Please donate to support our work

DogsBite.org is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity organization. Learn more »

19 thoughts on “UK Should Define a Status Dog Phenotype; Too Many Pit Bull-Type Dogs Evade 'Banned Breeds' in Dangerous Dogs Act

Please review our comment policy.

  1. The sensible thing to do would be to appropriately limit the SIZE of any pet/animal brought into a residential area.

    A while back I wrote about the absurdity of a 100+ lb dog in a residential neighborhood WHERE the largest cat I can own is an 18 lb (~8 kg) Maine Coon. Goats, sheep, horses, cows, etc… are similarly zoned out. Any dog larger than, say, a beagle or basset hound should be likewise restricted.

    Large animals are restricted in residential areas for a variety of reasons, that include but are not limited to:
    – Human Health
    – Human Safety
    – Animal welfare

    Persons who require a large dog for service reasons should require a special permit.

    Working dogs on farms would be considered farm animals, and contemplated the same as goats, sheep, horses, etc…. less restrictions in rural or agricultural areas.

    • Large breed dogs can be our it of ok great pets. Many l 🍵 arge dogs are far more patient with young children than small dogs. Parents need to carefully select a breed and train and socialize their dogs.
      Bully breeds are not good choices. Shelter
      dogs should be carefully screened.

      Many trainers advocate taking hits
      from their own.dogs while wearing bite sleeves. I strongly
      disagree with this.

      As far as breed is concerned, few dogs meet the breed standard. I have GSDs. A GSD could have hound dog ears, an underbite, and short twisted forelegs like a basset and be AKC registered. That dog would be excused by a judge.
      It could still be purebred.

      • You miss the point I am trying to make. How is it reasonable to limit a pet cat to ~18 lbs, but allow a dog of any size? The only way to rationalize that is by promoting canine supremacy, which is a toxic ideology. Again, large animals have no place in a crowded human community for the multiple reasons I already indicated.

        • I’d trust any 1200lbs horse or cow living next to me more than a 25 lbs pit bull. Full disclosure, I own 3 horses and have had other large animals.

          Isn’t your cat size limit due to the current craze for domestic/wild hybrids?

    • The behavior of the dog matters much more than the size of the dog.

      If my neighbor has a Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, or German Shepherd in my suburban neighborhood they’re not usually a problem. And even if they are a problem, it’s usually an annoyance not a threat to me or my family.

      I don’t feel in danger when I see a Great Dane, St. Bernard, or a Labrador Retriever in someone’s backyard. All of these breeds are large, but none are expected to behave and engage in the phenotypic behavior of a Pit Bull type. Limiting all breeds of dog that can coexist and have coexisted in normal neighborhoods for decades because of Pit Bull types isn’t the answer. We know who the problem dogs are. We know who the problem people are. Target them.

    • I agree that very large dogs, dogs that are 70 lbs or more, present a special problem. Most people don’t train their dogs well and basically rely on being able to overpower the dog – ie yank it, in the direction you want it to go. But you can’t do that with very large dogs. To have no training requirement for an animal that you can’t literally pull away from something is ridiculous.

  2. It is the socialized healthcare program in the UK that is the reason for these laws. When the public pays for all healthcare, the goal is to keep expenses down. Yes, they need to update the list of breeds and their crosses. Presas and Canes need to be added. I like how these dogs are considered status dogs and for the purpose of intimidation.

    • Christy:

      This is a point about universal healthcare I’ve made on numerous occassions, too.

      There are two reasons why universal healthcare tends towards breed legislation.

      One, everyone does not want to pay extra (plastic surgery etc are very expensive) over someone else’s poor choice of dog breed and more importantly

      Two, universal healthcare tracks, for funding purposes, the costs involved over various medical procedures and the reason they were needed.

      That means there are ongoing statistics even if not always publicly available about the causes of injuries and deaths so this informs public policy on public safety.

      In the case of bully dogs, it’s a matter of “these dogs are causing a disproportionate amount of injury and death”.

  3. Regarding especially the jumbo pitbulls called the XL size,10 states here in the USA have enacted laws banning large-capacity magazines for gun owners. That means those states have a limit of 10 bullets per magazine. Ten bullets to protect gun owners from multiple intruders or assaulters.

    Yet recently I read that it took 12 bullets to finally kill one pitbull. This article gives the example of the XL pit bull that killed Mia DeRouen in 2014 in America. That murder required 12 bullets to take down the murderous pitbull. Who would have time to locate and insert another bullet magazine into your gun when your family’s lives hang in the balance?

