Why Do We Call Them ‘Pit Bull Type Dogs’? 35

We use the term ‘pit bull type dog’ because that is biologically the most accurate term. In order to understand this, you have to look at the biological history of the present day pit bull type dogs. Their history is twofold.

bullpit1-300x198The bulldog: The bull-baiting, bear-baiting, horse-shredding ‘bulldog’ has existed at least since the reign of Richard III in England (1452 – 1485), when watching ‘bulldogs’ slowly torture bulls, bears, horses and other animals to death was considered normal public entertainment. These dogs were also used to hunt wild boar, not only tracking the boar but engaging directly in killing it, and in dogfighting matches where they were pitted against each other in fights to the death. There were no breed clubs to give these dogs fancy names — they were called simply ‘bulldogs’. The term ‘pit bull’ was an American variation on the same theme, referring to any of the pit fighting bulldog types.

Until the late 19th century, the only pedigree that mattered for any bulldog was its fighting pedigree – the list of kills it had committed on some other bulldog in the fighting pit. It wasn’t until early in the 20th century, as dogfighting declined, that the breeders of these dogs sought other ways to sell them. They turned to the new kennel clubs, which had been established to cater to the upper class hobby of breeding dogs for shows. After much lobbying, the 1930s saw the registration and re-branding of the pit fighting bulldogs by various kennel clubs, always with a name intended to hide the type’s bloody history (eg, changing this molosser’s name from bulldog to ‘Staffordshire terrier’). Since that first deception, many new breed clubs have arisen, dedicated to producing slight physical variation in the fighting bulldog so as to claim a new pit bull type ‘breed’ all their own (eg, American Bully, Pit Bull XXL, Olde English Bulldogge, American Bulldog).

All of these dogs in fact come from the same limited gene pool, all of them retaining both the physical and the behavioral traits that have always typified the fighting bulldog. Pasting a new ‘breed’ label on yet another slight variation of the pit fighting bulldog does not change this fact.

The war dog: The Romans had left a legacy behind in Southern and Eastern Europe of their Roman slave-shredding war dogs. What we now call ‘mastiffs’ are probably distantly related to these war dogs the Romans had kept, many of them meanwhile developed into regional variations of the original biological population.

In the period when Richard III was watching his bulldogs shred large animals to death, Europeans were starting to discover and colonize the globe. They transported their ‘mastiff’ dogs, many of which were already mixed with fighting bulldogs, to newly discovered territories to conquer, cow, terrorize and sometimes even eradicate native human populations for the sake of colonization. Tired remnants of these war dogs remained in these countries long after the colonial period ended, mostly chained in yards or on farms as guard dogs. In places where dogfighting was popular, many of them were again mixed with fighting bulldogs, creating local variations that were named for wherever the mix had been made (eg, the Cordoba fighting dog).


The arms race

Most lately we’ve seen a modern arms race in circles that favor this type of inherently dangerous dog, leading to the mixing of ever more local mastiff types with fighting bulldog / pit bull types. The fans of the new mix then apply to kennel clubs to have their own pit bull – mastiff mix recognized as a new ‘breed’. It’s this arms race, with its greed for cash, that has given us the many pit bull mixes people are now pretending are a separate mastiff ‘breed’: the ‘Cane Corso’, ‘Dogo Argentino’, ‘Dogue de Bordeaux’, ‘Bullmastiff’, to name a few.

The instant a kennel club dispenses a new official name for such a mix, the mix’s fans start to claim that their ‘breed’ is distinct. Suddenly the newest pit fighting bulldog – mastiff mix is a ‘breed’ that has nothing to do with any other pit bull, mastiff, or pit bull – mastiff mix, as if the new mix’s genes materialized out of thin air.

In fact, these pit bull – mastiff mixes are pit bull type dogs, no less than any other backyard-bred pit bull mix.


pit bull 3Why not just call them pit bulls?

We, dogfighters, and the law used to. Even the fur-mommy pit bull fans did. When the first laws were introduced to restrict or ban the ‘pit bull’, its fur-mommy fans were alarmed. They suddenly appeared everywhere to explain to us: “You can’t ban pit bulls, because it’s not a breed but a type of dog.” As deaths by this type of dog continued to mount, wise lawmakers listened to the fur-mommies’ wisdom – laws began to specify that restrictions applied to various ‘breeds’ that were of the pit bull type. The laws included all dogs (regardless of breed labels or mixed background) that displayed the main characteristics of this type of dog, and they include any mixes thereof. The American courts have also repeatedly taken this same position.

Most of the public understands nowadays that the distinction between the various fighting bulldog ‘breeds’ are a fiction, and that they are all included when we say ‘pit bull’. There is still some confusion about the pit bull – mastiff mixes. This is likely partly because they are so much larger than what people generally think of as a pit bull, and partly because of the invented ‘breed’ names that suggest these mixes are some local invention, unmixed with anything outside their area of origin. This is a fiction – the common thread that runs through all of these ‘mastiff’ types is the mixing of already inherently aggressive local mastiffs with fighting bulldog types.

All of these dogs come from juggling with the same narrow gene pool. In the end, they are all descended from dog types that were used either to maul bears, cattle and humans to death for entertainment, as well as to eradicate native populations in various colonies, and/or from pit fighting bulldogs that were mostly only pitted against each other and wild boar. They are a result of centuries of human selection for abnormally disinhibited behavior, a specific tenacious and deadly bite, grip and shear attack pattern, and the physical characteristics to make defense against an attack almost impossible.

They are all of them genetically and behaviorally closely related, all of them pit bull type dogs.

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35 thoughts on “Why Do We Call Them ‘Pit Bull Type Dogs’?

  • Colleen Clarke

    I cried when I read about your son’s death and what you and your wife have had to suffer. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for providing this information . I used to believe the myth. Some of the responses you receive from pit bull advocates are appalling.

  • T. Kruse

    The ‘Daxton’s Friends’ page has presented information outlining concerns of owning a pit bull. Why didn’t Daxton’s mother seek that same information prior to making her decision to choose a pit bull ? Especially when there is sufficient controversy about safety when choosing that breed as a family pet. She made a gross error in judgement by not doing her homework. Instead of assigning blame on Tia, the dog or even the mother– acknowledged that sometimes really awful things happen in this life and hate adds insult to injury.
    I am not against pit bulls but I do know that you have to make responsible choices when you choose a powerful breed as a pet.

    • Sarah

      Daxton was killed by his babysitter’s two pet pitbulls, who were raised from birth. Unfortunately, Susan (the babysitter) believed the propaganda, as many other people had, that lead her to believe it was how the dogs were raised that mattered. It was a fatal mistake and should serve as warning the dangers of unchecked pitbull propaganda.

