Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thoughts on "canine racism"

Apparently it's quite unfashionable these days to take any notice of breed specific behavior characteristics, especially when it pertains to pit bulls. Genetics has a profound influence on canine behavior - border collies and other herding breeds herd, pointers point, retrievers retrieve - and fighting breeds fight. This blog entry further discusses some of the genetic factors.

But even in the face of these indisputable facts, if anyone should let it slip that they would rather not be around a pit bull, or states the obvious about the dangerous, violent and unpredictable behavior of pit bulls, that person is derided and condemned by members of a shrill, strident pit bull lobby. The idea that a breed specifically created to rip apart animals in the pit, and is still being selectively bred by dog fighters for maximum violence, could be dangerous by default seems to be beyond the reasoning capabilities of some of these pit bull advocates, who slap a "canine racism" label on any negative opinions of pit bulls.

Introducing that magic buzzword - racism - is meant to instantly silence all debate and muzzle any dissenting voices - but should it? Let's think about this for a moment, shall we? On the face of it, it sounds to me like the goal is to paralyze any critical thinking and decision making - to keep everything vague and fuzzy, and repeat memorized buzz words and catch phrases, rather than engage in any substantive discussion about the issues at hand.

When a pit bull apologist utters the word "racism" in response to any discussion of facts which reflects negatively on pit bulls, they fail on two counts. First of all, they fail to explain how thinking and speaking clearly about the facts of a matter equates to racism, and secondly, they fail to explain how thinking and speaking clearly about the facts of a matter is a bad thing.

Personally, I think that speaking of "canine racism" demeans and trivializes the suffering of people who have actually been victims of real racism. A dog has no concept of racism, and wouldn't be the least bit aware of racism even if surrounded by it. That's fairly basic, common sense.

More troubling to me is the anti-intellectual tone of this mindset, of which the rallying cry seems to be "turn off your brains, don't seek information, don't analyze, don't compare, don't discriminate, don't think, just accept that dogs are dogs and it's all in how you raise them."

If the concept of racism is to be universally applied in the way the pit bull advocates seem to be saying it should, then it would be wrong to discriminate in any matter. Although the word "discrimination" has negative overtones because of it's association with human rights issues, the actual word connotes a choice based on facts, and in fact discrimination is not evil, but absolutely necessary for survival.

If I understand the pit bull apologists correctly, it would be wrong to reject the notion of a service alligator because that would be racism. After all, reptiles are reptiles. It would be wrong not to allow a python to sleep with the baby,  because that is blatant anti-python racism. Most of all, it would be be very very wrong to avoid eating poison mushrooms, because that, after all, would be botanical racism!


  1. You, sir, are a genius! I've had the "you are a racist!" argument thrown at me many times while attempting to debate with the pit bull apologists who don't want to listen to intelligence. They can't think of a true argument so they bastardize the English language.

  2. "turn off your brains, don't seek information, don't analyze, don't compare, don't discriminate, don't think, just accept that dogs are dogs and it's all in how you raise them."

    thanks for adding your voice to this discussion jake. i especially love the above quote.

    good job!

  3. The "canine racism" card is played when some nutter is defending the breed because they "love the breed" or they love a specific dog. What I do not understand is how nutters simply do not have a clue that normal people love their normal dogs, their normal cats, their normal livestock, and their their normal family members. Normal people are tired of the bloodshed.

  4. First, I'll say that I have no respect for the person who first hatched the "pit bulls are just like oppressed human races" idea. It was the product of someone who was either a complete dolt or just dishonest. However, it has caught on like wildfire among a huge group of low functioning pit nutters and has actually persuaded some people. So, it is a very "fit" meme within certain quarters. So, in a perverse way, it is perhaps a little impressive in terms of its effect.

  5. Great points! Never thought of that! Especially on botanical racism. Haha...

  6. Speaking of anti-intellectual... the points you are attempting to make illustrate the sheer magnitude of your incompetence and ignorance. Congratulations on the phenomenal job of placating all the nonsensical, irrational frenzy of BSL supporters. Glaringly apparent is the fact that you have INDEED turned off your brain. Educate yourself on WHY dogs (OF ALL BREEDS) bite, and the breed of the dog becomes insignificant.

