a bone anatomy just like that of any other dog, except they possess a lot more strength and will power. However, they are not carnivorous dinosaurs.
Dr. Lehr Brisbin of the University of Georgia states, “To the best of our knowledge, there are no published scientific studies that would allow any meaningful comparison to be made of the biting power of various breeds of dogs.”
A pit bull that attacks other animals will go after people next: Animal aggression and human aggression are two completely different things. Pit bulls were once trained to fight and bring down large animals, hence the possession of animal aggression in some pit bulls (or any other breed for that matter!) is not unnatural, and definitely NOT a reason to euthanize the dog. It deserves to be given a chance to live in a loving home just like any other dog. However, with that being said, while pit bulls were once bred to fight other animals, they were at the same time, bred never to possess any signs of human aggression. This is what enabled a “dog man” to grab his dog by the collar, or even the scruff of the neck, and pull it out of a fight without ever getting bitten. Hence, any pit bull that shows signs of aggression towards people is not at all typical of the breed, and should therefore be evaluated by a professional animal behaviorist and a veterinarian (in case there are medical issues at hand), or be humanely euthanized. These dogs should NEVER be bred, as they possess an unfit temperament.
Adult pit bulls should not be adopted, because their background is unknown: This one really gets under my nails. I believe that every dog deserves a chance. Papers and certificates don’t mean much these days, considering the intolerable amount of backyard breeders that use them to blind their customers. Furthermore, when putting up dogs for adoption, responsible shelter and rescues always ensure that the dogs are properly temperament tested, and look at the animal’s temperament as a way to judge whether the dog will be able to be adopted out into a new home.
Pit bulls and children do not belong together: Pit bulls are known for their ability to handle a lot of rough and tumble play that children can dish out. They make wonderful companions for kids, and are great family pets when properly trained and socialized. However, children should be taught how to properly interact with dogs and when to respect quiet time. Children and dogs (no matter what breed), should never be left alone without adult supervision.
The following information courtesy of:
American Pit Bull Terriers – All About America’s Favorite Dogs (Popular Dogs Series)
From the Editors of Dog Fancy Magazine. Volume 45, pp 5-11.
Bully Breeds – All About America’s Favorite Dogs (Popular Dogs Series)
From the Editors of Dog Fancy Magazine. Volume 21, pp 55-11.
Bully Breed Roots
In the family of dogs, most members were developed for a specific role: some to be hunters, some comforters, some herders, some pullers. Now versatile show dogs, workers and companions, the bully breeds were once bred to be the stern enforcers, developed primarily to keep livestock in line for farmers, butchers and auctioneers.
In one form or another, the bully breeds have been around for centuries. Their true beginnings are blurry, but most dog experts agree that the Bulldog type descended from the mastiffs of Central Asia and reached its modern development over central centuries in England. Bulldog-type breeds are a large group, encompassing the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, Bulldog, American Bulldog, French Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Dogue de Bordequx, Neapolitan Mastiff, Tosa Inu and Dogo Arentino. Pit bull-type breeds (bully breeds) are a branch on this family resulting from the 18th-century crosses between bulldogs and terriers and include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, and Miniature Bull Terrier.
The Bulldog Base
The Bulldog that fathered all these diverse breeds was a very different animal from today’s English Bulldog. It was tall, with a smaller head than today’s bully breeds, and was quick and alert. The original Bulldogs were used as a combination guard dog and catch dog, including a vermin hunter for rats and other small pests. Its day job of keeping bulls at bay for farmers by pinning and holding the bull by the nose had entertainment value for people without books or movies or television, and the Bulldog began to be pitted for sport against bulls and sometimes other animals. Bullbaiting, as this popular diversion was called, was a common sport as early as the 13th century. According to beliefs of the day, it had health benefits as well. The meat of a baited bull was considered to be more tender and nutritious, and butchers could be penalized for not baiting bulls before slaughtering.