      There is a lot of silencing and harassing that happens to victims, families, and advocates for speaking out about pitbulls. Even though the information is out there, it’s often buried and covered with the massive amount of feel-good social media videos of pits in flower crowns and the disgusting amount of parents willingly laying their infant on their pits to show how safe those dogs are. But they aren’t safe, and there aren’t enough people willing to be honest about that. I still hear the nanny dog myth from friends anytime I mention thinking about getting a dog. I’ve lost friends because I didn’t want my toddler playing with their pitbull and somehow that makes me the bad guy (not the stupid pit owners who would rather me serve up my son on a platter of pit advocacy for their instagram). Pit advocates are praised for pushing a pro-pit agenda while victims, victims advocates, and realists are demonized for “bullying” pitbulls with things like facts, genetics, and victims voices.

      Until the zeitgeist moves to reason, scientific understanding, and putting priority on the well being of humans instead of the feel-good pit mush, it’s going to be a uphill battle for those on the side of victims. Until more people are willing to put themselves out their and openly support BSL, victims, and the truth, people are going to end up buying into the dangerous myths that get children killed.

      Placing the blame on a victim and his family doesn’t help anything except the propaganda machine. Especially when you don’t even know Daxton’s story. It’s gross and dispicable.

  • John

    You turned off the ability to reply so I will do so here. I will put aside your conspiracy theories that dog professionals only focus on keeping their “60 Billion Dollar a year” business afloat.

    Instead, I will comment on your sources. Blogs are not recognized sources. Neither are media pages. You citing DBO as a source is like citing a Facebook post as fact. Simply put, your “facts” and “citations” would hold zero weight in the business world, and would be lambasted in the educational world.

    While I do appreciate you trying to help me find sources for my research, you did not provide anything substantial that I could use.

    • Daxtons Friends Post author

      Good Lord. What else do you need?

      When all major U.S. geographical regions are reporting similar results, as they are now, this sends a much stronger message to public health officials and legislators.

      Level 1 Trauma Studies Table

      There are at least 10 peer-reviewed studies published in medical science journals since 2009 that show a higher frequency of pit bull injuries than all other breeds of dogs in retrospective reviews of level I trauma centers. As of 2016, all major geographical regions in the U.S. are reporting these same findings as well: northwest, west, southwest, south, southeast, midwest and northeast. Since 2011 these medical studies have more closely scrutinized pit bull injuries as well.

      Read more: https://blog.dogsbite.org/2016/10/report-level-1-trauma-dog-bite-studies-pitbull-highest-prevalence.html?m=1



    • Nick

      Oh wow ! What a low level comment .
      Tyson , why do you think different breeds of dogs were created ?
      Please explain why a Labrador can not ever win a Greyhound race if it is only a matter of the dogs environment ! Lol

    • Andy Mookah

      You are clearly an idiot! Have you not seen a heading dog heard and coral anything and everything they can without any training from the owners. Furthermore the same dog that has never even seen a sheep or a goat……. Or a bird hunting dog kill or obsess over a bird. Or a pointing dog that’s never been trained to point, that at 6-8 weeks of life point at birds through a window of your house in the middle of a city. The specific breeding that created these animals took, sometimes hundreds of years of selective breeding to achieve. Amazing accomplishments! These behaviors are in their DNA just like downs syndrome, or blue eyes. The same thing happens with groups of dogs that live together. They pack up and hunt together just like their ancestors in the wild it happens in major cities all the time. You don’t recall the children in the inner cities of Milwaukee and Chicago being mailed by packs of dogs on the bus stop for school. These were dogs 1000’s of generations away from wolves! They are animals not humans they do not love, empathize, nor do they feel remorse. Instinct is real! Have you never heard the saying “like father, like son”. Why do I laugh like my mom, or have the same nose, or the same emotional dispositions.

  • Heather

    I am pitbull owner and lover that actually wants to thank you for trying to educate people on this breed. It disgusts and embarrasses me as a pitbull owner to see the horrible comments people leave you after the unthinkable tragedy that you and your family has endured. It is my hope that many people will read this site before they decide to purchase or adopt this or any breed of dog. I have been working with dogs of all breeds for about 15 years now in rescue, shelters, dog daycares, kennels, and vet offices. I don’t claim to be an expert but do have much more training, education, and experience in dog behavior. Most pitbull owners and advocates would hate me because I refuse to spout the bullshit lies they tell about the breed. The truth is very simple. Yes many people such as myself have wonderful experiences with this breed, but they are not the breed for everyone. Like all dogs they were bred for a specific “job”. If they do attack they will likely do much more damage than most other breeds. If you are a true lover of this breed stop thinking that “My dog would never do that”(Something I wish all dog owners would do) Stop being so willfully ignorant and realize you have a potentially dangerous weapon. Muzzle your dog when in populated areas such as parks or pet stores. Never leave your dog outside unsupervised even in a kennel, fenced yard or tethered. If you are unwilling to do these things to protect innocent people and their pets you might want a different breed of dog.

  • Lacie Cohron

    John Thank you You for stepping in with good proven research Please let me apologize if anything I have said has offended you but the author and publicist can do as I stated

  • Lacie Cohron

    Hi just heads up, in case there are children on this page and I hope like hell with the extravagant, over exaggerated, less than humane, highly racist (to put it in human descriptive terms), deceit and propaganda that is being put forth that for the sake innocence there isn’t. Just in case though, what you are about to read is the real truth unfortunately it is coming from a pissed off owner, advocate, and promoter of the Bully, APBT, Mastiff, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Presa Canario Breeds along with many others…….. and being that the page you have unfortunately (I hope) have stumbled upon, was written, edited, and probably published if I had to guess by an uneducated, pitiful, less than human ass hat that might have been bitten by one of the many breeds he or she covered( because lets face it many were grouped under the good old “PITBULL” dreaded name but chances are the dumb shit probably beat the hell out of the dog first or tried to attack its owner, owners child, tormented the poor thing or maybe just maybe but very unlikely the attack was unprovoked. What ever it was that possesed the Fucktard to write it has caused this response!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wait for it…..Wait for it……..Wait for it………………………………………………………Dumb ass You deserve to be bitten by a damn Lion and ripped to shredds, for writing such hatred and telling the lies on the most loving kind gentle and loyal animal a human will ever get to experience it is people like you that causes problems for a breed that is hated the minute they hit the ground. You are the scum that beats the hell out of a dog then thinks they are not suppose to bite, or a person that believes you let your little rotten hellions pull the dogs tail until it hurts and then it bites out of reflex or better yet the guy that thinks the dog is a “Nanny Dog” and when that goes wrong you write stupid ass lies like you have done here…….. Start doing your research next time a little more in advance or better yet don’t publish any more shit like this at all…..Oh yeah for the record a Molleser is a Mastiff dumb shit, Cane Corso, Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, they are all imported dogs some of which because of assholes like yourself still are not even recognized by many kennel clubs when they damn well should be so to the writer and publisher go EAT A SICK DICK

    • Daxtons Friends Post author

      Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness was formed in honor of Daxton Borchardt, who passed away on March 6, 2013 due to severe injuries sustained in a dog attack. Daxton’s Friends would like to educate the public about the importance of understanding dog breeds and how, with proper education and pet care, the number of dog-related incidents can be reduced.

