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Old 03-22-2012, 11:04 AM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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DNA testing shows many "pit bulls" really aren't pit bulls

Anyone who has been involved with shelter animals knows that dogs labeled "pit bulls" have a low chance of making it out of the shelter alive because many people think they are dangerous dogs. Sadly, it looks like in many cases the label "pit bull" isn't even accurate:
http://www.toledoblade.com/local/201...pit-bulls.html

The attitudes of the animal control officials certainly don't help in a lot of cases:
Quote:
[former Lucas County Dog Warden] Mr. Skeldon, forced into retirement in part because of the furor over his high kill rate and his insistence that all dogs he deemed "pit bulls" must be killed, remains unrepentant about killing "pit bulls."

As warden he killed "pit bulls" even if they were gentle dogs that could have been adopted. He also insisted on killing all puppies he deemed to be "pit bulls."

It's impossible to know how many dogs Mr. Skeldon killed claiming they were "pit bulls" when they weren't, but based on the kill rate during his more than 20 years as warden, the fact that close to half the dogs at the pound traditionally have been labeled "pit bulls," and the DNA tests The Blade performed, easily thousands of dogs could have been killed because they were mislabeled "pit bull."

Mr. Skeldon stands by his visual observations, saying 98 percent of the dogs he deemed to be "pit bulls" were that and deserved to die to protect the public.

The Lucas County dog warden's office continues to kill dogs because it is "at capacity for 'pit bull-type' dogs." Dog Warden Julie Lyle has yet to begin adopting out "pit bulls" directly to the public instead relying on the Toledo Area Humane Society and rescue groups such as the Lucas County Pit Crew to take them.

At issue has been the state's dangerous dog law, which until it officially changes May 21, still labels all "pit bulls" as dangerous, vicious dogs, despite their actual behavior. Ms. Lyle will not adopt out "pit bull"-type dogs as long as they are considered vicious.

However, the humane society has adopted out nonvicious "pit bulls" since April, 2010, directly adopting out 79 itself while sending 75 on to rescues such as the Lucas County Pit Crew.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2012, 11:31 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
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"I'm a POODLE????!!!!"
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2012, 02:09 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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Actually all dogs are Pit Bulls. Well now they are. Various times in the past they were all Dobermans, Rottweilers, or German Shepherds. Except for the most vicious dogs of all, the Wiener Dog. They have little pointy teeth and bite you on the ankle.
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  #4  
Old 03-22-2012, 02:33 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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I think we're on the same side here, but to clarify things for the readership, three points:

1) DNA testing for "breed" is basically palm-reading. I've read hundreds of accounts of it being hilariously dead-wrong and never even seen an account that it was right or appeared to be right. So the idea that DNA testing showed that "X" or "Y" was true ranges from at best highly suspect to outright fabrication. The article contains some clues that this is the case -- look at the absurd guesses the DNA tests return on breeds.

Quote:
Bandit: Boxer, Scottish terrier, Chinook, Doberman pinscher, black Russian terrier, Irish setter, Glen of Imaal terrier, and dogue de Bordeaux.
Although mutts can be any mix, the idea that all the dogs are random mixes of such wild variation is less likely than the idea that the DNA testing is crap.

The article's also got one big damned glaring flaw:

Quote:
Only one of the six tested dogs was predominantly American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier, the two recognized breeds labeled as "pit bulls."
There are THREE breeds generally recognized as "pit bulls," and some knowledgeable dog people argue there can be only one: the American Pit Bull Terrier, which doesn't appear on that list. Numbers are unknowable (according to the CDC), but certainly there are more APBTs in America than American Staffordhires, which is really just the show-breed version of the APBT, and those (British) Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Any article purporting to identify who is a pit bull but appearing completely ignorant of the APBT simply isn't credible.

2) But the larger problem is that breed-specific legislation (and other breedism such as shelter rules) is keenly aware of the difficulty in pinning down who is, and who is not, a "pit bull," and legislation is often written specifically to permit the authorities themselves to make the determination -- even if they have no education or training. In many cases, if the dog warden says a given dog is a pit bull, that's legally "fact," even if the dog is obviously a Pomeranian. Such laws often include clauses that invalidate anything a veterinarian has signed, presumably because the legislators believe vets would lie to protect dogs. So it really doesn't matter to pit-bull-haters whether a dog is, in fact, actually a pit bull. These laws are about being perceived as dealing with a perceived problem, not about actual safety or justice, and the people who think them up don't give a rat's ass about actual dogs.

3) Pit bulls, of course, are not bad dogs as a class of dogs, I hope regular readers of SDMB discussions have, by now, recognized.

So whether a dog is or is not in actuality a pit bull, genetically or otherwise, isn't really even the problem.

