There are numerous “power breeds” of dogs, such as the Husky, or the dorky Boxer; however, when it comes to the everyday media cycle, we’re mainly discussing the bull purebreds (with the Pit Bull being among the most prevalent), Rottweilers, and Dobermans. These breeds are the subject of a never-ending debate, with one side claiming that they are erratic and hostile, and the other claiming that they are devoted family companions who have never been known to harm so much as a fly. 

The Main Argument is That We Don’t Have an Issue With Power Breeds, the People Are the Problem

Dog breeding within the power breeds can be extremely financially rewarding, even with little respect for the unpleasant behavioral preconceptions that are handed down from one generation of dogs to another. This is especially true in our current high-crime surroundings, where individuals are purchasing dogs to safeguard their properties and family members at increasing rates. 

As a consequence, there is a rising population of dogs with a broad variety of behavioral character traits, and these dogs are progressively being trained and urged in a way that promotes a forceful strategy for safeguarding their home. 

Nature VS Nurture 

The mainstream media in South Africa is replete with reports of dogs mauling and, in many cases, killing individuals in the general public. Children are the victims of violence in a significant number of cases, which elicits the most passionate reactions from the general public (and receive the most views or clicks). 

It is not always easy to determine why a dog attacks a person; in this respect, it is not all that different from trying to answer the question of why an individual attacked another person. 

The genetics of a dog would then, to a significant degree, potentially lead it to act in a specific way; however, genetics is not the only factor that will contribute to the dog’s behavior in any given situation. The environment and the inherited emotional issues of a dog have an interconnected relationship, and this relationship affects the dog’s behavior. 

A dog can develop an inappropriate demeanor as a result of poor genetic factors that were handed down from a backyard breeder who was driven by profit, poor health, or a lack of or insufficient training and handling when the dog was younger. These factors can all relate to a dog not becoming adequately adjusted to being surrounded by individuals in social environments. 

According to the findings of a study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there were at least four or more important considerations associated with the care and command of the dog itself in four out of every five cases in which an attack occurred. They were dogs that hadn’t been adequately socialized and were typically male dogs that hadn’t been sterilized. 

In South Africa, there has recently been a discernible spike in the number of attacks carried out by dogs of powerful breeds; however, it is difficult to determine whether this is merely the consequence of an increase in the amount of these dogs being maintained as pets or if it is the result of a degradation in the benchmarks of breeding combined with sub-standard rearing of these dogs. 

Because the environment in which a dog lives is so important, it follows that any dog, in the incorrect hands, has the potential to be harmful. As a result, it is more reasonable to focus on the individual dog in question rather than the dog’s breed in general. 

Is It Even Possible to Outlaw a Breed?

The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 placed an absolute prohibition on the ownership of aggressive dogs in the United Kingdom as a direct response to the problem of dog attacks. 

Many dog owners in the UK assert that a blanket prohibition is unwise and that account ownership can lead to certain dog breeds that have traditionally been seen as threatening, becoming seen as genuinely fantastic pets instead. This request to reexamine the blanket prohibition on ‘dangerous dogs’ is even emanating from organizations like the RSPCA, which has realized that approaching the problem of dog attacks in such a broad manner is to ignorantly imply that certain dogs are therefore entirely safe to be around– which is ridiculous, and which may put individuals in jeopardy of being attacked in the first place. 

America Has It’s Approach

The United States of America takes a completely distinct approach, with roughly half of all states have passed legislation expressly opposed to the practice of banning specific dog breeds. Additionally, in the past, President Obama has gone to the extent of publicly labeling the practice of prohibiting specific dog breeds as a “bad idea.” The following was included in a statement issued by the White House: 

We are opposed to breed-specific regulations because studies have shown that prohibitions on particular dog breeds are, for the most part, counterproductive and frequently result in a squandering of public resources. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a community-based solution to the issue of dog bites as a substitute for breed-specific regulations. In the end, we believe that this is a far more encouraging method for creating healthier communities for pet parents. 

If There Are to Be Any Regulations, Should There Even Be Any?

Both breed-neutral “dangerous dog” laws and laws that designate specific dogs as being threatening and require their owners to keep them on a leash have their place in our culture. Nevertheless, power breeds ought not to be evaluated solely on their breed but rather on the personal characteristics of the animals that belong to that breed. 

It Depends on the Owners

One can only keep hoping that common logic will prevail over the breed-shaming news stories and that the awareness can be appropriately centered on the dog’s owners; this would mean acknowledging that the issue isn’t so much a problem with a powerful breed as it is a problem with irresponsible dog owners. 

The moral and compassionate training of a dog is essential to its responsible pet ownership, which necessitates the owner to make a commitment to accepting responsibility for their dog’s behaviors in the future and to start early in the process of socializing their dog with other dogs and people.  The question remains if it is even possible to do something like that in a country such as South Africa, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.