College Beign Worht It
English and Literature
Submitted By br3x
Engl 1121 13
Prof. Huebner Gloege
The Myths of Bully Breeds There is reason to believe that the bully breeds should be banned in America. Bully breeds are a category of dogs that consist of Bulldogs, Boxers Mastiffs, ect. I believe this opinion is unjust and completely ridiculous. The many breeds that fall into this category are many of the most popular breeds owned in homes across the country. These loving and loyal dogs are trying to escape the shadow of a bad reputation.
In ancient Greece, the first category of bully breed was created. These strong headed dogs were called Molossers (Hart). Molossers are the ancestors of all bully breed dogs. They were larger dogs with thick muscular bodies, short necks and legs, medium sized diamond shaped ears, and short snouts (noses). Molossers were used for every day house guarding, livestock protection and also bull baiting. During bull baiting the dog would lay low to the ground, then when it had a clear shot, the dog would jump up and bite the bulls nose. The nose is the sensitive part of the bull. The bull would whip its head around and try to get the dog to let go. Many dogs were severely injured with broken bones and concussions but most dogs were killed. People back in this time found this amusing. Since the Molossers were used for bull baiting this is how they got the name “Bully Breeds.”
The average dog in the category Bully Breeds, are larger dogs, although there are a few exceptions such as French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers. Bully breeds usually have stocky, muscular bodies that are very powerful. They have wide eyes and large mouths. Their jaws are strong but not in comparison to other any other breed. Bullies have wide chests and narrow hips. The temperament of these dogs are very energetic and playful yet protective when they need to be. Bully breeds are extremely loyal dogs, this can get them into trouble. Many people say that they are better with children and other animals than other popular breeds such as Beagles or Labradors. Bully breeds are very moldable, this means that if you want your dog to act a certain way, it will. They do everything they can to please their owner. These dogs don’t always make the best guard dogs. They enjoy meeting new people and don’t notice threats until something physically happens, like a random person touching their owner.
There are a few myths about the dogs’ anatomy. Some people say that if a bully breed dog such as a Pit bull bites something, its jaws will lock and there is nothing you can do until the dog wants to let go. This is not true, Pit Bulls have the same jaws as every other breed of dog. There is no other breed that this myth pertains to. Another myth is that when a bully shakes its head, its brain swells and the dog can’t think clearly and it becomes a crazed killer. This is also not true, how would their brain swell? There is no chemical that makes brain tissue swell when they shake their heads. These dogs have the same bodies as every other breed, there is no difference besides looks.
In 1980, American Pit bull Terriers and other bully breeds such Rottweilers and Bulldogs were introduced as status symbols for gang members (Hart). This added to the bias that the dogs were tagged with. People saw these dogs as weapons because they were vicious and mean. The dogs were only trained to be that way. Gang members used the slang word “Pit bull or Pit” to describe dogs that had these physical features. Many people believe that Pit Bull is a breed of dog, but in actuality it is just a term used to generalize breeds similar to each other. Bully breeds started to become a problem because most times the dogs would become out of hand with aggression and the owner would not want to deal with it any longer. Sometimes their owners would let them lose on the streets and the dogs would end up causing more problems because they were neglected and homeless. These gangs started the bad reputations that Bully breeds are dealing with today.
There are many breeds that fall into this category such as; the American Pit bull Terrier the most common of the bully breeds. American Staffordshire Terrier, a spin off the American Pit bull Terrier. Bull Terrier also known as the Target dog. American Bulldogs that look closely similar to American Pit bull Terriers. English Bulldogs that are short and wrinkly with a compressed face. Olde Bulldogs, that are taller but still wrinkly, almost looking like mastiffs. French Bulldogs, the smaller of the bully breeds, they have short legs, big free standing ears and wrinkly bodies. Boston Terriers even smaller than French Bulldogs, these are black and white dogs that don’t normally reach over ten pounds. Dogo Argentino, muscular white dogs used for hunting large animals. Cane Corso, blocky looking dogs that are normally seen with cropped ears. Mastiffs, the biggest of the bully breeds, the biggest mastiff recorded was from the U.K. and the mastiff weighed three hundred and forty three pounds. Bull mastiffs, which are similar to the other, smalller mastiff. English mastiff, a larger version of mastiff. The Boxer, a slender energetic dog with a square wrinkly face and spring like legs. Alapaha Blue Blood one of the original bully breed, that is extinct today. Renascence Bulldog, this dog looks like an English Bulldog with less wrinkles. Pug, which is a smaller breed in this category, usually tan with black masks. Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a short and stocky dog, with a strong head. There are a couple other breeds that fall into this category, some originating from other countries and mixes between a few of these breeds, but these are the most common of the bully breeds.