That said, I applaud anyone working against dog-killing dog wardens and pit-haters, and I'd even be happy to let the Toledo Blade use my Internet for half an hour if they'd like to educate themselves first.
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2012, 03:16 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Actually all dogs are Pit Bulls. Well now they are. Various times in the past they were all Dobermans, Rottweilers, or German Shepherds. Except for the most vicious dogs of all, the Wiener Dog. They have little pointy teeth and bite you on the ankle.
Maybe you're joking, but Dachshunds have been shown to be the most aggressive breed. It can't just be small(er) dog syndrome like you can chalk up to Chihuahuas or JRTs, Dachshunds are also bred to attack an animal twice their size and known for its viciousness.

And, IME, they go for the chest if not the throat... guess how I know. This dog's aggression is completely out of the blue and aggressive-defensive. "Let sleeping dogs lie" is not a platitude here.

If you're confused what a pit bull is, here's a handy chart. There's another for how to ID an "AK-47."
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2012, 03:20 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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I'm worried about my dog precisely because it's so difficult to identify just what is and what is not a pitbull. She was advertised to me as an American Bulldog + Pointer mix. Dog people -- including the BarkBusters trainer and my vet -- just call her a pitbull. I don't want her to have that label, but if the glove fits...

Thing is, every time we run into an actual (or another) pitbull, my dog towers over it by about 4-6" and usually outweighs them by 20-30 pounds. I think it's likely she really is an ABD mix. She does point (at squirrels and birds), so perhaps there really is a little pointer in her. I made the vet, the pet insurance, and the trainer list her on their paperwork as "bulldog mix," which is about as accurate as we can be, I suppose. When random people spot her and ask what kind of dog is that, my reply is "I'm not sure, some kind of bulldog mix. Pitbull is just a term used for dogs who fight in pits and this one would lick you to death."

Obligatory dog pix. You tell me. She's 72 pounds and when she's standing up, looking straight ahead, the top of her head touches my hands. I'm 5' 2" so she might be about 24-26" tall.

Last edited by Dogzilla; 03-22-2012 at 03:22 PM..
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  #7  
Old 03-22-2012, 05:41 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Maybe you're joking, but Dachshunds have been shown to be the most aggressive breed. It can't just be small(er) dog syndrome like you can chalk up to Chihuahuas or JRTs, Dachshunds are also bred to attack an animal twice their size and known for its viciousness.

And, IME, they go for the chest if not the throat... guess how I know. This dog's aggression is completely out of the blue and aggressive-defensive. "Let sleeping dogs lie" is not a platitude here.

If you're confused what a pit bull is, here's a handy chart. There's another for how to ID an "AK-47."
Good chart! But I am serious about the weiner dogs. If they're not properly trained they are agressive. I think owners think they're cute and don't bother.
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2012, 05:43 PM
Eliot Ness Eliot Ness is offline
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We just need the American Kennel Club to find a name for them so they can be declared zoo animals and require permits.
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2012, 11:08 PM
PandaBear77 PandaBear77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogzilla View Post

Obligatory dog pix. You tell me. She's 72 pounds and when she's standing up, looking straight ahead, the top of her head touches my hands. I'm 5' 2" so she might be about 24-26" tall.

I definitely see some bulldog in her. Oddly, though, my Jackabee's ears do the same thing yours do (the turning inside out thing).

Whatever she is she's a GOOD GIRL YES SHE IS!!! *scritch*
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  #10  
Old 03-23-2012, 01:22 AM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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Nah, I see no Pit in there. And even if I did, I see Pits in the dog park every weekend and sterilized or not, they are all loveable.
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  #11  
Old 03-23-2012, 09:37 AM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogzilla View Post
I'm worried about my dog precisely because it's so difficult to identify just what is and what is not a pitbull. She was advertised to me as an American Bulldog + Pointer mix. Dog people -- including the BarkBusters trainer and my vet -- just call her a pitbull. I don't want her to have that label, but if the glove fits...

Thing is, every time we run into an actual (or another) pitbull, my dog towers over it by about 4-6" and usually outweighs them by 20-30 pounds. I think it's likely she really is an ABD mix.
Head shape does look American Bulldog to me. Here's a breed-standard American Bulldog pic -- compare head and muzzle shapes.

ABDs, of course, are also a bully breed, like the pit bull breeds, and all are ultimately descended from the extinct Molosser dogs, along with Rottweilers and Mastiffs. So there's some relation there.

Yes, 72 pounds is outside the breed standards for female American Pit Bull Terriers (25-50 pound range). Note that it's right in the middle of the breed-standard weight range for a female American Bulldog -- 60-85 pounds.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:10 AM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Head shape does look American Bulldog to me. Here's a breed-standard American Bulldog pic -- compare head and muzzle shapes.

ABDs, of course, are also a bully breed, like the pit bull breeds, and all are ultimately descended from the extinct Molosser dogs, along with Rottweilers and Mastiffs. So there's some relation there.