The physical characteristics needed to be successful at bullbaiting included a thick, strong, overshot jaw to aid in grasping the bull; a short, flat muzzle to help air pass through the nostrils while the dog was clamped onto the bull; and a hard, rangy body, able to take a beating and survive being tossed into the air by the angry animal. Just as important as strength were courage and tenacity. Crosses with terriers gave Bulldogs additional ferocity and gameness. Human nature being what it is, people found pleasure in pitting the dogs not only against bulls but against each other. Although they might be ferocious towards other animals, the bully breeds learned to turn a gentler face toward people. Those that didn’t were ruthlessly culled. Dog fighters did not want to be at the receiving end of a dog bite. By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Bulldogs were a recognizable type. Among the well-known Bulldogs of the time were Crib and Rosa, who were depicted in a painting by Abraham Cooper, R.A. (Royal Academy). Another was Lord Camelford’s Bulldog, Belcher, who was fought 104 times and never defeated.
It was during the 19th century that the Bulldog’s appearance began to evolve, a result not only of new humane laws but also of the rise of dog shows. Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835, making the bully breeds some of the earliest beneficiaries of the burgeoning humane movement.
With the decline in dog fighting, it seemed for a time that the bully breeds would die away with it, but fanciers stepped in to save the dogs from extinction. They began breeding the dogs for exhibition instead. By the mid-19th century, it was clear that Bulldogs were becoming shorter in leg and developing larger heads while retaining their strength and tenacity. By the end of the 19th century, the Bulldog had come to much more closely resemble what it looks like today; the head was larger, the legs shorter, and the body stockier.
During this time, the Bulldog’s temperament changed as well. It softened considerably as the dog became less of an outdoor farm animal and more of a show animal and family pet. The modern Bulldog is almost unrecognizable compared to its progenitor. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Staffordshire Terrier have probably changed the least. From the Bulldog, other breeds were created as well. The French Bulldog and the Pug are miniaturized versions of early Bulldog types.
Enter The Terrier
As Bulldogs evolved to become powerful fighting dogs, terriers were busy evolving as well, shapming themselves to various climates and terrains all over Britain. Although the British terriers varied widely in appearance, they all specialized in one important activity – vermin control. When bull-baiting and dog fighting became illegal, many Bulldogs were crossed with terriers, including the now-extinct Old English Terrier and the Black and Tan Terrier (similar to the Manchester Terrier of today). In England, these crosses eventually became the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Miniature Bull Terrier. In America, they became something else.
The American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier developed in much the same was as bully breeds in England. People emigrating to the U.S. brought their ‘Bull-and-Terriers’ with them in the 1700s and through the 1800s. The dogs shared the work of the people they came with, working as catch dogs and farm dogs to drive semi-wild cattle and hogs and hauling carts for miners. The bully breeds were an extremely versatile working dog.
Early American life, as it did in Britain, also included bullbaiting and dog-fighting. These types of dogs – which went by numerous names including pit terriers, pit bull terriers, half and halfs, Staffordshire fighting dogs, old family dogs, Yankee terriers and Rebel terriers – became today’s American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Bulldog.
The United Kennel Club (UKC) was formed in 1898, solely for the purpose of registering American Pit Bull Terriers. The first APBT registered, Bennett’s Ring, belonged to Chauncey Bennett, the founder of the UKC. A little more than a decade later, the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) came into being, also with the purpose of registering APBTs. The ADBA was founded by Guy McCord, a friend of John P. Colby, which is the grand old name in American Pit Bull Terriers. The Colby’s have bred APBTs for generations, their dogs being originally bred for fighting. Colby dogs are still being bred today.
When fighting became illegal in the U.S., some owners of the APBTs wanted to legitimize the breed and distance it from its fighting roots, so they took on the name Staffordshire Terrier and gained AKC (American Kennel Club) recognition in 1936. According to the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of America, although ancestors of the AmStaff were fighting dogs, selective breeding since the 1930s has been away from the fighting heritage. Today’s AmStaff is a companion and show dog rather than a gladiator.
