Debunking the Dangerous Breed Myth

Are some breeds too dangerous for Daniel Island?

A dog’s appearance or breed is NOT an indication of potential problems.  Those assumptions are akin to racial profiling – not only unfair to pet owners, but also inadequate for purposes of reducing the risk of aggressive dog activity.

Temperament testing individual dogs is a MUCH more effective way to determine which dogs are safe in a community setting and which dogs should not be allowed.  Giving all dogs, regardless of their appearance, a temperament test enables identifying aggressive individuals of “safe” breeds (i.e. Labrador retriever) as well as determining which individuals of a “suspect” breed could be a problem.  Breed assumptions are very inaccurate, more “wives’ tale” than fact.  In actuality, most “pit bull” appearing dogs are sweet and safe.

Certified trainers can administer the temperament test in about 10 minutes, and the results are far superior to using appearance alone to identify dangerous dogs.  After over 20 years in veterinary medicine, I can personally attest to the fact that individual temperament is not determined solely by breed!!

What is a temperament test?

A good resource on temperament testing of dogs is the American Temperament Testing Society. By reading their website's breed statistics page, you will note that breed is not a reliable indicator for temperament.  I am aware of several area trainers who are certified in AKC Good Citizen Testing and offer these tests locally.

A smart and effective community policy is to require owners of dogs involved in any aggressive incident to have their dogs tested and certified before allowing them to stay.  This policy protects everyone.  When owners are required to present proof of temperament only after a problem arises, no one is targeted for their pet’s appearance, and the cost to the community is nothing.