Yes, 72 pounds is outside the breed standards for female American Pit Bull Terriers (25-50 pound range). Note that it's right in the middle of the breed-standard weight range for a female American Bulldog -- 60-85 pounds.
Good enough for me. I agree, I think she looks a lot like the Standard/Scott type of ABD. In fact, she looks just like this one. Another type (Johnson/Classic/Bully) has a wider head and shorter muzzle. Based on what I've learned from the ABD messageboards, her personality fits the ABD profile as well. She's smart, eager to please me, wants to have something to do. It's clear she wants to be a working dog. I have enlisted her help in moving large tree branches (deadfall) to my woodpile. I throw them down, (sometimes she helps pull them down) and she drags them off to her stash pile, which is conveniently located next to the woodpile. She then chews the branches into kindling, which I pick up and toss in the kindling box. Then I give her another tree branch to destroy and she ends up helping me clean up my yard. Great dog.

Because there is no way to reliably verify, I stand by my original diagnosis: Bulldog mix. None of this will prevent anyone from labeling her a pitbull if that's what they see when they look at her. She could eat most pitbulls for lunch, if she wanted to, not that she'd dare unless I told her to.

And she is a good girl, a real gentle sweetheart. Thanks for the scritches!
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:45 PM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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I agree, just say she's a mix and you don't know what she is. Breed specific legislation is preventing me from rescuing a "pit bull" because I love the breed but don't want it taken away from me if enacted in my county.
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  #14  
Old 03-23-2012, 11:56 PM
Cheez_Whia Cheez_Whia is offline
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My sister has an actual pit bull that she adopted from a rescue. He was used as a "bait dog" by the dog fighting criminal he was taken from. He is probably the sweetest dog I have ever met, and I have Basset Hounds!
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:37 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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But if breeds don't map well to genetics, that means that any idea that Pit Bulls are genetically predisposed to being aggressive is untrue. So the article still works.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:40 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogzilla View Post
Good enough for me. I agree, I think she looks a lot like the Standard/Scott type of ABD. In fact, she looks just like this one. Another type (Johnson/Classic/Bully) has a wider head and shorter muzzle. Based on what I've learned from the ABD messageboards, her personality fits the ABD profile as well. She's smart, eager to please me, wants to have something to do. It's clear she wants to be a working dog. I have enlisted her help in moving large tree branches (deadfall) to my woodpile. I throw them down, (sometimes she helps pull them down) and she drags them off to her stash pile, which is conveniently located next to the woodpile. She then chews the branches into kindling, which I pick up and toss in the kindling box. Then I give her another tree branch to destroy and she ends up helping me clean up my yard. Great dog.

Because there is no way to reliably verify, I stand by my original diagnosis: Bulldog mix. None of this will prevent anyone from labeling her a pitbull if that's what they see when they look at her. She could eat most pitbulls for lunch, if she wanted to, not that she'd dare unless I told her to.

And she is a good girl, a real gentle sweetheart. Thanks for the scritches!
She just looks like an American Bulldog to me too, not much like a Pit at all. You weren't obfuscating by having her listed as a bulldog rather than a Pit Bull.

American Pit Bull Terriers are illegal in the UK -as in, if you have one, it will be taken away and put to sleep -but your dog wouldn't be at risk of that. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are legal and fine, btw.

It's a stupid law, IMO, but it does at least mean that there's now quite a large community of people able to identify bull breeds that aren't put bulls; and there have been cases where owners have claimed their dog wasn't really a pitbull and have succeeded based on identifiable traits like size and ear shape and leg shape. It's not as impossible as some people might claim.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:20 PM
Sailboat Sailboat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
But if breeds don't map well to genetics, that means that any idea that Pit Bulls are genetically predisposed to being aggressive is untrue. So the article still works.
Eh, knowledgeable dog people already know pit bulls aren't predisposed to being human-aggressive (important distinction), genetically or otherwise. In fact, they have the opposite reputation (aside from the inflated media panic) -- they tend to like all people, and are notoriously friendly to complete strangers. People who raise pit bulls have said they keep guarding breeds (such as German Shepherd Dogs) on the premises to deter dog thieves, because the pit bulls will happily get into a car with anyone, whereas the GSDs are more circumspect with strangers (and are more territorial).

My point wasn't so much "breeds don't map well to genetics" as "genetic tests that claim to tell you your dog's breed(s) are really basically a scam, at least at this stage, and maybe are actually a scam. They are regarded as laughably unreliable on the dog boards I frequent."

Last edited by Sailboat; 03-24-2012 at 04:21 PM..
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  #18  
Old 03-24-2012, 06:14 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
My point wasn't so much "breeds don't map well to genetics" as "genetic tests that claim to tell you your dog's breed(s) are really basically a scam, at least at this stage, and maybe are actually a scam. They are regarded as laughably unreliable on the dog boards I frequent."
Since most breeds were developed in the past 200 years, and some of the heaviest breeding less than 100 years old, it's not surprising to find indications of multiple breeds in even a 'purebred' dog.
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  #19  
Old 03-25-2012, 09:03 PM
Long Time First Time Long Time First Time is offline
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For some reason, just about all the DNA tests for mutts I've seen trace back to Bernese Mountain Dogs. A fairly rare breed, but probably one that has a respresentative mix of European dog genes.
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