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Im at work and talking to this guy who says he wont get a pitbull because of all the bad rep the get in the news. he goes on about all the cases of dog killing children, eating them, ect, ect, ect... and I start arguing its not the dog its the owner. back and forth were going, me saying that its the most popular breed, and alot of ppl get them and dont know wtf they are doing and any dog can go down that path some may be less prone then other but still boils down to owner.

anyways this is nothing new, argument been going on for years about pitbulls being so dangerous, and doesn't really bug me just always have to defend the pitbulls. but what through me for a loop was same person says when he gets house he will get a rototiller. trying to tell him that this is one of those "dangerous breeds" and he just goes on how he had one when he was younger and was so sweet not a scary at all. and im telling him he is proving my point but he going on and on how pitbulls dangerous and rototiller are not so wanted some type of statistic on dog bytes by breed.
 

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Here locally, pit bulls are statistically responsible for something like 85-90% of dog bites. The problem is that there are a lot of dogs that get lumped into the pit bull category that aren't even pit bulls. Some people would even lump boxers in there. The people who put these reports together depend on the first hand reports of police officers and animal control officers who are notoriously bad at identifying breeds. Sometimes these people may not even see the dog in question and just have to rely on the eyewitness reports of the victim or bystanders who may have little experience and knowledge of dogs and dog breeds.
 

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Ok. I just did a 14 page paper on this. Sadly I don't have it on this computer. It's on my other one.

What I can tell you is that the websites for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Dog Bite Law each have statistics about dog bites. The CDC's stats are historical, over a 20 year period and DBL's are more recent. You will find that Pit Bulls are at the forefront of each site.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, neither the CDC nor DBL take breed popularity into account. That was the premise of my report, and I basically concluded, based on estimated breed population numbers, that Pit Bulls bit more often because they are more popular. There are several other variables, including types of people drawn to certain breeds, media skewing data by sensationalizing, et cetera. It also doesn't take into account small-dog aggression; there may be more incidents of a small dog biting, but a small dog is less likely to kill than a Pit Bull is from a size point of view. Oh, also the fact that there are at least 20 breeds misidentified as a Pit Bull.
 

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Ok. I just did a 14 page paper on this. Sadly I don't have it on this computer. It's on my other one.

What I can tell you is that the websites for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Dog Bite Law each have statistics about dog bites. The CDC's stats are historical, over a 20 year period and DBL's are more recent. You will find that Pit Bulls are at the forefront of each site.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, neither the CDC nor DBL take breed popularity into account. That was the premise of my report, and I basically concluded, based on estimated breed population numbers, that Pit Bulls bit more often because they are more popular. There are several other variables, including types of people drawn to certain breeds, media skewing data by sensationalizing, et cetera. It also doesn't take into account small-dog aggression; there may be more incidents of a small dog biting, but a small dog is less likely to kill than a Pit Bull is from a size point of view. Oh, also the fact that there are at least 20 breeds misidentified as a Pit Bull.
I don't know that I would agree with that premise necessarily. Labs are at the top of the AKC list and have been for years. They're number 8 on the UKC list as well. The AKC doesn't recognize pit bulls but they do come in at number 2 on the UKC list. I don't think it would be unreasonable to argue that there are probably just as many labs running around out there as there are pit bulls. Yet, I would bet that labs are not up there on the list of dog bites.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that pit bulls are a horrible, terrible, vicious breed that everyone makes them out to be. I do think though that a lot of dog owners fail to factor in their dogs default behaviors. I have a basset hound. If left alone, he will follow his nose to the end of the earth. That's a behavior that's in his blood. In training, I have to factor this in. If I don't train him, he will wander towards anything and everything that has an interesting scent. He will tip over the trash can, try to get into the dishwasher, climb up on counters, etc.... all because of following his nose.

Pit bulls are no different than my hound. They are/were bred to be animal aggressive and dog aggressive. I will point out that they were not bred to be human aggressive. However, if left to themselves, they're going to default to being aggressive, it's in their blood. I can see where this animal and dog aggressive behavior can translate into human aggression. The dog is in the zone attacking another animal or possibly a child (which it may see as a small, bi-pedal animal) and is interrupted. I could see where the behavior could then translate into aggression towards the person interrupting the behavior.
 

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Popularity is one variable I talked about, and, whether they are at the "top" of any list or not, there is no denying that their popularity has soared in recent years.

