Don’t Label That Dog!


A study published today has shone a light on how much the public misconception of “pit bulls” as a breed has permeated our culture and behavior.

The initial takeaway for a careful reader is that “Pit Bull” is not a breed of dog.  There are only bully type breeds like,  the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, and a few others that are shoehorned into  the imaginary “Pit Bull” label.  So stating that any dog is a pit bull is just plain wrong.

This study then informs us, not only, that the “Pit Bull” label  is meaningless, but it is also detrimental to a dog’s perceived value in the eye’s of potential adopters.  According to the study “Pit bull breed labels had a negative effect on the dogs’ perceived attractiveness, while lookalike labels did not have a positive impact on attractiveness compared to no label at all”

Let that sink in for a moment…just being labeled as a pit bull, which we have already shown is nonsense, makes a dog seem less adoptable than ANY other breed label out there.

So, not only, are these dogs being discriminated against with ineffectual BSL(breed specific legislation) laws and landlord’s that follow suit, but they also have to fight against a stigma that is completely unwarranted.

Anyone who makes their living in the dog training industry will tell you, any dog has the potential for aggressive behavior if improperly trained and socialized.  Add in a history of abuse and you have a recipe for a violent and aggressive dog, no matter the breed.

The study states “With the limited usefulness of breed-specific information in describing the behavior of mixed breed dogs, a validated behavioral assessment would likely be a better way to inform potential adopters about the behavior of individual shelter dogs.” .  This is truly the only rational solution to the growing epidemic of overrun shelters around the country.

If you would like to learn more about dog training, bully breeds, or how to become active in the pet rescue community, give us a shout, we can probably help!


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