There are twelve states in the United States that have bans or laws that involve bully breeds due to aggression issues or problems with these breeds. Those states are Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin (Breed). Many cities within those states, along with the other states not listed, have laws and saying that Pit bulls are dangerous and vicious. Breed specific legislation is laws passed by the legislation about specific breeds of domestic animals, mostly dog breed specific (Breed). There are bans and restrictions for Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and a few other breeds, all around the country. If you own a dog that falls into the breed specific legislation or BSL, the city has the right to confiscate your dog and euthanize it. There is no say whether or not your dog is friendly or not, meaning the dog has no chance to prove that it is not dangerous, via temper test or any other reliable determination test. If there is a breed that is banned in that city than you cannot own a dog of said breed. There are groups like the American Bar association that help fight for families that have Pit bulls or dangerous dogs. They help with educating families and making sure that they are a smart pet owner. Many rescue groups protest against these bans because they are unfair. If your dog isn’t dangerous it should not be euthanized because of what breed it is. Breed specific legislation is like racism for dogs. The National Canine Research Council or the NCRC, is the only group that records the breed of dog involved in attacks. In 2010, they recorded thirty three fatal dog attacks. Of those thirty three cases, only eleven of them had confirmation of the breed in the attack. Of those eleven, eight different breeds were recorded (Dispelling). That means that, Pit Bulls are not the only culprits. Legislation against specific breeds has not lowered the number of attacks and bites. They don’t actually help the city (Burrows). It just makes people upset that they can’t have their dog.
Bully breeds can be owned by really anyone. Presidents like Rosevelt and Wilson both owned Pit Bulls. Many celebrities own bully breeds like Pink, Usher, Orlando Bloom, Tom Brady, Madonna, Brad Pitt and many more. These breeds are very popular in the United States yet looked at like they are killers.
Bully breeds aren’t the only dogs that can attack or bite an adult, small child or other animals. There are many cases of attacks that involve breeds such as German Shepard, Labradors, Cocker spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers and other family friendly breeds. This shows that although Pit bulls may be dangerous that does not mean that they are the only dogs that attack. Any dog will attack if it is neglected, abused or defending someone or something. If a dog is placed under stress it is at a higher risk of attacking. Dogs on chains or a leash in a yard are more likely to attack because they are stressed and restrained and feel more inclined to be defensive or dangerous.
Prevention and proactivity are the main things that will help shape a well behaved dog. The first thing that can be done is socialize the dog at a young age. The more the puppy is exposed to new situations the better off the dog is in the future with dealing with the same situation. Proper training throughout a dogs’ life can maintain a positive temperament and help create a well-rounded dog. Making sure that the dog has adequate vet care and is healthy and strong will help prevent bad things from happening, such as dog bites and attacks. Being kind and caring to any dog will show that they can trust you. Every dog has potential. If the right steps are taken, many problems can be avoided. If someone owns a bully breed dog and wants the dog to attack someone when the owner says so, the dog will. Bully breeds are extremely loyal and will do anything to please. The loyalty of the dogs can be abuse. Dog fighting is an example of abuse of loyalty. The owner wants the dog to fight. In the dogs mind, whatever happens will happen, regardless of the pain the dog may endure, this is what my owner wants. Gang members may also abuse the loyalty of these dogs. They do this by training the dog to be aggressive and violent. The dog may not want to be like that but to protect its owner the dog will do whatever it takes. Another example of this would be breeding for profit. Some people breed their animals multiple, multiple, multiple times. One litter is born and the mother is pregnant again. People do this to make money off the puppies. The dog won’t enjoy being pregnant its whole life. The dog is just being loyal to the owner’s wishes. Being loyal is a great trait these dogs have, it is our job not to abuse it.
Other things that could cause problems and add to the bias is misjudgment of the breed in the attack. It has been proved that any breed of dog can attack a person or other animal. But how accurate are the people who say what breed of dog it is that is doing the attacking. They could just say that it was a Pit Bull because they really don’t know what breed it was and it’s just easier to label it Pit Bull because that is expected from that breed. Dogs that are mixes can also be in trouble with the misjudgment. Let’s say there was a dog that was ninety percent golden retriever and ten percent Staffordshire terrier. What do you think the dog will be labeled? A Pit Bull because that breed is viewed more to attack then golden retrievers. The sound of a dog’s growl can be misjudged in an attack (Taylor). The dog could sound mean and extremely vicious and the person hearing it could say that it was a Pit Bull but it was actually another large breed dog such as a German Sheppard or a Great Dane. If no one saw the attack but the person being attacked, their judgment of the breed of dog could be completely wrong. All these things add to the negative bias that these dogs have to live with.
There is reason to believe that bully breeds should be banned in America. Some people believe that bully breeds are mean and vicious animals but in reality they are caring and compassionate animals. Even to children and other pets, they show affection and fondness. The faces may look mean and intimidating, but inside they are completely different.
Burrows, Tyrone. “Views of College Students on Pit Bull Ownership” The New Providence, The Bahamas. June 2005, Brill Academic Publishers.
Lodge, Martin. “Barking Mad” German Politics. Dec 2001, Vol 10. London: Frank Cass. Pg. 65- 82.
Taylor, Anna. “Why Do Large Breed Dogs Sound More Aggressive To Human Listeners” Ethology. Dec 2010 Blackwell Verlag. Vol. 116. Pg. 1155-1162.
Vage, Jorn. “Differential Gene Expression in Brain Tissue of Aggressive and Non-aggressive Dogs” BMC Veterinary Research. 2010 Biomed Central. Vol. 6. Pg. 34-42.
“Breed Specific Laws State-By-State” DogBite.org. 2007, Lynn Media Group.
“Dispelling the Five Common Myths About Bully Breeds”, 27 July 2012. Clarity Digital Group.
Hart, Vikki. “What’s a Bully Breed?” Animal Planet. 2013, Discovery Communications.