Monday, February 4, 2008

Profiling is the Pit's

I've posted photos of my son's Pit Bull, Bently. I know some people have definite fears and opinions of Pit's. Bently has been well trained and is a loving dog.

I was just reading about the dogs that were rescued from ex-NFL Player, Michael Vick's house. 22 were saved and are living and being rehabilitated at a rescue sanctuary.

With any dog that is not trained properly or has suffered abuse, there will be horror stories. The Pit seems to be the latest that gets a bad rap. And yes, there have been some awful incidents involving them. There are also incidents from many other breeds. Blame the ignorance of the owner, not the animal.

I remember years ago, when it was the Doberman or German Shepherd to fear. Then it was Rottweiler's. Now Pit's. A dog can be trained to attack and protect, but are also trained to listen to a command. Police and rescue dogs are a perfect example. Fear the people that keep and breed these dogs with cruel intentions.

The back-alley-breeder-gangsta-wannabe's are just ignorant. The Mike Vick's of the dog fight rings are just as ignorant. Mike's sentence of 23 months isn't enough. I hope his career is over too.

Do you know what a pit looks like? Most people see a big, mean looking, muscular, stocky dog and assume it's a Pit Bull.

There is only one American Pit Bull Terrier in the photos below. What's your guess? Click on the photo and see if you're right. Leave the number of your first guess in the comment section please.





















(photos from

Remember "Petey" from the "Little Rascals"?
A Pit


San said...

I thought it was #2, he reminds me of Bentley.

Nancy said...

San: What the heck are you doing up this late? LOL

Jessie said...

I forgot the number, but I've done that before. I belong to a Pit comm, even though I don't have one. I will before I'm 45, though. I love them. I think they're like any other dog. They require a discipline, as in a firm boundary line practice, as well as love and affection. I truly hate Vick for what he's done to the breed. I think he deserved like 500 years in jail. With electrical tasers every couple centimeters on that vulnerable part of a man's body.

I've been around the kindest pits ever made. Ones that were rescued from horrible conditions, and were some of the best dogs ever. Any dog can kill. Everyone with Jack Russells forget that they were bred to kill mice and rats living near storage grain. Heck, that's a defining trait for terriers.

My list of dogs I want in my lifetime: Pit, Rottweiler, GSD, Doberman, Australian Shepherd, Greyhound, Mastiff, Yorkie, Italian Greyhound. Notice that almost all those are "dangerous" breeds. That's right. The 120 lb Rott lap dog is dangerous. And the psychotic number of JRTs I've met aren't. Uh huh. Pull the other leg.

Laura said...

Hi Nancy -- I'm visiting from Mrs. G's. I read this post with interest.

I do think that a dog who is loved and well-trained and socialized is a treasure for any family, no matter the breed. BUT.

But -- please tell me if you disagree -- a dog who is left to himself a lot, not trained, poorly socialized, can show some breed-specific traits. I don't think that dogs are a blank slate, and that their behavior and traits are entirely reflective of their treatment. The dog who is bred to fight, doesn't have to be trained to fight, just like the dog that is bred to dig doesn't have to be trained to dig.

Our yellow lab has been bred to retrieve. He is a retrieving fanatic. It is part of his breed.

The Pit Bull has been bred to fight other dogs. From the Pit Bull Rescue Central website: "Even in dogs that are not recently bred from fighting lines, the urge to fight can arise at any time. Not to strongly emphasize this fact would be negligent ...
It's like the digging instinct of many Terriers, the herding behavior in Shelties, the compulsion to run in Greyhounds, etc. Your Pointer may have never spent a day on a real hunt, but he may still point and flush birds as his ancestors did.

It's a mistake to think that the fighting gene can be trained or loved out of a dog, or that early socialization will guarantee your pit bull will always get along with other animals."

I think that the majority of people who buy pit bulls are, like a lot of people who buy any breed of dog, ignorant of the breed's traits and the responsibility required of the owner. There are two tied out in a backyard near us. Our neighbors don't have "cruel intentions", but they also are not cognizant of the breed's traits and thus are not responsible dog owners.

Sorry so long. Merritt Clifton's study of dog bites by breed is something that anyone purchasing a pit bull or rottweiler should read.

Michael said...

I think it's a trick question and they all are pit bulls.

Michael said...

OK, and I was wrong...

Terri said...

it took me three guesses to find him. A good friend of mine had recently been looking for an american pit bull; we visited a the local shelter a couple of times. She was very particular about what she was looking for; having had one before. All I can say is that the ones she had them bring out to meet us were very friendly but also very imposing. I love dogs but am not sure I'd ever get one. Their mouths; specifically the size of their jaws are immense! Great post btw.

Terri said...

oops I mean I would never get a pit bull! I do have dogs (2) - JRTs to be specific (not psychotic!!) but definitely with a strong behaviro to chasing and killing small animals. :o)

Terri said...

dangit; didn't necessarily mean to put the smiley face after "chasing and killing small animals". This is definitely a Monday morning. Sorry.

