Social Question

stemnyjones's avatar

Bully breeds living with babies/children?

Asked by stemnyjones (3969points) February 15th, 2010

I’ve had pitbulls before, so I know from experience that, if they are raised right and don’t have fighting bloodlines, they are the gentlest, sweetest, most loyal breed that there is. In fact, right now I’m looking to add a companion to my little family, including a 4 month old baby, and I’m looking for an adult AmStaff/pitbull whose been proven good around kids to adopt.

But I’m wondering how you feel on the subject.. just for the debate aspect of it. ;)

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33 Answers

rangerr's avatar

This is going end up being a debate about why people hate pitbulls.
Pits make AMAZING companion dogs, and will be very protective of the kids they live with.
Thank you for not being an idiot and understand how gentle they are.

stemnyjones's avatar

@rangerr Ignorance usually comes with fear of something unknown. Having owned many pits, I have had the experience to know of their kind nature.

My last pit was scared of shopping carts – she would creep around them with her tail between her legs. She was far from aggressive.

Likeradar's avatar

I wouldn’t do it. I know there are plenty of people who have pitts and find them to be wonderful, gentle, loving companions. But I’ve heard too many horror stories about those great pets turning one day, out of the blue. You just don’t hear that nearly as much about mutts or labs or other types of dogs. It may be because a pitt attack makes flashy news, but I wouldn’t take the risk.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Never leave any large dog alone with a small child.
The risk just isn’t worth it, no matter how small we think it is.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Likeradar Honestly, all large breeds of dog are capable of turning, out of the blue, if they are startled enough or feel threatened suddenly. Pitbulls make it to the news because of their bad rep.

@Captain_Fantasy I never do leave my baby around ANY animal unsupervised – even cats.

rangerr's avatar

All dogs have the same chance/occurances of snapping at a child.
You don’t hear about it because they aren’t a “dangerous” breed.

Judi's avatar

I just wouldn’t take the chance. If the kid pulled their ear wrong or something and ended up getting hurt I would never forgive myself.
I know they can be gentle, but it’s kind of like car seats. I drive safe and never plan on getting in an accident. I still put my grand kids in the car seat because of the slight chance that something might happen.
I keep them away from even nice pit bulls just in case they encounter them on that one off day.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Judi Do you keep them away from other dog breeds, as well?

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t believe any breed is ‘bad’ but I would never leave a child who can’t walk or talk alone in a room with a pet.

Likeradar's avatar

@stemnyjones I’m not saying you’re wrong, and I definitley recognize that I’m buying a stereotype that may or may not be true, but how did they get that bad rep in the first place? Why pitts and not retrievers or some other breed?

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I had 4 Dobermans growing up. None of them ever snapped at me and I used to dress them up, ride them, pull their tail, etc. At night they would come into my room and sleep next to my crib, protecting me.

There is no such thing as a bad dog. Just bad people who breed/treat them badly.

augustlan's avatar

Here’s my thinking… while any animal is capable of turning on a child, a chihuahua (or any small dog) is not nearly as likely as a pit bull (or any large/strong dog) to kill a child. That’s the difference.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Likeradar Because people chose pitbulls to train to fight eachother, rather than retrievers or some other breed. But retrievers could be just as easily taught to fight eachother, if put in the same conditions that fighting pits are put in.

But if you get one from a responsible breeder, you don’t have to worry about that.

stemnyjones's avatar

@augustlan You’re right that a large breed is more likely to kill a child than a chihuahua, but chihuahuas are actually not recommended for families with children. Not only are they more high-strung and hyperactive than pits, which means they are more likely to nip and bite at them, but they are more likely to make a non-lethal injury to a child than a large breed is.

Judi's avatar

I don’t leave my grand kids alone with my Queensland/ Sheltie mix. If they lived with me I probably wouldn’t have a dog at all until they were older.

suncatnin's avatar

@stemnyjones Not only is there danger to the child with a Chihuahua, there is also the danger to the dog that comes with combining small dogs with small children. Seven or eight years ago, my friend’s family got a dachshund puppy when her youngest sister was 5 or 6 and the child picked the puppy up and dropped it off the deck, breaking its leg in the process.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Judi Just so you are aware that the danger level depends on the dog itself, not the breed:

Jack Russel Terrier
Pitbull

augustlan's avatar

@stemnyjones I totally get your point, and I wouldn’t own any dog breed that’s not good with children in the first place. Once that criteria had been met, though, I’d pick the smallest (or the one with the weakest bite?) one on the list. I honestly don’t know much about dogs at all, just making a general observation.

Darwin's avatar

First a disclaimer: I have a 70-pound pitbull and I have a 120-pound American Bulldog. I love them dearly, and they love and obey me in return, but I spend a lot of time with them to remind them how to behave and communicate to them what I want them to do. They very much want to please me and protect me, but since they don’t speak English, I need to figure out how to communicate the rules of our pack to them. I have had to spend extra effort to make sure they know that they cannot push my kids around (who are adult-sized teenagers) and that commands mean the same whether uttered by me or by the kids. I also have had to spend a lot of time with m kids so they learn how to communicate with dogs.

Pit bulls tend to be muscular and active dogs. If you fail to train them properly they can do a great deal of damage to a small person simply out of a combination of exuberance and lack of knowledge of children as being more fragile than adults. In addition, because kids are small, any dog needs extra training to be certain it understands that the child is an extension of the adults, aka the pack leaders, and not rivals to be put in their places.

Consider how irritating a badly trained chihuahua is and what damage it can cause. Then put a large, active dog breed into the same household and a tragedy can easily result. In any case, the family dog should never be left alone with a small child, ever. Far too many people are themselves untrained in training dogs and they end up with badly behaved animals as a result. Those are the dogs that can be walking time bombs.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have a bully breed who adores everyone and fully expects everyone to adore her back. She’s a bit boisterous and doesn’t know her own strength at times so, in that sense, I have to watch her around children so that she doesn’t knock them clean off their feet but she is certainly not aggressive. I trust her far more than I trust my cantakerous little Jack Russell Terrier with children.

I am a strong believer in ”Blame the deed NOT the breed” and I love Bull Terriers. Like with any dog, when raised well and providing there are no health problems, they can make fantastic family pets. I also strongly believe in teaching kids how to behave around animals and that they must treat the animal with respect. If you have a well raised dog and a kid that is respectful towards the dog (ie: not pulling the dogs tail or ears which is something I see kids doing regularly without parents telling them that it is wrong and very unfair on the dog, I wonder how they can blame a dog for snapping when they are having their ears pulled by a kid) then you should be fine.

@Likeradar A lot of the reason you don’t hear so much about other breeds of dog being involved in agressive attacks is because it doesn’t cause so much of an uproar. I have heard of a case where a Lab cross breed attacked a child and the news claimed it was a “bull terrier type breed”. The only reason why I knew it was a Lab cross was because my Aunt, who works with dogs, knew the family. The attack was also provoked by the kid sticking a crayon up the dogs nose but the news didn’t mention that either.

avengerscion's avatar

I have a lab/pit mix. He is extremely aggressive towards other animals, but he’s like a sibling to our toddler. She antagonizes him to chase her and thinks it’s hilarious. She steps on him, crawls over him, falls on him – nothing bothers him when it comes to her.

Darwin's avatar

Somewhere I read that the dog most often involved in biting incidents or attacks on family members is the Labrador Retriever.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Darwin I wouldn’t be surprised, my Lab bit me 3 or 4 times (And gave me some nasty scars). But he was also very abused before we adopted him.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Darwin Most of the vets I know say that they have been bitten by Labradors and Cocker Soaniels more so than any other breeds.

suncatnin's avatar

When I worked in an animal shelter, I used to say give me a pit bull over a Chihuahua or a Cocker any day of the week! Cockers tend to be in poor moods because they are so prone to health problems (which can make dogs and anyone rather grumpy) and then Chihuahuas and some of the other small breed dogs are just always so nervous (well, we are a lot bigger than they are).

stemnyjones's avatar

@Darwin I agree with you 100%. Someone who is going to own a pitbull or other bully breed needs to be aware that they tend to be hard-headed, and some of them will press their luck now and again to test your authority. Like I mentioned, I’ve had pits before – if I didn’t have the time or patience for one right now, I wouldn’t be looking for one, especially with a baby – but I’m a stay at home mom and could use the company and exercise that comes along with a dog.

BTW, I’m going meet this girl tomorrow. She was found on the street, nearly starved, fur falling out from stress, and heartworm pos. She’s now living with a foster family of 4 kids and 1 baby. She looks more like a boston terrier mix to me than anything else, but she’s great with kids and already housebroken, so I think she’s a perfect fit for us, pitbull or not.

Any name ideas?

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@stemnyjones omfg shes so adorable.
hmm names: Maddox, Maxine, Mieko, Monroe, Rider, Rylee, Roxanne… M and R stuck out for me

suncatnin's avatar

@stemnyjones I say don’t go with Roxy, but that’s because it’s the name my dog came with, and it seems like every other female dog at the dog park had the same name! Get to know her a bit…though if I had gotten to know Roxy better first, her name would have just been Trouble.

Silhouette's avatar

The sweetest baby friendly dog in my pack is a bully breed. He adores kids and he turns to mush around them.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@suncatnin I know that feeling, we once had a dog called Chaos because we got to know him before we named him!!!

@stemnyjones You got it right when you said that bully breed are hard headed but not just in the mental sense. My Staffy and I banged heads whilst playing the other day and she nearly knocked me out!!!!

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Leanne1986 my lab (american with a rock hard square head) used to smack me in the face/chin all the damn time. i swear he gave me a concussion more than once

stemnyjones's avatar

So we went visit the dog, and we really liked her – all she did was want to lick my baby, then ran away to do her own thing, which is exactly what I was looking for: a dog who was friendly towards the baby, but mostly just ignored her.

I spoke to her vet, who said it will be $350 for her heartworm treatment – so I’m gonna see how much I’m getting with my income tax to make sure we can afford it before I make a commitment.

But she’s so sweet, I can’t wait to take her home!

Darwin's avatar

@stemnyjones – She is indeed adorable. BTW heartworm treatment for the last HW+ dog I adopted ran $600, so you are getting a bargain.

She looks like a Rosie to me.

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