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Are breed bans fair?

- Posted by in Pet Discussion

Are breed bans fair?

In 1991, following a series of savage dog attacks on children, Parliament took the decision to enact bans on four breeds of dog in the UK.

This included the notorious Pitbull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brazileiro (the bans also extended to their mixes and any dogs boasting typical characteristics of the breeds). The Dangerous Dogs Act made it illegal for anyone to own, breed, sell or exchange these animals unless a Certificate of Exemption was granted.

Since then, much has been said about the suitability and fairness of breed bans, which label an individual breed as ‘aggressive, unpredictable and predacious’ rather than considering an individual dog.

Animal charities such as the RSPCA have always contended the Act, arguing that no animal should be demonised on the face of its breed alone. They, like so many others, pose the question whether it is in fact the animal’s nurture, rather than its nature, that has led to the aggressive displays.

'All breeds can attack people, just as all breeds can produce wonderful dogs,' summarised an RSPCA spokeswoman.

By crediting aggression to the independent nurture of an animal (i.e. the way it is trained and socialised) rather than the collective nature of the breed, blame is removed from the dog and placed on the owner. James Beaufoy, Secretary of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club, addresses how 'the law hits hard at the dogs, [and] needs to start hitting harder at the owners.'

Whilst dogs are usually destroyed following an attack, the owners of these animals might just be fined. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, if a dog attack occurs on private property (i.e. in the home) rather than in a public place, only limited charges can brought against the owner. As the majority of child fatalities from dog attacks occur within the family home, suitable controversy surrounds this aspect of the law.

A report conducted by PAW found that a mere 21% of owners that kept aggressive dogs admitted to having adequately trained and socialised their animals before they were six months old. A lack of early training and socialisation with children makes an animal more likely to behave aggressively when confronted with an unfamiliar situation and, if never taught the ground-rules, this aggression can manifest in a fatal attack.

In a number of cases where young children have been bitten by dogs, the child has either been a visitor to the home, a newborn, or has behaved in a way that the dog isn’t used to. If a dog is well trained and has been gradually introduced to children and other domestic animals from a young age, unpredictable behaviours that are typical of youngsters would not usually prompt a savage response.

In the case of 14 year old Jade Anderson who was viciously mauled to death by four dogs in March 2013, the animals were thought to have been crated for long periods of time during the day and had to compete for human attention in a cramped environment. The fact these dogs were Mastiffs and Bull Terriers is looked upon as a chief cause of the incident, rather than the negligence of the owner in properly training and socialising her dogs. Are the breeds to blame for the attack here, or the owner?

I think nurture plays a larger role than nature with these dogs as most are simply not raised and socialised correctly. Many breeds have characteristics which, without the proper training and responsible ownership, would result in undesirable behaviours" - Danielle at VioVet.

When I asked some members of the VioVet team for their thoughts on the discussion, the resounding opinion seemed to be that the owner of the dog(s) is always responsible for the way it behaves. Any breed of dog has the capacity for aggression, but some animals respond less well to a lack of training. Breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier whose inherent nature is loyalty, obedience and an eagerness to please, are often exploited for this reason and used as status dogs, trained to display aggression and protect their handler.

There are also numerous incidences of dogs behaving aggressively that do not fall beneath the classic ‘dangerous breeds’ umbrella.

Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, St. Bernards, Great Danes and even a Pomeranian have killed and grievously injured children. In fact, it is estimated that up to 30 different breeds have been involved in a violent incident, with 6,000 annual visits to hospital by Britons who have been attacked or bitten by dogs (clearly other breeds are responsible for this figure, bearing in mind the ‘most dangerous’ are now banned).

However, the matter is not as straightforward as that. There are many people, dog-lovers included, that believe the breed bans in place in this country are necessary. While any dog can display aggression, there is no denying that the majority of these aggressive incidences occur in only a handful of breeds, namely Pitbull and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Mastiffs and Rottweilers. In America, besides Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Presa Canarios are the two biggest offenders.

Between 1882 and 2006, two thirds of dog-attack fatalities in the US were the product of these three breeds and in 2013, of 14 human deaths that occurred in the country, 13 were the result of Pitbulls. Before the breed was banned in the UK in 1991, the highest percentage of dog attacks were by Pitbull Terriers. Today, the breed is also banned in Canada, several jurisdictions of the United States, and just recently, Trinidad and Tobago.

Whilst it might not be fair to demonise an entire breed, surely it is safer?