      Striving to serve as a resource for the canine community, Daxton’s Friends attempts to provide the most current and updated information available. Relying heavily on media coverage and established canine-related organizations, we pledge to do our best to provide factual information and research. In addition we will also leverage information from real life events, striving to be responsible philanthropists.

      If Daxton’s Friends is provided substantial evidence that we have shared incorrect information, we will correct or retract statements. We welcome feedback and invite you to share your thoughts about our organization. Please e-mail us at [email protected]. *Abusive and/or deceitful emails are subject to being published in full.*

    • Nick

      Well Lacie , that tirade is completely garbled and unintelligible , giving the impression that you are not open to rational thought .
      Google ” dog bite fatalities ” and get yourself an education .

  • John

    I am sorry to hear what happened to your son. Can you provide me with any statistics or citations not based on media articles or blogs? Preferably peer reviewed articles if you have acces to them.

    • Daxtons Friends Post author



      Maiming and death due to dog bites are uncommon but preventable tragedies. We postulated that patients admitted to a level I trauma center with dog bites would have severe injuries and that the gravest injuries would be those caused by pit bulls.


      We reviewed the medical records of patients admitted to our level I trauma center with dog bites during a 15-year period. We determined the demographic characteristics of the patients, their outcomes, and the breed and characteristics of the dogs that caused the injuries.


      Our Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services treated 228 patients with dog bite injuries; for 82 of those patients, the breed of dog involved was recorded (29 were injured by pit bulls). Compared with attacks by other breeds of dogs, attacks by pit bulls were associated with a higher median Injury Severity Scale score (4 vs. 1; P = 0.002), a higher risk of an admission Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or lower (17.2% vs. 0%; P = 0.006), higher median hospital charges ($10,500 vs. $7200; P = 0.003), and a higher risk of death (10.3% vs. 0%; P = 0.041).


      Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.


      • John

        Thank you for that. The link takes me to a public domain. It does not appear that this was published in a peer reviewed journal, is that correct? Also, it does not identify what identification methods were used. Is this listed in a subsequent document?

      • John

        I am sure you are busy, but I have had time to follow up and do more of my research. From peer reviewed research I have found that the UT study posted may be reliable based on the information provided to the hospital, however the information to the hospital is highly unreliable. This is due to the fact dog breeds of all type are misidentified a large amount of the time.

        Also, doing breed research the “pitbull type dog” article above appears to be highly flawed. Stating that mastiff’s, Cane Corso, and other breeds are the same breed is only accurate in that they are dogs. This being that the fact that the American Pitbull Terrier and its agreed upon cousins the American Stafffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier and the American bully all descended from from bulldog/terrier mixes. These other breeds are descendants from different breeds all together.

        I appreciate the UT article you provided, but I do not believe I can use anything other than that from what is provided. it appears this site is similar to many other I have found. Simply picking a side of this argument and making up information, or providing poor information as “fact.”

        • Daxtons Friends Post author

          “Dog breeds of all type are misidentified a large amount of the time.”

          This talking point is a favorite but has no basis in fact. Appellate courts state, “a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull.” We find this decision in the Ohio Supreme Court ruling, Ohio State v. Anderson (1991) and similar language in other jurisdictions as well, including Colorado, Florida and New Mexico. Below are excerpts from appellate court decisions.

          State v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 – Ohio: Supreme Court 1991
          Pit bull dogs possess unique and readily identifiable physical and behavioral traits which are capable of recognition both by dog owners of ordinary intelligence and by enforcement personnel. Consistent and detailed descriptions of the pit bull dog may be found in canine guidebooks, general reference books, state statutes and local ordinances, and state and federal case law dealing with pit bull legislation. By reference to these sources, a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog within the meaning of R.C. 955.11 (A)(4)(a)(iii). Similarly, by reference to these sources, dog wardens, police officers, judges, and juries can enforce the statute fairly and evenhandedly. – Ohio Supreme Court

          American Dog Owners Ass’n v. Dade County, Fla., 728 F. Supp. 1533 – Dist. Court, SD Florida 1989
          Despite the absence of scientific testing procedures for dog breeds, however, and the absence of pedigree in the majority of dogs owned in Dade County, the evidence demonstrated that the majority of dog owners know the breed of their dogs … Veterinarians opine that ordinary citizens may be trained to identify the breed of a dog based on the dog’s physical appearance. In fact, one resident of the County gave testimony that he was able to determine the breed of the dog he owned after comparing its physical conformation to that of other pit bulls he had seen in the media … The AKC or UKC standards at issue describe the pit bull dog as well as words can do. (T.R. at 406). Most of the terms in the standards are understandable to reasonably intelligent persons. – United States District Court, S.D. Florida

          2011 – Court of Appeals of Kansas
          State v. Lee, 257 P. 3d 799 – Kan: Court of Appeals 2011
          Given the holding in Hearn, the common meaning of the term “predominantly” as used in the ordinance, and the existence of physical characteristics that make the breed of these dogs recognizable upon visual observation by an owner, veterinarian, or breeder, we conclude as a matter of law that the ordinance sufficiently conveys a definite warning and fair notice of the proscribed conduct and adequately guards against arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. – Court of Appeals of Kansas

          2009 – United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
          Dias v. City and County of Denver, 567 F. 3d 1169 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 2009
          The Ordinance provides a clear standard to determine violations—it references breed standards articulated by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Denver, Colo., Ordinances § 8-55. The City of Denver keeps a copy of these standards on file at their office for reference by the public, id., and the breed standards are available online at http://www.akc.org (American Kennel Club) and http://www.ukcdogs.com (United Kennel Club). Although the standards are somewhat scientific in scope, they are not so scientific that a person of ordinary intelligence would be unable to understand their meaning. The Ordinance, therefore, certainly specifies a normative standard to which members of the public can conform their conduct. – United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

          2007 – United States District Court, N.D. California
          American Canine Foundation v. Sun, Dist. Court, ND California 2007
          In any event, given that the Ordinance, on its face, applies to, inter alia, “any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, [or] Staffordshire Bull Terrier” and provides that the “AKC and UKC standards for [those] breeds are listed on their websites as well as online through the Animal Care and Control Department`s [ ] website,” see San Francisco Health Code § 43(a), it is difficult to imagine, at least with respect to purebred specimens, how the breed could be identified more precisely in the Ordinance. Indeed, courts regularly have rejected vagueness challenges to ordinances, on similar grounds, albeit based on an evidentiary record. See, e.g., American Dog Owners Ass`n v. Dade County, Florida, 728 F. Supp. 1533, 1541-42 (S.D. Fla. 1989) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance defining “pit bull” by reference to AKC and UKC standards); Colorado Dog Fanciers, Inc. v. City and County of Denver, 820 P.2d 644, 650-52 (Colo. 1991)(rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance containing identical definition of “pitbull” as instant ordinance); Greenwood v. City of North Salt Lake, 817 P.2d 816 (Utah 1991) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance applicable to, inter alia,American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers); State v. Anderson, 566 N.E. 2d 1224 (Ohio 1991) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance applicable to “any dog that . . . [b]elongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pitbull dog”). – United States District Court, N.D. California