APBTs, too, have taken their talents to less violent arenas of competition. They’re a versatile breed that competes successfully in conformation, obedience, tracking, agility, protection work and weight pulling. In temperament and appearance, the modern APBT and the AmStaff are identical. Hence, many APBTs registered with the UKC are also registered with the AKC as American Staffordshire Terriers. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a smaller version of the APBT/AmStaff, also originated in a similar manner, but was bred for a smaller appearance. All three breeds, the APBT, the AmStaff and the Staffie Bull are hence the same “type” of dog, all originating from the Bulldog,
Sometime during the nineteenth century, dog fanciers in England, Ireland and Scotland began to experiment with crosses between Bulldogs and Terriers, looking for a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the Bulldog. The result was a dog that embodied all of the virtues attributed to great warriors: strength, indomitable courage, and gentleness with loved ones. Immigrants brought these bull and terrier crosses to the United States. The American Pit Bull Terrier’s many talents did not go unnoticed by farmers and ranchers who used their APBTs as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions. Today, the American Pit Bull Terrier continues to demonstrate its versatility, competing successfully in Obedience, Tracking, Agility and Weight Pulls, as well as Conformation.
The United Kennel Club was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. UKC founder C. Z. Bennett assigned UKC registration number 1 to his own APBT, Bennett’s Ring, in 1898.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, solidly built, short-coated dog with smooth, well-defined musculature. This breed is both powerful and athletic. The body is just slightly longer than tall, but bitches may be somewhat longer in body than dogs. The length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow to the ground) is approximately equal to one-half of the dog’s height at the withers. The head is of medium length, with a broad, flat skull, and a wide, deep muzzle. Ears are small to medium in size, high set, and may be natural or cropped. The relatively short tail is set low, thick at the base and tapers to a point. The American Pit Bull Terrier comes in all colors and color patterns except merle. This breed combines strength and athleticism with grace and agility and should never appear bulky or muscle-bound or fine-boned and rangy. Above all else, the APBT must have the functional capability to be a catch dog that can hold, wrestle (push and pull) and breathe easily while doing its job. Balance and harmony of all parts are critical components of breed type.
Very Serious Fault: Any disproportionate overdone characteristic (such as short legs, excessive bone or massive head or body) that would interfere with working ability.
The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed’s natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.
The APBT head is unique and a key element of breed type. It is large and broad, giving the impression of great power, but it is not disproportionate to the size of the body. Viewed from the front, the head is shaped like a broad, blunt wedge. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are parallel to one another and joined by a well defined, moderately deep stop. Supraorbital arches over the eyes are well defined but not pronounced. The head is well chiseled, blending strength, elegance, and character.
Very Serious Fault: Overly large, heavy heads.
SKULL – The skull is large, flat or slightly rounded, deep, and broad between the ears. Viewed from the top, the skull tapers just slightly toward the stop. There is a deep median furrow that diminishes in depth from the stop to the occiput. Cheek muscles are prominent but free of wrinkles. When the dog is concentrating, wrinkles form on the forehead, which give the APBT his unique expression.
MUZZLE – The muzzle is broad and deep with a very slight taper from the stop to the nose, and a slight falling away under the eyes. The length of muzzle is shorter than the length of skull, with a ratio of approximately 2:3. The topline of the muzzle is straight. The lower jaw is well developed, wide and deep. Lips are clean and tight.
Faults: Snipey muzzle; flews; weak lower jaw.
Very Serious Fault: Muzzle too short, which impairs breathing capability.
TEETH – The American Pit Bull Terrier has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
Fault: Level bite.
Serious Faults: Undershot, or overshot bite; wry mouth; missing teeth (this does not apply to teeth that have been lost or removed by a veterinarian).
NOSE – The nose is large with wide, open nostrils. The nose may be any color.
EYES – Eyes are medium size, round and set well apart and low on the skull. All colors are equally acceptable except blue, which is a serious fault. Haw should not be visible.
Serious Faults: Bulging eyes; both eyes not matched in color; blue eyes.
