Valley Voices: Judge a dog as an individual, not as a breed

by Terry Cuyler, Special to the Carson Valley Times

As I have spent the last year volunteering for DAWG (Douglas Animal Welfare Group) I have met many different dogs and many “pit bull” types. I have found that they intimidate many people because of a lack of information or wrong information. Each dog should be evaluated on its own behavior and temperament, not by its looks or its breed. It is almost impossible to correctly judge a dog just by looking at it. As an example take a look at this poster and try to pick out the two dogs with Labrador in them.

So when describing dogs one can talk about their size, weight, coat, color, ears and behavior. But unless the breed is truly known, it is not fair to label the dog by looks along. A picture is always good – but isn’t always the best judge of breed. “Pit Bull” is not an AKC recognized breed anyway.

In terms of bite behavior, the American Veterinarian Medical Association concluded that size, owner and relative number of the breed in a population had more to do with predicting bite frequency than being a “pit bull” type.

The American Temperament Testing Association tested 129 Staffordshire Bull Terriers with 117 passing in February of 2013.

So the next time you see a “Pit Bull” walking on the street, it might be one of DAWG’s ambassadors out for a stroll. “Pit Bulls” have become therapy dogs, service dogs and just darn good pets. Don’t judge a “Pit” by its reputation; judge them as individuals. Come look at ALL the adoptable dogs at the DCAS shelter and decide based on their personalities.

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