          2007 – Supreme Court of Ohio
          Toledo v. Tellings, 114 Ohio St. 3d 278 – Ohio: Supreme Court 2007
          Finally, the court of appeals erred in holding that R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are void for vagueness. This court has previously held that the term “pit bull” is not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. In State v. Anderson, we stated: “In sum, we believe that the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog.” – Supreme Court of Ohio

          2004 – Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
          City of Pagedale v. Murphy, 142 SW 3d 775 – Mo: Court of Appeals, Eastern Dist. 2004
          Here, City Ordinance No. 1169 states, “No person shall within the City raise, maintain or possess within his or her custody or control a dog of the ‘pit bull’ breed.” (Emphasis added). There does not appear to be any Missouri case addressing the precise issue of whether the use of the term “pit bull” in an ordinance or statute without a definition is so vague and indefinite that the law is unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St.3d 168, 566 N.E.2d 1224 (Oh.1991), cert. denied, Anderson v. Ohio, 501 U.S. 1257, 111 S.Ct. 2904, 115 L.Ed.2d 1067 (1991), has addressed the constitutionality of a similar law in their jurisdiction. We find its reasoning and holding instructive and apply it here.
          In that case, the Ohio statute stated that a “vicious dog” was any dog that “’belong[ed] to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog,’” and that “[t]he ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.’” Id. at 1225 (quoting Ohio R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii)). The dog owner in that case claimed on appeal that this statute was unconstitutionally void for vagueness.
          Id. at 1226.
          The court disagreed with the dog owner and held that the statute was not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. The court reasoned that “pit bull dogs are distinctive enough that the ordinary dog owner knows or can discover with reasonable effort whether he or she owns such a dog.” Id. at 1227. The court specifically discussed certain distinguishable physical characteristics[1] of pit bulls, as well as certain distinctive behavioral features.[2] Id. at 1227-28. 779*779 The court concluded that “the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog.” – Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District

          1993 – Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
          Dog Federation v. City of South Milwaukee, 178 Wis. 2d 353 – Wis: Court of Appeals 1993
          Although there are decisions that have ruled pit bull ordinances too vague to pass constitutional muster, see American Dog Owners Ass’n v. City of Des Moines, 469 N.W.2d 416, 417-418 (Iowa 1991) (ordinance banning Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or dogs of any “other breed or mixed breed … known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers”); American Dog Owners Ass’n v. City of Lynn, 533 N.E.2d 642, 646 (Mass. 364*364 1989) (identification by breed name insufficient) (dictum), the Federation and the individual appellants here have not carried their burden of demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the City of South Milwaukee ordinance is impermissibly vague on its face. As Peters notes, “’the dog owner, who harbors the dogs at his residence, is the one subject to the penalties of the law. He should know the kind of dogs he owns.’” 534 So.2d at 768 n.13 (citation omitted). Simply put, a person acquires a dog for certain physical and mental characteristics. The ordinance puts persons who have or acquire dogs on sufficient notice of the type of dog that is prohibited. Accepting as verities for the purpose of this decision Dr. Brown’s conclusions that there is no absolute way to determine whether a dog is in fact a pit bull as defined in the ordinance, those conclusions do not overcome the presumption of constitutionality. Problems of ultimate proof do not make the ordinance unduly vague on its face.[6] As succinctly phrased by Peters, whether a dog is within the ordinance “is a matter of evidence, not constitutional law.” – Court of Appeals of Wisconsin

          1991 – Supreme Court of Iowa
          American Dog Owners Ass’n v. Des Moines, 469 NW 2d 416 – Iowa: Supreme Court 1991
          Subsections vi, vii and viii of the ordinance refer to particular breeds of dog. The record shows that the determination of a dog’s breed can be done according to objective standards, although there are limits on the precision of such classifications. We believe the breed classifications listed in subsections vi, vii and viii give the reader as much guidance as the subject matter permits. We believe these subsections permit a reader of ordinary intelligence to determine which dogs are included. – Supreme Court of Iowa

          1989 – Court of Appeals of Ohio
          State v. Robinson, 44 Ohio App. 3d 128 – Ohio: Court of Appeals 1989
          In Garcia v. Tijeras (1988), 108 N.M. 116, 767 P. 2d 355, a New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a municipal ordinance banning the ownership or possession of a breed of dog “known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” As in the case at bar, the animal owners in Garcia challenged the ordinance as violating due process on the basis of vagueness for failing to adequately define “American Pit Bull Terrier.” The trial court found that American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed readily identifiable by laymen, and rejected the dog owners’ argument that the ordinance lacked meaningful standards that could be used to identify those dogs subject to its prohibition. – Court of Appeals of Ohio

          1989 – United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, W.D.
          Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 – Dist. Court, SD Ohio 1989
          “The Court concludes that the definitions of a Pit Bull Terrier in this Ordinance are not unconstitutionally vague. An ordinary person could easily refer to a dictionary, a dog buyer’s guide or any dog book for guidance and instruction; also, the AmericanKennel Club and United Kennel Club have set forth standards for Staffordshire BullTerriers and American Stafforshire Terriers to help determine whether a dog is described by any one of them. While it may be true that some definitions contain descriptions which lack “mathematical certainty,” such precision and definiteness is not essential to constitutionality. – United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, W.D.

          1989 – Supreme Court of Kansas
          Hearn v. City of Overland Park, 772 P. 2d 758 – Kan: Supreme Court 1989
          The New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a similar local ordinance from a challenge for impermissive vagueness in Garcia 644*644 v. Village of Tijeras, 108 N.M. 116, 767 P.2d 355 (Ct. App. 1988). The village ordinance prohibited the ownership or possession in the village of “any dog of the breed known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” The Court of Appeals concluded that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the findings of the trial court.
          “The trial court found that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen. We understand the trial court’s finding to have been that the breed can be identified by persons who are not qualified to be dog show judges….
          “There was testimony at trial that the term ‘pit bull’ is the generic term for ‘American Staffordshire Terrier.’ There was also testimony at trial that there is no difference between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier.
          “In addition, there was testimony that each breed of dog has a typical physical appearance termed as ‘phenotype,’ and that an unregistered dog can be identified as being of the breed ‘American Pit Bull Terrier’ by its physical characteristics, or phenotype. Several witnesses testified that they could recognize an American Pit Bull Terrier by its physical characteristics.
          “We believe this evidence supports a determination that the breed American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed of dog recognized by its physical appearance. Given our obligation to indulge every presumption in favor of constitutionality, we interpret the term ‘known as’ in light of the testimony at trial. Thus, we interpret the ordinance to include not only dogs that are registered, but also dogs that are recognizable, as American Pit Bull Terriers or American Staffordshire Terriers.”
          – Supreme Court of Kansas