  7. @anon 3:58 - Sounds like you don't think genetics is a factor in canine behavior. We beg to differ. In any case, you have not addressed the main point of this article, which has nothing to do with BSL. In any case, do feel free to educate us rather than taking an anonymous pot shot.

  8. It is the same as a black person being brought up a certain way, is it not? Their bringing up may inspire their future actions. Pit bulls that are NOT inbred, NOT brought up in a unstable home, and ARE socialized at a young age and trained properly throughout their life are just as wonderful as any of your perfect retrievers and pointers.. sounds like you people need to sharpen up on your dog knowledge.

  9. @anon 8:28 -

    Actually it has little if anything to do with how they are raised. No correlation has been seen between how pit bulls are raised and their instability. We're not talking about mistreated dogs.

    The most horrific pit bull maulings have all been surprise attacks. Each time, the pit bull was lovingly raised from a puppy, treated well, never abused and never taught to fight. Completely trusted, seemingly a model canine, until the sudden, brutal and totally unexpected attack.

    The problem isn't "unsocialized" pit bulls, it's the fact that they are completely unpredictable.

  10. YOU my friend do not know a thing about dogs. I WORK WITH PITBULLS EVERY SINGLE DAY. I would love to know where you're getting your information from because I HAVE MET THE PITBULLS THAT HAVE ATTACKED and yes, they were completely unstable dogs. Just because their owner says they were the best dog ever DOES NOT mean they are stable dogs. ALSO, just because they were "loved" and not mistreated does NOT mean they are STABLE! Every single dog, pitbull or not, gains its characteristics from its upbringing and whether or not its owner was able to handle its specific needs properly. It is absolutely RIDICULOUS to believe that ONE CERTAIN BREED is "unpredictable" while the rest are not...

  11. @anon 9:27 -

    I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. From where I stand, the stats show an unpredictable and dangerous breed. The fact that you've been very fortunate so far doesn't change the big picture. If you don't understand what makes pit bulls different from normal dogs, I'd encourage you to do some research on their origins.

    You might think you're the greatest lion tamer ever, and feel you can handle any dog, because "it's all i how you raise them", but we think that DNA is a key factor, one might even say "all-important". We've seen too many examples of sudden, random, unpredictable violent pit bull behavior to think otherwise.

  12. You must not be fully understanding what I'm saying, it is not ALL in how you raise them.. I've met inbred pit bulls that are psychotic simply because of the manner in which they were bred. But you cannot judge a dog solely on it's breed just as you cannot judge a person solely on their race. I am also not saying that I can tame any dog but I do know that I understand this matter more than most people because I deal with it first hand every single day. These acts are not random or unpredictable. Dogs can have hidden issues or issues that their owners do not realize until it is too late. If you know your dog completely, you'll know how/when to stop it from misbehaving.

    Also, I must say that it is absurd to say that pit bulls are not normal dogs while all other breeds are. If you were in my shoes I'm sure you would have a different opinion. If you met the vicious GOLDEN RETRIEVER that was brought into my place of employment recently, then maybe you would understand where I'm coming from.

  13. Perhaps we should just try to train our Pointer not to point, our Australian Cattle Dog not to herd.

    Perhaps we should stop using Border Collies for Agility?

    Perhaps we should educate the owners of Pointers that it's not the dog - It's the owner!! You can train your dog to point!!! It has nothing to do with the dog - it's all in how you raise them! See this video:

    Or maybe this one - I'm sure they trained these 6 week old puppies to do this:

  14. DepthCharge, spend the next few years of your life dealing with pit bulls and all other breeds of dogs and then come argue your point.

    Are ALL Australian cattle dogs perfect herders? Or are some poorly trained/socialized. Perhaps they were not exposed to sheep at a young enough age and being unfamiliar with the animal makes them extremely nervous therefore they would never be able to do something like that?

  15. brilliant writing 17 Barks! And by the way Anonymous, I would say if a dog's issue is "hidden" that makes it impossible to predict...hence, the dog is unpredictable. And yes, lets bring up a vicious Golden Retriever, you zealots all eat, live and sleep the same propaganda, stop trying to rationalize the issues these dogs have, everytime someone does that, it sets up another victim for an attack that will change, or end their life...

  16. I live in propaganda? I WORK WITH THESE DOGS! None of you ignorant people will ever understand how truly wonderful these dogs are, and that is your loss.

  17. Yes, pit bulls are wonderful, until they aren't. On the other hand, there are many wonderful dog breeds that don't kill their owners and are very deserving of our affection. I just don't understand the attraction, but as long as your pit bulls don't hurt anybody else, have fun.

    Good luck, and take care.

  18. PS. Anne King. hidden issues=issues that their owners don't realize..................

  19. I just hope you all know that you are the reason that millions of perfectly loving dogs die every single day, due to plain and simple ignorance.

  20. "Pit bulls that are NOT inbred,... blah blah blah"

    but according to the typical nutter, most of the "pit bulls" attacking are not APBT, they are mutts. so, by the very definition, they are NOT inbred.

    why is it this 'expert' is anonymous? could it be, he is lying?

  21. just make sure to keep that game of Russian Roulette you are playing, pointed only at yourself Anonymous. Keep those "wonderful dogs" you work with away from, well, everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. @anon 7:53 -

    Who exactly is responsible for the deaths of
    "millions of perfectly loving dogs every day"? I'm quite curious about this claim.

  23. people like Anonymous are responsible for their beloved pits being marched in to be PTS...until they start admitting the true nature of these beasts, fools will keep buying and breeding them, and when those pits meet the point in their lives where their true genetics show, people get rid of them....

  24. I just don't get how pit bull lovers can continue to close their eyes and ears to the absolute truth, when it's basically slapping you right in the face! You call intelligent people, with intelligent arguments, refuse to admit the simple facts. Here's a simple fact, that should be quite easy for you to understand...different breeds of dogs were all bred for different reasons. Okay, still with me?....retrievers were bred to retrieve, agree?...herding dogs were bred to's the most difficult part for you pit lovers....pit bulls were bred to fight to the death in a pit. Okay, I know, I lost you. Just too much for you, isn't it? (sigh) pit bulls don't have to be trained to attack and kill, they just do it....just like retrievers don't have to be trained to retrieve. They just do it. Now, either I've lost all the pit bull lovers with this highly confusing point of fact, or you all are just deliberately refusing to hear the absolute truth. It's ok to admit that pit bulls were bred to kill, and will continue to do so, without discrimination.

  25. Dawn asked: why is it this 'expert' is anonymous? could it be, he is lying?

    Hahaha, it's clear in any case that he's white, having equated PBs with blacks. You know, just like black people who Anonymous apparently thinks we'll agree all seem so awful and criminal and always on welfare... then need to be advised that just like in the pit it's all in how you raise 'em.

    Aside from this embarrassingly racist Freudian slip by Anonymous, there's this other thing. The Original Dog Racists are the pit nutcases themselves, who (when they think no one's listening) call other dogs Curs, and who won't have a dog at all if they can't have a mutant.

  26. Anon, you are dealing with pit bull victims here. We do not require the education you offer. The pit bull beat you to it. You call victims, folks that were peacefully going on about the peaceful details of our lives when the violence fell upon us, ignorant. We fail to see how "wonderful" pit bulls are. These dogs were selectively bred to participate in an activity so violent that it is a felony in all 50 states. Please respect our losses enough to sell your "education" someplace else.

  27. I'm always curious when somebody says, "I work with these dogs"....just what kind of work do you do with your dogs, is it what they have been bred specifically to do?

  28. It is impossible to argue with people that have only acquired the basis for their argument from what they have read online or seen on television. I hope that all of you take a step to actually see what it is that you are arguing so stubbornly against. Volunteer at your local animal shelter and see up close and personal what is it that you're arguing.
    If I had not been working with stray pit bulls for the past 3 years then I may very well have the same argument that you all pose, because I would have no real life experience. So until any one of you decide to get involved and actually help out in a very small but rewarding way, not only to pit bulls but to all shelter dogs, then you can feel free to stay out of this conversation because well frankly you have no true evidence. Good luck to you all in opening up your hearts and minds to another side of the story.