If we were to repeal the legislation banning breeds such as the Pitbull Terrier, would we see a greater number of human fatalities in this country? Maybe not. When it comes to our children, however, some would argue whether it's worth the risks for the sake of free ownership. Perhaps it is more a case of better monitoring the people who own the breed and ensuring that appropriate training and socialisation is governed from an early age.

Having never owned a 'dangerous' dog, I don’t feel I can comment either way on the justice of banning a breed outright based on a universally ‘aggressive’ tendency. If the government decided to extend the list of banned breeds to, say, German Shepherds, I might be a bit more peeved having always wanted to own one, but, again, if it did so because the number of people being attacked and killed by the breed increased significantly, I would trust that the decision was being made for our safety, rather than as a slight against the breed.

What do you think about breed bans? Please let us know! Feel free to email me directly with any further questions or comments: hannahd@viovet.co.uk

Here are some opinions from the VioVet team:

Liz: ‘It is not the dog’s fault; it is generally the owner’s.’

Craig: ‘Certain people should not be allowed to keep dogs.’

Hannah: 'Breed bans are a shame but I think sometimes they're necessary.'

Danielle: 'I think breed bans are more likely to make the dogs even more attractive to irresponsible owners. They are popular as they look intimidating and have wrongly earned themselves a bad reputation. If these dogs had become popular first with families or the elderly, would the result be the same or would we still judge the owners?'

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Comments

26th Feb 2014

The owners are to blame in a huge percentage of attacks because the dog is trained to be aggressive or has been ill treated. Staffordshire bull terriers are a breed where irresponsible owners have given these dogs a bad name. If you meet a staffy that comes from a loving home they are one of the friendliest dogs on the planet.

19th Jun 2015

We own 4 GSD's and have owned over the years about 20 other dogs, mostly GSD's all have been good natured and with the right training and care have been an important part of our family. We as humans have used dogs for different reasons and trained them accordingly. For example GSD's are good guard dogs but they do not need to be a danger to anyone. A lot of the banned dog breeds are owned by people who want their dogs to be big and bad. Dog owners should be made to go on a training course before ownership and have a licence for their dog. And any way the most dangerous living thing on this planet are humans should we be banned and put down?

19th Jun 2015

If we mistreat our children, abuse them, neglect them - they will be taken away from us and the parents are held at fault.
If the same is done to a dog - the dog or the breed is at fault and banned.
There should be a lot more dog training and socialising classes, with maybe even a certificate that certifies the "parent" capable of having a dog?

19th Jun 2015

The problem is not the breed but how much damage it can do if not under control. Miniature dogs are often aggressive and they can kill but being so small are less likely to than an aggressive Rottie. I don't believe in breed bans, but I do believe in owners having to take a course in the understanding and control of their larger dogs. As most dog owners know, nearly every dog will do what its owner allows--no more and no less.

19th Jun 2015

I always take on rescue dogs, namely border collies. I am shocked at the general lack of monitoring/policing of people who own dogs. I vote for harsher sentences for people who are convicted of mistreating animals...they should NEVER be able to be responsible for a pet EVER again. if people treat animals this way is it not a short leap to the chances of them treating children/spouses cruelly as well? My current dog showed extreme aggression through fear. it has taken 3 years for me to correct the behavior and she is lovely. but SHE IS LUCKY... this dog would have been put to sleep...and let us not mince words that means killed! i believe that we should have to have a license to keep dogs and that that license can be revoked. WE MUST TAKE THE OWNERS TO TASK ...

19th Jun 2015
  • Customer Since: May 2014
  • From: Cheshire, United Kingdom

All breeds were originally bred for a purpose .. It has took many years to breed some traits out ...but all dogs are individual you make a dog into what you want..the same as you can a child ..one of my dogs and myself have been attacked a few times by the one particular breed of dog ..the owners were never sweet old ladies or a couples out with the kids and dogs they were all young men in groups of 2 or more ! So work it out for yourself !! Its the owners in my personal opinion.

20th Jun 2015

I think we all know that there is a particular kind of moron that adopts what he believes to be an aggressive breed, and then raises it to be as vicious as possible for the sole purpose trying to make himself look tough (undoubtedly to hide his own inadequacies). It's true to say that all breeds have the potential to be aggressive but in the UK the obvious candidates for the morons are mostly Rottweilers and Staffordshire Bull Terrier types. Although it is unfair, a consequence is that disproportionate numbers of them do exhibit aggressive tendencies or are perceived to do so.
It has already been said that some people should not be allowed to have dogs. I would go a step further and require people to have a license to own a dog. This might go some way to filtering out the morons who don’t really love dogs at all, and help the afore mentioned breeds recover their reputations.