          1988 – District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District
          State v. Peters, 534 So. 2d 760 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 1988
          As the ordinance makes clear, a dog is a “pit bull” if it substantially conforms to the American Kennel Club standard for Staffordshire Terriers or the American Kennel Club standard for Staffordshire Bull Terriers or the United Kennel Club standard for American Pit Bull Terriers. An owner or prospective owner of a dog need only look at each of the three standards and determine whether the dog is described by any one of them; if it is, then that the dog is not described by the other standards is irrelevant. – District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District

          1988 – Court of Appeals of New Mexico
          Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, 767 P. 2d 355 – NM: Court of Appeals 1988
          The trial court found that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen. We understand the trial court’s finding to have been that the breed can be identified by persons who are not qualified to be dog show judges …
          In addition, there was testimony that each breed of dog has a typical physical appearance termed as “phenotype,” and that an unregistered dog can be identified as being of the breed “American Pit Bull Terrier” by its physical characteristics, or phenotype. Several witnesses testified that they could recognize an American Pit Bull Terrier by its physical characteristics.
          We believe this evidence supports a determination that the breed American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed of dog recognized by its physical appearance. Given our obligation to indulge every presumption in favor of constitutionality, we interpret the term “known as” in light of the testimony at trial. Thus, we interpret the ordinance to include not only dogs that are registered, but also dogs that are recognizable, as American Pit Bull Terriers or American Staffordshire Terriers.”
          – Court of Appeals of New Mexico

          Now that it has been shown that high courts credit dog owners of ordinary intelligence with the ability to identify pit bulls, we come to research announced by the ASPCA in 2013 revealing that shelter volunteers’ visual identification of a pit bull agreed with the DNA test 96% of the time.
          Dog owners of “ordinary intelligence” can identify pit bulls and shelter volunteers can identify pit bulls. Who else can manage this magical task? Please visit a dog show in your community and watch the judges work. Every dog show ever held relies on a visual identification system. Dog show judges are mere mortals like the rest of us, but they visually identify breeds, and also identify minute deviations from individual breed standards in order to pick breed winners.
          So, “ordinary” dog owners, shelter volunteers and certainly dog show judges can identify pit bulls, but veterinarians regularly state that they are unable to identify pit bulls.
          The official position of the veterinary profession is found in a statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
          Since no scientific proof is required to establish breeds and inaccurate reporting of alleged breed has such great repercussions, it is now recommended that veterinarians and shelters refrain from trying to identify breed mixes visually. Dog DNA tests reveal that even professionals experienced at identifying dog breeds (veterinarians, dog trainers, breeders, animal control officials, shelter workers, etc.) are unable to reliably identify breeds. – American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

          The reason these reluctant veterinarians are unable to “scientifically” prove breed ID for pit bulls via DNA test is that canine DNA tests are wildly unreliable, and no company producing canine DNA tests has been able to build a DNA profile for pit bulls.
          The most widely used canine DNA test, the Wisdom Panel by Mars Veterinary, provides no independent scientific testing for the accuracy of their test. Mars claims 84% accuracy for offspring in first-generation crossbreds of known parentage. The accuracy of the test in dogs with more than two breeds and in dogs “lacking any purebred heritage” is unknown.
          All of the pseudo-scientific papers by pit bull advocates attempting to show that visual identification is unreliable use this highly unreliable and unverified DNA test. One of these papers was obliged to disclose this about the Mars Wisdom Panel test they used attempting to discredit the accuracy of visual identification:
          Limitations of our study include unknown sensitivity and specificity of the DNA breed testing and lack of a DNA test for American pit bull terrier. There is also no DNA test for ‘pit bull,’ since this term refers to a phenotype, not a pedigree. The test for the Bayesian analysis used by providers of the DNA testing relied on breed signatures of purebred dogs selected for the database and not a representative randomized sample of all dogs, which might be a source of inaccuracy. In addition, relatively little information exists regarding the accuracy of the DNA test for identifying the breed composition of mixed breed dogs. – Study authors
          The Wisdom Panel does not include a DNA profile for the American Pit Bull Terrier, the most populous breed in the pit bull group. You could test every dog at a Pit Pride Parade and likely not get a single positive for pit bull. From the Wisdom Panel FAQ: “Due to the genetic diversity of this group, Mars Veterinary cannot build a DNA profile to genetically identify every dog that may be visually classified as a Pit-bull.” An additional quote states that the test is not to be used for BSL issues “Wisdom Panel® 2.0 is designed and intended to be used solely to identify the breed history of a dog and no other purpose is authorized or permitted. Wisdom Panel 2.5 and 3.0 are intended to be used to identify the breed history of a dog, as well as screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation and no other purpose is authorized or permitted.”

          • john

            “we come to research announced by the ASPCA in 2013” Will you please cite the journal where this was published so I may research this further?

            Also, it appears both sides of this argument use the term “pitbull” as if it was one breed. There is an American Pitbull Terrier, and several other breeds that are labeled as “pitbulls.” Additionally, mix breed dogs are called “pitbulls” despite having not actually being any part American Pitbull Terrier or of dogs that share similar heritage.

            In your statement you quote the the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has a policy on breed identification as fact, which I agree with: “professionals experienced at identifying dog breeds (veterinarians, dog trainers, breeders, animal control officials, shelter workers, etc.) are unable to reliably identify breeds.” This statement says most people cannot visually identify a breed, contradicting what you state can be done. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior also has a stance on BSL:

            “The AVSAB’s position is that such legislation—often called breed-specific legislation (BSL)−is ineffective, and can lead to a false sense of community safety as well as welfare concerns for dogs identified (often incorrectly) as belonging to specific breeds.”

            Additionally, court verdicts do not make situations factual (especially those over 25 years old). Scientific research posted in peer reviewed journals, are considered factual until proven otherwise. A recent study published in the Veterinary Journal, which is a peer reviewed journal, proves that even a professional with experience cannot identify a “pitbull” correctly:

            Inconsistent identification of pit bull-type dogs by shelter staff

            As pet dog ownership in the United States passes 70 million, mixed breed dogs have nearly overtaken purebreds in the proportion of owned dogs (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2012). Even when purebred dogs are acquired, it is most commonly for companionship and not for the working roles for which they were historically developed. Despite the decreased focus on purpose-bred dogs, breed assignment continues to influence how dogs are viewed and managed (Simpson et al., 2012). This is true even when the actual breed of dog, if any, is unknown.

            Guessed breed designations are often included in veterinary records, dog licenses, animal shelter records, pet adoption websites, lost-and-found notices, housing applications, and insurance policies (Voith et al., 2013). Visual breed assessments have been shown to be erroneous more frequently than not1 (Voith et al, 2009 and Voith et al, 2013). The past few decades have seen an increase in ownership restrictions applied to certain breeds of dogs and dogs that resemble them. The restrictions are based on the assumptions that certain breeds are inherently dangerous, that those breeds can be reliably identified, and that restricting these breeds would improve public safety.