Nancy said...

Laura: I appreciate what you are saying and it goes back to my statement of fear the people that own them and do not train them properly. Any dog for that matter.

Any dog that is tied up, left for long periods of time, taunted and teased, will become defensive. Heck I would too.

Thank you for your comments :) BTW? Did you pick the Pit on your first try?

Teri: LOL, indeed a Monday. And I like your smiley.

When my daughter was 6, she was bitten in the face/eye by a Jack Russell. The owner came over to apologize later and see how she was. (It was a friend from school)

THEN they told me this isn't the first child he bit, so they are going to have him put down. DUH!

Queen Goob said...

I picked number 11 first as he reminded me of my bestest buddy in the whole-wide-world, Cooper. I've been an owner of more than one American Pit/Pit mix and every one of them has been great dogs. You can see a pic of Coop at my blog and as the parent of two teenagers.....I LOVE my dog!

Thanks for educating the masses, we love you for it!

Nancy said...

queen: lol,indeed dogs can be easier to train then teens at times =)

Ree said...

Great Danes were once looked on as dangerous as well. And yet, even after investigating a child being killed by two Danes, my father raised three children with 2 of the most gentle, loving dogs I've had the honor of knowing.

And, I picked the Jack Russell the first time, but only because I couldn't see his body. Got the Pit on the second try. ;-)

Sherry said...

I did not get the pit bull on my first try (I picked #3) which proves I would not know what to run away that a good thing? Not sure. I was afraid of dogs when I was little -- and lost that fear quite easily.

I agree that how animals are treated makes a difference. Every dog has it's "negative" traits, just as people do. How children are treated can dictate how they will behave as adults (if mistreated badly).

Some people should not have pets or children. End of statement.

Domestically Challenged said...

Number 3....or....ooohh, I give up - what do I know, all we have is a mini dachshund....the cats and chickens rule the roost here!

Jen M. said...

We have a 110 pound German Shepherd who scares people when they just look at her.

How to explain that we chose her from a breeder who breeds for even and mellow temperment? That we had a dog trainer work with us for six months from the moment we brought her home, so that she would be a great dog? That she doesn't move a muscle when kids climb on her, when startled, or even when we place her food in front of her (until we tell her she can eat, she's in a down stay).

Bad Owners and breeders make for bad dogs. Period.

hottdog said...

I guessed #11. I was wrong. :o|

Casdok said...

I was also wrong - just goes to show!

Joan said...

I have no clue. You didn't add Quinn to the mix. He's pretty vicious looking.

Anonymous said...

My guess is #5. And I too hope Michael Vick's career is over!

Mr B

Mrs. G. said...

My daughter has been volunteering at the humane society for two years, and she is always telling me that pit bulls get a bad rap, that when they are loved and trained, they are big luggish sweethearts.

detroit dog said...

Great post, Nancy. Thank you!

Just went to a city council meeting tonight, and they are trying to ban pitts, mastiffs, bulldogs, staffordshire terriers, and who knows what else by now.

While I would never own a pitt bull, I believe they can be wonderful dogs. My vet had hers roaming her office all day -- it was a big baby. I think it's the people that need to be educated and addressed - and punished if necessary. Owners need to know their dogs, and their breed traits. And if you can't control your dog, then you shouldn't have it.

Wonderful post.

Jessie said...

I don't know if I've told you this, but as an addendum to my earlier comment, I worked pretty hardcore in kennels for a year, and only one animal managed to bite me. It was a cocker spaniel that was undersocialized, had never been off the family boat, and as it turns out, had been bitten the grandchildren pretty often. Apparently his feet were tender and I accidentally touched one, not knowing this important piece of information. He bit me right at my thumb joint, just missing it. They decided to put the dog down because of temperament.

And how many people have those running around? Pits have been breed to fight, that's true, but almost every single dog was breed for a specific task. There are guard dogs, fighting dogs (which, if I'm not mistaken, Boston Terriers were, too), rodent and sporting dogs, retrieving dogs...etc etc.

Any dog can bite, attack, or kill. It's up to the owners to set the boundaries. If they don't, it's not the dog's fault. After all, it's just following the pack leader's example. That, or is trying to take the pack over because the leader is weak and someone needs to be in charge.

TX Poppet said...

I got it but I adore the breed. The saddest part was that when I clicked on the others I noticed how many of them are on the Most Often Stolen Dogs List. Here in my city we've had a couple of instances of backyard breeders advertising Pit Bull puppies only to be terrorized at gunpoint by puppy thieves. Heartbreaking. A more snuggle-luscious breed is hard to find.

linda in c-town said...

Okay so I didn't guess right the first or second or third try. Whan do I know. I haven't had a dog in 30 years.

Good post.