20th Jun 2015

Having had over 30 German Shepherds and have a very large one now, I feel I know a little about the breed. I have never met an agressive dog that has not been made so by their owners. If raised and trained correctly ANY dog can be safe in human company, unless the dog has genetic behavioural problems An agressive dog is ALWAYS the fault of the person that has tought them to be so.

20th Jun 2015
  • Customer Since: May 2015
  • From: Northumberland, United Kingdom

Most dogs/breeds will only behave in a manner that the owner allows! There are some people who should NEVER be allowed to own ANY dog - regardless of size or breed. They have no idea of a dogs needs mentally or physically and are therefore creating mental turmoil within the poor dogs mind.. Its the owners who are responsible for the dogs behaviour (good and bad!) EVERY time. There should be a strict training regime for people prior to obtaining any dog, with a license to do so at the end of it. Should the person fail to understand, train and provide the enviroment that the dog needs at any time, the license and the dog should be removed from that persons ownership immediately. No second chances.

20th Jun 2015

The owner must be held responsible and penalties should be harsher to discourage others . Certain breeds have been bred by the wrong sort of dog owners to encourage aggression . Is it genetic ? breeding a dangerous dog with a dangerous bitch producing very aggressive offspring . Or is it that the despicable people who raised these dogs to be dangerous are obviously going to raise the offspring to be just as aggressive , maybe a study should be done with the offspring of two dangerous dogs being raised from weaning with responsible owners who know how to socialise and train a dog the correct way . The other thought to consider is Cesar Milan the dog whisperer who has numerous pit bull terriers that he has re-habilitated from dog fighting backgrounds to become well trained friendly social family pets .

20th Jun 2015

Unfortunately due to BAD dog owners I'm afraid certain breeds need to be banned. I would like to see strong restrictions on owning any breed of dog and a life time ban on anyone who is not suitable or responsible to own what can effectively be a dangerous weapon.

20th Jun 2015

Certain breeds often attract a certain type of person. Maybe more study should be done into the owners of said dogs. Seems we're talking about steriotyping, I would hazard a guess that most of the 'Hard man' breeds come from lower income housing and possibly 'Bad areas' of cities / towns. Thus leading to poor training and socialisation because of the "Home" these dogs live in.
Likewise, there are concerns about the breeds inherited traits. A Golden retriever will always like to fetch and jump in water, a bull terrier will be aggressive. Maybe not a ban on breeds but a watch list like criminals with a certificate to breed them and mandatory spaying/neutering with chipping for non-breeders.

22nd Jun 2015

99% of the time it is the fault of the owner, not the dog, but in 100% of cases it is the dog who gets punished, by death!

22nd Jun 2015

I owned 2 staffies until I lost one late part of last year and they were treated with a firm but kind hand. They showed no signs of aggression and were loyal and loving, however the amount of people who would shun me and my dogs whilst walking was shocking..the amount of times I was asked about my banned breed just goes to show how ignorant and uneducated people are. I often come across small snarling dogs and people laugh....these dogs clearly have issues and are showing signs of aggression and yet due to their size its funny. It's not funny to me. The sad thing is even other dogs owners treat you poorly, and they should know better, why will a bull terrier be aggressive Martin???? There should be controls regarding dog ownership, training etc in the mean time until this sorry state is sorted out lets not blame the breed.

24th Jun 2015
  • Customer Since: November 2014
  • From: Cornwall, United Kingdom

I have 2 friends who are in the police and they own a Staffy and a Staffy x collie. They both feel that the breed (or cross of the breed) should be phased out. Their Staffy (owned from a pup) is a well brought up and very sociable dog, whereas the Staffy cross is a rescue with issues with some dogs so has to be muzzled. They feel these types of dog will always have the tendency (even slight) to show aggression in some form - even with good ownership.
We have owned many GDS's and all have been very social and trustworthy. We now own Border Collies who are also very sociable and are great dogs, but I have known many collies to be very sharp and snappy. Its how you bring them up. Its the owners!!! (Never known a nasty Rottweiler yet!)

5th Jul 2015

I was against the dangerous dogs act and still am. It was a knee jerk reaction and not thought through. It is very seldom the breed that is the problem, though it can be a strain within the breed in which case that strain should be prevented from breeding, and over a period of time the aggressiveness will diminish. I have known Pitballs, Staffs that have been friendly, and I have known other so called friendly breeds to be violent. I still think though that in the majority of cases it is the owner or initial owner/handler that creates the problem.

What I have noticed is that there does appear to be an increase of crosses and other dogs by macho man, and occasionally macho woman that appear to want aggression in their dogs. These are the people we should be targeting, and that particular dog, not the breed.

