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« US Pet Ownership Statistical Breakdown | Main | Dog bite fatality roundup »

November 13, 2012



Interesting, but not all that surprising to me. When my nephew walks our pit bull with us, I find more people want to actually pet her. I think it's hard to resist a 6 year old introducing a dog, 'And THIS is Lily" while putting his hand on her head. I don't think we've ever had someone not say "hi" to her after that. If it's just my husband, people will cross the street. When it's me, they'll walk passed us (but I always get her into a sit stay so maybe that's why?). I do think that the handler makes a difference. I admit when I'm jogging, there is a lab in the neighborhood that I avoid. Owner is hard looking and the dog is on a prong collar. His behavior has gotten increasingly more aggressive toward other dogs and people this last year (the owner yanks the prong collar repeatedly and most of the time there isn't a correction even needed so the dog is stressed out). The combination of the owner's looks and the dog's collar have me wary - so even as a pit bull owner, I'm guilty of perception judging as well.

Adrian Meli

Interesting study and the results are not unexpected. Stereotyping clearly carries over to dogs unfortunately and some breeds have been singled out. Your point about the owners being singled out is a different take and I like the idea of focusing more of the resources on showing some of the more targeted breeds and who the actual owners are. There is a lot of misinformation here as you pointed out, so focusing on "information" campaigns as opposed to "misinformation" campaigns should be effective.


Its rough on city dwellers or those who don't reside in the country when it comes to the APBT and basic exercise. More people avoid us and send dirty looks my way than I care to count.

Lisa Gunter

Thanks for the blog post about the research, Brent. It's super appreciated.


Lisa -- it's very interesting research--- thanks for doing it.


I'm a middle-class white female with a black male pittie. Despite two strikes against him (pit bull and black), people usually respond positively to him, and a few have even said that "he must be a nice dog because you look like such a nice person."

Pat F.

The only pit bull who ever bit one of my dogs (because the owner did not put him on a leash; both he and my dog were intact males, I'd leashed my dog) was owned by a white young woman who had blond hair with pink dyed streaks, leather clothing, nose piercing, and told me (when I'd asked, prior to her dog's attack) her dog's name was 'Viper'. I do not blame the dog, if he had been truly vicious, he would have done far more damage than a puncture wound to my dog's ear (cured by a phone call to my vet and the resulting application of Johnson & Johnson cream for a week). I occasionally see (now) a pit bull who hates my dog; he is kept under firm (leashed) control by his owner, an acquaintance of mine who got the young pit bull from a shelter; as far as I know, he is fine with people. Most other pit bulls I have met, owned by a variety of people, have been pleasant, good-natured dogs; though due to their energy level, a bit too much dog for me to consider owning.

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