EARS – Ears are high set and may be natural or cropped without preference. Prick or flat, wide ears are not desired.
The neck is of moderate length and muscular. There is a slight arch at the crest. The neck widens gradually from where it joins the skull to where it blends into well laid-back shoulders. The skin on the neck is tight and without dewlap.
Faults: Neck too thin or weak; ewe neck; dewlap.
Very Serious Fault: A short, thick neck that would interfere with functional ability.
The shoulder blades are long, wide, muscular, and well laid back. The upper arm is roughly equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle.
The forelegs are strong and muscular. The elbows are set close to the body. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are set moderately wide apart and perpendicular to the ground. The pasterns are short, powerful, straight, and flexible. When viewed in profile, the pasterns are nearly erect.
Faults: Upright or loaded shoulders; elbows turned outward or tied-in; down at the pasterns; front legs bowed; wrists knuckled over; toeing in or out.
Very Serious Fault: Legs shorter than half the total height at the withers.
The chest is deep, well filled in, and moderately wide with ample room for heart and lungs, but the chest should never be wider than it is deep. The forechest does not extend much beyond the point of shoulder. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung from the spine, then flattening to form a deep body extending to the elbows. The back is strong and firm. The topline inclines very slightly downward from the withers to a broad, muscular, level back. The loin is short, muscular and slightly arched to the top of the croup, but narrower than the rib cage and with a moderate tuck-up. The croup is slightly sloping downward.
Very Serious Fault: Overly massive body style that impedes working ability.
The hindquarters are strong, muscular, and moderately broad. The rump is well filled in on each side of the tail and deep from the pelvis to the crotch. The bone, angulation, and musculature of the hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs are well developed with thick, easily discerned muscles. Viewed from the side, the hock joint is well bent and the rear pasterns are well let down and perpendicular to the ground. Viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are straight and parallel to one another.
Faults: Narrow hindquarters; hindquarters shallow from pelvis to crotch; lack of muscle; straight or over angulated stifle joint; cow hocks; sickle hocks; bowed legs.
The feet are round, proportionate to the size of the dog, well arched, and tight. Pads are hard, tough, and well cushioned. Dewclaws may be removed.
Fault: Splayed feet.
The tail is set on as a natural extension of the topline, and tapers to a point. When the dog is relaxed, the tail is carried low and extends approximately to the hock. When the dog is moving, the tail is carried level with the backline. When the dog is excited, the tail may be carried in a raised, upright position (challenge tail), but never curled over the back (gay tail).
Fault: Long tail (tail tip passes beyond point of hock).
Serious faults: Gay tail (not to be confused with challenge tail); kinked tail.
Disqualification: Bobbed tail.
The coat is glossy and smooth, close, and moderately stiff to the touch.
Faults: Curly, wavy, or sparse coat.
Disqualification: Long coat.
Any color, color pattern, or combination of colors is acceptable, except for merle.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
The American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful and agile so actual weight and height are less important than the correct proportion of weight to height. Desirable weight for a mature male in good condition is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight for a mature female in good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds. Dogs over these weights are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or rangy.
Very Serious Fault: Excessively large or overly massive dogs.
The American Pit Bull Terrier moves with a jaunty, confident attitude, conveying the impression that he expects any minute to see something new and exciting. When trotting, the gait is effortless, smooth, powerful, and well coordinated, showing good reach in front and drive behind. When moving, the backline remains level with only a slight flexing to indicate suppleness. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward center line of balance.
Faults: Legs not moving on the same plane; legs over reaching; legs crossing over in front or rear; rear legs moving too close or touching; rolling; pacing; paddling; sidewinding; hackney action; pounding.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Unilateral or bilateral deafness. Long coat. Bobbed tail. Albinism. Merle.
Note: Although some level of dog aggression is characteristic of this breed, handlers will be expected to comply with UKC policy regarding dog temperament at UKC events.
Please click on the following links for each specific breed standards: