Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it hypocritical for a staunch defender of pit bulls to call another breed "inherently mean"?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36366points) May 18th, 2014

A fb friend consistently defends pit bulls, saying they’re only as mean as their owners make them.
I shared the video of the cat saving that kid from a dog attack, and she made a comment that if it had been a pit they would have mentioned the breed in the article. I did a little research and found that it was a lab/chow mix.
She responded with “Well that explains it. Chows are inherently mean.”
Kind of left me scratching my head.

P.S. I don’t care for pits or chows, either one. Every other breed I take them as individually as they come.

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36 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Yes, it is.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Uh, yeah.

I don’t believe any dog is “inherently mean,” and it’s all about how the dog is raised and trained. However, I think some breeds are more prone to aggression if not trained appropriately. The pit bull is one of those breeds. I don’t know enough about chows to comment on them. I know some really sweet pits, but they didn’t get their reputation for nothing. Any dog can be mean, though.

GloPro's avatar

I believe Chows are inherently prone to biting. Dogs are chosen for specific tasks because of certain breed characteristics. Border Collies are natural herders, for example. So there are dogs that are known to be more inclined to bite, and others that would let you shove your whole arm down their throats.

canidmajor's avatar

No, it’s not. It would only be hypocritical if she had stated that she believes that all dogs are ”…only as mean as their owners make them.” Since she specified pit bulls, her statement is not hypocritical.

Berserker's avatar

No idea. If you look up lists online though, like ’‘10 meanest dogs’’, both chows and pits show up often. Not sure I’d use online lists to back up facts much though.
As mentioned, perhaps some breeds are more predisposed to aggression than others or…really I don’t know. A pit bull causes a lot of damage when attacking, a lot more so than most other dogs, so maybe that’s why they always get in the spotlight, but maybe that doesn’t mean they attack people more than any other dog. (although one must consider what the history of the pit bull is to begin with…)
For sure though, a lot of what a dog becomes depends on how it’s raised. Obviously some dogs demand greater care than others…for example if you have a husky, be prepared to give it walks and exercise every day. If you don’t, all that energy gets pent up and he becomes uncooperative and destructive in attempting to unleash the energy.
I think that what there is to know behind dog breeds is a lot more complicated than just comparing one breed to another and calling it a day. Not sure if it’s hypocritical of her to say that, but she probably has a bit of homework to do. As do I, not saying I know more than her, although I tried to make that as evident as possible.

ucme's avatar

She’s clearly thick as shite

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have a German Shepherd. The guy who bought her originally bought her to be an attack/guard dog. Well, she refused to become aggressive and “mean,” and he did a lot of awful shit to her. She was supposed to bark and scream when people came into his shop. Instead she’d walk up to them and lick their hand with her tail waving.
Case in point, you also have individual personalities to deal with.
HOWEVER, she could, and has, on two occasions, whipped the shit out of other dogs who threatened her “family,” be it us or our other pets.

I’ve heard of more personal horror stories involving chows than I have pits. By “personal,” I mean stories from people I know personally who’ve dealt with aggressive Chows.

Coloma's avatar

All dogs were bred with a purpose in mind, be that hunting, gaurding, companionship, herding, etc.
Pit Bulls were fighting dogs, bull baiting dogs and are tenacious by nature, even if loving. It depends on BOTH, the dogs breeding, temperament of the parents, and human handling.
The nastiest dogs I have even known, and been bitten by were a Weiner dog, a Doberman a German shepherd, a Cocker spaniel and my own hound dog years ago.

ANY dog can bite, and within every breed are bad seeds, that can lend themselves to a bad reputation.
I had a 96 lb. hunting hound years ago, as a pet only. The large breeds of hounds are known for being loveable, if not boneheaded. This dog was raised with nothing but kindness, love, had professional training and he was just naturally aggressive and unpredictable inspite of a loving family and solid socializing as a pup.

Even with the knowledge and the best of researching a breed, dogs can go bad all on their own. Nature/nurture, as always.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Little dogs are by far THE most aggressive. But they’re little so…..

bolwerk's avatar

Dogs instinctively eat your face (warning: German research graphic) after you die. They can be nice, loyal pets but they probably always require due diligence around children and stuff like that. I’m sure there are slight differences in aggressive tendencies and capabilities between breeds, but universally dogs are carnivores that evolved to be good killers. Domestic cats are too, but they’re too small to really see a human being as prey.

My guess is the dog in that cat video could easily have been freaked by the sound the tricycle was making it or something.

GloPro's avatar

^^^ A friend of mine committed suicide and no one found her for two weeks. The dogs were barely alive and had not touched her body.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I’ve heard of more personal horror stories involving chows than I have pits. By “personal,” I mean stories from people I know personally who’ve dealt with aggressive Chows.”

Same here. Chows are unpredictable, and it doesn’t seem to matter what environment they are raised in. I think there’s something in them that reacts violently to sudden movements or something.

But the dog in the video didn’t act that way – instead it was stalking the child. I wouldn’t say that’s typical of bad chow encounters.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t care for Dobermans at all. I was bitten by a family friends Doberman on the face at age 11, just minding my own business when the monster dog named ” Apache” walked over to me and when I reached out to touch him he snapped at my face, slashing a half moon circle under my right eye. I was VERY lucky, and years later you can’t even see the scar. I was so traumatized.
Dobermans especially, creepy, expressionless faces. Like a dog with a face lift, just staring with those beady little almond shaped eyes. haha

wildpotato's avatar

My Molly is a Lab/Chow. I think every single person who has met her has said at one point that she is the best dog they have ever known. I am incredibly lucky to have her as my dog. One of her old friends, Chomsky, is also a lab/chow and is also quite sweet and smart. And my landlady’s Chows are fantastic, calm, well-adjusted dogs.

Personal anecdotes aside, the entire conversation is asinine. Pits, Chows, huskies, GSDs, dobies – they have bad names because at one point they are or were popular dogs. More dogs of one breed in existence means that by number, dog attacks by that breed will rise – but not by percentage. Want to know the dog breed that bites more often than any other? Cocker spaniel. You don’t hear about cocker spaniel attacks because cockers are far less common than pits or Chows or those other breeds, and because their bite does less damage.

Coloma's avatar

@wildpotato I agree, to a degree. In the 70’s Irish Setters were super popular and there was a glut of unstable setters out there. Setters can be really high strung and weird dogs.
Same with Dobermans, they were very popular in the 70’s. More saturated bad breeding. Dalmations are another breed that were over produced and can be very weird dogs.
Breed a mean dog to a stupid dog get mean and stupid dogs. haha

dappled_leaves's avatar

@wildpotato Yes, my sister said the same until their chow nearly bit her 10-year old daughter’s face off.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You got it right in your little p.s. @Dutchess_III Every other breed I take them as individually as they come.

I think that’s the only reality here. I have played with a pit bull who was not trained to be vicious and she was just a darling. P.S. Yes, it is hypocritical what this lady said to you.

@Coloma I was walking down the street one fine Spring day when I saw a Doberman Pincher run out of a house ahead of me, onto the sidewalk and then bounded up the street my way. OMG! Nowhere to run, as soon as it neared me I went into a defensive position (right leg wrapped around my left leg protecting the family jewels, arms wrapped around my torso and face).

So, when nothing happened and I was still alive I peeked out from behind my hands. Thjere was this great big dangerous deadly Doberman sitting up looking at me, apparently waiting for me to pet him.

No, I did not pet him, but I always will remember him, fondly!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@dappled_leaves Holy crap. Is the kid OK?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III She’s now all grown up, but she still carries the scar. It’s impressive.

ragingloli's avatar

One of the reasons I hate dogs.
Cats forever!

Dutchess_III's avatar

When my daughter was about 3 we were out taking a walk. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this German Shepherd appeared, barked right in her face, then ran back to the porch whence he came. Not sure what that was all about (I think he was doing it just for fun,) but thank God he didn’t physically attack her.

Is she scared of dogs @DappledLeaves?

wildpotato's avatar

Extra anectode: one time an almost-walking toddler at the park made her way over to Molly and then did the almost-falling-grabbing-onto-something-for-support move – and the something happened to be Molly’s snout and whiskers. The dad gasped in horror as my dog opened her mouth…and licked the baby thoroughly.

What I don’t understand is why kids aren’t taught how to fend off dog attacks. It happens to most people at some point, yes? We were taught in elementary school in Colorado what to do in case of a cougar encounter, and those lessons have served me well in fending off the three dog attacks I’ve experienced. And it’s not like I’m a large person, either – in fact at 5’ and 100 lbs I am pretty tiny. Why not tell kids: it’s just a dog; you are the boss of it. Act like it – make yourself big, yell at it and don’t run, punch it in the face.

GloPro's avatar

It doesn’t surprise me that Cockers are the highest %. I have always been wary of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We had a dog that was half Cocker. When the kids got put in time out she’d go sit with them and look at me with her sad, sad eyes, accusing me of being mean. They’d cry into her fur.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@wildpotato You’re right. I can’t imagine why one sort of anecdote makes us sit up and take notice more than the other. That dog licked her plenty of times, too. They were great friends.

And good grief. Nice victim-blaming there. She was ten.

@Dutchess_III Yes, she’ll never have another dog.

wildpotato's avatar

^^ No need to be snippy or accusative. I was still typing and hadn’t read your comment yet. It was not a response to your comment. But our two opppsing anecdotes kind of reinforce my point, actually – dogs are individuals and it’s ridiculous to make generalizations about their potential for violence based on breed.

ragingloli's avatar

dogs are food

Dutchess_III's avatar

@wildpotato I see her point. You seemed to suggest it should be easy for a little kid to ward off a dog attack. Well, you can teach them all that cool stuff, and if they have some warning that the dog is about to attack it may be somewhat effective. But sometimes dogs attack with NO warning, as in @dappled_leaves‘s friend’s case.

longgone's avatar


@wildpotato “Why not tell kids: it’s just a dog; you are the boss of it. Act like it – make yourself big, yell at it and don’t run, punch it in the face.”

I would never tell a kid to try and fight a dog. They have razor blades in their mouths and will easily outdo any child in terms of speed. Not nearly all dog aggression is status-seeking, as you seem to imply. Many bites occur when dogs perceive something as a threat. Parents would be better advised to teach their children about canine body language, as well as preventing dangerous situations. As in, any interaction between dogs and small children that isn’t supervised.

Coloma's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Eeee….reminds me of the time, I had almost forgotten, when 2 freaking slavering Rottweilers charged me on a rural road I was walking. I had about 5 seconds to scan the zone, no trees I would be able to climb, no sticks to grab, just a dirt road and fields and little pebbles. haha The owner came out and screamed at them, called them off. I swear, I thought I was going to have a fucking heart attack. lol

cheebdragon's avatar

My son was attacked by a lab/chow when he was a toddler. He (the dog) was around 3 months old when we adopted him, he had been found wandering down some train tracks and he had a cat-tail (one of those weed sticker things that get stuck to your sock and stab you), anyways he had one lodged in the back of his mouth and was infected, it had to be surgically removed before we could adopt him. He was always a good dog and never displayed signs of aggression in his first 3 years with us. When I was pregnant with my son the dog started acting different, there were a few times when I went to let him out out of his kennel in the morning and he would quietly growl at me when I was by myself. It was so out of character for him that no one really believed me when I mentioned it, but eventually the growl got more aggressive as my pregnancy progressed and I started making other people open his kennel for me. After my son was born the growling stopped until my son started walking, since he was an outside dog for the most part, there wasn’t much interaction between the dog and I during that time, but I remember my son walking up to the sliding glass door and the dog started growling at him from the other side and my boyfriend was finally able to witness it, we tried to explain it to my mom but because it was so different than how he acted around her, she just didn’t understand until the day he attacked. My mom was playing with my son outside while I was in the shower and the dog was perfectly fine rolling around on his back until my son stood up right next to him and the dog jumped up and bit his cheek, thank god my mom was right next to them and was able to stop him immediately, but my son still had to get a few stitches to avoid scarring and you cant even see any marks today unless you know exactly where to look. The hospital had to report the bite so animal control had to take him for quarantine and behavior testing (standard bite procedure) and depending on his results he would be euthanized or adopted out into a better suited environment (one without kids). We could have gotten him back since it was unlikely he had rabies but we were afraid it could happen again and we couldn’t take the chance.

(Sorry for the massive amounts of errors in that huge paragraph, I’m on my phone and it feels like a hassle to fix)

Dutchess_III's avatar

We had a lab-shepherd once, when the kids were little. He was mistreated by the people we got him from. He was left in a small pen all day. Sometimes they’d turn the hose on him for fun. He was always tetchy and I was uncertain of him….until the day I told him to get off the couch and go outside. He didn’t move, so I went to haul him physically off the couch and he snapped at me. Without even thinking I slapped that dog so hard my hand went numb. Told him to get off the couch again, and he did. On his way out the door he snapped at me again. I called animal control right then and there.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess lll I had a similar experience years ago with my 5 yr. old hound.
We had him euthanized after he bit my ex BIL and then me, on the hand, I needed 10 stitches to close the would. No way was I going to ignore that. My daughter was about 5–6 at the time and just starting to have friends over.

As much as it broke my heart, there was no way I was going to keep an unpredictable dog around children, my own or anyone elses. That dogs face was level with the average 5 year olds. Could you imagine the horror had he ripped some childs face off?
We choose euthanasia because I could not give him away in good conscience to anyone.

It was tragic and I was devastated but at least I didn’t A. pass the problem on that could have resulted in a worse bite to someone else, or B. ignored his behavior and had him maim my own child or a friends child or me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(There are those who would suggest you should put your kids up for adoption rather than euthanize the dog!)

Coloma's avatar

I’ll never forget watching my ex husband drive off with my dog to take him to be put down. He was a beautiful animal, but it had to be done. I told everyone I felt like the mother of a serial killer. “I did everything for you and you turned out evil.” haha :-(
I freaking did too!

I had him in puppy classes by 12 weeks old, took him everywhere for socializing purposes with people and other dogs. Never abused him in any way. Kept him in training til he was over 6 months old. Worked with him at home for hours on all the basic obedience, he slept in the house by the fire on a comfy bed, had daily exercise, man…what the hell else could I have done?

He was just mentally off, a bad seed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yep. And Dakota is just the opposite. You couldn’t train her to be mean even if you tried….and boy, did her original owner try.

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