15th Jul 2015

Breed specific legislation is quite frankly, pathetic.
Governments that want to kill dogs based on their breed or even just looking like a particular breed.
Children are at far greater risk statistically of being killed by their parents than the family dog.

I own a large, very powerful, crossbreed dog. She's also a rescue. The vet thinks she's a Rhodesian Ridgeback crossed with something else, possibly German Shepherd. She has a lot of muscle on her because she's exercised well. She was quite a scrawny, little thing when I got her. Not any more. Sometimes people look scared when they see her, some even cross the street, but those that pay any attention spot her for what she is. A big, soft lump. She loves everyone and wants cuddles from everyone...except the neighbour's cat. That she finds a bit too scary to go near.

There are many places where simply the way she looks would be enough for governments to demand she be muzzled and permanently on a lead. For those of you with little dogs, imagine having to muzzle them all the time and keep them on the lead, particularly next time you're throwing a ball or a stick for them to fetch and they go tearing off after it. It's cruel. I can't possibly run as fast as my dog. Usain Bolt would have issues. Large, hyper dogs need to be able to run. My back yard is bigger than most, but it's not sufficient.
If you have cause to worry about your dog's behaviour with other people or other dogs then it should be muzzled and on a lead when out til you can train them out of it. However if your dog is perfectly sociable then you should not be made to muzzle them or prevented from letting them off the lead for a game of fetch etc.

A couple of other things. People with little, snappy dogs need to train them too. I am tired of these types of dogs snarling around my dog's neck. They are extremely lucky she is so friendly. One bite from her and they would be an ex-dog. People also need to train their kids. Now a child can go running past my dog. They can run up to her and give her a hug. They will get a lick in return. If a parent or child asks if they can pet her, that's fine. What's frightening is the number of kids who get right in her face without asking first. Many dogs would be freaked out by that. Mine just happens to love children, not every dog they go tearing up to will. I was always taught that I should never go up to a strange dog. I was also taught never to run past a dog or a horse because it can scare them and I might get hurt. This was drummed in to me from when I was very small. Parents, train your children. I wonder how many of these incidents with kids getting bitten would have been prevented if the kids knew how to behave around dogs.

31st Aug 2015
  • Customer Since: November 2014
  • From: West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Dogs are like children - there are no bad dogs or children just bad owners/parents. I would like to see health visitors for dogs and regular checks made to ensure dogs are being cared for properly. Some people should definitely NOT be allowed to have animals of any kind. There should be far stricter legislation regarding the ownership and care of dogs. There should be a lifetime ban on anyone who hurts a dog but as usual, the law is weak. As an aside, I pay regularly to the RSPCA but have found them to be toothless when responding to care issues.

31st Aug 2015

Although I don't blame the breed I feel that banning these dog breeds are a good idea not because they are dangerous but purely so that small minded people can't abuse the image of these breeds by training them to be aggressive. I have two chinese crested dogs and they have a best friend that is a staffy and although it would not hurt a fly people still cross the street to avoid it and gasp with fright as it runs up to them in the park while the owner is running after screaming "it's alright he is friendly ". It is all to do with the bad rep these gangsta wanna bes have given them but even a small tea cup chihuahua can kill if put in that situation. I personally would never leave any dog alone with a child and definitely not with a small baby not just for the child's safety but for the dogs too.

31st Aug 2015

I strongly believe it is the owners to blame and not the dogs. We own an 11 month old Rottie and he is the most loveliest, friendliest dog. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him and we often have people coming over especially to say hello. Thankfully we've had very few people that look afraid of him. We have socialised him from a very early age and take him training every week. He really is a lovely dog. My sister in law also owns two Rottweilers and a Staffy Cross and my mother in law owns a German Shepherd, again all lovely friendly dogs. We are working class people who love our dogs and want them as companions not 'status dogs'
My dog has a protecting instinct in him naturally like all dogs. He will bark if someone walks passed our house or if he hears a noise in the garden but when out and about he's perfect. I can't imagine why anyone would want to make them otherwise except if maybe they are used for Guarding.
I really do believe it is the owners and not the breed to blame.

31st Aug 2015
  • Customer Since: July 2012
  • From: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

It is bad owners i have GSD.in the past And the breeds i have p at the moment i have a patterdale she could be fisty and a boarder terrier both are young and little bit over the top but with love and treats when good and a firm no at times they are fine and very very spoilt no dog is vitious only what owners teach.
I read today a man through a dog out a window out of highrise flats and killed it if this is what owners do you cant blame dogs just owners

31st Aug 2015

No breed should be banned, irresponsible owners should be! I have known Yorkshire terriers who really should have ASBO's and babysat a pitbull ( in New Zealand) who was just the most gentle boy! In agreement with Chris, too often people who shouldn't own dogs own them for the wrong reason, protection in 'bad' areas and they train them to be more agressive, that's why they choose so called 'agressive' breeds in the first place!