I had this dilemma when coming up with estimated population numbers. The easiest way to do it was to compare the "dangerous breeds" to themselves, and not to any outside breeds (Labs, Goldens, etc). I know my estimates are *far* from perfect. I acknowledged that in my report. Using the AKC was no good, because, as you mentioned, Pit Bulls are not registered there. Couldn't find actual numbers from UKC, and that other registry for Pit Bulls (forget what the initials are) would have skewed the numbers in favor of the Pit. I settled on Petfinder. Again, NOT perfect, but I believed it gave the best indication of an "average" dog - since most dogs are unregistered.

Like I said, that was one point I made in my project. Another was the "Find the Pit Bull" game I created - which had a not-so-lofty 18% passing rate, as people frequently identified APBTs as American Bulldogs and Dogo Argentinos. My sample size was close to 80, so it wasn't huge, but it was a random sample in that I have no idea how much each participant knows about dogs.

I also looked at other variables, which I didn't explore more deeply (simply because I didn't need to to get an A on the project). Those included problems with the owner (lack of supervision, bad socialization, ill intentions), media bias, incomplete bite records (because small dogs undoubtedly are less reported than big ones). The list goes on and on and on.

In fact, the whole purpose of my report was to show just how messy the bite numbers were, such that it's really not fair to form any conclusions from them. There's no Dog Census, there's mixed breeds to take into account, and there's external variables influencing the dog. When an organization takes all of those things into account to an appreciable extent, then the bite numbers will be correct.
 

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One of the issues that I found is that dog bite statistics can only be based on reported bites. I have been bit many times at work (not fair, I know, no one likes the vet) by many breeds. I have never been bit by a pit, but I have also never reported any of my bites. My question is, how could we even try to estimate when so many bites go unreported? I know that serious bites, which are the point of these statistics, are generally reported when they are treated, but many dogs may be prone to bite but maybe not capable of causing such significant bites. I don't know, sorry, I am just rambling.
 

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Popularity is one variable I talked about, and, whether they are at the "top" of any list or not, there is no denying that their popularity has soared in recent years.
I would not disagree with that.

I had this dilemma when coming up with estimated population numbers. The easiest way to do it was to compare the "dangerous breeds" to themselves, and not to any outside breeds (Labs, Goldens, etc). I know my estimates are *far* from perfect. I acknowledged that in my report. Using the AKC was no good, because, as you mentioned, Pit Bulls are not registered there. Couldn't find actual numbers from UKC, and that other registry for Pit Bulls (forget what the initials are) would have skewed the numbers in favor of the Pit. I settled on Petfinder. Again, NOT perfect, but I believed it gave the best indication of an "average" dog - since most dogs are unregistered.
How do you define a "dangerous breed" though? Some people would consider a mastiff as a dangerous breed because of their large size and intimidating appearance. Temperament wise though, mastiffs are generally not aggressive dogs while I could see them easily scaring a lot of people. There are people would consider the GSD a "dangerous breed" even though they're commonly used in police and rescue work.

Like I said, that was one point I made in my project. Another was the "Find the Pit Bull" game I created - which had a not-so-lofty 18% passing rate, as people frequently identified APBTs as American Bulldogs and Dogo Argentinos. My sample size was close to 80, so it wasn't huge, but it was a random sample in that I have no idea how much each participant knows about dogs.
I don't disagree with this either. There are number of breeds that get shoveled under the "pit bull" umbrella. I have seen boxers mis-identified as pits. There was a famous and sadly, fatal attack in San Francisco a few years back that was/is sometimes attributed to pit bulls but the culprits were really Presa Canaro/Mastiff mixes. I've mentioned before that my basset hound (a very common breed) often gets mistaken for a dachshund (another common breed). People are not always the best at identifying dog breeds. Zero is very clearly a cocker spaniel yet people sometimes ask me what breed he is.

I also looked at other variables, which I didn't explore more deeply (simply because I didn't need to to get an A on the project). Those included problems with the owner (lack of supervision, bad socialization, ill intentions), media bias, incomplete bite records (because small dogs undoubtedly are less reported than big ones). The list goes on and on and on.

In fact, the whole purpose of my report was to show just how messy the bite numbers were, such that it's really not fair to form any conclusions from them. There's no Dog Census, there's mixed breeds to take into account, and there's external variables influencing the dog. When an organization takes all of those things into account to an appreciable extent, then the bite numbers will be correct.
There's no doubt that all these variables do factor into dog bites, but they're not easy to factor for statistically. There is no way to quantify socialization or training even though both of these unquestionably factor into bites. How much socialization is enough to deter bites? How many dogs and/or people must a dog meet and by what age? How many hours must be put into training a dog to deter bite behavior? Do these hours have to be put in by the owner or is hiring a trainer to put in the hours sufficient? Do all members of the household have to spend X ammount of time in order to deter bites? It's just too hard to quantify.

Unfortunately, we are left with dog breeds vs dog bites and even those numbers are hard to keep accurate. As you mentioned, most people don't register their dogs. I would bet that most people probably don't even license their dogs so licensing isn't the most accurate either (in our city the most commonly licensed dog is a terrier mix which I question whether it's really that popular).

And as you mentioned, dog bites probably are under reported. If Zero or Brutus bit me, I would not report it. If one of them bit a friend's child it's likely that neither of us would report it. I would simply pay for any medical bills incurred from the bite and that would be that. I've mentioned that the neighbors chihuahua did bite me once. I was taking out the trash and he charged me growling and latched on to my rubber soled shoe. I yanked my foot away, the neighbor called their dog back and I went on my way hating the stupid, yappy dog. I did not call the police or animal control to report a bite from a chihuahua that did no harm.
 

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How do you define a "dangerous breed" though?
I didn't define it; I let the CDC's statistics do the talking. I chose the top seven breeds, or if I couldn't avoid it, "breed types". I believe they were: Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Dobermans, Malamutes, and Chows. I know the first three are in the right order, not sure about the last four.

I don't disagree with this either. There are number of breeds that get shoveled under the "pit bull" umbrella. I have seen boxers mis-identified as pits. There was a famous and sadly, fatal attack in San Francisco a few years back that was/is sometimes attributed to pit bulls but the culprits were really Presa Canaro/Mastiff mixes. I've mentioned before that my basset hound (a very common breed) often gets mistaken for a dachshund (another common breed). People are not always the best at identifying dog breeds. Zero is very clearly a cocker spaniel yet people sometimes ask me what breed he is.
Yup.. and this presents a huge problem. I'm too lazy to find the quote but I found something that a Boston ACO said. Something along the lines of his fellow Officers not being able to correctly identify a Pit Bull. THAT'S scary, IMO, seeing as these are the people who the public usually GOES to for these things.

There's no doubt that all these variables do factor into dog bites, but they're not easy to factor for statistically. There is no way to quantify socialization or training even though both of these unquestionably factor into bites. How much socialization is enough to deter bites? How many dogs and/or people must a dog meet and by what age? How many hours must be put into training a dog to deter bite behavior? Do these hours have to be put in by the owner or is hiring a trainer to put in the hours sufficient? Do all members of the household have to spend X ammount of time in order to deter bites? It's just too hard to quantify.
That's my point exactly. All of these things make dog bite statistics extremely sloppy and can unfairly pinpoint a breed. So, to answer the OP's question, looking at Dog Bite Statistics is not the right way to analyze how "bad" Pit Bulls or any other breed are; the best thing to do is to think about all the variables that may have put the dog on that list.
 

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How do you define a "dangerous breed" though? Some people would consider a mastiff as a dangerous breed because of their large size and intimidating appearance. Temperament wise though, mastiffs are generally not aggressive dogs while I could see them easily scaring a lot of people. There are people would consider the GSD a "dangerous breed" even though they're commonly used in police and rescue work.
I just want to point out the irony in this quote considering you previously felt the need to speak to a pit bulls original breeding purpose as cause for caution: do you realize mastiffs were originally bred as war/guard dogs? This should also be cause for concern, yet instead you chose to speak to their more recent form and their temperment instead. Could we not extend the same courtesy to pit bulls?
 

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Pit bulls being responsible for more bites than any other breed does not surprise me. I will not argue that.

I will argue this.

People who are against them say the SOLE reason they bite is because they are DANGEROUS.

Thats an unfair generalization.

I would say pit bulls DO have many things counting against them to win least dangerous breed of the year award.