    • Further, the police bullets are likely to have been stronger to take down the murderous pitbull. Stronger than standard 9mm bullets that new gun owners use in handguns. Rendering the legal use of only 10 bullet magazines in guns even less effective to make gun owners feel a handgun is enough to dispatch an attacking pitbull.

      • Good gracious! The Mirror also had a story from Dublin, Ireland, of a mauling of a boy attacked by a giant dog. Mix of pitbull and Presa Canario. The police had to call in a big cat expert who typically works for zoos to use a tranquilizer gun to knock out the beast to transport it to the pound.

        Legislation needs to be enacted and enforced to keep the UK and the USA from having to resort to large mammal experts to control hulking pitbull dogs.

        Lions and tigers and pitbulls! Lord, save us from The Great Pitbull Implosion!

  4. Excellent work on this one Colleen. Very clear information.

    This Pitbull X nonsense, is just that, nonsense.

    Most working breed dogs run a gamut. What is considered “confirmation” in the show ring is often far removed from what actually occurs in working lines–yet common sense will tell us that “X is a GSD. Y is an Alaskan Husky, Z is mostly poodle”

    Will some errors be made unfortunately for the odd dog and pet owner? Probably.

    However, better a few errors on the side of caution than thousands of pet deaths and hundreds of thousands of pet/livestock maulings and hundreds of human deaths and thousands of human maulings, per year.

    We make people wear seatbelts by law because when they were first offered–most people did the stupid thing, refused to buckle up and people, died. Did most people die from not wearing them? No. Were there thousands of preventable deaths? Yes. Now, all cars have them and they are required. Did people stop dying? No. Do far fewer people die? Yes.

    Numbers matter.

    Even where BSL is prevalent and the compromise position is muzzling and neutering/spaying–most pitbull owners refuse to abide by that. Therefore, they are in no position to decide what is, and what is not, a pitbull since it’s clear too many of them won’t listen, anyway. They’ve long ago lost any moral ground to frame anything in this debate.

  5. I love this quote from the bottom of your informative article: What if a bull breed status dog phenotype could be defined, one that would include an “8-stone” XL pit bull or XL bully like Beast?

    If we had a phenotype description of these dogs then the UK could ban them and save a lot of lives and spare people a lot grief.

    If we could be talking in terms of phenotype description, we wouldn’t have pit defenders trying to weasel out of the offending dog actually being a pitbull, or claiming pitbulls aren’t really a thing.

    It seems to me it goes back to molloser type dogs.

    Or we could opt out of arguing about petty details, ban all potentially dangerous dogs, make it very easy for neighbors and individual police officers to make the determination that a dog is dangerous, no hearings, no appeals, dog is removed upon complaint. This would be the best solution in favor of public safety.

  6. I’d like to propose legislation that would escape the semantic gymnastics that seem to hobble breed-specific legislation. Here goes:

    1. If you own a dog, and I mean any kind of dog, you must carry liability insurance and must be able to show proof of insurance at any time. Auto drivers are already required to do this.

    2. In order to own a dog, you will be required to pass a test similar to that which is mandatory for automobile drivers. If you flunk the test, too bad. No dog for you. If you pass, you get a dog owner’s license. Think of it as a vehicle operator’s license.

    3. If your dog harms anyone and this harm is reported to the authorities — a 24-hour hotline will make this super-simple to do — your dog will be confiscated and your dog license will be suspended. Think of drunk driving. If you’re caught, you won’t be driving a car for a while.

    I’m sure that the canine supremacy promoters will be up in arms, but that’s too bad. They’ve gotten away with their BS for far too long.

  7. Outstanding report! And a much needed primer on how these bully breeds are related. It is incredible that the UK bans pit bulls, unless they’re really really big pit bulls.

    • After listening to the podcast for 10 arduous minutes, I moved on to an excellent channel that includes former shelter workers revealing the erasing of dog bite histories.

      Watch “Pit Bulls Unleashed: Should They Be Banned? – The Fifth Estate” on YouTube
      https://youtu.be/iFa8HOdegZA

  8. Benton county, Iowa is enforcing its ban on pitbulls. Not quite a phenotype description but close to encompassing all pitbulls, and they’re making people abide by it.

    https://www.kcrg.com/2022/07/27/10-families-keystone-told-give-up-pit-bulls/

    “Any dog which has the appearances and characteristics of being of the breed of Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, any other breed commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers, or a combination of any of these breeds.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *