Pit Bull - Pedigree Profiling?

by Stacey Ennis Betters

Driving down the driveway of a friends house, I notice two Pit Bull dogs running over to the fence barking like crazy. My immediate reaction is nervousness. If instead, it was two Golden Retrievers...would I still be nervous...the answer is of course not. I am basically profiling these dogs. And yes, they may be mean and aggressive or they may not. I am simply judging them from things that I read and hear from the media. A Golden Retriever may bite someone, but it is just not as sensational and does not make a good news story.

"What exactly is a Pit Bull?" They are not a specific breed. It is basically a generic mix like Retriever or Hound. The breeds referred to as Pit Bulls are the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is the term used by the American Kennel Club, and the American Pit Bull Terrier, the term used by the United Kennel Club.

They have blocky heads with very powerful jaws. They have a short shiny coat, similar to a Rottweilers, covering a very muscular compact body.

Pit Bull type dogs and Rottweilers have received lots of negative attention in the United States. Dogs that have been bred for fighting and killing other animals have been described with the term Pit Bull type dogs. These dogs have many common characteristics such as powerful, exaggerated jaw muscles, large physique and thick necks and shoulders.

Restrictions have been placed on certain breeds in different states. Some homeowners that own certain profiled dogs are being denied insurance. Statistically, Pit Bull Terriers, followed by Rottweilers and German Shepherds are being cited in dog attacks that are fatal. In the last twenty years, 1/3 of the attacks were placed on the Pit Bull Terriers.

When the unfortunate incident of a dog attack occurs, it is not just a dog bite by a mean, aggressive dog. It is usually being at the wrong place at the wrong time...the wrong dog in the wrong surroundings in the hands of the wrong person. The whole situation is just plain wrong.