  • Their original breeding purpose
  • Their strength
  • The fact that people will likely chose a pit bull over a lab for a "status symbol"
  • The fact that 20 or so breeds can easily be misidentified as "pit bulls"
  • The fact that they are VERY popular. Very popular with the WRONG kind of people
That's just 5 things. Each one seperately would probably not create the statistics that we see. The fact that pits are popular is NOT soley whats causing the bite statistics. That paired with points 1-4 is what is doing it.

Pit bulls need RESPONSIBLE, KNOWLEDGABLE owners who KNOW their abilities and can channel their energy and strength elsewhere. I get teared up when I seesomeone weight pulling their champion pit bull. I LOVE seeing responsible pit owners like spicy and like darkmoon and like pugmom NOT doing the whole "MY pit is nice so Im going to the dog park, and doggy day care, and leaving my precious pit who would never hurt a fly alone with my baby."

The biggest part of responsible dog ownership, IMO, is knowing the breed you own if you choose a certain breed, and working to BETTER that breed.

Shame on those who bring the breed down without all the information. I certainly would never wish that Uninformed citizen A's yellow lab attack their baby, so WHERE is the justification in Uninformed citizen A saying "Pffft wait till your pit bull attacks your baby."?

ugh. people.

/rant
off soapbox.
 

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i got this out of cesar millans book, cesars way.

fatal dog attacks from 2000-2005

pitbull/pit bull mixes 41

Rottweiller/ rottweiler mixes 23

GSD/GSD mixes 11

Chow/Chow Mixes 7

Wolf Hybrid 6

Labrador/Labrador mixes 6

pits are definitely on the top, but i believe this has more to do with why people buy them and how they train them, rather than the dogs breed
 

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a rototiller is a dangerous breed? isn't that a gardening tool? lol sorry I'm lost about that. and no one else brought it up.
 

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pits are genetically mentally not designed to be socially perfect, far from it. that doesnt mean there is not a high percentage of decent well socialized ones out there. While i am not an advocate for pitt bulls, i will say in all my years of dealing with dogs i've never been bitten by one, but i have been bitten by malteses, yorkies, schnauzers, lhasas, shihtzus and a bordercollie who was actually going after the force dryer.
all that being said, i still would consider a rottie 10 fold more trust worthy than a pit.
 

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I just want to point out the irony in this quote considering you previously felt the need to speak to a pit bulls original breeding purpose as cause for caution: do you realize mastiffs were originally bred as war/guard dogs? This should also be cause for concern, yet instead you chose to speak to their more recent form and their temperment instead. Could we not extend the same courtesy to pit bulls?
There is a difference though. War dogs are bred to fight with their masters and under the command and direction of a human. Pit bulls were bred to fight animals and later to fight each other without any human interaction.
 

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There is a difference though. War dogs are bred to fight with their masters and under the command and direction of a human. Pit bulls were bred to fight animals and later to fight each other without any human interaction.
Not to be nit picky but in dog fights there is a LOT of human interaction. Humans are actually right there in the "pit" with the dogs. They are sometimes only feet or even inches away from the dogs while they encourage them to keep on biting. It is sick but it is true. The dogs were specifically bred to NOT be aggressive to humans so they could safely be in the ring with them.

also...
a rototiller is a dangerous breed? isn't that a gardening tool? lol sorry I'm lost about that. and no one else brought it up.
Ha ha ha!
I don't know who you are talking about but they must have hit spell check. It always puts rototillers up for Rottweilers. LOL

sorry one more thing...
When speaking of breed popularity as a factor in dog bite statistics I think it would be fair to add... what type of people the dogs are owned by.
Certainly not all Pit bulls are owned by bad people though it seems more of those "Types" are interested in that breed and for the wrong reason. This adds to the sheer numbers of negative incidents.

Our local ACO has actually caught owners encouraging their dogs to act aggressively toward people walking near their houses, police, her etc... I am certain their are some crazy Lab people that encourage aggression as well, but I bet there are not nearly as many of those types as there are in the Pit breed. Sad, but true. :(
I would NOT wish anything negative on any breed but part of me wishes those types would suddenly show interest in Labs so people could see how quickly things could turn in the media.
 

