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Question
Posted by: Boerboel Owner | 2008-11-19

Pitbulls

I read with great sadness on iol that an elderly woman was mauled to death by her own pitbulls. I know dogs turn out according to how you bring them up but is it a possibility that pitbulls always have a potential for violence in them? If yes should breeding and owning still be allowed?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Dear Boerboel

In some countries you are not allowed to have a pitbull, other don't care.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2008-11-19

Acineth has hit the nail on the head - there' s a certain ' type'  who likes to own dogs that tell the world how incredibly tough they are, and if the dog can be nice and aggressive, so much the better in their eyes. It' s not the dog' s fault.

However there is one point that I would like to make and listen up here, because this could save lives.

Dogs are hunting animals, and prey animals tend to screech or scream when terrified. This triggers the hunting and killing instinct to the point where it' s almost logical that, if a dog is upset or aggressive and someone comes and screams near it, it can go into an attacking frenzy.

A classic but tragic example was a few years ago, when someone' s car rolled forward and crushed his legs to a wall, he screamed for help - and his two faithful and loyal dogs came out... and killed him.

I recall another example where a child' s nanny encountered a neighbour' s dog in the street, and started screaming before the dog even approached - the dog attacked her and caused some damage (although not fatally) - the press of course had a field day about the nasty vicious dog.

Please note, and tell anyone who cares to listen, that if ever one feels threatened by a dog - do NOT scream, and do NOT look it in the eyes, but remain as calm as possible. Not easy - but it could save a life.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Bear | 2008-11-19

I think guns are safer that these animals.

I am not for the back yard breeders. When I bough my pitt bull I had a life long relationship with them, I had to prove the the breeder I was a suitable owner, they did a home inspection and watched me with him for weeks before they actually hande dhim over. I still took him to puppy classes, behavior classes and a animal behavior expert who said that he was the friendlist dog she had ever seen let alone a pitt bull.

Maybe I was lucky and got a good pup, although his brothers and sisters seem to have the same demenur. Maybe its just a decent breeder.

They not all bad. Even the best friendliest breeds like spaniels and retreiver and labbies attack and kill. Its a BIG animal and needs to be respected as such,

And a HUGE choke coller and reinforced harsness is a must too!!!

Reply to Bear
Posted by: Carol | 2008-11-19


100% Acineth , this is one of the many reaons im so anti breeding.

Another breed is the boerboel...... bred willy nilly with no thought to genetics, proper socilization etc etc etc , I could write a flippin book on the subject !!!!

It amazes me that to own a weapon you need a licence , a badly bred pit is a very dangerous weapon that any idiot can own.

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Acineth | 2008-11-19

Genetics plays a big part. Remember that these dogs were bred for fighting. That is also why it is such a struggle to get them to stop an attack, they are bred to have a high pain threshhold, and to keep attacking. The dog would be no good in a fight if it let go and ran away at the first sign of pain.

If you read the article in the newspaper, you will see the dog belonged to her son and had bitten her husband recently. They wanted to get rid of the dogs, but the son wouldn' t allow it.

I don' t know why, but the wrong people always get this breed. They are usually male, who feel the dog increases their " macho"  image. TThey do no breed research, know nothing of canine behaviour and simply aren' t interested in learning. The dogs are rarely socialised or trained. At best, these dogs were merely parked in the back yard for security.

How you raise them would have an effect, but they would need to be properly socialised, trained and never let out of their properties unsupervised.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Rix | 2008-11-19

Well, then again, I read an article in a local newspaper about 2 years ago of a Labrador attacking and killing a 5 year old boy. The boy was running around the swimming pool in his back yard when his own Labrador killed him.
Now that is highly unlikely, but it happened.
I grew up with a Golden Spaniel, and she was the softest most gentle dog ever. She died at the age of 16 (human years). I would love to have a Spaniel again one day.
She was so silly. Took her to the river every Sunday for a swim and a Soft Serve Ice cream cone.

Reply to Rix
Posted by: Bear | 2008-11-19

I cant imagine that. I would still have nightmares.

I wish you could have met my boy, you would have loved him.

Reply to Bear
Posted by: Rix | 2008-11-19

Hi Bear

It was horrible. She was upset with my husband too, and I' m thinking it was because the more we battled to get her out the crazy dog' s jaws, the more pain she obviously experienced. At a point her back leg got twisted right around as the pitbull was being pulled and shoved around.
The vet said that it is extremely strange that this animal would scale my fence and attack my female boxer, as the pitbull was male.
I have a male labrador X, and he didn' t go anywhere near him.

Reply to Rix
Posted by: Bear | 2008-11-19

Thats terrible Rix. I can assure you that not ALL of them are like that but it would seem that most are these days, My boy would never had hurt anyone.

He was 7 when he was killed and he has never showed a seconds aggression to anyone or anything.

I am glad that you doggy got better. That must have been terrible for all of you.

Reply to Bear
Posted by: Rix | 2008-11-19

My female boxer was attacked by a Putbull two houses down - in my own yard! He scaled my fence and mauled my boxer. My husband tried everything, and battled for 20 minutes to get him off my dog. He threw water on him, hit him with a fist (it was neccessary, believe me), got a broomstick and stuck in into the tiny gap in his jaws (that wasn' t filled with the flesh of my boxer) and absolutely nothing worked. It was like living a nightmare. Eventually the next door neighbour came to help. I don' t know what eventually helped, but it took 20 minutes to get him off her. R3800.00 spent at the Vet and many hours crying and praying, she recovered, but is still two toes short, have many ugly scars, hated me for weeks for leaving her at the vet and is still scared of other dogs. This dog was raised from tiny pup for 5 years by a 68 year old single woman. She is the dearest lady you can imagine.
It does not matter how you RAISE it, if it' s in the dogs blood, then it is.

Reply to Rix
Posted by: Mandi | 2008-11-19

My opinion is that Pitbulls have been bred for decades to strenthen the killer/fighter instinct. How you raise them is obviously a major part of their behaviour, but those genes are always in the background. It’ s like raising a lion cub from the day of its birth. It might be tame, but it will always be a wild animal. Years and years of breeding a certain trait cannot be removed by the way a dog is raised.
Some states in the USA have banned Pitbull ownership and breeding. If Pitpulls are confiscated by the NSPCA, they have to be humanely euthanized.
You obviously get people who have owned Pitbulls who wouldn’ t hurt a fly and I’ ve met one who wants nothing more than to sit on my feet and cuddle, but they still scare the living crap out me.

What do you get when you cross a Golden Retriever with a Pitbull?

A dog that’ ll rip your arm off, but at least it will bring it back to you! :)

Reply to Mandi
Posted by: Bear | 2008-11-19

I owned an American Red Pitbull and he was the most amazing dog you had ever seen. I would do anything to have another one like hi. He was killed by a car when he got " let out"  our yard.

I think its all how they treated, they have the pre disposition to violence, so they need to be raised differently to other dogs by someone who actually knows what they doing.

People who just " like"  them, should not get them. There should be rules like owning a gun, you need proper training in order to avoid this tragedy from happening over and over.

They really are stunning animals. if cared for correctly.

Reply to Bear

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