The Misunderstood Dogs of Today

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Dogs greatly enrich our lives and provide us with constant companionship. Throughout history they have played important roles such as hunting partner, protector, and friend. Certain breeds, though, have been maligned through popular opinion and media bias. The breeds listed below are often misunderstood and misrepresented as being inherently aggressive or vicious. While any dog of any breed can display aggressive tendencies, the majority are loving and affectionate toward people when properly socialized and trained.

German Shepherds
The?German Shepherd Dog?is a large size dog, from the AKC Herding Group, that originated in Germany. The dog’s original role was that of herding sheep and protecting them from predators. Many German Shepherds today still perform that role, along with other more notable jobs. The most popular job today for this breed is that of canine police officer. They excel in this job due to their natural guarding instincts, strength, and their high intelligence. In order to do well in this profession, the dog must have adequate obedience training and discipline to properly channel its strength and instincts. Without these things, the dog may become a dangerous liability.

Misunderstood Dogs

Terriers and Terrier Mixes
There are many different dog breeds which fall under the category of terrier. They range in size from a few pounds to over 60 pounds. All terrier dogs possess certain characteristics such as being fearless, wiry, and extremely active. Many terrier breeds were created in Ireland and Great Britain. Their purpose was to hunt rabbits, foxes, rats, and other animals. Behavior problems typical of the terriers, such as being destructive in the house, digging up the yard, going after small animals, and other behaviors are usually due to a misunderstanding of the dog’s original purpose and its need for daily exercise and an energy outlet. When given proper training, exercise, and provided a ‘job’ to do, terriers become a much more easily-managed and loving companion.

 

Misunderstood Dogs

 

Rottweilers
Rottweilers are medium-to-large size dogs that originated in Germany. They were developed to herd livestock and for pulling carts. Due to their intelligence and eagerness to work, they are often employed as police dogs, guard dogs, guide dogs for blind people, therapy dogs, and search and rescue dogs. Rottweilers are commonly listed on dangerous dog lists and deemed to be vicious by virtue of their breed alone. It is blatantly assumed that these dogs will attack other dogs and people when given the opportunity. This is simply false. Many times, the aggressiveness shown by a rottweiler is simply an expression of its natural guarding and protective instincts.

Thinking About Owning A Rottweiler?

The Rottweiler is a robust, powerful and loyal dog with strong protective instincts. Rottweilers are outstanding companions and protectors. Because of the Rottweilers size, strength and protectiveness, owning a Rottweiler carries a great deal of responsibility and commitment.

For us, it is the best breed in the world, but it is not a dog for everyone. They require a calm, stable and firm pack leader or they will assume that role for you. They need socialization, exercise and stimulating mental challenges. With these things, you will have a wonderful companion; without them, your Rottweiler may become destructive and out of control.

Misunderstood Dogs

Pit Bulls

The term pit bull is often used to refer to dogs of several breeds, most notably the American?Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These dogs are medium size and were produced by crossing bulldogs with other terriers. They were initially bred as catch dogs, hunting dogs, companion dogs, and for dog-on-dog combat. Because of their dog fighting history, it is often assumed that these dogs will just as readily attack people as they will other dogs. This is not the case. It is true that pit bull-type dogs are generally dog selective or dog aggressive, but the extent is relative to each individual dog. Some dogs and puppies will want to fight other dogs at an early age, while others may not become dog aggressive until they are older, if they do so at all. The biggest misconception is that animal aggression equates to human aggression. This is completely false. Pit bull-type dogs are very family oriented and loving to people, even strangers. Due to their people-friendly nature, they make terrible guard dogs.

First you must understand the difference between a?breed?and a?type. Not until the advent of dog shows at the end of the 1800’s, did the concept of individual breeds become widely used. Before that, dogs primarily came in types. There were retrievers, pointers, spaniels, greyhounds, huskies, sheepdogs, livestock guardian dogs, hounds, mastiffs and bulldogs as well as several “toy” or “pet” type dogs. Any dog that did the work and looked somewhat like a type of dog?was?that kind of dog.?It is a mistake to believe, though, that our ancestors did not take breeding seriously when breeding dogs for a specific job.

With the advent of dog shows, dogs begin to be bred to conform to a strict written standard of how humans thought they should look. No longer bred for work, but strictly for exhibition, many breeds became non-functional at their original work.

Dog fanciers developed “standards of perfection” for breeds, and subdivided types of dogs into more and more separate breeds.?The vast majority of pit bull breeders fought to keep their dogs away from the show ring, and succeeded for several decades. Then, like now, breeder of true performance dogs knew that the show ring spelled ruination for their animals. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that a?very?small group of individuals made an attempt to bring the pit bull into the show dog world.

Using several dogs (including Colby’s Primo) as the “standard of perfection”, a physical standard was drawn up for the pit bull. The name “pit bull” was a problem for these show dog folks – they felt it would scare people off. They tried several names, including Yankee Terrier which was a foolish choice for abulldog?from the?United Kingdom! They finally settled on “Staffordshire Terrier”. To this day, the debate about whether or not the pit bull should be grouped with terriers (small dogs which go into tunnels for vermin) rages.

At the turn of the last century, the American Dog Breeders Association and the United Kennel Club were already registering pit bulls. When the American Kennel Club accepted the pit bull into their stud books in 1936, UKC and ADBA registered pit bulls got their registered names changed to “Staffordshire Terriers. To add to the confusion, the name “Staffordshire Terrier”?was changed to “American?Staffordshire Terrier” in the 1970’s when the AKC decided that the pit bulls still being bred in England had enough variation in type to warrant being called a different “breed”.

So, while the dogs all originated from the same group of animals from the United Kingdom, the dog show world turned them into three different “breeds”. The American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier and the Staffordshire bull terrier.

Are?they the same breed? Read on

Misunderstood Dogs

Doberman Pinschers
The Doberman Pinscher was developed in Germany by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. Mr. Dobermann was a local tax collector, and he set out to develop a breed that would protect him while he performed his collections. He sought to create a dog with the characteristics of strength, intelligence, loyalty, and fierceness. The fierceness and aggression that is often attributed to the Doberman is merely a demonstration of its superior guarding abilities and discernment. A properly trained and socialized Doberman Pinscher?is a protective and loyal companion to all members of its family.

Misunderstood Dogs

Chihuahuas
The Chihuahua is a small breed of dog that is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua. This breed comes in a variety of coat colors, as well as different head shapes and coat lengths. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such dog as a Teacup Chihuahua, Toy Chihuahua, or even a Standard Chihuahua. These are merely terms created by breeders to help them sell puppies. This breed is described as being fiercely loyal to its owner, sometimes being overprotective, and extremely aggressive, around other people and animals. Proper socialization and training can help to diminish any aggressive behavior displayed toward other animals and people.?Chihuahuas?are often described as ‘terrier-like,’ meaning they are confident and self-reliant.

Misunderstood Dogs

The Akita
The Akita dog comes from northern Japan. It was originally used in bear hunting. The?Akita?is known to be loyal and affectionate with its family, while being territorial over its property and somewhat reserved in the presence of strangers. They are often intolerant of other dogs, or they take on a dominant role. Their aloofness and dog intolerance/dominance can make it appear that these dogs are not to be trusted around other people and animals, but that is not usually the case. Properly socialized Akitas make great therapy dogs, and this breed excels at obedience trials, agility courses, tracking, Schutzhund, and weight pulling.

Misunderstood Dogs