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Not to be nit picky but in dog fights there is a LOT of human interaction. Humans are actually right there in the "pit" with the dogs. They are sometimes only feet or even inches away from the dogs while they encourage them to keep on biting. It is sick but it is true. The dogs were specifically bred to NOT be aggressive to humans so they could safely be in the ring with them.
I've never been to a dogfight so I'll take your word for it. Still, pit bulls were originally bred for bull baiting and/or bear beating which is a sport with very little human interaction. For those not familiar a pack of dogs would be put in a dirt arena and pitted against a bear that was tied to a stake or a loose bull. People watching this spectacle would place bets as to whether the bear would kill all or some of the dogs or if the dogs would kill the bear. You could also place bets on how many dogs the bear would kill before it would be killed itself. Humans released the dogs and did not enter the arena again until either the bear or the dogs were killed.
 

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I've never been to a dogfight so I'll take your word for it. Still, pit bulls were originally bred for bull baiting and/or bear beating which is a sport with very little human interaction. For those not familiar a pack of dogs would be put in a dirt arena and pitted against a bear that was tied to a stake or a loose bull. People watching this spectacle would place bets as to whether the bear would kill all or some of the dogs or if the dogs would kill the bear. You could also place bets on how many dogs the bear would kill before it would be killed itself. Humans released the dogs and did not enter the arena again until either the bear or the dogs were killed.
Moral of the story....those of us w/ bully breeds need to be cautious whenever bulls and/or bears are around. :D

Back to the point of the thread - I believe only fatal attacks are tracked by breed. With that said, anyone how knows or owns a bully will understand why pit bulls end up at the top of the list. Bully advocates always talk about how motivated, driven, and trainable these dogs are. And it's true. The problem is that when this same drive is focused on aggression by an owner, things can get ugly in a hurry!!

Try to train a lab, a pit bull, and a mastiff to be aggressive and guess which is worse. Now try to train these same breeds in Agility, Obedience, etc. and guess which is better? The answer to both questions is the same and it works both for and against these great dogs. Just my two cents.
 

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I've never been to a dogfight so I'll take your word for it. Still, pit bulls were originally bred for bull baiting and/or bear beating which is a sport with very little human interaction. For those not familiar a pack of dogs would be put in a dirt arena and pitted against a bear that was tied to a stake or a loose bull. People watching this spectacle would place bets as to whether the bear would kill all or some of the dogs or if the dogs would kill the bear. You could also place bets on how many dogs the bear would kill before it would be killed itself. Humans released the dogs and did not enter the arena again until either the bear or the dogs were killed.
Ummm actually pit bulls were not used in bear and bull baiting. Bulldogs (pretty similar in appearance to modern day American Bull Dogs, Olde Bulldogges, etc) were used for bull and bear baiting.

The Pit Bull was developed specifically for dog vs dog fights in a "pit" hence the name. This was a working class sport common with miners, steel workers etc. They needed a smaller more athletic dog that was very tenacious. So they crossed Bulldogs of the era with game terriers. The first crosses were referred to as Bull and Terrier. Later becoming Bull Terriers and Pit Bulls.
Human aggression of any kind was not tolorated. Any dog that showed human aggression was culled on the spot.

As for the CDC study that folks like to quote...

Both the CDC and the AVMA don't put much stock in it.
CDC AND AVMA:
“OUR RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT BREED
SPECIFIC LEGISLATION.”
Almost every proponent of discriminatory, breed specific legislation relies on one ten
year old study to make their case1. Both the Centers for Disease Control and the
American Veterinary Medical Association have warned that the findings of that study are
not an argument for breed legislation of any kind.
Why debate what the experts have already concluded?
THERE IS NO SCIENTIFICALLY VALID EVIDENCE AND NO REASONABLE
ARGUMENT TO SUPPORT BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION.
For a better alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends “a community approach
to dog bite prevention” from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
(AVMA) Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions
(http://www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite/dogbite.pdf)
_______________________
1 ("Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998" JAVMA Vol. 217,
2000)
“If anyone says one dog is more likely to kill - unless
there's a study out there that I haven't seen - that's not
based on scientific data."
Julie Gilchrist/MD, Centers for Disease Control
Co-Author, JAVMA Special Report
“[The study] does not identify specific breeds that
are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not
appropriate for policy-making decisions related to
the topic… There is currently no accurate way to
identify the number of dogs of a particular breed,
and consequently no measure to determine which
breeds are more likely to bite or kill.”
- Centers for Disease Control Statement
“In contrast to what has been reported in the news
media, the data....CANNOT be used to infer any
breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities…”
- AVMA Statement
 
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