I'm sure you have all heard this many times: “its not the dog, its the owner”, and I'm going to say the EXACT same thing. Really, its NOT the dog, its the owners. Some owners through unintentional ignorance experience negative responses from fighting breeds. This is because they were unaware of what kind of work going into raising this type of dog. Others, who want a scary, mean dog, use this breed to their “advantage” and support their negative behaviors because that's what they want. While others, choose to use these dogs for actual dog fighting, forcing them to behave negative to survive. The difference between this blog and what you hear from others is I'm going to explain to you WHY the dogs shouldn't receive the blame for their behavior, so you can see how wonderful these dogs actually are.
But just how many fighting breeds are there? Lets just go over then all: Alano Español, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, Armenian Gampr dog, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Bully Kutta, Boxer dog, Caucasian Ovtcharka, Central Asian Ovtcharka, Dogue de Bordeaux, Dogo Argentino, English Mastiff, Georgian Shepherd Dog, Gull Dong, Gull Terr, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Kangal Dog, Korean Jindo Dog, Lottatore Brindisino, Neapolitan Mastiff, New Guinea Singing Dog, Perro de Presa Canario (Canarian catch dog), Perro de Presa Mallorquin (Ca de Bou), Shar Pei, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa, Akita Inu. I'll bet you didnt even know some of those dogs exsisted, or that some of these were fighting breeds like the mastiff's or the Akita Inu.
In my time of dog training, I have met MANY very sweet,loving and kind fighting breeds, as well as owning a few of my own. That being said I know first hand how capable they are of being wonderful family pets. However, I have heard of and even worked with aggressive fighting breeds and I'm sure you have too, you may have even experienced this. The problem is ALL you hear about are the bad things, you wont hear on the news “ And the pit bull jumped on the litter girl and licked her to death.” Remember, there was a time when German Shepherds where the big bad wolfs, and here they are now being used as therapy, rescue, family and police dogs.
The difference between an aggressive fighting breed and and say an aggressive working breed is that IF a fighting breed does feel the need to be aggressive the damage they could do may be worse. I'm sure many of you have heard the term “locking jaw”. This is, in fact, a myth. They do not actually have a locking jaw. What they do have is drive, and if they choose to bite down, they have drive to stay biting down. The average dog bites multiple times, or bites and backs off...but a fighting breed usually clamps down, and either holds, or shakes. This is why they tend to do more damage, as well as being backed up by tons of muscle. Don't let that scare you though, these dogs are just as capable of being mauled by toddlers while fast asleep and providing cozy warm cuddles all night long. Just because they CAN do damage doesn't mean they will, or even want to. Its more in a dogs nature to run then fight.
So lets begin by going over some valuable information. Any dog you own has the potential to be aggressive, mean and unsociable. Some, more then other. This is breed specific, kind of like a type of personality. Each personality has different needs and different ways to go about activities, just like human beings. A lab for example will need to be raised different then say a pit bull or a boxer. A lab may pick up social activities whether you worked on it or not, while a fighting breed NEEDS to be taught proper social activity manners. Some dogs are eager to please and love to work, meaning you may not have to put in the extra time to teach them regular commands. They just listen, but only because they have such a high drive to please their owner. Where as a fighting breed may have, and often do have, a less drive to please. Some breeds are more likely to be dominant then others, making them more confrontational, this is the case with fighting breeds. Another factor is these dogs temperament is genetics. If you find a breeder who breeds purely for good temperament, your dog is much more likely to be great, then a breeder who breeds for looks. Like muscle and color. Or even breeds into aggressive temperament for “guarding”.
Wondering where these owners go wrong then? Essentially it comes down to socializing and consistent rules. Some owners pick up a fighting breed as a rescue, other just want a short haired dog. Whatever the cause is for getting this type of dog, they go into it unprepared for whats ahead. They don't go out of their way to socialize with people and dogs as a puppy. Maybe its just not something they thought of as necessary, only optional. (I know I did before I went to school) Also, often as a puppy they get away with a lot of things because they are cute. This provides the dog with the goods to become dominant, and therefore confrontational. Some owners get this type of dog as a “guard dog”, and it WILL get the job done thanks to societies label. But the problem here is often these people praise the aggressive behavior towards people to encourage their “guard dog” attitude. Your dog will do this with or without your help, trust me, its what pack members do. So, when you do this with a fighting breed, not only are you telling them, your behavior is good and wanted, your also handing over your alpha status, making them dominant in the relationship. And lastly, worse case scenario, they want to fight this dog. Meaning they force the dog to fight other dogs for food, space, attention etc. As well as praising aggressive behavior and in many cases beating their dog.
If you go into raising a fighting breed properly prepared to do the work to make this dog a proper citizen to society, then that's exactly what you will get. LOTS of heavy socializing with people and dogs at a very young age and all the way through their adolescence will make sure your fighting breed is “normal”. You will also need consistent rules and regulations within and outside the house. As well as maintaining complete dominance over your dog, you must be Alpha always. I hope this has opened your eyes as to why this really is all in the owners hands. As well as softened you opinion of these fighting breeds. I own a Boxer as well as an American bulldog, both of whom are wonderful with my children (2 and 4 years old) and other dogs. So If you found this information informative and helpful, let me know! Follow my blog for regular updates, and dare I say it, give me a call and hire some help! Especially if you plan on owning a fighting breed. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog, the information provided is very important to me, so I appreciate your interests!