Why are some dog breeds perceived as “man’s best friend” and others as man’s worst enemy? Is the breed of the dog the sole factor in determining which dogs will behave aggressively and which ones will not? According to an American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) article, “A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention,” there are a number of factors that determine how a dog will behave: “…a dog’s tendency to bite depends on at least five interacting factors: heredity, early experience, later socialization and training, health (medical and behavioral), and victim behavior.” Only one of the five factors relates to the genetics of the dog. The rest are factors under the control of the dog owner. This is precisely why community breed bans are based more on fear, and less on fact.
Causes of Canine Aggression
- Lack of socialization and obedience training
- History of abuse/neglect
- Reinforcement of aggressive behavior (dogs taught to act aggressively as “guard dogs”)
- Failure of owner to spay/neuter
Dog Breeds Commonly Affected by Breed Bans
- American Pit Bull
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Doberman Pincer
- German Shepherd
- Dog de Bordeaux
Why Breed Bans Do Not Prevent Dog Bites
- Dangerous dogs come in all sizes, shapes, and pure and mixed breeds.
- Breed bans leave the community with a false sense of security.
- Breed bans do not penalize irresponsible owners, only owners of certain dog breeds.
- Breed bans fail to require responsible pet ownership practices.
- Dogs of every breed can bite, just as dogs of every breed can live harmoniously with people.
Take Action Against Breed Bans
- Support early spay/neuter programs through your local shelter.
- Gently encourage owners of dogs who are not spayed/neutered and those who live outside all the time to consider alternative, humane ways to care for their dog.
- Suggest canine educational programs through adult education classes, local animal shelters, schools, or other venues.
- Oppose legislation and local ordinances that ban dogs based on breed.
“Responsible Ownership The Alternative to Breed Bans, Other Restrictions” by The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA)