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Animal Anecdote

The Stereotyping we Endured When we Got Our Pitbull Puppy

“I hope you know how to train her!”

Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

My husband and I had wanted a dog for years when we finally decided to pull the trigger and get our puppy, Poppy. She is half American Bully and as you can guess.. half Pitbull. She is either an immense ball of energy, or she sleeps all day, as a normal puppy would and should be.

But, unlike other puppies, 2 months in and we are already getting the unwanted flack when we walk her down our neighbourhood on the daily.

Sure, we get the “oh she's adorable!” and the lovely comments such as that. But, more often than not, unwarranted comments are coming in hot our way.

Poppy is now four months old and about 30 pounds. She is your average puppy: hyper, loveable and loves to nip shoes and any expensive apple charger that you accidentally leave laying around the house.

She is one of the snuggliest dogs I have ever met. Essentially, the girl won't nap if she isn’t on my husband or me and has taken to sleeping in our bed like a human on the pillows with us.

That one I take full responsibility for.

I love her unconditionally, I now cannot imagine having children, my heart may just implode. She is loving, entertaining, annoying at times and I genuinely look forward to spending time with her every day.

But, her appearance is both my favorite and least favorite thing about her.

When Poppy and I walk down the street, it doesn't matter what time of day or who we come across, we always get at least one snap of a comment that just rubs me the wrong way.

“Oh, she looks like she's going to be a rough one!”

“Make sure you know what you’re doing with her!”

“What are you going to do when she's older!?”

and my personal favorite,

“Oh goodness, I hope she never hurts anyone!”

Photo by Sara Becker, Author. (“Mum, no more writing!”)

Poppy is a baby, literally and figuratively. She wouldn’t hurt a soul. The fact that the way she looks leads others to believe that they can make comments about her just really grinds my gears.

Do people genuinely think that the middle-class average-joe married couple down the road are trying to breed a killer?

My husband and I are signing her up for puppy training classes for when she is six months old, and I bet you she’ll do great. The little girl can sit, stay and shake a paw so far. She may need a little work on the jumping up and sock stealing, but we’ll get there.

Pitbulls are known as “killers” and “aggressive.” When in actuality the breed is one of the most loyal and family-orientated dogs there are. If socialization and training are done properly by the owners/family, then there should not be a worry as to this, “genetic disposition of terror.”

Pitbulls have a lot of stereotypes attached to them, people love to pay attention to the myths.

Myth #1 Pitbulls are more likely to bite than any other breed

Actually, Pitbulls, “have passed the American Temperament Test Society tests, including aggressiveness, protectiveness, and friendliness. Their scores were even higher than Golden Retrievers and Collies in 2012” (Roy, Chris., 2018).

Myth #2 Pitbulls are the most likely breed to attack

The actual breed classification of Pit Bulls is an umbrella to over 20 different breeds. There is NO statistical evidence that states that this myth is true. In actuality, there is, “recent incident data shows that over 47 different breeds have been involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S. since only 2016, ​confirming that serious dog bite-related incidents are not a breed-specific issue while also validating the importance of comprehensive breed-neutral regulations for public safety.” (PitBullInfo, 2017).

Myth #3 Pitbulls have a negative temperament and are difficult to train

According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) stats, “the breeds that are commonly classified as the modern pitbull-type breeds continue to achieve excellent temperament scores — scoring in the top 23% of all breeds and higher than 100 of the 130 breeds tested.” (PitBullInfo, 2017).

Myth #4 Pitbulls are not good family dogs to have

I have to pull out of my own pocket here before I get into the research. I know plenty of families that own Pitbulls and have never had issues with their family pets in the past. The only problem that seems to occur is the stereotypes that arise around their furry family member.

Not only do pitbull-type dogs consistently achieve excellent temperament scores, they are successful as service dogs, therapy dogs, K9 police dogs, and as family pets. (PitBullInfo, 2017).

Photo By Author

So, the next time that you see a family or person walking down the street with what you assume must be a Pitbull (and hey, you’re probably right!) just smile and comment on the cuteness. We don’t want our four-legged friends to be ashamed of the way that they look.

PS. As I write this, Poppy is asleep on my lap, farting away like a normal puppy. She is as kind, she is as beautiful as she is smelly.

Sources:

Roy, C.(2018, October 27). Pit Bulls are More Than Their Stereotypes. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.animalrescueprofessionals.org/general-blog/pit-bulls-stereotypes/

PitBullInfo, (2017). Pit Bulls — Myths & Facts. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.pitbullinfo.org/pit-bulls-myths-and-facts.html

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Exploring animal welfare, animal care, and the human-animal bond.

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Sara Becker

Sara Becker

Anesthesia, Weekend Beers, UC... That sums me up, now I’ll write about anything. Writer for You, Me & My Dog. https://www.buymeacoffee.com/sarabecker

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