31st Aug 2015

If particular breeds are more likely to be aggressive, it is humans fault, not dogs. A dog is an individual and usually a good upbringing means they are rounded individuals, BUT I have met dogs that have had a great family, and still become aggressive and had to be destroyed. It happened to my neighbour who purchased two puppy English Bull Terriers. She did everything right, including taking them to puppy socialising classes and training classes, but as they matured they still became aggressive and she had no choice eventually but to have them put to sleep.

I want to believe that every dog can be a happy, sociable dog, but I think for some breeds it is too late, because we have overbred them. I would never destroy a dog because of its breed, but perhaps some breeds should not be bred from. I also think the kennel club have a lot to answer for on the health front when it comes to dogs. They should stop insisting on squashed noses and huge heads which cause problem in labour. Just let dogs be dogs, nature does a pretty good job on its own.

31st Aug 2015

I don't believe banning dogs by breed is the right approach and this is born out by statistics on dog bites. The majority of which come from the diminutive terrier family. The banning of certain breeds was an attempt to stop them being used as fighting dogs. Unfortunately this has not worked as dogs are simply crossbred for the desired characteristics of fighting dogs. I would happily pay a dog licence if it meant that there were increased resources to tackle this minority of society that uses dogs as a status symbol and partakes in dog fighting. I would welcome tighter controls on dog breeding Aswell as I believe if we introduced licences for dog breeders we can solve the vast majority of animal welfare problems in our society today.

31st Aug 2015

once again the government take the easy way out and produce a ban on dogs rather than ensuring that the owners and abusers of dogs are prosecuted and banned from owning animals for life.
Any dog has the capacity for biting when it is systematically abused on daily basis and the authorities that should be regulating this seem to have less teeth than the dogs. Slapped wrists and a community service won't stop serial dog abusers.

31st Aug 2015
  • Customer Since: August 2013
  • From: Worcestershire, United Kingdom

There may be 1% of dogs for which there is no help, but beyond that 1% there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

31st Aug 2015

I believe it's how a dog is brought up and cared for, you need to socialise puppies with people, dogs, children, I believe all dogs with children should always have adult present, some children may hurt a dog or dog may be unwell, so should be monitored. A dog in the wrong hands can be lethal, owners are to blame!

31st Aug 2015

Being the owner of an English Bull Terrier and Doberman I'm fed up of the comments and fear I'm shown when out walking. The press don't help matters as every time a dog attack is reported on they show pics of bull breeds or rottie/doberman.

It's about time the BSL was ended and they blamed the right end of the lead!!

31st Aug 2015

Don't agree with bans but as certain breeds have been bred for their aggression maybe they should be looked at! That's the problem with 'pedigree' dogs - breeding - so would never want to own one.

1st Sep 2015

I think training is the key, but must preferably start in puppyhood (just as humans have to be taught from childhood that anger and tantrums have to be controlled positively. Humans too can be born with quicker responses both physically and emotionally. However, dog breeders are the main culprits here. Why is anyone breeding one type of breed? This practice just exacerbates weaknesses and negative traits apart from causing thousands of animals to end up unwanted in animal rescue centres.

1st Sep 2015

Interesting subject. I work in the veterinary industry and have come across many aggressive dogs, due mainly from owner ignorance. I always recommend owners to train their pet properly, to include socialisation with other dogs and people. Neutering plays a big part too. If entire dogs clash, then fights are more likely to occur. I think people need to research their choice of preferred breed before deciding to take on such a big responsibility, and must be accountable for their dogs' aggressive behaviour by the appropriate authorities.
Another issue I would like to raise, is the matter of banning breeds that suffer with so many predisposed medical and health issues. I believe these matters are just as important too.

1st Sep 2015

Having owned four rescue staffies and putting blood, sweat and tears into training, they can overcome social issues which have never been giving from the start-it's down to owners to ensure all dogs have the best possible training and socialisation from word go-over breeding comes in too, breed two nervous dogs and you'll probably end up with a higher percentage of nervous puppies who need extra work! Helping my friend out at puppy training classes you can see the dogs who could turn so easily-these dogs are not a particular breed and scarily show signs from 12 weeks old!

