Posted by: T | 2004/10/06

Bull terrier / Pit bull temperament

Reading the below postings regarding bull terriers and pit bulls has lead me think more about these two breeds of dogs and their temperaments.
My question is: isn't their temperament largely dependant on how they are brought up? Take any breed of dog - if their upbringing is filled with violence, they are tought to fight back etc etc, will they not be aggressive? But, if they are brought up with loads of love, good discipline and taught right from wrong, shouldn't they be fine?
I have two bull terriers and a pit bull and whilst I don't throw caution to the wind, I am 100% comfortable around them. I believe that with any dog one must always show them respect eg: leave them alone whilst eating, don't bug them, leave them when they are sleeping etc. I get so much love from my bully's it's incredible. Am I naive???

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Our expert says:
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Hi T
Yes, you are quite correct about how a dog is brought up. I know of many "bullies" that are gentle with kids and even sociable with dogs, due to the patient and consistent time put in by their owners. The problem is that all these breeds were originally bred for aggression (mostly fighting other dogs), which means that they more easily turn to aggression if they are stressed, afraid or frustrated. More easily than gundogs, for instance. The other problem is that often owners of these dogs want them to be aggressive, or think it's funny when they are, thus reinforcing the behaviour. Continue to show them respect and they will continue to reward you with the trusting, sensitive natures that they no doubt have.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/08

Don't kid yourself, Sos. I'm not denigrating bullterriers at all - I've said before that I really like them. But the kind of aggression we're talking about is not the odd aggressive individual who just might happen to be a bullterrier. We're talking about an inbred characteristic which, I'm sorry to say, merely 'bringing them up in the right household' isn't going to prevent.

This doesn't mean that all bullterrier are killing machines. But it does mean that where their relationships with other dogs are concerned, especially dogs they don't know, they are IN GENERAL unpredictable, and this has to be taken into account.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Sos | 2004/10/08

I totally agree, We have two bullies, I must admit that I was sceptical at first but am so in love with the two piggies now and cant imagine life without them. We do take precautions regarding them and other dogs and are always careful regardless of if we think they will attack other dogs or not, they have the capacity to do great damage and that needs to be respected. But brought up in the right loving household is a sure way to get two absolutley great companions. I have cats who are completely comfortable with the two of them....although any stray that enters our garden is bound to be chased, and an immaculate garden. They are the two most gentle sweet creatures who crave attention and think they are lap dogs (all 30kg of them)
Dont let people put you off, bullies are the best!!!!

Reply to Sos
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/07

To Chill - I agree 100% - can ramble on about the subject for hours, but it's no good only some of us realise the dangers of unpredictable dogs, like with back street breedig - we need to stick our necks out more (whether people like the comments or not) and try to get people on the right track. Even if you have influenced just one person out of ten - hey it's a small humble step for mankind, but one giant leap for our furry friends.

To Carol - yes there are many people around who claim to be animal lovers but the real ones are the ones trying to stop the suffering against all odds. It's not nice getting flack from every second person because you suggested spay your animal - I don't do it for kicks and very few people undersand that - glad to see you do at least - got quite a few mud pies flung your way as well recently ? He he he.

To K - I don't think you guys did anything wrong, like Chill says - very few really placid Border Collies around, I think those that are placid is obviously being treated correctly (training, excercise, etc) Your BC was there obviously before the baby - he had you all to himself and the next moment along came this teeny tiny person who just took away all the extra attention which was normally bestowed on him. Hey even siblings find a new baby in the house hard to handle - imagine not being able to understand that there's another star attraction around now and you have just been demoted to the position of back yard dog - so stay outside !! I know it must have been very difficult giving him away, but you ultimately made the right choice.

It is great to see bullies interact with kids, but like you so wisely mentioned - always be on guard. They might for any given reason start a fight amongst themselves (even if they have never done to before - could be pain, illness - anything can trigger it) and a child could just land up in the middle of it.

Reply to Lucia
Posted by: K | 2004/10/07

I refer to Chill's reference to Border Collies - I had a bad experience with ours when my youngest son was born, the dog could not stand the baby and it got so bad that when my son started crawling the dog would constantly snap at him. Eventually we had to give him away o a couple who had no kids. On the other hand, I have friends with two bullies that worship the ground my little girl walks on. Although I must admin, I am never totally at ease.......

Could we have gone wrong somewhere with the border collie? He adored the other kids.

Reply to K
Posted by: Chill | 2004/10/06

While I sort of agree with what's been said, and while of course any dog's upbringing and treatment is going to have a very profound effect, the inherent character of a dog will always remain... there may be individual exceptions, and bad characteristics can be controlled - but only up to a point.

For example, I bet there are very few really placid border collies around...

Thing with bull terriers is that they ARE wonderful dogs - but mostly to people. They were bred for fighting, and the best behaved dog will sometimes take an unpredictable dislike to another dog, with sometimes serious consequences.

This is something one has to bear in mind.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: carol | 2004/10/06

I must say I enjoyed reading that gives me so much pleasure so see someone who bothers to understand and love a breed.

Well Done.

Lucia im glad u have joined our very teeny circle ... I sometimes get so despondent about there being so few ( or so it seems ) animal lovers around

Reply to carol
Posted by: Lucia | 2004/10/06

Hi T

No you are not naive and you do sound responsible which is exactly what not every bull and pit bull terrier owner is.

The agrresive streak is in their blood line - they were bred for dog fights and whether the dog is in Asia, Africa or America , the temperament remains the same.

Should they be so lucky as to receive the correct training, you will most probably land up with the greatest dog in the neigbourhood, the problem is just when they land up in the wrong hands where people don't really care, they become a problem and what happens to that problem ? It gets put down.

They are a terrific breed and should be treated with respect and they should not be obtained from back street breeders who does not have a cooking clue about breeding dogs.

Enjoy you monsters - they sound great :-)

Reply to Lucia

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