            When dogs bite people and other animals, the suspected breed of dog reported by witnesses is often listed in official bite reports filed by hospitals or animal control facilities.1 Media coverage of dog bite-related injuries has been shown to be more extensive and to report the suspected breed more frequently when witnesses report a pit bull or guard-line breed as involved.2 The sources and reliability of this breed reporting have been questioned (Collier, 2006, Patronek, Slavinski, 2009, Voith et al, 2009, Voith et al, 2013, Patronek et al, 2010 and Patronek et al, 2013).

            A study of all dog bite-related fatalities that occurred during the 10-year period 2000–2009 reported that 90% of the dogs involved were described in at least one media account with a single breed descriptor, potentially implying that the dog was purebred (Patronek et al., 2013). However, approximately 46% of the dogs in the US are mixed breed dogs (American Veterinary Medical Association, 2012), and it seemed unlikely to the authors that purebred dogs would be disproportionately represented among the dogs involved in these incidents. Further, in only 18% of the cases were the authors able to make a valid determination that the dog involved was a member of a distinct, recognized breed (Patronek et al., 2013). Nevertheless, unverified reports of the dog breeds involved in serious and fatal incidents have been used to develop opinions regarding perceived danger levels of different breeds1 (Voith et al, 2009, Voith et al, 2013 and Patronek et al, 2013).

            These opinions have led to restrictions or outright bans on certain breeds by municipalities, insurance companies, homeowner associations, and animal shelters. It has been estimated that as of 2009, restrictions regarding ownership of dozens of breeds were in place in more than 300 jurisdictions in the US (Berkey, 2009). Most restrictions name ‘pit bull’ as a regulated ‘breed,’ but many also include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherd dogs, and Chow Chows, among more than 30 others.

            ‘Pit bull’ is not a recognized breed, but a term applied to a heterogeneous group whose membership may include purebred dogs of various breeds, along with dogs presumed to be mixes of those breeds. Use of this descriptor varies according to the recognized breeds included and the opinions of the observers (Patronek et al., 2013). Nevertheless, dog owners, animal shelters, insurance companies, veterinarians, and the public frequently use the term ‘pit bull’ casually and in official documents, as though it describes a single, recognized breed. The lack of a universally accepted definition of ‘pit bull’ and reliance upon the opinion of observers complicate identification of dogs targeted for regulatory control by ‘breed bans’ (Hoffman et al., 2014). Most, but not all, breed-specific ordinances in the US include with the term ‘pit bull’ the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and Staffordshire bull terrier, along with dogs that, based upon their appearance, are deemed to resemble these breeds.

            Since actual pedigree information is not usually available, determining the likely breed of dogs that may fall under breed-based restrictions requires a subjective assessment of the dog’s appearance. Recently, DNA analysis has been used to investigate the breed heritage of individual dogs targeted in breed restriction cases. However, the largest testing service does not offer a DNA test for identification of American pit bull terriers. Additionally, it does not provide a test for ‘pit bulls’, since the term variously refers to a loose collection of breeds and their mixes or to dogs with similar morphology rather than a group of dogs with a controlled gene pool.

            Shelter staff members and veterinarians routinely make subjective breed assessments as part of daily shelter operations. They also may be tasked with providing expert opinions regarding the likely breed of individual dogs involved in breed regulation cases. Depending upon the regulatory environment and/or the beliefs of shelter managers, the stakes may be high for dogs identified as pit bulls and for their owners3 (Voith et al., 2009).

            The primary objective of this study was to determine the level of agreement among shelter workers in designating pit bull-type breeds for shelter dogs. A secondary objective was to compare shelter workers’ breed assignments with DNA breed signatures.
            Materials and methods
            Study sites

            Four Florida animal shelters were recruited. These shelters admitted 2520–10,154 dogs in the calendar year prior to the study. At each shelter, managers assigned three staff members and one shelter veterinarian whose regular duties included assignment of breed designations to newly admitted dogs to participate in the study as dog breed assessors. Each assessor completed a questionnaire regarding their shelter experience and previous training in dog breed identification. In addition to the veterinarians, assessor job titles included animal control officers, kennel staff, veterinary assistants/technicians, and customer service staff. The assessors might or might not have had previous knowledge of the dogs selected for the study.

            At each study site, 30 healthy dogs 2 months of age and older were selected by the research team to phenotypically represent a variety of age, body size, body types, coat length, and coat color. In the case of related dogs (dams and litters), only one dog from each family was selected. Only dogs that staff considered safe to handle were eligible for inclusion. The breed previously assigned to each dog at the time of shelter admission was recorded for comparison. The cage card for each dog was covered so that the breed previously assigned at intake was not visible to the dog breed assessors. The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at the University of Florida on 7 March 2011.
            Subjective breed assessment

            At each shelter, the four dog breed assessors were given a list of the selected dogs and asked to assign a primary breed for each dog based on its physical appearance. Assessors could assign a secondary breed if they felt that it was indicated and could select ‘mixed breed’ if they felt there were no defining characteristics that allowed a specific breed identification. Assessors were allowed to list any breed and were not provided with a predetermined list of breeds to choose from. They were escorted as a group by a research team member to the front of each dog’s kennel and did not move to the next dog until all assessors had recorded their breed designations. The assessors were not allowed to confer with anyone or to view any intake paperwork, cage cards, computer records, or references while the study was in progress.

            For the purposes of this study, the terms American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, pit bull, and their mixes were included in the study definition of ‘pit bull-type breeds’ because these terms are frequently included in laws regulating dog ownership based on breed or phenotype. For each dog, the breed assigned by the shelter prior to the study and the breeds assigned by each shelter staff member during the study were coded by the investigators as ‘pit bull-type’ if any of these breed terms were included as the primary or secondary breed identification. The breed identification was coded as ‘not pit bull-type’ if none of these breed terms was included.
            Dog physical assessments

            Following the shelter staff breed assessment, each dog was photographed, weighed, measured from the floor to the top of the shoulder, and assessed by the research veterinarian for body condition using three categories (underweight, ideal weight, overweight). Physical characteristics including coat length, coat type, coat color, ear type, tail type, age (juveniles ≤6 months, adults 6 months and older), sex, and reproductive status were recorded.
            DNA assessment of dog breeds

            Three milliliters of whole blood was collected from each dog into EDTA tubes for DNA analysis. Samples were shipped to a commercial DNA analysis laboratory (Wisdom Panel Professional Canine Genetic Analysis, Mars Veterinary)3 at room temperature by overnight courier on the day of collection. DNA was extracted and typed at 321 different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genome using selective hybridization and PCR amplification, followed by a discriminatory single base-pair primer extension reaction. The SNP genotypes were detected by mass spectrometry. The laboratory then used a Bayesian generative model to infer the family tree of a dog from comparison of detected genotypes with 226 breed signatures developed previously from more than 9700 pure bred dogs. Inference was performed on 11 different family tree models, and the best-fit model was selected using the deviance information criterion (Martin et al., 2010).