1st Sep 2015

I agree it's not the breed that's at fault but the people who own the dog!
Neglect and abuse is in my opinion the root cause of why a dog is dangerous!
I walk my dog on the beach every day, she's only little and has been attacked several times by bigger dogs who are not banned but on leads, once the dog even had a mussel on, but then on the other hand there are two Japanese Tosa's who walk without leads and are so friendly and loyal to their owners, they are beautiful dogs and don't deserve to be labelled dangerous!!!

1st Sep 2015

Of course a vicious dog that is allowed to interact with the public is the result of a poor owner. Firstly too many dogs get too little exercise, some even crated for long periods. This often leads to agression. Also dogs need to be part of the family and training and play along with sufficient exercise all help to keep a sociable dog. Crating a dog can lead to many problems. A happy dog in a family environment can be an asset to all. If as a last resort you cannot keep a safe dog you must take whatever precautions are necessary. These include, never let off the lead in public, perhaps muzzle in public or even as a last resort - never mix it with the public. But at the end of the day training, excerise and play are the priority. Imprisoned in a cage does not suit many dogs and can lead to aggression.

1st Sep 2015

Ban bad owners not bad breeds that's what I say.

1st Sep 2015

I was a meter reader for 5 years and was attacked twice. I lost count of the number of near misses. It was all breeds including a small decorative lapdog. Eventually the company issued a handspray which was very effective. The worse attack was by a border collie which tried to herd me into an enclosed garden. That particular breed is one of my favourites, having grown up with them.
All dogs can be dangerous and I really think that there should be a proper dog license and supervision of all owners.

1st Sep 2015
  • Customer Since: November 2009
  • From: United Kingdom

Can the banned breeds more dangerous that others – absolutely yes – not because they are any more likely to bite than any other mistreated breed but the damage they can cause is far greater than a smaller dog with less powerful jaws. More people are killed and injured every day in road traffic accidents than by dog attacks, so do we crush the ‘bad’ and ‘dangerous’ car and let the owner of scott free – of course we don't. Would I rather be run over by a motor bike or an articulated lorry? am I any more likely to be run over an articulated lorry than a motorbike? Should we ban articulated lorries because potentially the damage an out of control lorry can cause is far greater that an out of control morobike?
The driver is responsible for the accidents they cause. The dog owner should be responsible for their dogs and the way I see it the only way to enforce this is to bring back dog licensing and allow the police the rights to fine, issue cautions and 'producers' for offenders that do not have the correct paperwork - just like they do for cars. For people that have been found to need it they should be sent on a dog training and dog socialisation courses, taught how dogs should be treated – just like they give the option for a driving course instead of a fine. Not only would it stop some people getting dogs for their hard man image! but it would also give the police a reason follow up at an address or with a particular individual, usually owning ‘status’ dogs is not the only activity these sorts of people engage in. If the police had the rights to stop you and check your dog is licensed then how many twits would be marching around with big dogs pretending to be hard?

Not to mention the positive effect it could have on reducing the lucrative business of back yard breeding, dog fighting, puppy farming and the abhorrent practice of dumping dogs because they are too much effort or selling them on for the price of a pint...

1st Sep 2015

It is more a matter of the damage a dog can do if it is trained to be aggressive. Those dogs that have been banned, particularly the Pit Bull, have incredibly powerful jaws and once locked on to a victim it is almost impossible to make it release. Generally these dogs have been bred for their aggressive tendencies so if this is encouraged by their owner they in effect become a lethal weapon. No doubt, in the hands of a skilled dog trainer the aggression could be controlled and the dog might be safe but it is better not to have such breeds at all. In my view the ban should remain but it is true, that the type of people that encourage aggression in any dog should also be banned form owning a dog.

1st Sep 2015

I owned from eight weeks old a spinger spaniel bitch. she was socialised from the moment I got her, always at the yard with the horses, my son and his friends, however she was always nuts, and I thought this was just her breed as a working dog, always wanting to do something, boredom just wasn't something she did. however at about 8 months old whenever she got excited by someone new arriving or meeting someone out, her levels of excitement would rise, then she would just snap over to aggression. She would eat you if she could, however as I new something was changing in her behaviour which I didn't understand I would muzzle her whenever we were out, she never hurt myself or my son, or anyone else for that matter. She just objected to having her muzzle on. I had her destroyed just after her first birthday as she had an unknown but apparently COMMON chemical in balance in the brain called Idiopathic Rage, Which occurs in all breeds of spaniels, I have met other spaniels with this problem one who starts circling the attacks whoever is in his circle, his owner is always aware of his problem and breaks his cycle by walking you out of the circle.

