Breed Stigma: A Look at Canine Stereotypes
According to PetBreeds.com, the #1 friendliest dog breed is the Labrador Retriever. Labs have been called loyal, intelligent, and kind, giving them an excellent reputation and making them the most popular dog breed in America. This must me that all labs are good dogs, right? In the meantime, we see so often in the media stories of other breeds who are involved in attacks and Dog Bite Incidences, that we are usually quick to assume that all dogs of those breeds are bad dogs.
These are examples of canine stereotypes; the often common statement that all labs are “nice” or that all pit bull type breeds are “bad and dangerous” could not be further from the truth. Much like us, all dogs are individuals, each with their own history, fears, successes, failures, strengths and weaknesses. However, stereotypes exist nonetheless.
The stigma surrounding certain breeds is caused by the fact that all dog breeds were essentially developed for and defined by particular behavioral traits and/or to perform a specific job. For example, the bulldog breed originated in the early 1800’s in England, and their purpose was to bait other animals and to hunt. They often participated in an event called “bull baiting” where game dogs fought against a chained or confined animal for sport. After this was banned, dogfighting gained popularity; and thus the breeding of pit bulls for this purpose began.
Basically, the stereotype surrounding this breed and others -such as German Shepherds, Rottweiler, Dobermans, etc.- developed due to the physical attributes and behaviors created by humans. It’s due to these stereotypes that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) exists and restricts individuals from keeping dogs of a specific breed. Common breeds that fall victim to this type of ordinance include: the American Pit Bull Terrier, Chihuahua, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Wolf Hybrids, and more. Many opponents of BSL laws feel that there is too much focus on the actual breed of dog rather than the real cause of dog-related injuries, which is the interaction between dogs and humans.
At Canine Liability Insurance, we understand how frustrating it can be to own a dog whose breed has been unfairly stigmatized by the media. The good news is, we do not discriminate against breed when issuing our dog bite liability policies. For more information about our services, please contact us today at (855) 534-6495.