            Results from the DNA analysis laboratory included major breed composition percentages in increments of 12.5%. If breed compositions were identified in amounts <12.5%, these breeds were listed as ‘minor breeds.’ American pit bull terrier and pit bull were not included in the 226 breed signatures. Dogs were coded as ‘pit bull-type’ if the breed American Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier was identified to comprise at least 12.5% of the breed signature.
            Statistical analysis

            Agreement among shelter staff for identification of pit bull-type dogs and between shelter staff and DNA breed signatures was assessed with the kappa statistic according to the following criteria: κ < 0.01, poor agreement; 0.01–0.20, slight agreement; 0.21–0.40, fair agreement; 0.41–0.60, moderate agreement; 0.61–0.80, substantial agreement; 0.81–1.00, almost perfect agreement (Landis and Koch, 1977). Findings were considered to be significant when P < 0.05. The 95% confidence intervals (CI) for sensitivity and specificity estimates were calculated using the exact method. All analyses were performed with statistical software (Stata, StataCorp).
            Staff members and dogs selected for the study

            A total of 16 shelter staff members, including four shelter veterinarians, participated in the study. All staff members had at least 3 years of shelter experience, but only one reported any formal training in dog breed identification (Table 1). The 120 dogs selected for the study comprised 20–25% of the dogs present in each of the four shelters on the day of the study visit and represented a range of ages, sexes, and phenotypes (Table 2). Juveniles included two puppies estimated to be 2 months of age, 12 estimated to be 3–4 months of age, and 12 estimated to be 5–6 months of age, based on dentition.

            Olson, K. R. J.K. Levya, , , B. Norbyb, M.M. Crandalla, J.E. Broadhurstc, S. Jacksd, R.C. Bartone, M.S. Zimmermanf (2015, November). Inconsistent identification of pit bull-type dogs by shelter staff. The Veterinary Journal, 206(2), 197-202.

          • Daxtons Friends Post author

            You are using ONLY material generated by the 60 BILLION dollar per year animal care and supply business and quoting the usual suspects. The entire time disregarding legal rulings. You are ignoring what has been written by medical doctors. Just another very wordy pit bull apologist.


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            Morbidity of pediatric dog bites: A case series at a level one pediatric trauma center, by Erin M. Garvey, Denice K. Twitchell, Rebecca Ragar, John C. Egan and Ramin Jamshidi, Journal of Pediatric Surgery, February 2015, Volume 50, Issue 2:343-346.

            Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by Daniel C. O’Brien, BS, Tyler B. Andre, MD, Aaron D. Robinson, MD, Lane D. Squires, MD and Travis T. Tollefson, MD, MPH, American Journal of Otolaryngology, Published Online: September 25, 2014.

            Periorbital Trauma from Pit Bull Terrier Attacks, by Wladis EJ, Dewan MA, Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, Lions Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Albany Medical College, Slingerlands, NY 12159, USA, Orbit, 2012 Jun;31(3):200-2.

            Effectiveness of Breed-Specific Legislation in Decreasing the Incidence of Dog-Bite Injury Hospitalisations in People in the Canadian Province of Manitoba, by Malathi Raghavan, Patricia J Martens, Dan Chateau, and Charles Burchill, Injury Prevention, Published Online First, June 30, 2012

            Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs, by John K. Bini, MD, Stephen M. Cohn, MD, Shirley M. Acosta, RN, Marilyn J. McFarland, RN, MS, Mark T. Muir, MD and Joel E. Michalek, PhD; for the TRISAT Clinical Trials Group, Annals of Surgery,April 2011 – Volume 253 – Issue 4 – p 791–797

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            Multi-Staged Autologous Reconstruction of the Face, by Lawrence J. Gottlieb and Russell R. Reid, The Know-How of Face Transplantation, edited by Maria Z. Siemionow, Springer, 2011.

            Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008, by Laurel Holmquist, M.A. and Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD., November 2010.

            Decline in Hospitalisations Due to Dog Bite Injuries in Catalonia, 1997–2008. An Effect of Government Regulation?, by Joan R Villalbi, Montse Cleries, Susana Bouis, Víctor Peracho, Julia Duran and Conrad Casas, Injury Prevention, August 2010;16:408-410.

            Pediatric Dog Bite Injuries: A 5-Year Review of the Experience at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, by Kaye, Alison E. M.D.; Belz, Jessica M. M.D.; Kirschner, Richard E. M.D., Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 2009 – Volume 124 – Issue 2 – pp 551-558.

            Bites, Animal (Catastrophic Pit Bull Attack Injury), by Alisha Perkins Garth, MD, Coauthor(s): N Stuart Harris, MD, FACEP, eMedicine, Updated: June 25, 2009.

            Omental Free-Tissue Transfer for Coverage of Complex Upper Extremity and Hand Defects–The Forgotten Flap, by Iris A. Seitz, Craig S. Williams, Thomas A. Wiedrich, Ginard Henry, John G. Seiler and Loren S. Schechte, PubMed, March 25, 2009.

            Head and Neck Dog Bites in Children, by Angelo Monroy, MD, Philomena Behar, MD, Mark Nagy, MD, Christopher Poje, MD, Michael Pizzuto, MD, and Linda Brodsky, MD, Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 140, 354-357 2009.

            A Ten-Year, Two-Institution Review of Pediatric Dog Attacks: Advocating for a Nationwide Prohibition of Dangerous Dogs, by Jugpal S. Arneja, MD, FRCSC, Kara Pappas, B.S., William Huettner, M.D., Arlene A. Rozzelle, M.D., Gurbalbir Singh, M.D., FRCSC., American Association of Plastic Surgeons – 2008 Annual Meeting

            Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit, by Cheryl L. Loewe MD, Francisco J. Diaz MD, and John Bechinski DO, The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Vol 28, December 2007.

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  • Wouldn't you like to know

    I love how this article ha marginalized over a thousand years of breeds into one category (Pit Bull). The fact that one can look past the long and well documented history of many of these separate breeds (back to the days of the Romans and Greeks even) highlights how uneducated and biased the individuals who compiled this summary most certainly are. Unfortunate, but such is life in the modern connected society.

    Please take the time to edit this post. Dogs are not the problem. Owners are. I’m sure Petey from the Little Rascals would agree. That “pit bull” sure was a terror on that show. Laughable.

    • Daxtons Friends Post author

      Are we basing our conclusions on TV shows now?

      Great quote from this article:

      “The people in my camp tend to come off as an unorganized but pop-culturally savvy bunch who for example knew, when the opposition tried to engender sympathy by noting that the dog in the Little Rascals comedies was a pit bull, that the pibald Petey was on record as having chomped a few of the child stars. Meanwhile, when it came to clichés and other low language, the pit-bullies stooped faster than a professional dog walker on Michael Bloomberg’s block, and they backed their claims that pit bulls were no more dangerous than, say, Chihuahuas, with sketchy studies (fabricated by pit bull lobbying groups, according to at least one commenter) and anecdotal evidence.”