1st Sep 2015

I have a Rotti X and a bullmastiff, both powerful dogs, both well socialised from an early age, one won Best Puppy in training classes. Unfortunately they were attacked whilst young by a SBT, being a responsible dog owner I have spent a lot of time and money in trying to combat their now fear. I muzzle the Rotti X and am very careful where I walk him now as he now has fear aggressive responses. I believe banning certain breeds is only providing part of a solution to part of the issue; left in the wrong hands powerful breeds are lethal, more action should be taken to register dogs and to combat the 'image' issue that surrounds such breeds with responsibility.

1st Sep 2015
  • Customer Since: June 2011
  • From: North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have a staffi and he is my first and I would defo own another,I do believe it is the owners not the dog,you train your dog to walk at heal and behave with other animals and people,how about small breads???because they are small and cute and fluffy they are ok,sorry but no.it is what you make of your dog,u should know them better than anyone and who to leave the dog with.all dogs are dangerous

1st Sep 2015

I own a staffie, have owned a staffie previosly and an english bull terrier, I have also owned a Westie. All were rescue dogs except for the Westie (whose owner did not have time for her). My current staffie bit a dog so we now muzzle him, we could not understand why as he had not shown any aggression towards other dogs previously but on checking his body found that he had a cut on his leg so whether he was retaliating we will never know. We now muzzle him to take him for walks and he walks with his head down, we feel that we have to do this as other people will presume he is to blame if anything happens with another dog just because he is a staffie. My husband is forever having to tell other dog owners to put leads on their dogs because they go running over to our staffie barking and growling at him and he is unable to defend himself, unfortunately the other dog owners tell my husband that they do not have dangerous dogs we do!!! Youngsters have even shouted across to my husband asking him if he thinks he is hard because he has a dangerous dog!!! My husband is nearing pension age we had our dog from kennels as he was a stray, we love him very much and he is spoilt, he plays brilliantly with our grandchildren who think he is wonderful. It does not matter what dog you own, every dog has the potential to be dangerous in the hands of the wrong people. We are letting bad dog owners off the hook by blaming the dogs.

1st Sep 2015

I have 2 yorkies have been socialised from 8 weeks old when all said and done they are all wild animal's but still believe the should be more control who owns this type of dog even excess licences I was a television engineer and some of the places i have been in should not be allowed to keep dogs or any thing with little legs. All types of animals deserve a good environment to live in.

1st Sep 2015

A law to prevent the sale of any dog without a breeders license would go hand in hand with the microchip law to help make breeders responsible for their actions. In addition the law should be changed to make the breeder partially responsible for the subsequent actions of the purchaser. That way we might get more responsible placing of "difficult" dogs.

1st Sep 2015

First of all I want to commend Viovet for bringing this subject to public awareness. I am all for end BSL. It serves no purpose at all and so many happy, family dogs are taken away from their homes because they look like a type! That is what a pitbull is, not a breed, a type! Heartbreaking for so many families who have to lose their beloved family pets! I take in old rescues. Our beautiful Staffie, Holly was 9 when we got her from MDH. We didn't know her past, she moved in with 3 other dogs and a cat. Never a problem with my grandkids either. However, on walks, she would snap at off lead dogs approaching her in the park. Problem solved, don't go to the park. Simple, avoid the bad situations. xx

2nd Sep 2015

I think in most cases it is not the dog's fault but it is the owner's responsibility to make sure the dog is under control primarily when in the presence of children and strangers, even other dogs. I once had a Yorkie, who was more feisty than a Rottweiler owned by a friend, the Rottie, was such a big softie despite its size and reputation of the breed, scared of it's own shadow. The breeds should not be demonised, but people made to be much more responsible, ensuring proper training and socialisation of the dog, and educating children to be more aware on how to treat animals with respect, they should be supervised by an adult anyway, and not to approach strange dogs.

2nd Sep 2015

I think that most adverse issues with dogs in general, including banned breeds, are generally the fault of the owners, though you do occasionally get a rogue dog but that is rare. I have a dog that is virtually all Wolfe and you wouldn't find a softer more gentle dog anywhere, he is an absolute love, albeit a rather large one! There are some people who just should NOT have dogs and I think that these people are often attracted to banned breeds for the macho image they think these dogs portray - personally I think these people are of lower intelligence but have ego's the size of houses and should never be allowed anywhere near dog ownership!

2nd Sep 2015

No amount of nurture will turn a Shetland pony into a racehorse. Dogs bred for aggression will always have a mental predisposition for it as well as the physique to inflict maximum damage. That isn't their fault, but it makes them intrinsically more dangerous than dogs bred to be companions. All dogs need proper socialisation and training. But even good handling will be less effective on dogs bred to fight than on dogs bred to be friendly. I strongly believe that it should be harder to obtain and to own ALL dogs. Not to protect people, but to protect dogs from ignorant, neglectful and lazy owners.

