Big-dog-little-handler: Don’t Judge a dog by its breed.

I’ve heard it again and again “oh no I wouldn’t get a staffie”, “oh gosh aren’t ridgebacks really aggressive”, “rottweilers arent good family pets”. Again and again I hear the same old thing. People dismissing dogs because of their breed or decided that they are volatile or aggressive without even knowing a dog. It’s all too common. Quite often I think it’s funny, my soft boy is mistaken for a crazy beast. My sofa hound. Really?

Duke is a big boy; with a big chest and a wide muzzle. So I get it before he’s even uttered a peep: “is he aggressive?”, “will he hurt my dog?”, “does he get in a lot of fights”, “he looks like he would eat my dog”. My heart sinks a little. Poor Duke he doesn’t stand a chance with some people. Now I’m not saying people shouldn’t be careful around unknown dogs. I’ll always pop Duke on a lead or take hold of him if an unknown dog approaches and ask if they are happy for me to let go of him. duke’s been attacked so many times I like to keep him close to me till I know the dog is friendly. Around 200,000 people a year are bitten by dogs in England. Which is a lot, but that is according to the telegraph, and you never really know if you can trust a newspaper. In some ways given breed specific legislation and a rise in attacks on live stock by dogs it’s understandable people become concerned, and with social media naughty owners are quickly reported on (which is a good thing it’s important that bad behaviour is called out).
Breed specific legislation suggests to people certain breeds are more dangerous than others and more volatile.

vicious dog attacking spoon of yoghurt

As a big dog owner, an excited big dog owner, we quite often get called out much more quickly than a small dog owner. I’ve had countless times where a small dog has gone for Duke again and again and all Duke does is woof once and suddenly it’s like he’s ripped someone’s arms off! Small dogs seem to be able to behave however they want. Sometimes spiting and lunging in public… I’ve even watched people giggle in response. Some how people don’t find Dukes woof particularly funny.

I’ve never actually heard of a ridgeback eating a human whole? But people seem to make out it’s a daily occurrence. I feed Duke enough, I don’t think he will be eating any people anytime soon! I’ve also never met a dog who is more of a scardy cat than mine. He’s scared of a big long list of things. One of those things is a large squirrel that came out of nowhere at night. My dog is a crazy hound who does jump up every now and again. He has a bad habit of barking at motorbikes and he’s a very soulful looking pup. If there is one thing my dog is not? My dog is not aggressive. He loves his ball and wont run after it if it’s gone towards another dog. He loves to play, and barks excessively when playing so I give him his ball to muffle the sound, he will actually search for his ball when he wants to play with someone. He just runs around with it in his mouth – it’s sweet. Its amazing how often people won’t let their dog play with Duke. Or people who have similar dogs worry that if they play they will hurt each other – play biting is only okay when it happens between smaller dogs (do I sound a bit bitter?).

Duke has met all sorts of Doggie friends and he is yet to eat one. He also is yet to eat a child, man or woman so we are doing okay!

I’ve met loads of staffies who wouldn’t say boo to a goose and every rottweiler I have ever met has been the most amazing dog. I’ve met some fabulous dogs who others would tell me are vicious or untrainable (I genuinely believe you can train any dog!!). The dangerous Dog Act bans four breeds, in Ireland Duke would need to be muzzled to go out in public (which is really sad). It also doesn’t give the best message – Don’t train muzzle. I suppose we won’t be taking Duke to Ireland anytime soon.

scary dog

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