      Read full article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/03/28/pit-bull-owners-attack-too.html

    • Daxtons Friends Post author

      The following is a collection of news stories where pit bull owners were seriously wounded or killed by their own dogs. It is common to read pit bull owners say, “it’s all how you raise them” or “It’s the owners” in comment threads after a serious or fatal attack. This blog post is an attempt to squash that theory once and for all.

      Read more: https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2015/12/pit-bull-owner-killed-injured-by-own-pets/

    • Daxtons Friends Post author

      Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness was formed in honor of Daxton Borchardt, who passed away on March 6, 2013 due to severe injuries sustained in a dog attack. Daxton’s Friends would like to educate the public about the importance of understanding dog breeds and how, with proper education and pet care, the number of dog-related incidents can be reduced.

      If Daxton’s Friends is provided substantial evidence that we have shared incorrect information, we will correct or retract statements. We welcome feedback and invite you to share your thoughts about our organization. Please e-mail us

      Learn more: https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/

  • Claire

    I feel Mastiffs and other pit types are all the same. Bred during the same periods and frequently mixed throughout the ages. You should not take a dog that has been bred for Centuries for war and blood sports and put it in a family setting and call it a pet! At one point my fiancee wanted a big guard dog, and having small kids I didn’t want something possibly dangerous. I went on the hunt for a family “safe” guard dog and I settled on the Mastiff. I read over and over again that they were gentle giants. I did not realize how closely related they were to todays “pits” . I was certainly not prepared for how powerful and uncontrollable they would be. We got two puppies to grow up together, both registered and from different breeders. Both showed aggressive tendencies right from the beginning. Growling, snapping, dominance… so we decided to take action and put them in obedience school. The kids and I took private obedience lessons for 6 months to teach us how to properly control and socialize our dogs who were slowly becoming aggressive. But as time drug on they only became more aggressive despite all of our efforts. We had to stop the training because they we lunging at the trainer and we had several close calls. We eventually could not take them outside without muzzling them because they would literally lunge at people. We had to lock them away when company came, and not much company was even brave enough to come over. Well, one day I was sitting on the couch and my then 8 year old daughter was walking out the back door within my view to play in the lawn. As she was opening the door, the male snapped and she began screaming a horrific scream. I was by her side in an instant and sat her on the kitchen counter and immediately took the dogs to the kennel before looking at the damage. When I got to look at her face, it was shocking. The single bite had left her face open in a large triangle from under her eye to the bottom of her cheek, all of the layers of skin were pulled down and there were deep puncture woulds also from teeth that hand sunk in. I worked in a nursing environment for years and the sight of blood and wounds usually didn’t bother me but the sight of my child with her skin hanging off her face was enough to make me physically ill. She underwent plastic surgery at a childrens hospital and they did a wonderful job repairing the damage. Both dogs were later put down. I fell in to the propaganda that led me to believe these were good and safe family dogs. I will forever regret it. I see all these stories of kids who were killed by similar looking dogs and I now realize just how LUCKY I am that I was there and able to stop the attack and get my daughter away from the dog. I am so lucky that my child wasn’t killed, or blinded, or left with horrific physical scars. There are SO MANY dogs needing homes, so many more trusted , safer breeds. Please read the bite statistics before bringing home a dog. Statistics don’t lie.

  • Colleen Douglas

    This article is way off. You say because the parent of this breed were bred for one thing that means that all of the offspring have the exact temperament and qualities. That is like me looking up you geneology and finding someone in your history and say that you a re bad because this guy in your background was like that.
    The quality breeder have bred away from certain traits. The APBT that I have are very loyal calm dogs. Yes they can bite but they would need a reason. That is the same with any breed of dog.

    • Stacey JW

      How can you even come on here defending pit bulls? Have you not seen all the death they cause?
      The “my pits are great” means nothing- ask Edward Cahill about his best pibble friend. Oh. You can’t, because his a awesome sweet baby killed him.
      Get a clue. Go read the rest of the site.

      • Daxtons Friends Post author



        In recent years the term breed “racism” had emerged when addressing breed related issues and regulations. The concept is if you support dog breed regulations or acknowledge negative breed specific traits it is equivalent to the human form of racism. The error in the concept is that humans and dogs are very different creatures. Dog breeds exist because they are specifically designed for a purpose. Dogs are selectively bred for physical and breed trait aspects. Humans do not reproduce in that manner. Humans are not selectively bred and have a choice in their mate. To make this concept equivalent, humans would have to be purposely bred for certain physical or personality traits over the course of hundreds of years. It has not been determined that selectively breeding humans would actually work since there has not been any official scientific studies conducted. The closest humanity came to selective breeding was the concept of Eugenics, which was trying to breed out negative physical traits, such as mental illness, and breed in positive traits, such as a high I.Q. The concept has been abandoned by most cultures due to the difficulty of selective breeding due to the high incidence of unplanned pregnancies. Dogs have been selectively bred for many generations with great success. Since racism in the human culture is based solely on the color of one’s skin, hence the “race” in racism, and not personality traits, it does not accurately compare to dog breeding. To accurately compare, one would have to judge a dog based solely on fur color. Most breeds are judged on physical and personality related breed traits, so the term breed “racism” is not equivalent to human forms of racism. It is surprising that more people are not offended by this comparison. Comparing breed struggles to the Civil Rights movement seems a little extreme and minimalizes the struggles of certain races in history. The comparison of dog breeds and racism has no basis.

        • Fur ball

          30,000+ people die from guns each year compared to about 30-33 from “all” dog attacks. You want to take children’s pets and beloved family members away from millions of people who have dogs that are not dangerous. Where are your priorities?

          • Daxtons Friends Post author

            “Besides dragging in other dog breeds, many commenters who took umbrage at my remarks revealed that guns, automobiles, and alcohol are also capable of causing problems. To those people I say without hesitation that Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the largest city in Bolivia and that unless Jose Reyes stays healthy the Mets are doomed. None of these facts has anything to do with the fitness of pit bulls to live among people and other animals. Such blather does, however, take the focus off the inconvenient truth that pit bulls are always updating their bloody résumés.”

            Read full article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/03/28/pit-bull-owners-attack-too.html

          • Fur ball

            Are you aware that you have a better chance of winning the lottery, getting struck by lightning. or killed by a falling coconut than being killed by a dog? Yet you want to genocide millions of dogs. Whose the dangerous one here?

          • Andy

            Those people die by the hands of other people! NOT GUNS. Unless your one of those that think, the gun went off by accident while the drug dealer was just driving by the competitions house, and the girl next door dies in her grandfather’s lap? It certainly couldn’t have been in his or her hand and it most definitely wasn’t his finger that pulled the trigger. Not to mention I would much rather die in an instant than to be viscously mauled bite by bite and rip by rip!