Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
MISUNDERSTOOD DOG BREEDS: A BAD RAP
If you have ever tried to rent an apartment with a pet, you know that it can be a little bit of a pain. Pet deposits, care stipulations, and even breed restrictions can leave pet owners feeling overwhelmed and even a little bit hurt. After all, why is someone with a Rottweiler sent packing even if the dog is an obedience champion?
There are quite a few misunderstood dog breeds out there. Take a minute to learn who they are, how they are discriminated against, and what you can do to set the record straight.
There are many dog breeds who a perhaps a little misunderstood, but only a few who get the short end of the stick time and time again. The breeds that seem to be most consistently discriminated against include:
- American Staffordshire Terriers/Pit Bull type breeds
- German Shepherd Dog
- Doberman Pinscher
Most dog breeds that find themselves discriminated against time and time again owe their bad rap to humans. Any dog can be dangerous when not handled with caution and common sense. We have bred many of these breeds to be wary of strangers and have asked them to be guard dogs.
Responsible pet owners must be respectful of their chosen breed’s temperament, needs, and limitations. Good training and handling can go a long way towards these breeds earning back a little respect.
In recent years many areas across the country have begun to enact breed specific legislation. These are laws and ordinances that dictate whether people may own certain breeds of dog and how they must be cared for. Breed specific legislation can require certain pets to be muzzled or insurance policies to be carried.
Thankfully, California has passed a law disallowing specific breed ownership to be limited, although it does allow municipalities to enact laws requiring the spay/neuter of specific breeds.
Breed discrimination goes beyond laws, however. You might run into it when trying to rent a house, taking out a homeowner’s policy, allowing your dog to play at a local dog park, or even from family members who are wary of your pet.
The good news is that while there are several misunderstood dog breeds out there, we have the tools at our disposal to right this wrong. If you are a fan of one of these perpetual underdogs, it is time to take some steps to educate the public.
- Join a local breed advocacy group such as Chako Pit Bull Rescue to help the efforts
- If you own a misunderstood breed, work to make your dog an example of the breed through training and good husbandry- think about working towards a Canine Good Citizen certification
- Take efforts to be and encourage others to be a responsible dog owner; this means keeping your dog in your yard, using common sense at the dog park, and providing good general care
The truth is that when dogs misbehave, it is our responsibility, not the dog’s. Passing blame to an individual dog or a specific breed is ignoring the problem. Misunderstood dog breeds have been perpetuated through lack of education and irresponsible pet ownership and breeding. Stand up for the breed you love and fight for its reputation!