Breed Specific Legislation: A Costly and Counterproductive Mistake

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What would you say is the most aggressive dog breed? Any idea? It’d have to be the American Pitbull Terrier wouldn’t it? Maybe the Doberman, German Shepherd, Chow Chow or Rottweiler? Wrong. It’s the Dachshund. That’s right, the wiener dog. Turns out that despite enjoying immense popularity as one of America ’s favorites, Dachshunds rank at the top of a study designed to analyze aggressive traits in 33 different breeds of dog. One in five Dachshunds have attempted to bite a stranger, one in five have attacked another dog and one in twelve have attempted to bite their owners. So Pitbulls must be second right? Nope. That honor belongs to the Chihuahua . These pint sized puppies are snapping with a surprising amount of regularity at everyone from owners to family members to strangers. Yikes. Watch out Paris Hilton! Care to take a guess on number three? The Jack Russell Terrier. This incredibly intelligent breed stole the hearts of the public when a Jack Russell shared the small screen with Kelsey Grammar in the hit TV show Frasier.

So what do we learn from this information? That toy breeds should never be trusted? That they are inherently vicious and should not under any circumstances be allowed in close proximity to humans? Should Homeowner’s Insurance companies begin refusing to insure their owners along with those who own Pitbulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds? Of course not. The bottom line is that breed rarely has anything to do with what makes a dog aggressive and the true blame lies with those who are rarely punished for their actions. The owners are what make dogs dangerous.

As a general rule, dogs are not born bad. They are either trained to be that way or allowed to become that way based on lack of training or proper guidelines from an ignorant owner. Some may be shocked by the idea that smaller breeds trended towards the top of the list in aggressive traits, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. For one thing, in terms of survival from an evolutionary perspective, smaller breeds may have had to be more aggressive in order to counteract their size. Their smaller size could also cause them to feel intimidated by larger dogs and people and put them on the defensive and provoke fear aggression. Not to mention the fact that toy breeds are often spoiled rotten and undisciplined by owners who think their dominant behavior is “cute”. Failing to properly discipline a dog like this causes them to think they are the alpha dog in the pack and encourages further dominant and aggressive behavior.

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