3rd Sep 2015

It is usually one of two things or both
bad breeding, negligent owner

5th Sep 2015

I agree with most or all of you that it isnt the dog but its the owners.
I like to watch the dog whisperer and he has a pit bull and did a programme special i think it was love my pitball or something saying all about the history of staffys and pitballs and how it isnt the dogs but the bad owners and it said how years ago they were called nanny dogs as they were responsible for watching and protecting the children etc and they are such lovely dogs, in fact i have a staffy who is the most friendliest dog in the world and in fact other dogs bark and are not very friendly to him and bark at him for no reason!
And if you watch all the dog training programmes it seems that little dogs seem to bite more people but because they dont have a lock jaw it doesnt get in the papers (nothing against little dogs).
And at the end of the day dogs like german shepherds, dobermanns and staffys etc are all guard dogs and if anyone were to attack you to hurt you they would protect you and try to help you the same as any other family member who was there with you would.
Ages ago i saw on crimewatch a lady had a golden retriever (nothing against golden retrievers either) and she got badly attacked and stuff and her dog ran away but guard dogs would at least try and help you.
And its not the breed compared to what some uneducated people think, all you need to do is watch the specialists dog trainers and their programmes (its me or the dog, the dog whisperer etc) and listen to battersea etc.
My family and I have had several dogs and we love dogs, its not the breeds!
And also the comment about a racehorse, to get a horse to be a racehorse it also takes alot of training, diet etc so that doesnt really work as isnt as simple as just breeding a racehorse, and if you actually watched that horrible programme ages ago about dog fighting you would have noticed that those poor dogs didnt want to fight the stupid owners forced them and trained them!

5th Sep 2015

Having been a Staffie owner for around 25 years, I know that this breed is gentle and adaptable. Both my Staffies have been rescued, the first one appeared at the London Palladium as Bill Sikes dog for around 3 years, and spent the next few years doing the same job for local Amdram companies. An aggressive dog would not have been allowed anywhere near all those children. My current dog was, we believe a "big issue" dog and is very quiet and gentle but loves to play. I wrote to the Prime Minister, my local MP the local Euro MP and a well known newspaper in 2002, saying that all pet dogs should be micro-chipped, neutered and licensed. The response from the Prime Minister was that licensing was unworkable. I believe that people should be trained before they buy or adopt a dog to make sure that they are capable and responsible, also that all breeders should be spot checked regularly. As there is so much unemployment in the country this could solve two problems at once !!! But I'm afraid it won't happen and dogs will continue to be abused and put down for no fault of their own.

5th Sep 2015

Having been a Staffie owner for around 25 years, I know that this breed is gentle and adaptable. Both my Staffies have been rescued, the first one appeared at the London Palladium as Bill Sikes dog for around 3 years, and spent the next few years doing the same job for local Amdram companies. An aggressive dog would not have been allowed anywhere near all those children. My current dog was, we believe a "big issue" dog and is very quiet and gentle but loves to play. I wrote to the Prime Minister, my local MP the local Euro MP and a well known newspaper in 2002, saying that all pet dogs should be micro-chipped, neutered and licensed. The response from the Prime Minister was that licensing was unworkable. I believe that people should be trained before they buy or adopt a dog to make sure that they are capable and responsible, also that all breeders should be spot checked regularly. As there is so much unemployment in the country this could solve two problems at once !!! But I'm afraid it won't happen and dogs will continue to be abused and put down for no fault of their own.

9th Sep 2015

I have to say I find it upsetting when dogs have to suffer because nasty ignorant people train them the wrong way and agree with all that the Viovet visitor says

27th Sep 2015

I have been involved with dogs for over 30 years. I have known some lovely pit bulls - one at the time of the act who was a gentle soul who suddenly had to wear a muzzle through no fault of her own. I do not agree with the knee jerk reaction of banning breeds. The press also play a part in sensationalising events and it influences people who are not knowledgeable regarding this wonderful species. I witnessed a staffie waiting for his owner patiently outside a shop (I also do not agree with leaving a dog on it's own outside a shop) when a child of about 3 took a swing at him with her lunch box. I couldn't help but say to the mother who did nothing that if the dog had bit her it would have been the child's fault and not the dog but it would be the dog that would suffer. People need to be educated on how to behave around them and to understand that they are not human.. they do not understand our language..they do not have human ways of doing things in spite. They live with us and give us such affection..surely they deserve to be treated accordingly..

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