  29. Anonymous It is the same as "black people" being brought up a certain way and then having certain outcomes. FAMILY OWNED PITBULLS MAUL. REMEMBER DARLA NAPORA and so many others killed or mauled by pitbulls raised in loving enviroments. Your excuses are just that.

  30. "it isn't the breed alone, but the human behind the dog that determines behavior" - Caesar Millan

    This is all the proof I need.

  31. off topic: Why are there so many pitbulls that never attack anyone in their entire lives if it's in their genetics to be vicious?

    If they are such a dangerous breed why do so many of them never attack anyone or act aggressive? I don't understand that part. Why do nonPitbulls attack people when it's not in their "genetic" to attack or kill someone?

    Why do pitbull owners whose dogs attack look like human trash? Are the pitbulls with idiots for owners the ones attacking? I keep looking for pictures of pitbull owners who are normal people (who've attacked), can't seem to find any.

    I'm not saying pits are not dangerous, but I'm still convinced its stupid owners and back yard breeding, gangs, criminals, druggies, etc that are at fault more so than the entire breed. Simply because there are so many pitbulls that never attack and coincidentally have respectable owners and the ones who attack seem to have druggy looking people as owners.

    The racism thing towards pitbulls is stupid but the ideology behind racism is similar to "breed discrimination", not very accurate though. I still think it's idiot owners and this is the reason the pits are attacking more so in the last however many years. They are back yard breeding and purposely bringing out aggression.

    My point is why are there so many pitbulls that never attack? Why are most owners whose dogs attack sound like idiots? Why do all breeds attack people if it isn't in their genetics?

    Family owned pitbulls maul but who are those families? Are they normal people or are they druggies, white trash, abusive people?

    1. "I'm not saying pits are not dangerous, but I'm still convinced its stupid owners and back yard breeding, gangs, criminals, druggies, etc that are at fault more so than the entire breed."

      Couldn't have said it better myself!


    read it

  33. @anon 6:26 -

    Well, we're always ready to take a lesson from an unknown keyboarder - or to give one.

    So, to make a long story short, the URL from our unknown cyber poster links to an article in which the author claims that Dachshunds are the most vicious breed of dog. Dachsunds, imagine that!

    This certainly changes things, doesn't it? We'll all have to be much more careful of Dachshunds from now on - but before we go overboard, let's do some basic fact checking. Surely our unknown visitor won't begrudge us that much - a bit of sanity checking is never a bad idea in the face of such seemingly incredible revelations.

    Hmm, this is not making any sense. If we consult the available data on serious injuries and deaths from dog attacks for 2011, we find that 22 americans were mauled to death by pit bulls (note that a number of these were killed by their own pit bulls) and there were zero people killed by Dachshunds.

    OK let's search a bit further back: Let's look at 2009, 2010 and 2011... In that time period a total of 67 Americans were mauled to death by pit bulls, and again, a number of those victims were killed by their own pit bulls. many hundreds of people were badly maimed by pit bulls during this time period. During those same 3 years, there were zero people killed by Dachshunds.

    There seems to be a clear pattern here. The numbers of killings and life changing maimings by pit bulls is consistently greater than all other breeds combined, and Dachshunds aren't even showing up on the radar.

    So, do Dachsunds bite? I'm sure they do, but Dachshunds being normal dogs, a Dachshund carefully moderates the force of his bite, and when he does bite, he then retreats. The vast majority of Dachshund bites don't break the skin and don't require any medical attention.

    In contrast, a pit bull "bite" is sudden, random, unpredictable and violent. A pit bull "bite" is a brutal, sustained attack. So really, "bite" is really not the right word for a pit bull attack. People who want to re-frame the discussion in terms of "bites" rather than real injuries are being dishonest IMHO.

    So the referenced article, which plays up the danger from Dachshunds and doesn't mention the insane, off-the-charts numbers of attacks from pit bulls seems to be rather inaccurate.

    Seriously, which is the bigger danger? A Dachshund that might nip you, or a pit bull that might maim or kill you?

  34. When all else fails...get 'em riled up with the race card! The term "race" in animal husbandry and cultivation, denotes noticeable differences, it has nothing to do with morality or ethics. We discriminate when we chose a dog breed in the first place, unless you are the sort that just takes any dog that shows up on your door step.


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